The Linker Boys Return as Men

Monday 9 July 2012 @ 8:23 pm

Every once in a while you have joyous occasions in life. I’ve had more than my fair share in the last month or so. Between Guatemala and Father’s Day, it’s been pretty rock star. But today I’m sitting in the middle of a purely joyous moment.

Jeff Lewis just walked in the door. He’s spent the last two years in Iowa. Johnny just returned from Japan. And Scott and Wyatt both went to South Carolina. This is the first in over two years that I’ve been together here with these guys. Pure joy. 

This group was indeed my first four hires, and what we affectionately now refer to as “The Linker Boys”. They accomplished amazing things in our company Castlewave. In fact, they were kind of the secret sauce behind the Wizard of Oz and some of the things we accomplished in that organization. Castlewave was the test business when we were writing Bootstrap Business.

In keeping with this joyful moment, and now that we’ve captured all this great wisdom in one place, I’m going to ask each one of these boys to say something. Although I realize I can’t call them boys anymore. These guys are now men, as shown by their facial hair—except for Jeff and I (and we’re not talking about that!)

So here we have a snippet of advice (especially for young people or teenagers, but applicable to all) about creating business and doing business.

Johnny:
Never give up. Keep moving forward. When you wake up in the morning, remember to stay awake and not fall asleep back into the normal grind of things. Instead, always reach higher and see yourself as someone who can do something. I think when you fight and win that battle inside of your own mind, then you can win at any other battle in life.

And I’d like to add to that…Zig Zag!

Jeff:
I’ve learned that the quality of our prayers is really the biggest indicator of how successful and meaningful our life will be. So consider the quality of your prayers.

I’m Christian, my mentor is an atheist, and we work with people all over the world of different faiths. It doesn’t matter what or who you believe in–you should always call on your higher power.

And I’d also like to add to that…Zig Zag!

Scott:
One of my mottos has become “live and learn”. In combination with that Rich’s “work hard and play hard” principle. I’ve learned that life is about living and learning. Learning from our mistakes and then moving on. Also working to together and then playing hard together. It makes is a lot easier to excel and have a drive for life.

Of course, I’d like to add to that, Zig Zag. You actually just describe zig zag because we have a life balance but we push it to extremes. Cross the line of balance as frequently as possible. Work hard, play hard!

Wyatt:
Don’t be afraid of the unplanned. You’ll have lots of things planned in life and if you stick rigidly to a plan you will fail, but if you are willing to be flexible with the plan, and still stick as close to the plan as possible, while being flexible. That’s when you find success.

…And Zig Zag!

That’s wonderful and amazing advice from four young men. Watch these young men and the amazing things that they do.

We have in our office a wall that we call the “Live Strong, Die Hard. Defenders-of-the-Faith-Wall.” These four young men were the first people to have their photos posted up on that wall.

I expect amazing things from these four young men. Go forward and let’s knock it out of the park. What delightful time it is to have these little exchanges in life. I thoroughly enjoyed this moment with my young men.

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The Doorman Principle

Saturday 26 May 2012 @ 3:46 pm

I throw my cell phone down in disgust. As it clacks on the desk I hope that it doesn’t crack the screen. Luckily it doesn’t.

Twenty seven seconds ago I heard the familiar cell phone bing, indicating a voicemail, and I instantly knew what to expect—another misaligned request. Seven times in the last three days I have received calls from the same individual.

The problem is each call leads to another request or demand, each of which is completely distracting and outside of my area of focus. I kick myself thinking, “Why can’t you even follow your own rules?”

These rules I’m referring to come from the wise and successful Rick Sapio. Several years ago I first had the opportunity to meet this amazingly insightful, thoughtful businessperson, and I’ve enjoyed associating with him ever since. He is arguably one of the people that I enjoy dealing with more than anyone else in the country. I truly respect him and know his motivations are properly aligned. 

Rick hails from Dallas, Texas where he runs a company called Mutual Capital Alliance. He also has a training website called Business Finishing School. This solid and practical site offers sequences and information and steps to help someone successfully launch.

Rick’s first module is Value-Based Decision Making. In this module, one of his fundamental teachings is The Doorman Principle. Indeed this is the very principle I violated.

The Doorman Principle is the very deliberate practice of:
–    Setting your values and rules.
–    Aligning them with your business purpose.
–    And then putting a “doorman” in place.

Together your doorman and your values guard whom you let into your business and your life. Indeed, no one should get to you without going through this pivotal person. As a result you stay focused.
–    Only the appropriate things come to you.
–    You remain focused on the critical things that will bring success.
–    Your tasks are in alignment with what you are Sattempting to accomplish. 

I have often heard it said that, “The difference between a successful men and an incredibly successful men, is the frequency in which they say ‘no’.” Incredibly successful people say no much more frequently.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you have to do it in a negative or caustic way. Saying “No, this doesn’t align with my values,” is a simple and effect way to decline.

I have discovered if I respond to every stimulus that hit me then I end up running myself into a frazzle and accomplishing little good. Indeed these seven phone calls this past week have been distractions. Had I followed my own rules (or Rick Sapio’s rules, rather) I could have avoided the entire derailment.

I encourage all of you to apply the Doorman Principle. Establish clearly what your values are and then put a doorman in place. Now if you don’t have an executive admin, you can devise some other creative way to implement The Doorman Principle. It’s simply imperative that there is a buffer that allows you to easily and deliberately say no to the things that are not consistent with your values.

I thank Rick Sapio for teaching this powerful principle. Rick, I am going to do a better job of applying this and I encourage each of you to visit The Business Finishing School website to learn more.

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The Power of Unplugging

Sunday 29 April 2012 @ 10:27 pm

This past week I took my entire family down to the Caribbean for a grand family celebration.

My oldest son, John recently returned from two years in Japan, and my second son Matthew is preparing to go to Italy. During this short time we have when both boys are home, we decided to take the whole family on a trip to play and celebrate together.

The first day I found myself a little antsy reaching for my cell phone or other technology, but then an amazing thing happened. In no time I was weaned from the addiction and the technology bad habit. The result was that I was able to think on a deeper and clearer level.

I think so often the things we think are helping us be productive are no more than a noise or just “movement”. I’ve previously posted about the difference between motion and momentum. And indeed in creating a business the difference between success and failure frequently comes from engaging only in the momentum activities.

This week I’ve concluded that everybody needs to take time to unplugged for clarity and to get focus back in his or her life. I know I’ve come back not only resolved but also with clarity of thought in several areas that had been eluding me earlier.

Unplug. You’ll find great power in it. Give your full attention to your family and your loved ones for an extended duration. I promise it will have impact in your lives.

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Maintaining Balance – Zig Zag Principle #69

Thursday 5 April 2012 @ 8:32 am

Now, that doesn’t mean I lost my intensity. It doesn’t mean that I never end up out of balance. But my short session with Dr. Horne brought great clarity to the fact that it’s not worth giving up the things that matter most for the things that matter least.   This insight was part of what helped me see the Zig Zag Principle as a far better way to approach life.  Now, as I zig and zag from goal to goal, I will still put intense effort into achieving my dreams.  But at each turn, I’ve established a reward that for me inevitably includes my family (your approaches, of course, may differ).  And for each goal I pursue, I will set up guardrails that will determine the amount of time and effort I am willing to invest. There are not many ways to succeed without going out of balance for a period of time.  The key is to realize that you are going out of balance for a short period and then bounce back and take some time off to enjoy your life. 

My philosophy involves having a line of balance.  Many people think you achieve this line of balance by being at work exactly at 8 a.m. and leaving within minutes of 5, by getting eight hours of sleep each night, and by controlling life with a rigid schedule.  I don’t live my life that way. At times I live my life extremely out of balance. I’ll work so crazy hard that I think I’m going to die, and then I’ll cross over and go for a cruise where I sleep eighteen hours a day. Then I’ll charge back across the line and spend some incredible family time, then I’ll go work my guts out again and literally not sleep for a couple or three weeks while I start another new business. Then I’ll spend a month in the Himalayas with my family. The way I define balance is not to try walking the perfect line, but to cross that line of balance as frequently as possible.  This is the final form of zigzagging I would suggest.

Added to my own bad example of charging straight toward a goal is the example of an individual who completed his MBA program the same time I did.  He was a charismatic and brilliant man.  He had everything going for him—far more than the rest of us, really.  During school and after we graduated, he was fixated on the same path I was on.  He was going to the top and he was going to succeed at all costs. I guess the only real difference between us is that I am fortunate enough to have a wife who has helped me become grounded and remember what really matters in my life. (Sometimes she has had to beat me over the head, but I count that as a form of help.) 

This man was relentless in his pursuit of wealth.  He racked up frequent flier miles and spent even more time away from his family than I did.  He did whatever it took to get to the top, and he got there.   In fact, by some measures, he has achieved a level of success I might have been envious of at one point in my life.  But now, as I look back over my life and this man’s life, I see some significant differences. He has been married and divorced multiple times.  He has had more flings than I can count with my hands and my toes.  He has no relationship with his children; in fact, they will not even talk to him.

I look at him, and I am so grateful that Dr. Horne took the time to counsel with me—and then put me on a transatlantic flight to think about what he said.  As a result, my son Nathan, who would not let me touch him because he did not know who I was, now calls me his hero.  Success is not worth heading over a cliff or getting so out of balance that we lose control.  Everything in life requires balance.  The best skiers cross that line of balance as often as possible as they race down the hill.  But they know how to keep their momentum and stay upright through the race, rather than crashing and burning.

A key to maintaining our balance in life and in business is not getting so tightly wound up and so intense that we do not get in a rhythm, or what the best athletes call flow.  In his book, Golf is Not a Game of Perfect, sports psychologist Bob Rotella, who has worked with many of the world’s greatest golfers, talks about the mindset the best golfers have to get into. When golfers are playing at their peak, Rotella says, they are only using a part of their brain while the other part is shut down.  It is almost as if they are in a trance.  Things just come naturally to them.   They are relaxed, and they let the intuitive and creative part of their brain do the work.  That is flow.

Many of us, on the other hand, get so stressed and uptight that we create our own failures.  Our stress then creates a form of reverse psychology, similar to what happens when I’m golfing and see a water hazard off to the left.  If I allow myself to think (which Rotella would suggest I not do!), I tell myself,  “Don’t go left into the water.” And, just like that, the ball invariably ends up going left right into the pond.  The same thing is true as we pursue our beacons in the fog. If we get fixated on the things we think we can’t do or if we get consumed with the possibility of a little error or failure, we get wound up too tight.  And that actually translates into negative behaviors that undercut our efforts.  


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Decision Matrix Tool – Zig Zag Principle #52

Wednesday 16 November 2011 @ 1:28 pm

When I am planning new ideas for my business or for my life I like to use a tool I created called The Decision Matrix.  It helps me decide which ideas or options fit into my value plan.  This decision matrix can be used for any kind of decision you need to make in your life.  I have used it to help me decide which jobs I should take, where I would like to live, and, yes, what businesses and scale ideas I should pursue.  I love to use this model to appease the left hemisphere of my brain, which is the logical side.  It does not always tell me exactly which option that I want to take, but it does help me weed out the options that are best not to take.  It is really straightforward and simple.  Here is how it works:

Across the top of the paper, spreadsheet or whiteboard, I compose a list of the top ten or fifteen (maximum) things that are important to me for the particular decision I am trying to make.  For example, in a business some of the things I might want that business to do would include making me a lot of money, flexibility of lifestyle, giving back to society, or international travel.  If I were making a decision on where to buy a new home, I may list across the top things like location, quality of schools, safety, friendliness of neighbors, quality of the construction, yard for the dog, a good view, etc.

Once I have made my list across the top of the things that are most important to me in this decision, then I rate them in order of priority as to how important they are to me.  The most important item would have a rating of 2.  The next item would be ranked a 1.9, then 1.8, all the way down to the least important item.

In the business example, I may give “flexibility of  lifestyle” a 1.8 rating and the “international travel,” which I love but which may not be as important to me as my lifestyle, a 1.5 rating.  If I were moving to a new house, I would rate the quality of schools a 2, where I might rate the view I desire a 1.2.

Once I have my values of what I desire listed across the top and weighted in order of priority, then I list down the left side all of the options I am considering.  If I am thinking of ideas that would scale my business, I would list all of those down the left side.  If I were purchasing a house I would list all of the different property options down that left side.  If I were deciding which job opportunity I wanted to pursue or which college to attend, whatever it is I am deciding I list the options down the left side.

After my chart is complete, I ignore the weight factor of those important items and I fill in the blanks. I just go through really quickly and assess to the best of my judgment how my idea or decision would rank with my important item. I use a score of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.  After I have filled out the chart, then I simply take the score of the idea to the important item and multiply it by the weighted factor of that idea.  I then sum all of the important items together for a score of each idea.

If there are several people involved, then I have each person do their own weight factor.  We add up the weight factors and then use that number to score the spreadsheet.  Together we decide the score between 1 -10 of how well that idea would fit our needs.  If my wife wants a good view and I want a shorter commute to work, we would weigh those items differently.

I like to do this exercise when I am relaxed and calm.  It takes about an hour or so, but it is a really precise and fun way to sort out my ideas.  Oftentimes, I’ll get the top four of five scoring ideas.  These scores are not the only factors in my decisions, but they do usually tell me which of the options are not the ones that I want to pursue.  It helps me to hone in a little bit to where I want to take my next zig or zag.

 

Decision Matrix

Weight Priority Factor 1.6 1.9 1.4 2 1.3 1.5 1.7 1.2 1.1 1.8  
                       
Opportunities Big Back Yard Safe Neighborhood Home Office Good Schools View Quality Nice Kitchen Basement Near Shopping Commute to Work  
Home #1 7 6 7 10 7 5 6 7 2 10  
Home #2 4 8 9 5 2 10 9 3 2 6  
Home #3 6 8 7 5 6 8 6 6 5 3  
Home #4 5 8 8 8 10 2 9 6 7 4  
                       
                       
Home #1 11.2 11.4 9.8 20 9.1 7.5 10.2 8.4 2.2 18 107.8
Home #2 6.4 15.2 12.6 10 2.6 15 15.3 3.6 2.2 10.8 93.7
Home #3 9.6 15.2 9.8 10 7.8 12 10.2 7.2 5.5 5.4 92.7
Home #4 8 15.2 11.2 16 13 3 15.3 7.2 7.7 7.2 103.8

 

Eating Our Own Cooking

We are currently trying to figure out the scale phase in our Froghair business. When we initially defined our three zigs and zags, we defined our scale as making three sales into our direct channel each day.  As we progressed, we hit profitability and were able to add resources, but we realized that our plan for scaling business was not viable. So, we had to adjust our strategy and go after a second option.  This time our plan was to sell items to large companies to use as their corporate gifts.  This has had some success, but we are still exploring other options.  Specifically, we are looking at generating Internet leads in our area of the market.  Almost everyday we’re using the zig zag principle because it gives us the flexibility to adjust and change course within the boundaries that we have set.  As we’ve seen obstacles, we’ve skied around them.  And we’ve been prepared to do so because we know they’re going to come.  My experience has taught me there is a much higher probability of success when you use this principle.

 

Summary

      Zig number 3 involvesa major shift in mindset.  You are no longer working in your business; you are working on your business.  Your are becoming deliberate and you have structures in place.  You’ve survived the determination phase.  You’ve survived the discipline phase.  Now you can leverage yourself, leverage the value of the market you’re in, and start to really see some success.

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Building Processes – Zig Zag Principle #44

Thursday 6 October 2011 @ 5:03 pm

Now that you’ve started bringing in some cash and adding resources, your organization is going to need more structure and discipline.  As you add more flesh to the bones of your infrastructure, you’ll need to work on making consistent progression.  This will require that you build on what you have learned so far as you have been driving to profitability.  In some cases, those will be lessons you haven’t even realized you’ve learned.

Building processes for your organization is vital to your short-term and long-term viability.  It’s a step that often gets left out as you head toward your beacon in the fog, but I’ve been convinced of its importance since I was a little kid mowing lawns.  After I had acquired a few lawn mowers and convinced my brothers and friends to mow lawns for me, I had to teach them the processes that had made me successful in the first place.  Here are the steps I took each and every time I mowed a customer’s lawn:

  1. Present yourself well. I would tuck in my shirt and wipe the sweat and dirt off my hands and face before knocking on the customer’s door with a big smile on my face and saying, “Hello, I am here to mow your lawn today.  It will take me about an hour and a half. Is now an okay time?”
  2. Clear the lawn. Before mowing a lawn, I looked it over carefully and removed all the balls and junk.  I picked up any dog mess, trash or anything else that may be on the lawn.
  3. Trim the lawn. I used the trimmer to trim around the entire edge of the lawn before I began mowing.
  4. Check the oil in the lawn mower
  5. Check the gas in the lawn mower and make sure the tank is full.  I only put gas in the lawn mower while it was on the sidewalk so that I didn’t kill any grass if I spilled.
  6. I went to the center of the lawn and picked a point straight across the lawn.  Then I shot for a straight line.  Everyone likes nice straight lines better than random tire marks across their lawns.
  7. I followed the wheel patterns through the entire lawn to keep all of the lines straight.  If the lines got off, I corrected them.
  8. I emptied the grass bag before it got full so that clumps of grass would not spill out on the lawn.
  9. After mowing, I cleaned up the lawn and yard.  I raked any grass or debris that was left on the lawn and blew or sweep the sidewalks off.  Everyone likes their yard to look neat and clean after the grass is mowed.
  10. I respectfully invoiced the customer.  I wiped the sweat off my face and the dirt off my hands and knocked on the customer’s door.  I then handed them the invoice for mowing the lawn and put a piece of candy or a package of seeds with it as I thanked them for the opportunity of mowing their lawn.

This process example may seem rather elementary, but I had to mow a lot of lawns before I learned that it took a lot less time and the lawn looked much neater if I trimmed the edges before I mowed.  I also learned that when I was having other people mow lawns for me, they all wanted to do it their own way.  But I knew that my customers had hired me to mow their lawns because they knew they would have straight lines and they would like the way their lawn looked after it was mowed.  They also loved that I gave them a packet of seeds or a piece of candy as my signature when I finished.  So, I had to document the processes and teach these things to my employees so they would know what my customers expected. 

My wife worked for Kentucky Fried Chicken while she was a teenager.  They have a list posted to the wall above the biscuit machine detailing the exact steps for making their delicious, fluffy biscuits as well as other lists detailing each step in making their chicken and every other menu item.  This keeps the consistency and quality that is expected each time a customer goes to eat at any KFC.

I used to love to eat at a regional fast-food restaurant that sells delicious chicken and rice bowls.  But one time when I went there, the dish I was served did not taste the same.  I commented to the person at the counter, “Something tastes really weird in my chicken.”  He said, “Oh, yeah, our normal supplier was out of the chicken we normally use, so we had to use different chicken today.”  I thought this was just a fluke, so I went back the following week.  This time the chicken tasted much spicier than usual, and it was even worse than the previous week.  I mentioned it to the guy at the front again and he said, “Yes, we had to try an even different supplier this week.”  I went back a few more times, but each time the chicken was different.  Not surprisingly, this franchise went out of business not long after, and now I have to drive thirty miles to get the chicken and rice that I love.  Whatever the size or complexity of your business, processes matter!

In zag number 2, you have to document the processes that led to your initial success.  You need to put these into bite-sized processes that other people can follow.  That is why I instructed my employees to trim the grass before they mowed the lawn and to put the gas into the mower while it was on cement so as to not kill the grass.  I had made all these mistakes and had learned from them, so I institutionalized what I had learned.

As you document your processes, remember to learn from the mistakes you made driving to profitability.  Documenting what not to do is as important as documenting what to do.  You want to have something in place that makes people think twice about making the same mistakes, and it will help if you have already proven what doesn’t work. 

 

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Zigzagger Robert Jordan Rides the Internet Wave

Tuesday 13 September 2011 @ 11:43 pm

No matter how great your new business idea is, it will never succeed if you are the only one who thinks it’s a great idea. People have to want what you’re selling for you to have a successful, lasting business. Indeed, one of the best times to start a business is when you can ride a wave of increasing interest in a new, underserved market. This is exactly how Robert Jordan began his career as an entrepreneur with Online Access.

Jordan recognized the wave of interested people clamoring for information about the Internet and how to get online. This was approximately 11 years back when AOL was making a name for itself by mailing millions of free AOL CDs to everyone in the nation. Jordan seized the opportunity to join AOL in the movement to educate people about the Internet and how to use it.

Jordan didn’t waste time; he launched Online Access as a magazine to help people who weren’t online know more about the Internet, and it took off in a huge way. Riding the Internet wave at the beginning enabled Jordan to not only tap into a large market quickly, but it also positioned the magazine as a prime target for advertising. It became profitable almost immediately from the bidding wars among other Internet-focused companies.

Now Jordan has zigzagged away from Online Access and into new a few other companies, but his success all stems from his initial capacity to recognize a need in an oncoming wave and fill that need before anyone else. He has even published a book called How They Did It: Billion Dollar Insights from the Heart of America that compiles handwritten notes and interviews from other wildly successful entrepreneurs.

Naturally, not every business that catches a wave rises to such success. Jordan was lucky and smart enough to catch that particular wave, but there are plenty coming and going every year for entrepreneurs to ride. Pay attention to your area and learn to recognize when something is going to be big and how you can attach yourself or your business to it. And always remember to zig zag in these waves so you don’t crash your business.

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The 80/20 Rule – Zig Zag Principle #37

Thursday 8 September 2011 @ 11:31 pm

During this first zig it is important to remember that you are not going to have time to be perfect at everything.  Many people who are perfectionists or have a methodical personality type fail at this stage because they try to be great and have everything perfect and buttoned up.  You need to think, instead, about the 80/20 rule.  In general, 20 percent of the effort yields 80 percent of the results. The key to success is not to do anything that isn’t geared towards the 80 percent success ratio.  You’re not striving for perfection.  You’re striving for profitability.

I always say that competence and incompetence always rear their heads.  But it is important during this time to know those things where competency is a must.  If you produce a shoddy product, then your customers will never use you again. But, as you do so, you do not need the perfect organization or to micromanage all the details.  During this phase the important 20 percent is providing a quality product and getting to cash.  If your office is a mess or you haven’t taken the trash out in a week, take a deep breath and give yourself a break.  You can get to those things later.

On the other hand, it is imperative that you keep track of your books and know what your bottom line is, but don’t stress about the little things as you take care of the big ones.  I have a former business associate who had the mantra on his desk to “Strive for Mediocrity.” He was a perfectionist in every area of his life.  If he saw a “t” that needed to be crossed or an “i” that needed to be dotted, he would take whatever time it took to stress over minor details.  He soon found he could not be effective living this way.  He had to look at the bigger picture and choose which things he needed to focus on to succeed, and then let go of the minor things. He was trying to be more “mediocre” in the smaller details so that he could shine in the important aspects of the business.  One of my business partners used to call this “selective negligence.”  He would selectively neglect the less important things so that he could achieve the bigger goals.  Once we became profitable and got to the next zag of adding resources, we could hire someone to take care of those small details.

This can be applied whether you are an individual trying to accomplish an important project with your family, a small bootstrap company, or a large corporation.  You can apply this same principle to a new division you may be heading up, if you are launching a new product, or even launching a new service in a large corporation.  Your budget may be bigger, but the principles will make the division or large corporation even stronger.

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How Much Cash Do I Need? – Zig Zag Principle #36

Wednesday 7 September 2011 @ 9:48 am

 I define profitability as having enough money to cover “the nut” and having a buffer that will allow me to move on to the next zag.  Everyone has different needs, or “nuts,” so profitability will be different for each person or each business.  I am covering the nut in my personal life when I have enough money to pay all my expenses, such as housing, utilities, recreation, food, clothing, education needs, health insurance, and a little more to take care of those unexpected extras that always crop up.

  If a family makes a budget and keeps track of how much it costs to live each month, then that is the family’s monthly nut.  In business, the nut would include the building, utilities, the cost of doing business, payroll for any employees, and any other expenses it takes to run the business, including paying yourself.  (If you forget that, you’ll destroy the nut in your personal life.)  Any amount over these expenses is profit. You need to carefully calculate what it’s going to cost you to get to profitability.  This can’t be a number you guess at. It needs to be a firm number and one you write down.  Here is some help in coming up with that number.

Figure your nut

(what number do you have to make per month to hit profitability)

 

Gross Revenue 

$_______________ 

Minus Expenses:

_______________     $__________

_______________     $__________

_______________     $__________

_______________     $__________

           Total Expenses

Equals Net Income

$_(____________)  

$________________


Components of Zig Number 1 

 Because your first zig is so important, I want to dissect its components and look at each one individually:

  •   Financial Number – Zig number 1 is a financial number.  You have to have a financial target number specifying how much you want to bring in. Refer back to the nut you determined in the last section.
  •   Allocation of Time – How much time are you going to dedicate to getting to cash?  How long will you give yourself to achieve this financial target?  I will typically dedicate 65 percent of my resources toward getting to profitability, 30 percent toward zag number 2, and 5 percent toward zig number 3.  And, as I look ahead, I never plan beyond 3 zig zags.
  •   Duration of Time – How long are you willing to run at this pace?  Anyone can sprint for a block or two.  But what reserves do you have if you end up needing to run a marathon?
  •   Financial Target – What is your target for the profit you want to make? How and why is this different from the financial number above?  After you have covered the nut, what is your goal for how much profit you want to make?
  •   Financial Resources – How much in the way of financial resources are you willing to invest? How do you want to allocate your financial resources?  In the early days of entrepreneurship, I used to be more willing to mortgage my house or use my emergency buffer to help fund my businesses.  Now I have a policy that I absolutely will not mortgage my house or dip into my safety net.  We will talk more about this in chapter 7 when we talk about guardrails.
  •   Relationship Capital – We have already talked about relationship capital in Chapter 1.  Think carefully about how much relationship capital you want to use when driving to profitability.  One of the reasons I choose not to sell to my close family and friends is because I am not willing to expend all my relationship capital in one fell swoop.  It is important in the early stages of your business not to drain your whole relationship bank account.  Selectively choose a few key individuals who can help you, but carefully define and limit how much relationship capital you’re willing to spend.  Then make sure you give those people a “thank you” and put something back into their relationship bank account.  Gratitude goes a long way with relationship capital.
  •   Give Yourself Permission to be Miserable – I’ll be honest; this is not an easy stage. Sometimes, in getting to cash, I have to do a lot of things I really don’t like doing.  I have to do the books, answer the phone calls, and open the mail.  I do it all!  I can do it; I just don’t like to do it.  So I give myself permission to be miserable and endure—but only for so long.

Resource List

 To help you quantify your responses to these questions, here’s a worksheet that will help you see in black and white the road you’re considering heading down. Use the results from you Value Equation to help populate this worksheet.


1.  How much money do you have to put toward this project?

     $_____________________

2.  How much time each week are you able or willing to dedicate to this project?

     ______________________ hours

3.  How long of a time frame do you have to work with?

     ______________________ months/years

4.  Emotionally, how long can you give yourself to accomplish this goal?

     ______________________ months/years

5.  How much pain (emotional, financial, relationship, time) are you willing to endure?

     _________________________________________________________________

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Zealous Zig Zaggers

Wednesday 10 August 2011 @ 9:33 am

 
We here at The Zig Zag Principle are pleased to announce the formation of the official Zig Zag Triathlon Team. These brave souls have decided to run, bike, and swim all in the name of Zig Zag. Curtis Blair will coordinate and captain the team in the Kokopelli Tri, as the team Zigs and Zags through the beautiful red hills of St. George, Utah on September 17th, 2011.
 
Get your swim suit, bike, and running shoes ready, because you’re invited to join the Zig Zag Team. Our company bloggers and social media experts will profile each member of the team and document their training and progress leading up through the event. Not only will you have the camaraderie of being part of the team for the race, but you will also receive encouragement throughout the entire experience!
 
If you would rather not swim, bike or run you can still be a part of Team Zig Zag! By  pre-ordering any number of books, you will receive an author-signed copy of The Zig Zag Principle which then qualifies you as an official sponsor of Team Zig Zag.
 

To be a sponsor, simply  pre-order the book The Zig Zag Principle and with your donation you will receive the following:

 

Sponsorship Level

Individuals

Corporations

Gold

With a 10 Book Donation ($200):

·  An Official Zig Zag Race Jersey

·  10 author-signed books

·  4 Free Tickets to the Zig Zag Launch Party Oct 15th.

With a 50 Book Donation ($1,000):

·  Your company logo on the back of the Official Zig Zag Race Jersey

·  50 author-signed books

·  10 Free Tickets to the Zig Zag Launch Party Oct 15th.

Silver

With a 5 Book Donation ($100):

·  A Zig Zag T-Shirt

·  5 author-signed books

·  2 Free Tickets to the Zig Zag Launch Party Oct 15th.

With a 25 Book Donation ($500):

·  A Zig Zag T-Shirt

·  25 author-signed books

·  5 Free Tickets to the Zig Zag Launch Party Oct 15th.

Bronze

With a 1 Book Donation ($20):

·  An author-signed book

With a 5 Book Donation ($100):

·  5 author-signed books

 

Stay tuned to see the team’s grueling training updates as they prepare mentally and physically for the triathlon of the season! For more information contact Curtis Blair at 1-801-375-7900 or email @ curtis@zigzagprinciple.com We wish the best of luck to Team Zig Zag!

~Colette Marx
Lead Blogger, The Zig Zag Principle

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Rich Christiansen