The Doorman Principle

May 26th, 2012 by Rich Christiansen

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.

Blue Men Chauffeuring Prom: Penta Date on Bicycles Built for Two

May 21st, 2012 by Rich Christiansen

There are two key takeaways from today’s post.

1. It’s all in the marketing.
2. Surprise broca!

My son Nathan turned 16 on April 4th of this year and has been excited to begin dating and go on his first romantic excursion.

He indeed had several significant challenges.

  • Challenge #1: The law posed a problem. When you are 16 you can’t drive with other teens until you’ve driven with your parents for six months. Nathan and all of his friends had made great plans and had selected the girls they wanted to ask out, however they had no way to go and pickup these girls for the date. How do you overcome that?
  • Challenge #2: Budget. My sons and their friends have enough money to pay for the event, but not the craziness of a $1000 limousine and all the nonsense of an expensive prom. So budget was a constraint also.

Of course, Nathan is a very creative young man who has carefully observed his older brothers. He has also heard his father talking extensively about broca—the frontal cortex region of your brain. I often tell my sons that whenever you are marketing anything, you have to surprise broca and delight broca to get to the processing parts of your brain.

If everything is normal, normal, normal, and then you do something to surprise broca–the brain lets it through. It delights. That is how you get attention in marketing or anything else.

Nathan and his friends came up with a very well formulated plan. They each rented bicycles built for two, and they went and picked up their dates on these bikes. You can imagine the surprise and the delight of these young women as their dates pulled up on their bikes built for two.

They then pedaled up to a picnic setup with all sorts of contrast. They had everything from fancy, non-alcoholic apple juice and crème brûlée to regular old peanut butter sandwiches. They had a delightful time with a very contrasting meal

Then came the time for the formal prom. How in the heck is it okay for your dad to drive you? How obnoxious is that? So my son came up with another great plan to surprise broca.

He had my dear friend, Matt Duffin and me, dress up as blue men and serve as the chauffeurs. The only rule was we weren’t allowed to speak! We could do all the miming and gesturing we wanted, but we just couldn’t speak.

Let me tell you, we laid it on thick and had a blast!

Of course the kids experienced the tension that always accompanies a formal dance. I mean, young women weren’t meant to be in those frilly dresses. The young men take one look at the pretty girls and they instantly freeze.

It was fun to watch the tension dissolve as we hit our first stop sign. Matt and I got out and did a little fire drill jig running around the car in our blue man suits.

Needless to say the teenagers had a delightful time and Nathan indeed hit a broca homerun. While everyone else was pulling up in their fancy stretched limos, Nathan and his friends arrived in a minivan chauffeured by blue men.

Two rules: whether you’re wanting to romance someone or whether you’re wanting to win a marketing competition or whether you are trying to snag some attention online.

Rule #1: It is all in the marketing and presentation.
Rule #2: Always surprise broca!

Moms Launch a Business

May 15th, 2012 by Rich Christiansen

In light of Mothers Day yesterday, I’d like to take minute to highlight a group of mothers that I work with. Anyone who pays much attention to me has likely heard me comment that, “I love my moms!” Their story is indeed fun, and the story keeps getting more interesting and inspiring the longer I work with them.

When I first assembled this mom team a couple of years ago, I promised these women the chance to build their own businesses, and do you know what they did? They kind of blushed and laughed and said they couldn’t do it.

Now here we are two years later, and these moms have launched their first business. It’s called BeautySecrets101.com, a site where women can sign up to receive Ali’s Bling Box—a box full of name-brand fashion and beauty products for 50% to 70% off the retail price.

What’s the story? How did they go from giggling and questioning if they could run a business to successfully launching a big time beauty site?

First of all, these women are smart, talented, and passionate about learning and acheiving. They spent time zig zagging. They learned to drive traffic and manage a group of 80 Websites in the highly competitive coupon genre. They took ad campaigns from zero to full force. They sent press releases, built websites, and tracked financials. They fought off malware and struggled with Google algo changes. As they did this I watched their confidence and excitement for building and managing businesses grow. Now when I challenge them to launch a new business they jump on it.

Since the team is made up of moms their number one value is flexibility. Another value is “beleive in it” which means concentrating their efforts on businesses they are passionate about—which is exactly what they are doing with BeautySecrets101.com and the Bling Box.

The Beacon in the Fog for this mom team is to become financially stable and independent. As mothers they face unique challenges from my other teams. During meetings it’s not uncommon for someone to excuse herself to change a diaper or clean up spilled milk. One woman is working to support her family while simultatiously providing care for a terminally ill spouse. There’s PTA and carpool and bedtime stories. But in between it all there’s this passion to sell the Bling Box and to build this business to the point of providing for themselves.

So here we are one day after Mothers Day—and I’m rooting for this team of intellient, beautiful mothers because I’m delighted in their progress and their strength. Please join me in saying, “Go Moms!”

All Call for Guatemala

May 7th, 2012 by Rich Christiansen

One of my major goals is to help young men and young women throughout the world. In about a month, I will take a group of 12 teenagers to Guatemala.

After we land, we’ll take a ten-hour bus ride out of Guatemala City, into a little remote village. The destination is a spot where they set up the first secondary school in the history of the region. This group of teenagers will help educate and teach computer skills to the people of this village–particularly the youth.

Many of you have reached out and approached and asked, “Rich, what can I do to help out with this education goal?” Indeed, now is an opportunity to help with this goal. We want to take at least 12 used laptop computers into this little village.

If you happen to have access to one or more used laptop computers that is:
-    In good working condition.
-    Available for donation.
-    Loaded with basic word processing
-    Loaded with Excel spreadsheets.

The teenager and I would greatly appreciate hearing from you if you are willing to help contribute to this cause.

I am so excited about this effort. Indeed the juice and the fuel that keeps me excited in my life is this–making a difference in the lives of youth.

As I wrote The Zig Zag Principle we did three start-up business tests. One was with a group of work-from-home mothers. One was with a straight-up businessman. And the third was with this group of teenagers. I am so thrilled with this group of teens. They created a successful business, and they indeed knocked it out of the park. These young men and young women are the ones that are leading the effort in Guatemala. It is going to be amazing.

I’ll make sure I take pictures and keep you posted with this wonderful experience. And I do appreciate your support and assistance in helping me educate these young men and young women throughout the world.