BLOG ARCHIVE FOR: November, 2010

Nov.15
2010

Great Expectations

Editor’s Note: This blog post originally appeared on the Amway Answers blog.

I have been a Cleveland Indians fan since I was old enough to walk. If you follow American baseball, you know that road has been mostly trials and “tribe”ulations. I am also a fan of Amway – a huge fan. (Well, 4′10″ isn’t huge, but huge in spirit!)

But for either team, I am not a cheerleader.

I tried out for cheerleading once - a big mistake. I made the squad and I had some fun, but in the end, I couldn’t hack it. I couldn’t smile when I was angry at the referee. A bad call is a bad call. I wanted to throw something. I couldn’t mock the other team – that wasn’t sportsmanlike. But I grew up in a baseball stadium, taunting the opposition with, “Hey, batter, batter – swing!”

In the end, I learned the difference between being a fan and a cheerleader. Both will stand by their teams through thick and thin, but a fan will go a step further. He or she will add an element of pressure to the situation by asking questions, seeking answers, sharing an opinion and sometimes, throwing things.

Readers of Amway Answers will realize that the editorial team for this blog is a group of Amway fans. We’ll ask tough questions of the right people. We’ll share your comments with those who care – and believe me, they do! And just as fans don’t like every single call the coach makes, we’ll certainly express some opinions that not everyone agrees with.

Here are a few other things to expect from Amway Answers:

  • Timing of posts: We will strive for one or two posts per week. It’s not as frequent as the posts at Amway Insider or the Amway One by One blog, both great places to keep up on day-to-day Amway happenings on a global scale.
  • Timing of responses: We check the blog several times a day to release comments, but may not have a response right away. That is because we are checking with other departments who have more knowledge than we do. Our responses will be as thorough and helpful as possible. This takes time.
  • Your suggestions: We’re not going to let “perfect” get in the way of better. Some of the suggestions posed here are excellent and they are being shared. You are also an Amway fan – adding that element of pressure so we can improve. We can’t change overnight and some things don’t need to be, or won’t, change. It doesn’t mean we aren’t listening.

If this blog isn’t meeting those expectations, it’s OK to let the coaches know how you feel. Just don’t be one of those fans that leaves before the last batter is out. You never know what could happen!

Nov.11
2010

Once a Diamond

Editor’s Note: This blog post originally appeared on the Amway Answers blog.

Back in May, I was on an airplane from Atlanta, Georgia to Johannesburg, South Africa with the 39th President of the United States Jimmy Carter.

It was the second time I met him. (I can’t figure out why he didn’t remember me!) As he walked down the aisles, shaking hands with everyone, he was greeted several times over as “Mr. President.”

I tell this story not because I was star-struck (although maybe a little) or because I voted for Carter. I was only four years old when he ran. I tell it because one Amway Answers reader asked, “Why is it that distributors who once qualified at Diamond, Emerald or other levels in the Amway business are still introduced as Diamonds or Emeralds, even if they aren’t currently qualified at that level?”

A fair question.

In a way, we liken it to someone who has won an Oscar, earned a Nobel Prize or even a Master of Business Administration degree. Similar to the presidency, these titles aren’t stripped away the year after new winners are chosen or a person graduates and no longer attends classes. It’s an achievement that stays with one for a lifetime.

Allowing Amway distributors to earn – and keep – their pins is a form of non-monetary leadership recognition. It shows others what they, too, can achieve. People who’ve reached these levels of recognition are qualified to teach and inspire others to do the same.

It also shows that people who are working to build their Amway business aren’t entirely different from other entrepreneurs who own their own stores, agencies or other businesses. There will always be months, quarters and years that are better than others, but they keep working hard to meet and exceed their best year ever. In Amway, people work to requalify or even get to higher recognition levels.

We stand by this practice. Once a Ruby, Emerald, Sapphire or Diamond, always one. And, if these terms confuse you, don’t worry. We’ll be doing a “Gems and Metals” explanation post here on Amway Answers very soon!

Nov.11
2010

Dancing lessons

Eva Cheng, chairwoman of Amway’s China region, came to West Michigan  this week to give business leaders a few lessons on doing business in China.

In a speech titled “Dancing between the dragon and the eagle,” Eva offered advice including aligning with the Chinese government’s priorities and showing how a company’s business will benefit China.

She said Amway’s experience in China was a bit like a waltz - one step forward, another to the side and sometimes a step or two backward. 

But Amway was always steady on its feet, thanks to Eva’s leadership of what today is our biggest market.

Nov.09
2010

Hizzoner

If you use the geotagging social networking app Foursquare, you know that frequent check-ins will earn you the title of “mayor” of a location.  You get a crown on your Foursquare page and bragging rights – until someone else checks in more frequently and steals your title.

Just a month after its grand opening the Amway Center has “crowned” its first Foursquare mayor.  Last week Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer officially recognized bartender and student Robert DiTota as mayor of the new facility.

But unlike the mayors of other Foursquare locations, DiTota gets more than just virtual rewards.  He scored tickets to Magic and Predator games and hot concerts like next year’s Lady Gaga and Brad Paisley shows.

Congratulations to hizzoner of the Amway Center.  And for those who missed the chance to be the first mayor on Foursquare,  there’s still the opportunity to get a pin for visiting the Amway Center on Gowalla.

Nov.08
2010

Confab-ulous

Amway has been active in social media since launching our first blog nearly seven years ago and we continue to make strides in transparency, authenticity and in giving voices to Amway brands, employees and distributors around the world.

We recognize, however, that there is much more to learn. That’s why we’ve sent our social media team to events like the WOMMA Annual Summit, GasPedal’s BlogWell, BlogHer and more. So when the opportunity came to sponsor such an event in our own backyard, we couldn’t pass it up.

At the Midwest Social Media Confab 2010, which takes place this Wednesday, we’re looking forward to learning about measurement from Jay Krall of Cision/Radian6; crisis preparation and response from Shannon Paul of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Stephanie Bagley who councils the National Hockey League; and Jeffrey Hayzlett, who famously helped turn around Kodak.

Perhaps most of all, we’re excited about the collective intelligence we’ll gain from our peers during the Confab’s “slam” sessions. If you’re within driving distance, we hope you’ll join us. If not, follow the back channel. Either way, we’ll keep sharing what we learn if you’ll do the same!

Nov.05
2010

Jack of all trades, master of none

Editor’s Note:  This post was originally published on the Interns Expose Amway blog.

Hello, everyone!

My name is Megan Peters and I work in Digital and Experiential Marketing.  I interned for two summers at Amway, and then had the privilege of coming on as a full time employee in September 2009.

In my very short career I have had the opportunity to see several sides of the business.  When hired in, I was offered to partake in a pilot rotational program.  This combined with the internships have allowed me to work in Procurement, Project Management, Artwork Development, and Marketing.  Needless to say, I’m a “jack of all trades, master of none.”

In addition to exploring the company through rotations, I’m very involved with a new group here called the Early in Career Group [EiCG].  The group is dedicated to promoting retention, driving acclimation, and providing networking and growth opportunities to Amway employees who consider themselves to be early in their career.  For me it’s been a great way to network and see sides of the business that otherwise I would not have seen.

All in all, my experience at Amway has been a whirlwind, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it!  My advice to you is be open and willing to explore; you’ll never know where you’ll end up.

Nov.04
2010

Taking a “Low Carbon Journey”

Last month Amway China agreed to donate RMB 1 million to build a “Low Carbon Journey” Experience Center in Jinan, Shandong Province. Scheduled to open on June 5, 2012 – World Environment Day – the Experience Center will be located in the West Jinan National Wetlands Park.

Since 2009, Amway China has hosted Environmental Theme Parks in more than twenty cities and even created an online theme park, but the “Low Carbon Journey” Experience Center marks the first time that Amway’s environmental protection program will be integrated into a national environmental protection base.

The experience center will be a permanent facility that more than 1.5 million people are expected to visit annually. It will also provide environmental education to primary and middle school students. Each year the Publicity and Education Center of Shandong Provincial Environment Department will organize visits from 200,000 to 300,000 teenage students, raising their awareness of environmental protection and social responsibility.

Nov.03
2010

Settled

Today we announced settlement terms in a class action lawsuit filed several years ago by three former Quixtar Independent Business Owners (IBOs).

You can read more about this at our new blog, Amway Answers, the place to find answers to your questions about direct selling and our business opportunity. 

Because we want to focus the conversation about this topic at Amway Answers, we will not be posting your comments about this topic at Amway Insider. 

Instead, we invite you to join the discussion at Amway Answers.

Nov.03
2010

Taking Responsibility

Editor’s Note: This blog post originally appeared on the Amway Answers blog.

The following statement comes from Amway chairman Steve Van Andel and president Doug DeVos:

To The Amway Community,

Today we are announcing settlement terms in a class action lawsuit filed several years ago by three former Quixtar independent business owners (IBOs).

The suit focused on allegations that in past years, our North American business did not always train and support IBOs well enough, and as a result, best business practices were not always followed when promoting the business.

The suit contains strong and disagreeable allegations and language that we categorically reject. They are sensationalist claims that remain unproven and that we expect will be dismissed by the court.

Nevertheless, the company and its IBO leaders take responsibility for all past issues, and we take responsibility for fixing them. We regret that the experiences of some IBOs fell short of the high standards that have allowed us to help many people, from all walks of life, start successful businesses for more than 50 years.

We have not only addressed the issues raised in this case, we have also gone further than settlements and safeguards. In the past few years, we have invested more than $300 million in additional business initiatives to help our IBOs succeed – including many investments that began before this case was filed. We have fundamentally transformed our North American business to offer our IBOs the best possible opportunity to succeed. Some of these efforts include:

  • Tripling our company’s investment in IBO education programs;
  • Expanding our 100% money-back guarantee to include all products and training materials purchased by IBOs in their first 90 days;
  • More than doubling the number of professional trainers we employ to teach best business practices across the country;
  • Consumer advertising, improved websites and other efforts to support our business opportunity, enhance IBO success rates and protect consumers from misrepresentation; and
  • Revised pricing strategies to enhance our competitive position.

This means that IBOs can launch their businesses with minimal, refundable start-up costs, receive excellent business and sales training, and be safeguarded by a robust satisfaction guarantee and return policy.

Still, we agreed to settle and to compensate the claimants in both money and equivalent product value, as we are confident that we have taken the necessary steps to address these past issues. We want to focus on helping IBOs build healthy businesses for the future, not a long court fight over allegations from the past.

Our founders had a simple philosophy: we start every day determined to make the business better than it was the day before. And in keeping that promise, we can confidently and proudly focus all our attention on offering an excellent business opportunity that is open to all.

Steve Van Andel

Chairman

Doug DeVos

President

Nov.02
2010

Unwelcome words

Editor’s Note: This blog post originally appeared on the Amway Answers blog.

Part of what we do in Corporate Communications is listen to the conversation happening about Amway – all around the world – in social media channels. Using a variety of tools of the listening trade, we keep tabs on what’s being said on Twitter, blogs, discussion forums, public facing social networking profiles and more.

When I do this task, there are certain phrases that stand out to me, or get stuck in my craw, as my grandfather – a true Texas cowboy – used to say. So I’ve decided to share them with you in a series of blog posts, starting today. One of those phrases is “passive income.”

Of course, we work in lockstep with our Global Business Conduct & Rules folks and we consult them before responding to those who erroneously use that phrase. (As mentioned in the first Amway Answers post, we’re not all experts on everything Amway.)

When we brought this up, they didn’t hesitate to respond with this: “Passive income is a term we do not permit distributors to use and it’s not a term the Corporation uses. In our business, there is no such thing as doing no work, and expecting money to still come in.”

So there you have it! When anyone presents a business opportunity using this phrase, exercise caution. If that person is from Amway, let us know. Also, comment here. What phrases do people associate with direct selling or with Amway that you consider unwelcome?