You Will See Them Again On The Way Back Down

November 29th, 2008 by Rich Christiansen

Be kind to your team members on the way up because you will see them again on the way back down.

I interrupt Sharon’s regularly scheduled blog to inject a quote from my mentor Dr. Peter Horne. I guess I get the right to do that every once in a while. :-)

In preparation for sending the book manuscript to the publisher, the past several weeks I have been contacting the individuals that I have quoted in the book. I wanted to make sure I got it right. This has generated a number of really fun conversations and trips down memory lane.

One of these conversations was with my mentor Dr. Peter Horne. Dr. Horne has a refined British accent, lives in Dartmouth England, and his IQ is so high it does not register on the richter scale. As a side note, Dr. Horne is the only non Japanese person to ever sit on the board of Mitsubishi Electric. However, the thing that most draws me to Peter is his ability to hit the nail on the head with simple, spot on practical advice.

As we discussed a few of his life philosophies (several of which made it into the book), I was reminded of the following statement that Dr. Horne would frequently make.

Be nice to your team members on the way up because you will see them again on the way down.

Ugggggggg …. I failed to put that one in the book, so this post will have to be a second best for now.

What brilliant advice from a very wise man. I know one thing for sure if you spend any time in the entrepreneurship world, you are going to go up and you will certainly go down as well.

We could all do with a bit more of being kind and thoughtful to those around us. Indeed odds are we will see them in a different setting next time around the merry go round.

Spanish Fork Seniors on the Subway

November 25th, 2008 by Sharon Larsen

 

Our office made it back safely from New York City and we had an incredible experience and learned a lot.  The fast-paced atmosphere and around-the-clock action of the City initially seem overwhelmingly complex.  This is particularly true when you attempt to ride the subways.  Crowds of hurried people rushing and pushing past you, speeding trains in every direction, and subway operators that seem determined to crush as many individuals in the doors as possible, can intimidate even the most determined newcomer.  But when you step back and take a few deep breaths, you see that there is a logic and order to the system.  All that is needed to successfully arrive at your destination is a map, the ability to follow directions, and a little bit of common sense. 

We experienced this first hand this weekend.  Our high school seniors went from looks of horror as we approached our first ride to airs of confidence by the end of the weekend as they navigated the trains.  Lo and behold, the public transportation system really isn’t that intimidating and isn’t out to get anyone (I’m almost convinced of this….).  This concept is directly applicable to starting your own business.  It can be scary, intimidating, and completely overwhelming with all the moving parts.  However, if you breathe deeply and find a good guide, the process can be not only doable, but even enjoyable!   Rich and Ron are really looking forward to helping individuals navigate through the complex system and it will be fun to watch the bootstrap seminars unfold.

Looking ahead, we’re all excited about the direction we’re heading as a company.  We took the time while in New York to create our new list of goals for Q1 2009.  After experiencing how fun and rewarding it is to meet goals, we are all energized to work towards our new targets.  Even in the midst of all our New York excitement, we established goals that were specific and reasonable yet challenging.  Our CastleWave company goals for the 1st quarter include  

  • Launch Search Engine Express
  • Run 60 new clients through that program
  • Engage 3 large clients
  • $350K revenue
  • $250 revenue/day from website assets
  • Book released with online platform established

These goals may not all make sense to you, but it’s the principle that’s important.  We set goals that will require us to be dedicated and focused in our work.  These goals are a critical component of our ‘subway map’ – they are the end points we are trying to reach as we navigate through the confusion.  While these goals are achievable, success is by no means a given; we’ll all be working very hard over the next few months.  We haven’t settled on an equivalent reward yet, but you can bet that we’re all brainstorming!  It’s going to take a lot to beat our racing around the subways of New York!

New York, New York

November 23rd, 2008 by Sharon Larsen

 

We’ve had a jam-packed weekend in New York City so far and have seen and done tons of fun things.  As a reminder, our whole CastleWave office is spending the weekend in NYC as a reward for meeting our company goals this summer.  Our group has had the opportunity to sample a variety of New York specialties, including Lombardi’s pizza (known as America’s first pizzeria), New York bagels, and even canolis from Little Italy.  I’ll confess that I love New York-style pizza; I think it’s safe to say that everyone in our office does.  And you can’t get it in the West!  Or at least it never tastes as good as it does in the City. 

 

We also saw a Broadway show, went to the top of Rockefeller Center, and walked through Battery Park – to name just a few things.  And all of this on Day 1!  The weather has been frigid and very windy this weekend in the City, but we braved the elements to see the sights. 

 

One of the more memorable parts of the trip so far has been our time in the Financial District.  We went to Ground Zero as a group, which was a special experience.  I have been there several times and each time I feel the same sense of reverence and awe for the courage and heroism displayed on September 11th.  We walked past the FDNY Ladder and Engine Co. 10, located directly across from the World Trade Center site.  Company 10 lost a large portion of their crew in the attack on the Twin Towers; the memorial outside of the firehouse reads, “Dedicated to those who fell and those who carry on.  May we never forget.”

 

And of course, since we came to New York City as an office, we had to stop by the Wall Street bull for a group shot.  The Charging Bull is the symbol of an aggressive financial optimism, so naturally we were eager to pose with it.      

 

 

Since I’m majoring in finance, I always love spending time in that area of New York City.  The atmosphere is definitely different than when I was there last, however – a lot has changed on Wall Street in the past few months.  In fact, after some contemplation, we thought this shot might be more appropriate considering the current market….

 

 

As you can tell, we’re having a great time in New York.  Only one day left now, and we still have plenty to see!  This has been a fantastic trip so far and a great reward for everyone’s hard work.  As Rich Christiansen and Ron Porter point out in the book, team rewards, when they are special and meaningful, create a community of collaboration and mutual appreciation.  Our little office has definitely experienced that this weekend.

NYC Here We Come!

November 19th, 2008 by Sharon Larsen
 I’m going to take a short break from blogging the story behind the Bootstrapped book in order to share some fun events from our office this week.  Tomorrow, the entire office is headed to New York City for a weekend trip as a reward for meeting our CastleWave company goals this summer!  As a reminder of the goals we set and in order to keep everyone motivated over the past few months, we’ve had this ‘goals picture’ hanging all over the office.

          The original plan was to spend the weekend in Las Vegas and go to a nice dinner and a fun show.  However, Rich and Ron, after some thought, were uncomfortable with the idea of taking the office (which includes four 17 year old guys!) to what can be viewed as a questionable destination J.  So in the past couple of weeks, the plan was changed to New York City, a revision no one was disappointed about!  Besides the City being a fun place to visit with so much to see, we’re also excited for the New York and Utah branches of the office to spend some time together.

          Our office has come a long way over the summer and accomplished some significant goals.  Setting and working towards goals has helped everyone to stay focused on their tasks, knowing their hard work is being noticed and will be rewarded.  It may seem unusual for a small office to be flying their entire staff to NYC, but Rich and Ron believe strongly in the concept of goals and rewards.  In the book, they encourage establishing achievable but ‘stretch’ goals for all projects, identifying meaningful and fun rewards for each goal, then following through with the rewards when the goals are met.  Often, the satisfaction from achieving the goal may seem like reward enough, but Rich advises against ever going back on promised rewards.  This only damages the desire to sacrifice for goals in the future.  Also, interestingly enough, money is hardly ever a powerful motivator – something to keep in mind as you set goals and rewards at home and in the office.  Meaningful and tantalizing rewards, on the other hand, elicit amazing efforts.
          Now that we have accomplished our set of summer goals, we are gearing up to set new ‘stretch’ goals for the next few months.  Having experienced the success of meeting our last set of goals, we are more enthusiastic to set new targets to work towards.  This also means that we get to pick a new reward – one that matches the effort required to meet our goals.  It may be difficult to top New York City, but I’m sure we’ll think of something!

From Humble Beginnings…

November 14th, 2008 by Sharon Larsen

Let me start by introducing myself.  My name is Sharon Larsen and I first became associated with Rich Christiansen and Ron Porter a little over three years ago when I started working for Rich.  I had just finished my bachelor’s degree in International Politics and was looking for a meaningful job opportunity where I could get my feet wet.  Without really knowing what I was getting into, I accepted the job as an account manager with Rich and completely changed my life’s trajectory.  The next several months were a whirlwind of highs, lows, and everything in between that is associated with working in a small business.  After about 15 months, Rich decided to sell/close the 3-4 businesses we were running and take a break (more on this story later) and I had the opportunity to try something new.  My experiences with the businesses and Rich’s encouragement led me to pursue an MBA in finance.  I’m now in my second year of school and will be graduating in April.  I recently joined Rich and Ron’s team again; it’s a new business with new faces in the office, but the same passion and drive for success that drew me in three years ago. 

 

During the time that I was in school and away from the office, Rich and Ron began writing a book documenting the precise process they follow to create a new business, something Rich has done about 27 times.  As they wrote, Ron challenged the principles in the book and insisted they start a business to prove it.  The resulting company, CastleWave, made over $1 million in its first year of business and is continuing to grow.  The book is recently completed and will soon be going to press.  Over the next few weeks until the book comes out, I’ll be blogging the story behind the book because it’s so fascinating and I think you’ll enjoy it.  If you’ve had a chance to watch the video that’s posted on the website, you know a little about the book and the basic story behind it.  If you haven’t, I would encourage you to watch it – it’s a captivating story!

 

 While my involvement in this story started three years ago, the roots of the venture go back much further than that.  Rich had strong entrepreneurial tendencies even in college but, as he puts it, didn’t think that he had the nerve, background, or funding to start his own company.  After getting an executive MBA, Rich discovered that he had an aptitude for business even though his background was in engineering.  Rich and Ron first became acquainted while they were both working for Novell and then solidified their relationship when they served together in ecclesiastical positions for their church.  They become such an effective team that they could basically read each other’s minds and finish each other’s thoughts.  Even while I was first working for Rich, he and Ron had a side-business going that they later sold for a modest profit.  Little did they imagine, I assume, the partnership that would evolve in the future…