Risking More Than Others Think Is Safe

In our last post we started to look at ways we could strive for excellence in our lives, using the following quote as our foundation statement:

“Excellence is the result of:

caring more than others think is wise;

risking more than others think is safe;

dreaming more than others think is practical;

and expecting more than others think is possible.”

The second part of the quote is “risking more than others think is safe”

This has so many applications in our personal and business lives.

Let’s start with the personal.

What immediately comes to mind is a trip that Charles and I took to Apo Island, in the Philippines where we live. We had arranged to meet up with some “Facebook friends”  David and Malen, David comes from the United States and his then fiancée, now wife, Malen, is originally from Iloilo an island in the Visaya group. They were spending a few days in a place called Dumaguete on Negros Island, the island next door to Panay Island where Iloilo is situated.

Charles and I traveled down the southern half of Cebu Island in our vehicle and caught the RORO ferry to Dumaguete and booked into a hotel the evening before we were to meet for lunch at Shakeys.

risking more-apo island

During that meal we all seemed to click and there was talk of a visit to Apo Island, a Marine Reserve off the coast of Dumaguete.  All agreed, including Charles, that this was a great idea, without giving the details much thought. In fact the whole idea was brushed to the back of my mind as we went to visit another mutual friend, Robert, who has a home in Dumaguete. After several hours David and Malen indicated that they were going back to their accommodation and said their goodbyes to our hosts and to us.

It was at this point that Charles recalled and mentioned to David our tentative plans for the next day and it was agreed that Malen and I would firm up the arrangements by text messaging. We all went our separate ways and that evening I made the arrangements for the trip with Malen.

The next day we were up bright and early and heading for David and Malen’s hotel and then onto the boat terminal. Boats to Apo island usually do not go from Dumaguete. They leave from Malatapay, a small village near Dauin – about an hour from Dumaguete.

risking more-Malatapay 1

It was here that I started to wake up to the fact that this was going to be a challenging day for Charles. After threading our vehicle through crowds of locals and visitors attending a beach market, and finding a parking space, I saw that the boats that plied this route were small bangka, with roofs!!. Charles told me later he could not believe what he was seeing. That he had expected a passenger ferry like the small ones that ply Sydney Harbour, these were like wide canoes with outriggers.

risking more-the beach where we caught our bangka heading for apo

The boats are boarded by wading into the sea and clambering over the side. Now Charles is a big guy, even by Western standards. He has a degenerative spinal disease and arthritis in his hips and both knees. He looked at the boats and at me and said “now is the time to fly the white flag of surrender to reality”. He offered to wait in the car while we did the trip. I said I was not going anywhere without him, and that David and Malen could go and enjoy their day and we would wait for them to return. After a pause Charles took a deep breath and went down to the shore, where he purchased our tickets, and then with a lot of exertion and some help from the crew, weakened by laughter, he boarded the Bangka and we headed for Apo.

risking more-Heading For Apo Island

That’s the boat with Apo Island on the horizon

Charles is a people person and overcomes language barriers and gets people laughing at him, themselves and the situation. So on arrival when the disembarking problem presented itself, he just handed me his camera, slid over the side of the boat into the water and walked the few steps to dry land, muttering something about having returned.

Apo island the boat we came on2
The boat in the upper right of this photo is the one we came to Apo Island on.

We spent five amazing hours hours on the island, which has spectacular scuba and snorkeling areas. Boarding the Bangka to go home was achieved with only minor difficulty as the boat was further up the beach and they let Charles get on before they pushed the Bangka into deeper water.

Part of the cost of passage was a trip round the island and before heading home we navigated past hoards of dive boats, being careful to avoid the bobbing black heads of the wetsuit attired scuba divers.

As we rounded the northern end of Apo Island the winds increased and increased again as we went round the back of the island. The boat was pitching and rolling in what to me were huge waves and as we finally turned east to head back to Negros Island the occasional wave would break over the boat from the starboard side drenching the occupants on that side. As the bangka headed into the open sea between Apo and Negros the wind started to howl and the waves got bigger and so to did the frequency and coverage of these drenching’s. Amidst a lot of laughing everybody gave up trying to remain dry. and just joined in the fun of being in the middle of natures rumbling.

When we arrived back at the terminal the others thought the adventure was over, but Charles managed one final fling in the spotlight. As he was getting off the Bangka, the prow broke off, Charles was unceremoniously dumped in the sea, where he was quickly joined by laughing crew members again ensuring his safety. The captain looked at the damage and indicated that it was fixable and the boat wouldn’t sink and we headed back to our vehicle a change of clothes and dinner by a huge pool at a local resort before returning to our hotel.

So what has this all got to do with “risking more than others think is wise”. As well as the onlookers, our friends and Charles, I was among those who wandered if we had forced him to bite off more than he could chew. But for Charles the results were so much more than he expected from a day out. In those shared experiences were forged friendships that will last for a lifetime and we were left with unforgettable memories of a magic place and a magic day, made more poignant because Charles’ degenerative disease has now largely confined him to a wheelchair.

And In The Business Realm.

As we look at the internet marketing landscape, lets remind ourselves of the quote we are examining.

“Risking more than others think is safe”

In these times of instant everything we see this attitude reflected in the the fact that there are to many marketers out there, who want instant wealth with little effort and try to sell their products as a means for others to achieve success without effort. Unfortunately the only people getting a return in these situations are the product creator and the sellers they utilise.
Unfortunately there are no magic or new formula for success in marketing. Those selling that idea are really using smoke and mirrors to re-package a method or make a change of emphasis look like a new concept.
Take a minute and look at the latest offering in your inbox and judge it by the following four product commitment factors that will give you a guide about which products, developers and sellers you should commit your cash to.

Does the product have a clearly stated and strong product warranty?
risking more-mountain_biking_-_cartoon
Because very few products have an explicitly stated warranty, we have described one below.
Product Warranty. A warranty is a statement verifying that at the time of production and sale the product was:

  • Fit for the use claimed for it.
  • That use of the product as recommended would not bring you into conflict with the law of the land.
  • If the product is platform/s dependent that its use will not be in contravention of the terms of service of that platform/s if used in the prescribed way.

If the warranty is not met the seller is liable to bring it up to those standards. This ensures that the buyer, your customer either directly, as in you created it, or own some form of PLR on it; or indirectly as in you are an affiliate for the product, can expect a product that technically performs as stated and is legal.
Some of the ways a warranty may work are:

  • When a bug is discovered in software and a revision is provided.
  • A second edition of an information product is provided, correcting errors in the first.
  • A service doesn’t work with a particular mobile browser, the script is rewritten to include the specifications for that andSome of the things it can prevent or at least reduce is situations that developed when software was developed to “scrape” information from Facebook
    Fulfilling a warranty doesn’t involve return of money, just ensuring usefulness and safety.
    Unfortunately failures of products that should be dealt with by bringing them up to standard are often dealt with by way of a refund, which doesn’t actually help the person who invested in the product. While they may have retrieved their cash, more importantly they have lost a solution and wasted a great deal of time both in the initial search and install, as well as the subsequent search for an alternative. This does your current and future products and particularly your brand no favour. People purchased from or through you to deal with a pain point in their lives and you just increased rather than reduced it.

    risking more-money_back_guarantee_big
    The Guarantee is about customer satisfaction and because of that it is a whole lot more subjective than a Warranty.
    Over the 20 years Charles has been internet marketing, he says the landscape has changed markedly, and largely for the better, although serious deficits still exist.

    We believe that a guarantee has two streams, that contribute to its efficacy:

    • The Terms Guarantees used to be relatively rare in the early days of internet marketing and where they existed the terms were return within periods that ranged from 7 – 15 days. Today there are still some marketers who offer no guarantee with their product, but the standard time-span is now thirty days with increasing numbers of marketers choosing to guarantee your purchase for 60 days.
    • The Conditions Under what circumstances would a refund be expedited. In today’s climate, unconditional is the most touted in sales-pages, but as with anything it is always wise to look at the small print to see if you have to remove the program from computer, or if you will be blacklisted from future purchases, or your behaviour just noted, some tactics that can be slipped into those unconditional guarantees to discourage you from asking for a refund.

    So although there have been improvements over time, there are major areas where we believe that
    the customer is not getting service that is conducive to developing a long term business relationship.

    • No paid product should be without a guarantee. Saying that the price is to low to offer one, is a cop out. Many marketers in this category believe that purchasers will get the product and once it is downloaded ask for a refund and still use the product.
      We did some research and found that even the worst products have only a 20% refund rate and for good products some sellers are operating on 1%. So a no guarantee policy talks more about the integrity of the marketer, and the quality of the product, rather than any administrative difficulties.
    • If you have created a great product at whatever price point, then we know that return rates are ridiculously low, but did you also know that the longer the term of the guarantee the less returns you will have. This is because people have longer to utilise the product fully. So we support all our product creators to have at least a 30 day guarantee, preferably 60 days. All returns on those products are going to cost you is a fee of 30c US (at the time of writing), all other fees charged are credited back to your account. Going beyond that time-frame can present some difficulties as Paypal will not refund their charges after 60 days, but if your return is 1 or 2% then it is still worthwhile considering longer guarantee terms.
    • For our money the only condition we see as worthwhile is unconditional, any other conditions all seem to us to be excuses to punish your customer for asking for their money back. However it is a two edged sword as we mentioned earlier and using money back guarantees to cover known or discovered deficits in a product is bad for an industry already having severe credibility problems. We believe that if you choose to take a position of giving the best guarantee you possibly can, you will be rewarded with more sales and a list of clients who trust you and will come back for more.
      What about the fraudster’s? It appears that if the product is good they are few and far between, and as for the others, you know what they say, “what goes around comes around.”

    The figures we quote above, are the result of our own testing, and the trends are verified by the findings of others, while these results are indicative over a spread of niches and price points, it is always best to do your own testing to verify that your product and your audience see things the same way as ours.

  • Product Development. Is a commitment to consider developing a product over time, widening both capability and effectiveness. It is different from fixing bugs or inaccuracies that are covered by a warranty. It is also a very strong business model that can generate regular income by selling improved versions of a product to consumers already committed to that product.

    Usually product creators offer their warranty updates as .1, .2 etc of a particular version, free of charge. While a change from v1.x to v2.0 is considered a developmental increment and consumers see these as major iterations and expect to pay for them. Pricing for developmental increments varies from publisher to publisher with most charging a “new” price similar to that charged for the original product, to new purchasers and an upgrade price to customers who purchased the previous version.

    As much as we might not like Microsoft, Google, Apple or Abobe, a major portion of their success is due to a commitment to product development. The Windows OS and programs such as Dreamweaver and Photoshop are examples of software in long term development. While Microsoft, Webster, Collier World Book and Britainica supported the long term development of information products, like Encarta (1993 – 2009), World Book Encyclopedia (1995 – Current) and Britannica which has been available as The Compton Multi-Media Encyclopedia on CD Rom since 1989 and as Britainnica since 1994.

    Product development is not the blanket policy of committing to 10 years of development on day 1 of project planning but involves an intricate process of considering:

    • Potential for future development, this will largely determine if a v2.0 is even likely.
    • The products actual and potential penetration into the target market. How the product sells on release, and then again after some targeted advertising applied when initial sales slow, is useful information that a development team takes into account.
    • Whether as bugs or inaccuracies are fixed and as reviewers report better performance, are sales increasing and to what degree.
    • What are the trends in the market going forward and what do those trends mean for the future of the product.
    • What are the actual and potential costs of going from vx.x to version vy.0.
    • What are the opportunity costs of going to the next version and can they be ameliorated.

    For example Microsoft developed some impressive reference products in the early 1990’s, such as Music Central, Cinemania, and Dinosaurs. Part of the “Home Series”.
    Some of the products were supported only for one year, but the content was then integrated into their flagship reference Encarta, others were published over a number of years, but once again as Encarta developed into the “go to” reference on CD and online they too were integrated.
    However some more specialised products like AutoMap and Encarta itself were published annually as stand alone products annually for 20 and 17 years respectively before being discontinued.
    Now whether the product got to v2.0 or not isn’t really the point, what is, is that development was considered and although in many cases a v2.0 was rejected, the consumer benefited by the integration into the Encarta productn which was a better deal for them.

    You may be saying to yourself that these companies are the big fish, is it viable for a smaller company to invest in product development?
    The model described above is known as
    Screen Shot 08-15-15 at 04.19 PM

    All the factors mentioned above are prioritised and then the facts, trends and hunches are used to make decisions about each factor. If the information about a factor, say sales is good with heavy and continuing sales the gate to the next factor is opened, if those figures are only moderately good the gate may be open only to confirm similar trends in other factors, and if marginal may stop the process of development there and then. Now the factors and there importance will will vary from product creator to product creator and even from product to product.

    We believe that such a model that can be utilised by individuals, partnerships and companies of all sizes with huge benefits in relationship to the minimal costs of implementation.

    Embracing product development tells potential customers:

    • We are here for the long term.
    • We will consider the long term viability of all products
    • We are prepared to back that that consideration with resources.

    All three customer safeguards and their implementation that we have discussed, both individually and together do involve elements of risk to us as product creators and retailers, but a scan of respected and successful internet marketers will show you that they all utilise these practices considering the risks to be outweighed by the return in their integrity ratings and customer allegiance.

  • The Disclaimer.When we are promoting a service or product we make claims as to its value or effectiveness in meeting an identified need. We say it is the best of the offering available because of factors a, b, and c. We invite people to view videos, read copy and listen to testimonials that confirm our claims. We present a picture that says that without this product they will continue to experience those pain points, that brought them to this point.
    This would appear to be a straight forward process, a transaction between someone who has something and another person wanting that thing, and if we have built our sales letter on our or others verifiable experience and results, why would we need to disclaim anything?
    In our experience there can only be two reasons for a disclaimer:

      1. The US FTC Reason.In recent years the US Fair Trade Commission has required disclaimers on all products, if you want to sell legally in the US. A fairly common example of the kinds of disclaimer this has produced is reproduced below.
      Disclaimer
      The author has made every attempt to be as accurate and complete as possible in the creation of this product, however he/she does not warrant or represent at any time that the contents within are accurate or that the code will work, due to the rapidly changing nature of the Internet. The author, assumes no responsibility for errors, omissions, or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein. Any perceived slights of specific persons, peoples, or organizations other published materials are unintentional and used solely for educational purposes only.
      This information is not intended for use as a source of legal, business, accounting or financial advice. All readers are advised to seek services of competent professionals in legal, business, accounting, and finance field. No representation is made or implied that the reader will do as well from using the suggested techniques, strategies, methods, systems, or ideas; rather it is presented for news value only.
      The author does not assume any responsibility or liability whatsoever for what you choose to do with this information. Use your own judgment. Consult appropriate professionals before starting a business. Any perceived remark, comment or use of organizations, people mentioned and any resemblance to characters living, dead or otherwise, real or fictitious does not mean that they support this content in any way.
      There are no guarantees of income made, traffic delivered or other promises of any kind. Readers are cautioned to rely on their own judgment about their individual circumstances to act accordingly. By reading any document, the reader agrees that under no circumstances is the author responsible for any losses, direct or indirect, that are incurred as a result of use of the information contained within this document, including – but not limited to errors, omissions, or inaccuracies.

      risking more-what-does-that-even-mean-spiderman-jjJvhK

      However if you go to the FTC site the need for a disclaimer is very qualified.
      “If a disclaimer is needed to prevent an online ad claim from being deceptive or unfair, it must be clear and conspicuous.”
      So the FTC requires a disclaimer only to prevent an ad from being deceptive or unfair.

      So What’s Going On?
      Lets look at the disclaimer paragraph by paragraph.
      The author has made every attempt to be as accurate and complete as possible in the creation of this product however he/she does not warrant or represent at any time that the contents within are accurate or that the code will work, due to the rapidly changing nature of the Internet. The author assumes no responsibility for errors, omissions, or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein. Any perceived slights of specific persons, peoples, or organizations other published materials are unintentional and used solely for educational purposes only.
      The only way this could be applied under the FTC requirement, is if no warranty of fitness for purpose has been provided and as we have stated selling your products without warranty is very poor practice.

      The author does not assume any responsibility or liability whatsoever for what you choose to do with this information. Use your own judgment. Consult appropriate professionals before starting a business.

      This is also something that should be dealt with in a warranty as it concerns fitness for use.

      Any perceived remark, comment or use of organizations, people mentioned and any resemblance to characters living, dead or otherwise, real or fictitious does not mean that they support this content in any way.

      This is really nonsensical way of not implying endorsement. It could easily be put in the main body of your instructions as follows:
      All trademarks and brands remain property of their respective holders, and are used only to directly describe the products being provided. Their use in no way indicates any relationship between “your company” and the holders of said trademarks or brands.

      There are no guarantees of income made, traffic delivered or other promises of any kind. Readers are cautioned to rely on their own judgment about their individual circumstances to act accordingly. By reading any document, the reader agrees that under no circumstances is the author responsible for any losses, direct or indirect, that are incurred as a result of use of the information contained within this document, including – but not limited to errors, omissions, or inaccuracies.

      In our view the need for this could be removed if marketers stopped making claims about possible income and talked realistically about achievable income and the environment required to do this. Exaggerated claims feed into the desperation of some people to quit their jobs or just survive financially. Such cynical methods used to part people from their money needs to be regulated externally rather than by individuals and companies.

      When we place a disclaimer statement like the one above in the preface of an eBook, which is a part rarely read, in the terms and conditions of an app or other software product, it flies in the face of marketing based on building relationships.

      We have challenged use of copy that requires such a disclaimer with a number of marketers and their response was:

      • If they don’t use the best possible figures ever attained, then their product gets lost in the noise.
      • That their legal advisors often try to make them immune from all risk, by covering every conceivable situation.
      • We disagree it just seems to us that we are starting our relationship with new subscribers on the wrong foot.

        Much better the other reason for using a disclaimer statement

      • 2. To Clarify What the Product Or Service Cannot Do. To make a statement about what are unrealistic expectations on the part of the buyer.
        We believe this is the only legitimate use of a disclaimer, if you intend to market with integrity.
        With this is mind a reasonable disclaimer could look like this:

        • Remember, you purchased this product service to begin with, so you could benefit from the expertise of those who have had some success. We have and can verify the claims made for ourselves and others we have highlighted as users of this product.
        • Claims made with regard to income potential when promoting this product are conservative, but realistic. We can say with confidence that if you consistently follow the steps we have laid out for you to the letter, its called replication, that the product will perform as promised. Probably not enough to make you a millionaire this year or next but enough to start establishing yourself as an internet marketer.
        • We can also say with confidence that the product will not assist your internet marketing goals if:
          • It remains unopened unread or uninstalled.
          • You fail to implement the processes as outlined in the instructions.
          • You fail to do this as frequently as outlined in the instructions.
        • Using this product outsides of those uses prescribed in the instructions, may be innovative, but may also be illegal you bear the risk for any such uses.

        In our marketing we will always endeavor to only promote products that offer the best possible safeguards to purchasers, as the Internet marketplace continues to mature we would expect these to strengthen.
        Products that we create will always have these four safeguards clearly spelled out.

        Well that’s all for now.

        We will be back to discuss the third part of our Quote in a few days
        Cathy & Mike

This entry was posted in Business, Exellence and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply