Reprinted without permission from WSJ.
I had my second shot today.
Over the years, I have read countless newspapers, magazines, books, blogs, and postings. I have been inspired, confused, dismayed, educated, informed, outraged, misled, disappointed, relieved, encouraged, assured, influenced, stimulated, transported, convinced, and energized in one way or another by everything I have come across for the past 60 years. And still standing at the top of my favorite books is Will Durant’s Mansions of Philosophy.
But at the top of my list of newspaper articles sits Janan Ganesh’s The Devil and Roger Federer. Published in 2017 in London’s Financial Times, Janan exquisitely elucidates what I agree are the essentials of preparing for the world we are living in.
“To prosper in life, or just to withstand its vicissitudes, a person has to possess some dark traits in controlled doses: aggression, swagger, ruthlessness verging on chicanery, an ability to block out other people and their judgments.” – Janan Ganesh
Admittedly, I had a hard time writing after reading this article. What fascinated me most was that it was a throw-away article by Janan. No Pulitzer Prize ambitions here, no scoops, and certainly not front-page news – just everyday journalism with terrific insight, written in a cadence that challenges my writing rhythm every time I have a go at the keyboard. It is this kind of brilliance I admire most. It’s not only having the intuition, but, more importantly, the ability to transport it succinctly and convincingly while entertaining and enthralling with every phrase – and to do it all so effortlessly.
I continue to read the Devil and Roger Federer on occasion and I recommend it often.
“There is such a thing as the optimal amount of devil in a person, and it is not zero. Call it the Federer Quotient.” Janan Ganesh
Posted by: Tony
Date: October 24, 2020
The Advantage 3.0
Although we have spent over four decades cultivating and honing our resources to enable and grow our B2C businesses and partnerships, the Advantage Co’s focus has changed dramatically over the past several years. As we aggressively invest in the future, our growth strategy is now increasingly being based on enhancing and expanding our support and development resources for our international B2B ambitions.
Advantage Global Resources*, Advantage Brands Group, Lifetime Service & Solutions, Black Progress Matters, Advantage Professionals, c1 Resources, Zovy Cloud, and UGA headline our growing lineup of outstanding B2B resources. Each of these operations has enormous potential, and I am excited to be a part of their future.
Although each operation can lay claim to the most promising future, UGA certainly has the edge when it comes to having an international base to build on [although Advantage Brands Group is currently building an impressive global network of their own].
Panther Data Solutions
Recently, Black Progress Matters and its freshly incubated minority-business partner, Panther Data Solutions, have been engaged with UGA in the development of their business offerings. Our Panther Resources Network will provide a trusted venue for all of our potential commercial, institutional, and government clients by enabling direct access to our network’s premium IT resources in order to facilitate and enhance all of their various IT, business, and compliance needs. All of our capabilities, software, services, programs, solutions, and products will be fully vetted for our clients’ assurance that they are receiving the finest resources befitting their specific needs.
By identifying, certifying, and making available the key IT resources of our companies and affiliates in our Panther Resources Network, we will be able to support a worldwide association of sales agents, as well as provide more universally accessible IT, business, and compliance resources to our global customers.
Panther Racial Bias Alert, Panther Data Detect, Panther Connect, Panther Archive Solutions, and Panther Sentinel are all products that have already been fully developed, activated, and supported by PremCloud, Zovy Cloud, and c1 Secure. Panther Data Solutions will be able to bring these offerings to market within a matter of weeks.
Growing Our Business
At the Advantage Co, we focus on three different ways to grow our business:
- Sell more of what we have to the customers we already have.
If we are going to continuously grow our business, we must first identify everything we have available to sell and make it more accessible, desirable, and consumable. Next, we need to identify all of our customers, get to know them better, make them accessible, and then effectively connect with them [this is where the rubber meets the road]. We facilitate this connection by building a better conduit between all we have to offer and all of our customers. This is the foundation of our success and essential to growing our business. It’s organic.
- Create more customers.
At the Advantage Co, always start with word-of-mouth referrals because we know nothing is more critical to our success. Until a customer refers us, we haven’t maximized the relationship. In addition to referrals, we must seek out new customers through a comprehensive marketing program. Effective marketing makes selling easy.In addition to referrals and marketing, our most opportune way of creating more customers will now be through an international network of resellers and strategic partners. With the recent launch of our new strategic partner, Panther Data Solutions, we will be able to organize our IT partnerships as a potent provider of products, solutions, and services to a growing base of international customers.
- Create more to sell.
At UGA, it has been four years of dedicated development, and we are now ready to show what UGA can really do with the market-leading launch of PremCloud Services, PremCloud Archive 1.0. PremCloud Connect, PremCloud Supervisor, and Data Detect as our core offerings. Add in CISO Sentinel and other products and solutions that we continue to create and outsource in order to extend our brand and market reach – and our future looks brighter than ever.
There are five key ways to grow our offerings:
Currently, most of our UGA business is built on providing, enhancing, and servicing our exceptional licensed products, especially our archive solutions. PremCloud Services has been built primarily to enhance and support licensed product. Going forward, we will always be looking to license and enhance new products, solutions, and services from third-party providers.
- In-House Development
This is often the most expensive way to develop a new product, solution, or service, but it is the most likely to provide the most proprietary, reliable, secure, inclusive, and sustainable offering. Data Detect is our first in-house development, and it is just the start of what Sceven can create.
- Outsourced Development
This often a less expensive route to development. By outsourcing to a developer who already has a core competency in creating a desired product or solution, you can save money while sacrificing some IP security and sustainability [this is very different from outsourcing a service or product for internal operations].
This is even less expensive than outsourced development because you are building on a current product or solution. Once again, you can save money while minimizing your flexibility in design and sacrificing even more IP security and sustainability. Private-Labeling, however, in addition to being less expensive provides a much quicker path to market.
- Proprietary Product Development [White-Labeling]
This is decidedly the least expensive of the four routes to development, and along with being the least expensive, it is also the fastest way to get a new offering to market. By simply taking an existing product, solution, or service and placing your brand name on it, you can readily have an offering that is market-ready and good to go. PremCloud Sentinel – created, provided, and supported by c1 Secure – is an example of white-labeling a great solution.
For UGA, we believe that our greatest opportunity lies in our ability to provide our offerings to our strategic partners and customers through our new Proprietary Product Program.
The UGA Proprietary Product Program
What Is White-Labeling?
White-labeling is a legal protocol that allows one product or service to be sold and rebranded under another company’s brand. The term “white-labeling” is used based on the manual process of whiting out something previously written to write over it again.
White-label products and services are re-brandable, re-sellable items produced by one company to be rebranded and resold by another company. White-label providers create a product or service to be rebranded by a reseller company so they can resell it as their own product to their end consumers.
White-labeled products and services are sold by resellers with their own branding and logo but the products and services themselves are produced or provided by a third party. The end product or service appears as though it has been produced by the purchaser. Firms can use white label products and services to expand their offerings and target customers strategically; in turn, this could bolster their competitive advantage.
White-labeled products and services are manufactured or provided by a third party, not the company that sells or markets it. The advantage is that a single company does not have to go through the entire process of creating and selling a product or service. One firm can concentrate on producing or providing the product or service, and another can focus on selling it, each according to its expertise and preference. A major benefit of white-label branding is that it saves companies time, energy, and money in terms of development, sourcing, production, and delivery costs. Across the Advantage Co, we can readily provide white-labeled products, solutions, and services to all our B2B customers worldwide.
White-Labeling vs Private-Labeling
Utilizing white-labeling or private-labeling is in contrast to buying and selling products or services from other companies with their brand names on them. However, white-labeling or private-labeling are terms that are often used interchangeably, when in reality they are somewhat different. Private-Labeling, like white-labeling, starts with buying a product or service from one manufacturer to put your brand on, but with Private-Labeling, you can specify nearly everything about the product – what goes in it, how it’s packaged, what the label looks like – and pay to have it produced and delivered to you.
White-Labeling is often cheaper than private-labeling because it doesn’t take as much time to produce and plan. With White-Labeling, ultimately, the only thing you worry about is the brand name. The product is already made and all you have to do is put your name on it and sell it. White-Labeling overall is a much faster process, but on the downside, you don’t have much flexibility with your product.
B2B White-Label: Products or services provided by a white-labeling company that sells its products or services to a reseller that resells it to the end-user, another company.
SaaS White-Label: Rebrandable software that is licensed on a subscription basis and is hosted by the provider. Resellers brand the SaaS as their own and sell it to their clients.
White Label in the Form of Services
White-label products don’t always need to be tangible items. Service offerings also have adopted white-labeling. Some banks, for example, use white label services like credit card processing when they do not have these services in house. Furthermore, businesses that have no banking operations often extend branded credit cards to their customers, which is also a form of white-labeling. For example, L.L. Bean Inc. offers its consumers a branded credit card, though the card is actually provided by Barclays Bank (BCS).
Unified Global Archiving’s Proprietary Product Offerings
Our UGA white-labeled products, solutions, and services are ready-made, fully tailored offerings that make rebranding very simple. By using an already-polished product from UGA, resellers save on research and development. Our white-labeling program enables resellers to expand their offerings without producing goods or services from scratch, which allows them to quickly scale their offerings, costs, and revenue.
“Through a proprietary product partnership with Unified Global Archiving, resellers get to market faster and can extend their brand and provide their customers with a new or complementary solution immediately.”
– JJ Contessa, UGA Chief Products Officer
Our white label solutions are not a raw script that needs to be retouched or finalized with no guarantee that they will work in the end. UGA’s Proprietary Product Program is a ready-to-use platform that can generate income right away. Our partners rebrand our products, solutions, and services with their name and logo, set their pricing strategy, and sell it to their business customers. Additionally, our proprietary products continue to undergo revisions, tests, and if something goes wrong, UGA takes full responsibility for fixing it.
Whether our UGA Proprietary Product partners want to attract new customers, keep the ones they have (reduce churn), or increase their basket size from their current customers, our white-label program allows them to increase the scope of their current offerings. Our partners’ clients come to them because they trust them and putting their trusted brand name on a white-labeled product or service not only puts their brand name out there more, it further enhances their reputation as a trusted industry player.
Pros of White-Labeling
- Diversify and cross-promote product and service offerings to become a full-service agency.
- Expand into more markets/add new revenue streams.
- Differentiate/get ahead of your competition (if they aren’t already doing something similar).
- Faster speed to market with new products than developing yourself.
- More cost-effective than developing or implementing yourself.
- Bypass all the extra legwork and resources required to develop your own software and services.
- Cross-promote your products (ex. reputation management and social marketing).
- Easy to brand.
- Increase your stickiness factor—the more you do for customers, the more customers become dependant on you.
- Sales and support materials often provided.
- Partner with industry experts (white label supplier).
- More time to focus on core competency.
- The white-labeling supplier is always updating and improving product/service.
- White Label reporting/proof of performance.
- The white-labeling supplier is always updating and improving product/service.
- Incremental (monthly recurring) revenue with the SaaS model.
- Adding value for your clients by bundling products/services (they can reach their goals faster with you) and reduces the need for them to have vendor clutter.
- Expand your brand, build trust and your reputation. Solidifies you as an expert on that system or service.
- Easy entry, especially for startups.
- Access to big data and end-user reporting, offer advanced branded reports to customers using full data set of the white label provider.
- Minimal risk of trying a new product.
- Many white label marketing solutions already available (service fulfillment and software), no need to recreate the wheel.
- Your success is your provider’s success. They want to see you succeed.
* Advantage Global Resources
Advantage Global Resources provides the essential backend resources for the origination, design, structure, financing, development, growth, reporting, monitoring, analytics, compliance, security, accounting, legal, HR, and governance for all our local, national, and international business operations. The full development of these backend support services has positioned us to realize our potential as a fully functional resource for a variety of business operations.
Our comprehensive service and solution offerings for our clients are nothing short of incredible. The services that we now currently deliver to all our in-house clients [e.g. Unified Global Archiving, Zovy Cloud, Data Detect, CISO Sentinel, c1 Advantage, iWolrd Professionals, The AP Group, TW&Co, Black Progress Matters, Advantage Brands Group, iWorld Fundraising, Giancarlo’s, LTS&S, etc.] are indeed world-class.
Originally Posted: January 1, 2017
Updated: April 15, 2018
Updated: October 20, 2020
From the very beginning in 1978, it has been my goal to provide the vision, resources, and confidence necessary for the development of the Advantage Co as a business experience for those willing to take the full measure of the challenge. This approach has energized our Root Philosophy for nearly 40 years, and it has been our good fortune to build a number of world-class businesses.
Here is a short list of businesses we have started or helped to start over the years. [152 and counting]. The businesses in italics are partnerships. The businesses in bold are currently operational. Each one has been visited by success and failure. One of these nights I’ll start filling in the stories. The really good news is that over 50 of the businesses we have helped to launch are thriving enterprises.
All told, we estimate there have been over 8,000 participants in the building of these opportunities. If you have a backstory for any of them, why not share it with us? I’ll take the good with the bad [they all have their share]. It is never meant to be easy, but it is always meant to be enjoyable.
A man who says he never had a chance is the man who never took one. Be big, be a builder.
Advantage Co Businesses
- Advantage Brands Group
- Advantage Catalog
- Advantage Computer Co.
- Advantage Global Resources
- Advantage Home Theater
- Advantage Outlet
- Advantage Properties
- Advantage TI
- Advantage Trade Group
- Aussie T Co
- Brinkley Builders
- Computer Head Start
- Giancarlo’s Sicilian Steakhouse
- Giancarlo’s Cafe & Patisserie
- Gift Giving Registry
- Grivani Wine Cellar
- Grivani Wine [Distributing]
- House of Cotton
- Forrestel Clothing Co
- iWorld Shopping Center
- King Finley
- Lab to Beauty
- Leave It To Alison**
- Lifetime Service
- Love Pink & Green
- Luxuri Link
- Merwin & Payne
- Modern Luxuri
- Nantucket Clothing
- Naples Properties
- Osaka Speakers
- PALM Investments
- Piece Apparel
- Pioneer Home Theater
- Pure + Fresh
- Scotch Boots of Holland
- Smart Car Store
- Smart House Cafe**
- Smart Squad Design
- Smart Squad Install
- Sneaker Advantage
- SONY Home Theater
- Stereo Advantage
- Stereo Advantage [Olean]
- JVC Home Theater
- Taplin Marketing
- Tiny Walker
- TW Outlet [Niagara Falls]**
- Walker Center
- Walker Kids Trust
- Walker Global Parts
- Walker Global Solutions
- Wehrle Properties
- White Box Services
Advantage Co Partnerships
- ABX Professionals
- Advantage Business Exchange
- Advantage Investment, Development & Oversight
- Advantage Marketing & Incentives
- Advantage Systems Professionals [now iWorld Professionals]
- Advantage Woodshop
- American Wireless
- AP Charlotte
- AP Cincinnati
- AP Cleveland
- AP Denver
- APHQ [now Advantage Global Resources]
- AP Metro**
- AP Phoenix
- AP Rochester
- AP Solutions [now Capax Global]
- AP Syracuse
- AP Tampa
- AP Washington DC
- AP WNY
- At Your Service
- Aussie Outfitters
- Autonomic Resources**
- Beacon Global Resources
- Bellus Development
- BizHop [support only]
- Black Progress Matters
- Butler Chemical
- Cascade Point**
- c1 Advantage
- c1 Secure
- Carolina Clothing Co
- Capax Alpha [now Capax Global]
- Capax Discovery
- Capax Global
- Capax India
- Capax Resource Management*
- CARES Act ADVISORY
- Chiampou Travis & Kershner*
- Cleary & Sullivan
- Cleary Travel
- Consilium1 [now c1 Advantage]
- Cross Pointe**
- Darmax Development
- Data Detect
- Delta Road Properties
- Duke Fund**
- Free Trade Consultants
- Gauntlet Design
- Greenview Landscaping*
- GRW For Hair
- Hudson Walker
- Images & Graphics
- Inspired Global Resources*
- Irwin Lazarus
- iWorld Professionals
- JALMAR Graphics
- JNorman & Co
- KATINI Skin
- King Finley
- LeCleanse Officiel
- LD World Resources
- Manzella Productions [support only]
- My Personal Advisor
- Outback Paging [AdTel Worldwide]
- Panther Data Solutions
- Pizza Shoppe
- PremCloud Services
- Real Properties Services
- SmartLink [Bailey & Kensington]
- SmartLink [Main Place Mall]
- Stereo Advantage [Phoenix]
- Stereo Shops [3 Rochester stores]**
- Strategic Finance
- Taplin Design
- Tony Walker Golf Club [4 locations nationally]
- Total Health & Fitness
- Trend Depot
- TW Charter Stores [92 Aussie Outfitter stores nationally]
- Unified Global Archiving
- Wellingtin Resources
- White & Co
- Wynnovation Labs
- Zovy Cloud
Coming Sooner or Later or Never
- Ana Blu Mediterranean Kitchen
- 2 Girls 1 Deal
- Advantage Legal & Fiduciary
- Balance Bra
- Bedtime Monster Spray
- Christian Coop
- Clean Your Closets For Kids
- College Rep Program
- The Fantasy League
- Fashion Resource Group
- FedSecure Data Centers
- FedCloud Vault
- Giancarlo’s Boutique Hotel
- GoToCloud Express
- Greenskeeper Coop
- Grivani Golf
- iTech Protect
- iWorld Auto
- iWorld Banking
- iWolrd Accounting
- Life Source Insurance
- OffShore Secure
- TW&Co Charter Fashion Labs
- Walker Global Mergers Acquisitions & Review
- Walker Sports Audit
* No longer involved in this partnership.
There are three worlds: the one we are given, the one we are stuck with, and the one we bend to our will.
Theodore Roosevelt’s famous Man in the Arena speech. ‘It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of deeds might have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred with sweat and dust and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause and who, if he fails, at least fails while bearing greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.’