Emotionally Detaching for Success

Sunday 8 April 2012 @ 10:35 pm

One of the most challenging things that you must do as a business leader, in order to ensure success for your company, is to emotionally detach as the business grows. I found it much easier to do in the corporate word than as a bootstrap entrepreneur. However, failure to detach results in you stymieing the progress. You become the bottleneck in the business.

Right now the three companies that were created as proof points for Zig Zag Principle are in a very interesting and important transition periods.

       Frog Hair, a company ran by Curtis Blair, is in the process of dramatically expanding.

       A second business, ran by a team of teenagers is zig zagging to adresses market changes. This is a very powerful group that I’m extremely attached to.

       Golden Zephyr is a company ran by a group of moms. Oh how I love my mom team. These woman are zig zagging as they grow and add additional mometization methods. 

I’m so vested in each of these teams and the companies they are running. I so badly want to see these three groups succeed that my instant tendency is to want to jump in and rescue and advice and get involved at every turn.

Yes as a business owner, you have to be there at critical points—but it reaches a point after you zig zag and you’re on your second zig that you have to morph into a manager and avoid the day-to-day working of the teams.

I’ve compiled a list of seven things that you must do in order to succeed at this delicate, yet necessary detachment.

1.     Create a structure that allows detachment.

2.     Very clearly define a level of authority.

3.     Set up a line of return and report. There must be a communication sequence and an opportunity for the team members to report both individually and as a group.

4.     Clearly establish the boundaries so everyone knows the level of expectation as well as when you’ll engage and when you won’t.

5.     Clearly vet out those that you’ll be mentoring and those that will be doing the direct reports. The reality is that we all have different stages of development. It’s important that the people who are reporting to you feel comfortable taking on that level of responsibility. Likewise you must have faith in the mentee so that you’re not continually being tempted to step in. It’s critical to get the right person in this role.

6.     Redefine what failure means. You have to allow individuals here to fail. Failure is often a learning experience. Even though you could have jumped in and rescued something—when you look at failure as a learning opportunity, then you’re in a better position to mentor.

7.     Learn how to feel the emotion without reacting. In other words, you’ve built a structure to detach; now you’ve also got to build a level of emotional detachment. Last week one of my close friends and team members actually thanked me for backing off and allowing the growth that has taken place.

The reality is that kids grow up. The way we give them more responsibility and growth as they become adults is to give them more latitude and growth and ability to make decisions. The same things are true in our businesses.

We have to learn how to:

       Emotionally and physically detach a little bit.

       Allow a scale element to take place.

This is how we foster the ultimate success in the business.



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Business Competition To Springboard Entrepreneurial Growth

Tuesday 13 March 2012 @ 11:09 am




Alan E. Hall, champion of entrepreneurs, has joined with Zions Bank and Comcast to create regional business competitions to support, encourage, and strengthen entrepreneurship wherever and whenever it is found. Details of the business competitions will be announced at a press conference on Tuesday, March 13, 2012.  The contests will provide $1,000,000 in cash awards and services  for participating entrepreneurs.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

11:00 am


Zions Bank’s Founders Room

One South Main Street, 18th Floor

Salt Lake City, Utah 84133



Alan E. Hall, Founder of Grow America

Scott Anderson, President & CEO of Zions bank

Steve Lindsley, President, Comcast Spotlight


The first 2012 competition will take place May 21, 2012. More details here.

Grow America expects thousands of entries and will award prizes in three main areas of focus:

— Idea Category (Concept): I have an idea for a business; I don’t have a complete plan for my business; I have not invested significant resources into validating my business assumptions; I am looking for money I can use to validate my idea.

— Start-up Category (Emerging Business): I have a plan for my business and have started validating my assumptions; I have started talking with potential customers; I know what resources it will take to build my product or service, and I am looking for money to get started.

— Ramp-up Category (Growth): I am currently operating the business; my business is breaking even and has generated profits; I have established sales and sales projections; I am looking for money to go to the next level.

About Grow America

Grow America is a national company emerging from Utah with a mission to create jobs and lift local economies. Grow America aligns the partners, mentors and capital that entrepreneurs need to create and grow tomorrow’s successful companies. As an organization, Grow America has five components: competitions, e-commerce tools, curriculum and educational tools, community support, and charitable giving. (For more information, visit www.GrowAm.com .)

Beyond the creation and expansion of early stage and growth companies, Grow America’s ultimate goal is to put America back to work, one company and one community at a time.

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Getting Squished by Fat Giants

Monday 20 February 2012 @ 11:39 pm

For years I have proudly proclaimed the strategy of sitting underneath the table of feasting giants and eating the scraps and crumbs that fall from the table. A bootstrapper’s dream is to get into that little market segment that isn’t being addressed by several large players, exactly.

In Bootstrap Business I go so far as to outline a landscape matrix that actually shows how to very deliberately get between several large companies and make sure you don’t infringe on their territory, while still eking out that little crack of opportunity.

I have deployed this countless times. There is; however, one danger. When the market starts to mature, sometimes the giants reaches down and pick up the scrap, and in the process–squish you like an ant.

Indeed, this happened to my team this week. Google released a new algorithm update and indeed it dramatically changed our channel. Simultaneously, another giant that we work with got up from the table. When the two big fat giant bellies hit each other we got squished in between. Needless to say, it’s very painful when that occurs, and it can actually be life threatening to the business.

In this situation, I believe we will recover, but it’s caused me to outline three distinct things that you need to do when deploying this type of opportunistic strategy.

1. Understand the giants eating patterns. How long do they eat? When is it time for them to move? In the case of Google, they release algorithm updates every so often. So, when you see the signs of movement you better get out from underneath their feet as they get up from the table.

2. Give yourself cushion either to the left or to the right. This means, have the ability to either push to your supply side or push to the customer side. If you get squished right between two giants with no place to move, you end up getting your margin squeezed, squeezed, squeezed.

Transactional businesses are wonderful, because they provide a repetitive income flow, but if you are not careful you can end up getting squeezed right to death. Either own the customer and control it, or make sure that you can control the supply cycle. I have discussed this principle many times and I have always stated:
–    Never maintain only one supplier.
–    Never rely on only one customer.

Well now I need to kick myself in the pants, because in the businesses currently getting squished, we basically have one supplier and one customer. That is always a precarious situation to be in.

3. Move from the table as quickly as you can. Once you get profitable, make sure you can then quickly move and transition to a place or a pocket where the giants aren’t quite as likely to rumble over the top of you. Once you’ve filled your belly, look for the exit door as quickly as you can.

I still contend that finding a really hot sector that is on a wave, where there are giants pounding the table, and where money and scraps are falling onto the floor–is a great strategy. Just beware there is a downside. I’m personally committed to using these opportunistic businesses to leverage and become viable quickly. Then I rapidly move in to more value transactional, longer-term engagement types of businesses. I encourage you to try it too.

The moral of the story is…keep your head up and your eyes open when you are sitting next to giants.

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Perfect Action…Pathetic Timing

Monday 13 February 2012 @ 8:25 pm

Last night my wife and I had a rotten guacamole, terrible night. I had been traveling all week long doing lectures and I was dead tired. I got home at 9:30 or 10:00 p.m., spent a little time with the family, and finally made it to bed about 11:30 p.m. At midnight someone began banging at our door, the dogs started yipping, and come to find out our second son had forgotten his key and was banging on the door to get in. We painted smiles on our faces, went out to let him in, spent a few minutes talking with him, and then crawled back into bed.

At 1:00 in the morning we heard the shower running and couldn’t figure out what was going on. The dogs start barking again, and at this point I almost didn’t dare go back to sleep.

We were again woken up at 4:30 a.m. when in stomped our 3rd son, ready to go to Drivers Ed at 5:00 in the morning. Again at 7:00 a.m. the 4th son headed to school and finally at 8:00 a.m. our final son departed. By the time we get him to school, needless to say, very little sleep had actually taken place.

My wife and I did eventually get a hearty laugh out of it when we figured out who had been showering in the middle of the night. We discovered that Nathan (Drivers Ed son) had looked at the clock wrong, got up at 1:00 a.m., showered, got dressed and completely ready, and then realized that the clock had said 1:00 a.m., not 4:00 a.m. I still chuckle thinking of it now.

This pretty much sums up the counsel that I gave in three of the lectures this week. The sequence of Zigging and Zagging is critically important. There is a reason why Zig #1 is Drive to Profitability, Zag #2 is Add Resources, and Zig #3 is Add a Scale Element.

Indeed the timing is critical.

So frequently people attempt to jump directly to Zig #3, which is a scale element. This is exactly what Nathan did this morning—causing havoc to our entire family. It of course is the perfect thing to do…have a shower and get dressed…but 1:00 in the morning is not the perfect time to take the action. The same thing is true with scale and so many other aspects of your business.

You see, when you are making cookies–how you put the ingredients in, and the order in which you put them in, is as important as the ingredients themselves. The sequencing and timing of how we build our businesses and how we take action is actually the trickiest part of making a perfect batch of business cookies…or getting a good nights sleep…or getting dressed properly and appropriately.

Remember when you are zigging and zagging: Zig #1 Drive to Profitability, Zag #2 Add Resources, followed by Zig #3 which is a Scale Element. Don’t get tempted to jump directly to Zig #3. Always nail it before you scale it.

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Pain Before the Prize

Monday 9 January 2012 @ 10:31 pm

In the conclusion of Bootstrap Business, I told a story of a young man named Jonathon. I was deeply touched with his story because he had the support of his wife and was willing to make the sacrifice to become an entrepreneur.

This past week, I was delighted when Jonathon called and asked to come visit me. There’s no way I’m going to turn down a visit from Jonathon because he’s taken the enduring path of entrepreneurship. In deed the last three or four years have been difficult for this man.

I talk about how in the early days; my wife and I lived on potatoes and love. Jonathon had been in that phase too, where his wife had to cut out makeup and their family had reduced the budget dramatically in order to keep the entrepreneurial dream alive.

I was so delighted as I looked at a very weary, very battle haggard, very tired Jonathon. It was very evident as he walked into my office that he had arrived at the first phase of Profitability and was well on the path of a successful venture. He knew it, and I knew it!

Jonathon has turned the corner and is now in the Process Phase where he is developing processes and adding resources. He just wanted a few clarifying pointers.

During our meeting he had made the comment to me, “Rich, I didn’t have any idea that it was this hard.” Then we shared one of those moments that I call an “earning your stripes moments”.

I want to say boldly that it is hard, but that anything in life that is worth having is hard. I still stick to the statement that I know of no better way to control your emotional, your personal, and your financial life and control your destiny, than by becoming an entrepreneur.

Of course I will tell you that figuring out what it takes and figuring out those first few models is hard—even if you have and The Zig Zag Principle or even if you’ve read Bootstrap Business. It takes going into the unknown and it will make you weary, but it is worth it.

And it does become easier.

Well, maybe not easier—but you do acclimate to it, and you will learn to get through the sequences more quickly.

I’m proud of you Jonathon, and I Look forward to seeing incredible thing from you in the future. You’ve earned your stripes.

Now, the rest of you…get with it! Go start something you’re passion about. Maybe even have a couple grand-little failures. Just make sure you follow my advice and fail efficiently. And as you work toward your goal, I’d love to hear about it.

Congratulations Jonathon!

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Are Your Business Zigs Restricted By These 8 Common Financial Mistakes?

Wednesday 2 November 2011 @ 10:50 pm

Here is a common story for entrepreneurs: You’re building your business. You’re zigging, you’re zagging. Then suddenly you’re stopped cold by a lack of financial resources.

But what if you actually have a lot more resources than you think?

Financial Advocate Garrett Gunderson is an expert at helping entrepreneurs and professionals uncover and leverage hidden financial assets.

I’ve asked Garrett to join me on a free teleseminar on November 3, 2011 at 6:00 pm PST, 7:00 pm MST, or 9:00 pm Eastern to expose the most common financial mistakes that stop business owners from progressing and rob their cash flow.

Furthermore, all attendees will receive a free, signed hardcover copy of Garrett’s New York Times bestseller, Killing Sacred Cows: Overcoming the Financial Myths that are Destroying Your Prosperity.

Access the call by dialing 801-656-2240 and insert the following number code: 021334#.

Garrett will reveal practical techniques that he uses to save his average client $11,700 per year in taxes and increase their monthly cash flow by $1,600.

Join the call to learn:

•    The monumental mistake most business owners make that creates stress and headaches and imposes frustrating limitations on your business growth.
•    The “Terrible 3” financial blind spots where entrepreneurs routinely lose cash without even being aware they’re losing it.
•    The 7 specific financial areas you can fine-tune to recover and maximize lost and inefficient dollars.
•    Why Dave Ramsey-style extreme budgeting is misguided and completely unnecessary.
•    How to optimize your current cash flow to be more profitable in the long-term while still enjoying your money immediately.
•    Why increasing production is far superior to decreasing expenses.
•    Why traditional financial advice robs your dreams, makes you lose control of your assets, and costs you hundreds of thousands of dollars over time.
•    How to turn your business wealth into personal wealth.

I want to help you zig zag your way to success. Join Garrett Gunderson and me for a free teleseminar to learn the most common financial mistakes business owners make that impede their progress and rob their cash flow.

All attendees will receive a free hardcover copy of Garrett’s New York Times bestseller, Killing Sacred Cows: Overcoming the Financial Myths that are Destroying Your Prosperity.

Access the call by dialing 801-656-2240 and insert the following number code: 021334#.

Won’t you join us?

November 3, 2011 at 6:00 pm PST, 7:00 pm MST, or 9:00 pm Eastern

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Monday 31 October 2011 @ 7:43 pm

What an amazing journey The Zig Zag Principle has been!

I want to so publicly acknowledge and thank all of you that have been involved in this great endeavor. 

There are two types of victory.  There is the private victory and there’s the public victory.  I am so thrilled about the public victory! We hit the bestselling lists!

– We were #3 overall on Amazon the day the book was released. On Amazon we also hit:
– #1 on the Movers and Shakers list
– #1 in Business Management
– #1 in the Motivational category
– #1 in Entrepreneurship
– #1 in Psychology and Counseling
– #1 in the category Life

We are #5 overall on the USA Today list.

And the public victory I am really excited about is that The Zig Zag Principle is the #6 bestselling book in Inc. Magazine

These listings stand for great public successes and victories. But the successes that I am the most excited about, is you.  I love the private successes. 

I get to hear the stories from individuals who are wresting control of their life. I love the stories of people take back their life—both emotionally and financially. These are the success stories that I am the most excited about. 

I thank you again so much for your support in The Zig Zag Principle and I hope that you will join me in having a zig zag, joyful, amazing, successful life.  Thanks again so much for supporting me on The Zig Zag Principle. Go forward and have a great prosperous life.

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Up Next

Wednesday 19 October 2011 @ 4:17 pm

Toasting The Zig Zag PrincipleThank you to everyone who celebrated with us last Saturday! The Launch Party was a big hit, and I think everyone involved walked away with the confidence to zigzag their future to success. I thoroughly enjoyed sharing my experiences with you and seeing the excitement in your eyes to tackle your business dreams. Be sure to go to this Facebook album to see some of my favorite pictures from the event.

Writing The Zigzag Principle has been a very intense and grueling experience for me. I often liken it to having a baby, and indeed it has been very demanding and life-changing for me in several ways. My ultimate hope is that it helps more entrepreneurs find success and see their ambitions realized.

Many people have come to me asking for what is next with The Zigzag Principle or if we are doing more events or coaching. Our goal with The Zigzag Principle has always been to help people be better entrepreneurs, and that will not change. To this purpose, we are considering our options and deciding how best to move forward.

This is your chance to let us know what you want. Email me at rich@zigzagprinciple.com and let me know what you want out of Zigzag, particularly in the way of an event like the Bootstrap Bootcamp I used to do and online training materials similar to the Zigzag GPS. Please give us feedback on the Zig Zag Launch Party and on what you want next! Then keep an eye on our blog, Facebook page and Twitter feed for more information on what’s coming up.

Thank you again to everyone who has participated in any way with this wild ride. It has been a thrilling experience, and I’m grateful for all the support you have given me.

The Zig Zag Panel Discussion

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Celebrate With Us

Monday 10 October 2011 @ 10:44 pm

We launched the book The Zig Zag Principle and within a day it hit #1 in every applicable category on Amazon. And then we hit #3 on Amazon’s Bestseller List. What fun this is seeing the results of the last several months of hard work.

I appreciate the positive comments and reviews from everyone. I’m enjoying this fun ride. And now it’s time to celebrate!

Please join us at our launch party this weekend. We’re going to celebrate The Zig Zag Principle with a party and a set of fun workshops designed for entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs, and anyone else who is interested in business and goal setting.

If you have tickets, please make sure you are registered for the event. We have incredible content to share, amazing food to devour, and a whole lot of celebrating to do.

If you’d like to attend, please contact our office today. Someone from back East purchased a large number of books and donated some of his launch event tickets, and we’d love to make sure they get used. Please contact us at 1-801-375-7900. First come, first serve.

– Workshops, Speakers, Fun & Games, and Networking.

– Learn how other kids, teens, and stay-at-home moms have zigzagged to build businesses.

– Lunch is provided.
Saturday, October 15th

For more info, to register, or for tickets, please click or call: 1-801-375-7900

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With Bated Breath

Monday 3 October 2011 @ 4:50 pm

Tomorrow is the big day.

Tomorrow is Tuesday, October 4th and it’s the day the books, my books, hit the shelves.

This is the day I wondered about before I decided to write the book. This is the day I dreamed about back at the beginning of the project. This is the day I longed for a few months ago when we were in the thick of things. This is the day that marks an important zig in my path. And now…this is the day I’m going to enjoy and celebrate. I will enjoy this day knowing that this book, The Zig Zag Principle, is the best I have to offer.

Over the past several months, via my blog, I have published excerpts from the book. I have shared zigzagging examples from my businesses. I have highlighted some of my favorite zigzaggers both public and private. Today I’d like to share The Zig Zag Principle book trailer.

I’d also like to invite everyone to participate in the events we have lined up in conjunction with the book launch. We’ve planned Webinars, speaking events, and we’re holding a big launch party in a couple weeks. I’d love for you to join our celebration. Releasing a book is a crazy and fun experience. Wish me luck, and let’s have a blast.

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Rich Christiansen