Nahimah Ajikanle Nurudeen
The President of the network marketing firm, Edmark focusing on lifestyle and weight losing supplements, Sam Low in this interview said factory alone cannot create enough jobs but the making of entrepreneurs creates wealth and jobs.
What value has Edmark activities brought to the lifestyle of those who patronize its products?
It is very simple. As far as Edmark is concerned, we have three main focuses to add value to the Nigerian Society. The first one is the efficacy of the product; the second one is the training that the distributors are provided with that ranges from marketing techniques to speaking skills and the money realised along by the distributors that enables them to feed themselves and establish a financially independent life.
A wide range of our products deal with losing weight. We all know that obesity is not good for the body and we also know its implications. A person suffering from obesity would be lazy and unproductive.
Why is Edmark focusing on obesity in its products line?
Well very simple. As far as Edmark is concerned, we do not just focus on the products, we have three main focuses. Number one: the efficacy of this products; number two: the training that they provide, that is we train distributors how to sell, marketing techniques, learning how to do business and public speaking skills; and number three: we have competitive compensation planning which is not just to benefit themselves, buy also benefit the masses. As far as our products are concerned, we focus on weight loss business because one of man’s greatest problems now is obesity. Obesity makes people lazy and unproductive. So our products have been proven again and again that they help people to lose weight. So for those people that have bought and used the products in Nigeria lose weight and ultimately, their system work normally. If your system work normally, you become more energised, you become more production.
Why has Edmark not really penetrated the Northern part of the country?
Just as you know, many businesses might not want to go there because of this negative impression of Boko Haram. But because we listen to our heart and also because we have that trust, so we invented and today, the place like just any other places we operate in Nigeria and you can see Muslims and Christians working together. You meet our office crowded everyday with Muslims, Christmas singing together, hugging each other. Doing the business, we not see colour, we do not see race or religion. We treat one another as lively children of our creator. So, everyone understand that this is a core business. Even in the midst of crisis when everyone is folding up and going down, Edmark is still getting stronger and stronger. So as far as we are concerned, there is no any secret in our success, the only thing I can say is that we hinge the conduct of our business on these four pillars. Our business is guarded by our four pillars and the four pillars are: gratitude, abundance, love and compassion. First of all, we are not a religious sect. We are a business people and a business organisation and we are being guided by the principles. That’s why I wrote a book entitled The Four Pillars of Success: gratitude, abundance, love and compassion. Because of these principles, we attract a lot of good people for different religions, genders, and nationals. For example, we are in 11 places of Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Onitsha, Enugu, Oweri, Benin City, Uyo, Oshogbo, Kano, and Jos.
We are grateful that we can start each day with positive thinking. You can only feel good if you look at things from the positive side of it, not when you can only see the negative things about life. The reason why we keep telling ourselves feel good is to think of the thing with which we have been blessed. Even all these little things like good fresh air to breath, or having a job that pays, that’s even enough to feel grateful about. When you are grateful you become more inspired and open your heart to face challenges. It’s only by facing our challenges that you experience greatness. We are able to help people face their challenges and open up new experience to new knowledgeable, to new strengths and opportunities. That’s why if we go anywhere, we will not fail. The more we are able to seen people transformed, the more the success recorded by the business. The more they are inspired, the more we are inspired. So that is our success.
Considering the fact that your products are being imported into the country, how have you been coping with the foreign exchange?
Of course this is a crisis everybody is facing. You might here people saying that this is not a crisis, but then, what is a crisis? A crisis is simply a situation that unique and different, that is not what you have been experiencing before. But the question now is how do we react or respond to such situations. If we believe that this is something that is not good, we react with the same action, but what would be the result? A crisis calls for something equally unique because crisis is a climate change. So we respond to the change. We react accordingly by identifying what also needs to be changed in line with the climate change. We respond accountably. We don’t blame the country. We need to look into ourselves and ask the question: where have we made mistakes, so that we can crack it and correction, doing things differently from the way before. So, when we respond differently and accordingly, then, you can also have different result.
So, as far as we are concerned with this so called crisis, we are fortunate because we are our own manufacturer. We supply ourselves with the product and also we don’t source for them from other people. Just few manufacturers are involved in this type of business, the rest are just traders. In fact, our so called competitors get their supplies from other people. So, the fact that we are out supplier has helped us a lot especially in terms of costing and sustaining the workforce, meanwhile, in a situation like this. We delay our money while trying to get the dollars, we already have another supply. Meanwhile, many companies would have folded up because no supplier will keep on supplying goods without getting outstanding money. But because we are our own supplier, we delay the payment. The we look at it also is a way to help our distributors, we do not want them to suffer because we have over 200 thousands distributors depending on us for their livelihood. Many of them are full time. So how can we stop the supply? So that’s why we are a responsible company and it must be made clear that it is not just because of the money. We would be for a very long time and we would not leave our distributors, we would always be with them. Because of all these, a lot of our so called competitors are dying. And that’s why more are coming to us.
Has that in any way affected the prices of your products?
We started our operations in 2009 in Lagos and we only expanded to Abuja only two years after our operations in Lagos. We have always been very prudent and careful even about our expansion to other places. That’s why companies like us would stay because we have been prudent in the past. SK there would always be crisis like this and in the end, crisis like this would separate. We saw it coming so we were prepared for it.
Now that Edmark is planning to have a city in the country, are you looking at having a manufacturing facility in Nigeria?
Well with that, we are looking into a mixed development project in terms of residents, school, hospital, banks, and of course, our corporate office. Simply because we want to create this place as a place where people can be transformed. You see, what makes people to be rich is not something that they produce. What would make people to be rich is the attitude and the skill, which can make them to develop how can create wealth, opportunities and how they can even become entrepreneurs that can create jobs. Factory alone cannot create enough jobs just because it produces goods. If the goods cannot be sold, how do you want to create jobs? Job creation is only made possible by entrepreneurs. So, we build this city to encourage people to be more business minded, more business conscious, such that people would be ready to take risk and create the business. It’s because there are a lot of fantastic products opportunities in Nigeria but there are no many place where people can sell the produce. That’s why you see a lot of people selling on the road side and that’s not a conducive place to do their business. But if you can help to provide a good environment and invite them in, and then teach them how to do business without even leaving their rented apartment. It is this development that we are bringing in into Nigeria so as to create an entrepreneurship environment. It often seems that building factory is only logical way; but then, we would also take steps to build productive and entrepreneurial minds.
Do those products you bring into the country come through NAFDAC approval?
Yes of course. All our products that you are approved and registered by NAFDAC. We are not a Company that does smuggling or do all those illegal businesses because we are here for good and we cannot afford to do anything illicit. We even put our name in the customs so that we pay the appropriate tax.
What type of training do you give to people?
Of course, we have two sorts of training: one for our staff and the other for non staff.
But there are certain training that our direct staff are not even encouraged to take because we don’t want to create a conflict of interest. We have proper training for our staff and we have another series of training which we call ‘Edmark Education System’, where we have these people (distributors) assigned to a trainers. In fact, it is just like being in school where we have the Nursery, primary schools, the secondary school and then the college. Some of the training are to learn how to clap, dance, gyrate and all that. This is the way we make our distributors happy. We believe that happy people become more prosperous. If you see anyone of them, dancing, singing and gyrating, it is because they understand that is the way to empower ourselves. We also have training on other main skills- skills to be a public speaker, skills on coaching or mentoring. At the end of the day, we’ve seen many people who were shy, or fidget, but all these fears have gone as they take the training and today, they are like lions.
Do you have a training facility for doing all these or you engage a partnering institution through which you carry out some of these trainings in Nigeria?
Basically for me, I started my carrier in business as a trainer. I was actually trained in Malaysia by a very good trainer. But right now, most of our trainings are virtually handled by own oen distributors. We have a system in which our distributors can become trainer just by the system of training the trainers. But in time to come because of the development project, we want to have a better system where people from all walks of life can actually rise from zero to become heroes.
Where do you see Edmark in the next 10 years in Nigeria?
Well, this is not to impress anybody but the fact is, right now, many people have already heard of Edmark in Nigeria. But in time to come, we hope that Edmark can contribute to development of Nigeria in terms of health, because the strength of the country is the health of the people. So we really hope to contribute in the big play, to even build hospitals, health care and eveb having some of our local Nigerians to become nurses and doctors. Also in terms of education, we hope to come up with schools in order to also contribute to the growth and development of the country. And of course, the betterment of the environment is also part of the contributions, you know in terms of infrastructures, power facility and all that. So, our vision is that in the next 10 years, Edmark becomes a big player in developing Nigeria.
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?