When you look at your business, what move could you make that would literally scare you? Something that would keep you up at night and give you panic attacks, but if you were able to pull it off, your customer would think you are a hero? In this episode, Ken talks about trying some insanity and taking some of your money, time, and intellectual property to go out of your way for your customers such as providing guarantee, doing post-marketing, elevating your products, or adjusting your product pricing. Take a look at your own business and see where you can make an impact and start a revolution.
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Try Some Insanity
I did an internal workshop and I play a game a couple of times. This is another technique I stole from Brian Tracy. I’ve often podcast on the one from January 1st where he has you go into your own company and ask yourself. If you could start all over again and you didn’t have any employees, any product, would you hire the same employees and would you sell the same products? That’s a great one. Another lesson I went through is, what scares me? What absolutely frightens me? For the loyal audience that knows what we do, we run a company called Income Store. We partner up with people. They shoot us some money. We go out and either buy or build them a website that makes money. We split the revenue 50/50.
We have what’s called a monthly revenue commitment, where the partner that funded the deal gets X amount of money every month, either during the build in the beginning until the site levels off. If we buy it, they get X amount of money every month to prevent any type of drop in the site. To say this in plain English, if somebody gives us enough money to go out and buy a site making $4,000 a month, that partner’s going to get $2,000 a month. We’re going to get $2,000 a month. If that website ever drops below a dollar amount that prohibits us from paying that site partner $2,000 a month, we have a clause that says if that happens for about six to nine months, we have to go out and build or buy them another website. Their intangible asset is protected.
I did this exercise and I asked myself, what scares me? I immediately thought of something that was announced on the news. Amazon is upping the game from two-day delivery for their prime members to next day delivery. I then began thinking about super duper service in the whole story behind FedEx, UPS and the postal service, how they went from three-day guarantee delivery to two, to next day delivery, to same-day delivery. It’s insane. I have a number of podcasts on the insanity of what the shipping companies have been able to pull off in the last twenty to 30 years.
To bring it back to this, I’ve got to get real. What scares me is if a website that we’re managing fails for one of our site partners, which it does one out of 50 times, we have to take our own money and go build them or buy them a new one so their asset is protected. Some of these people do deals with us. They want a cashflow to come in so they can put their kids through school or retire. They can do whatever they want with that money. The point is if that site fails, which it used to fail one out of twenty times, then it was one out of 30 times. Now, it’s about one out of every 58 times. We actually haven’t lost a site in almost eighteen months to two years.
Take a look at your own business and see where you can make an impact. Click To Tweet
We’re finally figuring this game out. I asked myself, “What scares me? What could up the game?” I literally heard in the news that it is scaring Amazon a little bit, to attempt to go to guaranteed next day for all their prime member purchases. I’m like, “If Amazon is willing to take that gamble in North America, what could we do?” It’s already insane that we guarantee an asset’s generation of revenue and gave ourselves six to nine-month window to fix any challenges from a Google algorithm or Facebook algorithm. I said, “What would scare me is if we had to lower that six to nine-month mark to afford a six-month mark depending on the industry.”
When we pulled into the driveway, I looked over at Carrie and I said, “We’re taking the plunge. We’re going to go to four to six months.” She goes, “Whatever you think is right.” We are literally going to start honoring when exactly we will accept failure. We’re tightening it up to a shorter window so that we can get assets growing faster if they show failure symptoms. What is the point of this? When you look at your business, what move could you make that would literally scare you, that would keep you up at night, give you panic attacks? If you were able to pull it off, your customer would think you are a hero. Could you guarantee next day delivery on everything? Could you lower your prices, 5% to 15%. Could you partner with Ronald McDonald House or some notable charity, Saint Jude’s that could use a half a percent of your gross revenue? What could you do that would scare you? It would take some of your money, take some of your time, takes some of your intellectual property and pinch you, but if you could pull it off, your customer would have no choice. They would take your service and then they would have to call somebody, a neighbor, a friend, a brother and say, “You’re not going to believe what this crazy company is doing. It’s amazing.” I’ll give you an example of this. I’ve talked about this so many times, but I love it. Toms Shoes, they don’t make the greatest shoes of all time. They’ll be the first to tell you. What they did is they made a decision.
If somebody is going to buy a pair of shoes from us, we are going to take a percentage of the money from the sale. We are going to buy a brand new pair of shoes and we are going to ship it to a child that has never worn shoes before. We are going to make an impact. We are going to clothe the world. What shoe company do think used to be the fastest growing shoe company in the world? What company do you think Bain Capital just put $635 million into? Yes, Tom Shoes. That’s insane what he decided to do. There are so many copycats of that model, one for one. That guy started a revolution. How about taking a look at your own industry, your own business? What revolution could you start? What would hurt you so badly and you’ll panic, but over time you rest on it for three days and you go, “We could probably pull this off?”
I remember the very first day I walked into my buddy Dave, the Chief Marketing Officer at the time and I said, “Dave, we’re going to guarantee every website.” He said, “What do you mean we’re going to guarantee it?” I said, “We’re buying these websites that make money for people. They’re throwing us their money. We’re taking their money. We’re going to guarantee they make X.” He’s like, “That’s insane. You can’t do that. Google has algorithm changes. Sometimes competitors don’t like you and they nuke you. They do crazy things that force you to drop in rankings.” I’m like, “Yes, I understand that. We’re going to find a way to avoid those. If we do get hit with anything for any reason, we’ve got a very quickly build that side back or buy them another.” He goes, “How much time do we have?” I said, “How much time do you need?” He goes, “A year.” I said, “That’s not good enough.” He goes, “Eleven months,” then it was ten, then it was nine.
I finally got them down to six in most cases. It scares me to cut two more months off what I believe is already an insane target of six months. Take a good hard look at a piece of paper and I want you to put these categories on it: marketing, post-marketing, product and product pricing. First, from a marketing standpoint, what could you do with your current product line that would be crazy? If you’re not sure of some ideas, go get the great book from the early 90’s Guerrilla Marketing. Read some of the most insane things people used to do before the internet to market their product. I have to believe there are five to ten ideas in that book that every audience could apply in some form of an insane way, to make a splash. What’s great about that book? Most of the ideas in that book are free or nearly free.
How about post-marketing? This is what Amazon’s about to embark on. This is what made the company Zappos famous. Postmarketing, as an example, we just sent out a thousand thank you mugs for part of our 268 Shopify sites that we manage called Bella Materna. We went to our last thousand customers that bought from us and for no reason whatsoever, we send a mug with a hand-signed letter that said, “You have the toughest job in the world being a mom. Thanks for shopping with us. Here’s a mug to prove we love you,” and it’s got funny sayings on it. It’s just a coffee mug, but we sent out a thousand. That’s post-marketing. It’s a thank you. Amazon, once you’ve bought something, are going to ship it to you for free that you will get it the next day. That’s insane for a company of that size to try to pull off. That’s post-marketing. What could you do after people buy something? Can you hand write them a thank you note physically? Can you send them a Shock and Awe Box with something crazy in it that just thanks them for being who they are and buying from you?
How about your product? What could you do to elevate the excellence of what you sell? Come up with at least ten things. I want you to get to ten. You’ll probably get to 50, but then there’s pricing. What can you do with the pricing that could be a little bit crazy? Could you either lower pricing? Could you test higher pricing? Could you make a second tier product line, which is the exact same product white labeled something else? Add a little additive to it, make it a different product physically with a different skew, but jack up the price and make it a premium product. Add some value to it, then donate 80% of the markup to a charity. That is done all the time by mega companies. Try that one. That’s the product, then product pricing. Play with that one a little bit. We’ll call this The Insanity. For all the loyal audience out there, wish me luck. We’re moving our guarantee to the four-month mark. That is awesome but scary. Take care.