Fabian Iwudibia: Innovation is the key to business success

Fabian Iwudibia

Fabian Iwudibia

Waterfun Global Services Investment Limited is an indigenous company that is involved in the Planning, Designing, Construction, Engineering and Commissioning of Swimming Pools, Water Fountains and Saunas. Mr. Fabian Iwudibia, the Managing Director of the firm is a testimony of entrepreneurial success in the Nigeria business environment. From a humble beginning, his exceptional level of intelligence, diligence and commitment to excellence always shone like a million stars, and everything he touched simply turned to gold, a case of the man with the Midas touch. He spoke on the Focus of a CEO in this interview with NnamdiNwokolo.

What influenced your choice of career?
As a kid, I’ve always been fascinated with swimming, so the choice of business is a result of my passion for swimming. Although, my elder brother has been in the business with some British partners; I had to join the business upon leaving school. The business is more like a family business as water has always been a part and parcel of our existence. So, from a humble beginning, I was able to build and sustain the business to the level it is today largely due to my perseverance, integrity and above all the Grace of God.

The biggest challenge we encountered was to change the misconception that swimming pools are elitist and exclusive for the rich. We took time to enlighten Nigerians that swimming pool is not luxury; rather it is a necessity as it is an indoor exercise that will help you keep fit. The challenges of the business environment is becoming more daunting, so we need to actively motivate additional investment in power, transportation, roads and communication so that the current infrastructure deficit can be bridged to engender entrepreneurial success. I believe the only way to improve consumer purchasing power is to attract new businesses and investments as the investments will create jobs.

Unique Selling Point:
Before now, Nigerians are used to the conventional type of swimming pool whereas; we have a new innovation that is called pipe less swimming pool. The filtration equipment that is inserted in the pool takes care of the treatment and the water can be in the pool for as long as five years. The filtration makes sure that the water life in the pool is clean and safe. We have also brought innovation in the business that there are detachable pools you can put in your house. This has made it possible for people to have pools even in their rented apartments. Besides this, we have delivered and installed number of our products in various homes and institutions in the country. We constantly up -grade our systems and technology by following the latest trends in the industry as innovation is a keyword for us. The products are designed keeping in mind the stringent safety requirements and conforms to global standards. The products are manufactured by making use of premium quality raw materials procured from reliable vendors and our manufacturing processes matches the best in the industry.

Local content:
I think the best thing to help the economy is for us to patronize made in Nigeria goods, but in terms of swimming pool equipment, it will be difficult because it involves moulds which are not manufactured locally. The consumers are not many, so producing the moulds in the country will not guarantee return on investment. However, we assure to exceed the expectation of our customers in all aspects from design to commissioning and operation of Swimming Pools, Water Fountain, and Sauna. There’s no short cut to success as you have to be innovative and bring in new ideas to succeed in business.

What can government do differently?
Corruption is the bane of our development. We got it wrong when we departed the path of sanity and left our values and spiritual wellbeing and started worshiping money; we became a nation that is not willing to reward excellence, pursuing mediocrity and primordial sentiments. We got it wrong when we departed from hard work, diligence and scholarship. Nobody wants to be a farmer any longer whereas agriculture used to be our economic mainstay. A nation that cannot feed itself is a nation in perpetual slavery. Collectively, we must negotiate and determine what is good for the country. We need spiritual, economic, political and social regeneration and process re-engineering to succeed as a nation.

Entrepreneurial phobias:
I started the business knowing full well that I will succeed but the time is what I don’t know, so, there was nothing like fear at all. I thank God for his mercies, because it is not by power or by might but by the special Grace of God. I have seen that nothing succeeds without the hand of God, so to a large extent, He inspires me a lot. Whatever I do, I try my best to do it well, not necessarily in terms of personal gains but making sure that I render quality service.

Five years:
I want a situation where every Nigerian home has a swimming pool so that the prospects of going into local manufacturing can be feasible. We intend to be the leading player in the industry through the provision of innovative, high quality, and affordable services in our market niche, with a view to achieving the benchmark for the industry in Nigeria. My focus is to build a world-class conglomerate that will outlive my person. Waterfun Global Services Investment Limited is a quality-driven company registered in Nigeria and the things we do are governed by core values and beliefs, which include integrity and customer satisfaction. The direction we are going, we intend to redefine the service level in the industry, so that customers will have real value for their money.

What drives you?
I love what I do and I derive pleasure in what I do and I have a phobia for failure. I believe we can make our life sublime and leave our footprints on the sands of time. We should ask ourselves, what is the essence of life; what are your values; is it to make life better than we met it or to let people know that we can make a difference in our own little ways? All of us cannot be in political positions, but we can contribute our little quota to make this country a better place for all.

How do you maintain work/life balance?
The challenges are bound to be there but life is all about balancing act. Everybody has his/her own role to play. My time at home is qualitative because in whatever I do, I put my family first. I try to find a balance between family and work. The work is time-consuming but it doesn’t take away my time with the family.

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