Surviving

July 25th, 2013 by Rich Christiansen

Have you ever felt trapped in your business, to the point you know that impending doom is inevitable? I’ve experienced this feeling multiple times as an entrepreneur. Sadly, many times the feeling of doom manifested into reality and the business did fail. However, there have been a few times, under very tricky circumstances, where I was able to quickly move and migrate my business and we survived.

Today I encountered a situation through my travels in Peru that gave me great hope for the next time I encounter such a situation. There is a lake in the Andes Highlands named Lake Titicaca. This body of water is one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world. It is quite picturesque with Bolivia sitting on one side and Peru on the other. Now, some 500 years ago the Incas were terrorizing the lake’s indigenous people and impending doom was at hand for a little, peaceful village in an area called Puno. Rather than be destroyed some of their leaders had the courageous idea to float their boats out into a little reedy, secluded, sequestered area in Lake Titicaca and do something unexpected and ingenious.

I have no idea how they came up with the idea but their solution was to dive into the water and gather the roots of the lake’s reeds. From there they used the roots and reeds to build their own floating islands. The result? They were able to avoid and survive terrors and certain death from the Incas and prospered for the next 500 years. Today I visited one such sector called Uros Island. Fifty-two of these little individual islands surround each other. They’ve built boats that go back and forth between the islands made out of these reeds. They have living huts, elementary schools, community stores, and they even have a Post Office all on the water!

Today there are approximately one thousand natives that live on these little islands and they are some of the most prosperous people in the region. They don’t have alcohol and drug problems like some of the others in the region. They collect an $8 entry fee for every tourist that enters their region and they are a very industrious people. They continue to be survivors.

The encouragement given to me was when we find ourselves trapped we don’t have to stay that way. I am not suggesting we all go build our businesses on a lake made of reeds but I am instead proposing that we keep an open mind when it comes to business solutions. We don’t necessarily have to throw ourselves on a spear and die in a battle. We can protect our businesses and ourselves by creating our own unique solutions that bring our businesses to safer places.

This was a very refreshing and encouraging experience and I challenge you the next time you face what feels like impending doom to look for creative solutions.

Nazca Lines

July 22nd, 2013 by Rich Christiansen

In 1942 a young German woman named Maria Reiche arrived in Peru, very eager to learn and explore Machu Picchu. While in the capital of Lima she was approached by another German man who was there to study strange symmetrical lines in the Highland Desert. He invited Maria to come and start helping him document these interesting lines. When she arrived in the Nazca area she was absolutely captivated by what she discovered.

Some years earlier during the construction of the Pan-American Highway the civil engineers had cut straight through the valley, stomping through what was one of the greatest discoveries that Maria and this other gentleman were to make. These strange symmetrical lines were largely ignored until commercial airliners began observing the lines as they flew over them. As Maria began walking the lines and geometrically diagraming and cataloging them she discovered all sorts of strange animals like spiders, condors, whales, monkeys, humming birds, and other amazing animals. Maria came to spend several years in Peru and instead ended up spending her entire life. Individuals initially thought she was crazy. Here was this German woman out in the desert sleeping in the desert next to her Volkswagen Beetle, but over time as she documented and published her discoveries everyone began to realize her great contributions and take interest in what she was uncovering. 

We know today that the Nazca Lines accumulate approximately one hundred and fifty characters. The oldest character has been estimated to create around eight hundred years before Christ. The newest was probably created some seven or eight hundred years after Christ. Nobody knows exactly why these lines were created. Were they religious in nature? Are they the byproduct of UFOs? But indeed, the only way to observe the Nazca lines is how I did it today by flying over them. Nazca lines are something I’ve been looking forward to seeing for years and I’m so glad I was finally able to do it. I can attest that these lines are truly one of the greatest mysteries of the universe.

The question that I had today as I was flying over the Nazca Lines is what great hidden treasures are we stepping on in our lives? Are we cutting roads through personal treasures just like the civil engineers of the Pan-American Highway did without even recognizing that we were standing on some great hidden treasure? At times life requires us to back up in order to achieve a higher altitude in order to see the bigger picture and then voila! You will begin to have spiders, monkeys, whales, condors, hummingbirds, and all sorts of other very interesting creations appear. In our life we have to make certain we take the time to get proper perspective or else we can end up destroying the most valuable and precious things around us. Look for perspective in all aspects of your life for business and personal.

Nazca Lines

July 22nd, 2013 by Rich Christiansen

In 1942 a young German woman named Maria Reiche arrived in Peru, very eager to learn and explore Machu Picchu. While in the capital of Lima she was approached by another German man who was there to study strange symmetrical lines in the Highland Desert. He invited Maria to come and start helping him document these interesting lines. When she arrived in the Nazca area she was absolutely captivated by what she discovered.

Some years earlier during the construction of the Pan-American Highway the civil engineers had cut straight through the valley, stomping through what was one of the greatest discoveries that Maria and this other gentleman were to make. These strange symmetrical lines were largely ignored until commercial airliners began observing the lines as they flew over them. As Maria began walking the lines and geometrically diagraming and cataloging them she discovered all sorts of strange animals like spiders, condors, whales, monkeys, humming birds, and other amazing animals. Maria came to spend several years in Peru and instead ended up spending her entire life. Individuals initially thought she was crazy. Here was this German woman out in the desert sleeping in the desert next to her Volkswagen Beetle, but over time as she documented and published her discoveries everyone began to realize her great contributions and take interest in what she was uncovering. 

We know today that the Nazca Lines accumulate approximately one hundred and fifty characters. The oldest character has been estimated to create around eight hundred years before Christ. The newest was probably created some seven or eight hundred years after Christ. Nobody knows exactly why these lines were created. Were they religious in nature? Are they the byproduct of UFOs? But indeed, the only way to observe the Nazca lines is how I did it today by flying over them. Nazca lines are something I’ve been looking forward to seeing for years and I’m so glad I was finally able to do it. I can attest that these lines are truly one of the greatest mysteries of the universe.

The question that I had today as I was flying over the Nazca Lines is what great hidden treasures are we stepping on in our lives? Are we cutting roads through personal treasures just like the civil engineers of the Pan-American Highway did without even recognizing that we were standing on some great hidden treasure? At times life requires us to back up in order to achieve a higher altitude in order to see the bigger picture and then voila! You will begin to have spiders, monkeys, whales, condors, hummingbirds, and all sorts of other very interesting creations appear. In our life we have to make certain we take the time to get proper perspective or else we can end up destroying the most valuable and precious things around us. Look for perspective in all aspects of your life for business and personal.

It’s All in Your Approach

July 15th, 2013 by Rich Christiansen

This week I want to share some examples regarding salesmanship with examples from Froghair’s business reps and vendors. We had a poor experience with one and a great experience with the other. These are wonderful examples of how we can more effectively sell and communicate. The following is a transcript of an office meeting we had last week at Froghair.

Rich: Ok, today’s meeting is specifically talking about what we can do to sell and communicate more effectively. We’ve recently had a couple of both great and not-so great experiences. Curtis, would you start us off with your experience today?

Curtis: First call I get this morning is one of our carriers on the East Coast saying the vendor won’t let them in the gate to pick up product. Odd, because this is the third of three shipments and the previous two shipments were uneventful.

It turns out that the product wasn’t ready, even though it had been communicated eariler by our rep that it was infact ready. I had already been on the phone for an hour trying to solve this particular problem and trying to figure out why we couldn’t pick up our product we had already paid for when in walks our vendor rep. I knew he was coming in that morning and had a vague idea of when to expect him, but he just happened to walk in at the height on my frustration. He walks in and tells me that I was wasting my time. He told me that this was MY fault because I didn’t schedule the pickup time.

Well, this was news to me since I didn’t have to do that with our previous two shipments and told him as much. He said, “Well, that’s the way it is. That’s they way it happens, you just weren’t involved in it.”

Well, the next several topics we spoke about also ended up being my fault: from defective products we’d received to under-communicated expectations. Needless to say I was visibly frustrated. Rich identified that it wasn’t going well and that I was getting flustered, and Rich stepped in and said, “It’s all good, it’s all going to work out.”

Rich: Let me add somewhat to the story. I was boiling mad underneath as well. I was the one that let him in this morning, saying, “Oh, I didn’t realize you were coming.” This first thing he does is walk in and exclaims, “I want to see the product.” Those were the first words out of this particular salesman’s mouth this morning. I thought, “You have got to be kidding me.” He didn’t say, “I am so concerned about our customers. How can we reclaim this?” There wasn’t any tone of regret. You have to agree this is not a posture you want to see from a salesperson.

Curtis: Well, I thought it was just me. He could see I wasn’t happy. It just escalated as we were both frustrated. I would have expected him to have a different approach coming into the office.

Rich: Particularly when the vendor shipped the damaged product that almost lost us the whole deal. We were the ones that had to go out and reclaim the customer’s good faith. You have to admit it as pretty brazen on a best case to send old, damaged, broken product and then say, “It’s your fault. You just don’t understand the situation. The product is the same as it’s always been. It’s just a packaging difference. Now in contrast here’s a completely different approach.

Curtis, tell us what Callaway did for us and what we did in return.

Curtis: Well, it was actually with the help of Emily. Last year Rich, Shane, and I went out to Callaway to their hitting bay and as a parting gift they gave us a bunch of Froghair logoed golf balls. It was really awesome. I mean, they didn’t have to do that. It was a really nice perk. It just so happened that we just accelerated our business with them over the last six months: the growth has been incredible. Callaway has since commented that that is the best return on an investment that they’ve ever received doing golf balls for a company.

Well, it meant so much to me that we decided to take part in a little subterfuge. We knew the name of our Callaway rep’s favorite restaurant but we couldn’t find the right spelling or location. We ended up calling our rep’s assistant on the down-low and told her, “Don’t let anyone know, but we can’t figure out this restaurant and we need your help.” ?She gave us the right spelling and address. We then called the restaurant and purchased gift cards to the restaurant for her and her boss and we sent those by mail without any sort of telegraphing. Two days after we sent that we get a phone call from Callaway. “You guys are so cool! I can’t believe that you went to that extent. How did you know I loved that restaurant?”

This gesture went a long ways and to this day I’m still taking withdraws from that deposit of goodwill. Callaway loves Froghair. They don’t love Curtis or Emily or Rich. They love our culture.

Rich: That is what we’re about when we talk about salesmanship. It’s not just about getting an order that is ‘x’ amount of dollars. It’s about selling our culture and reciprocating that and identifying those connections with our partners. Contrast the two examples. Do you think we’ll jump at the chance to do business with the first or second rep the next time we get the opportunity?

Look at the way you interact with your employees and customers. What messages are you sending and what culture are you creating in your business? Find a way to connect and you will build strong and lasting relationships in your business.

The Five Circles of Influence

July 2nd, 2013 by Rich Christiansen

Several weeks ago I received an invitation to fly down to Austin, Texas and spend an afternoon with Ray Bard. Ray is indeed one of the most brilliant men that I have had the opportunity to encounter. Ray has the uncanny ability to take a complex concept, simplify it, analyze the moving parts, and assemble a very successful mechanism. Ray has represented more business best selling books and helped launch more famous books than anyone else in the industry.

As we were meeting with Ray he outlined a model that he’d been giving some thought to titled, “The Five Circles of Influence” which I wish to share with you today. This is a contextual way to consider your relationships. Looking at the diagram you will see outlines of the five layers of networking in your life.

The most inner circle is your Blood Brothers and Sisters. This is a very small group of individuals that would take a bullet for you. These are the people that would actually jump in front of a car for you at their own peril to protect and save you. If you’re a very lucky individual you may have one or two people. A rich and wealthy man beyond belief will have five or six individuals in this category. Truth be told, sadly many people have no one in their life that falls into this category.

The next circle is known as the Inner Circle. Again if you are indeed wealthy, Ten to fifteen people maximum go into this group. These are people that you could call at 3 a.m. and they would pick up your phone call without any hesitation. These people are very, very close to you.

The next group is known as your Tribe. Your tribe is typically made up of maybe fifty. These people are like-minded; they share common interests, are very aligned and closely associated with you, and are strong believers in you but wouldn’t necessarily take a bullet for you.

The next is your Community. This is your neighborhood. Most groups are around three hundred strong. As Ray talked about it turns out that people typically don’t know more than three hundred people and can’t remember more than three hundred names. This circle would be people on your Christmas card mailing list. This is your community of people you know.

The most outward circle is your Network. This group includes everyone in your Rolodex that you’ve ever met that you would have association or contact with.

The entirety of these groups constitute the power and influence in your life. The more influential your inner circles the more powerful you will be and the more impact and reach you will have. For instance, if one of your three blood brothers happens to be someone extremely powerful then your area of influence also dramatically increases. This is a very interesting diagram if you’re looking at it from the standpoint of being a thought-leader, publishing a book with the intent to turn it into a best-seller, if you’re looking to have influence from a political standpoint, or if you’re just trying to define your relationships. Too frequently we mistreat and we don’t understand why people aren’t responding the way that we want them to. It’s because we don’t clearly have them in the influence circle that we think we do.

Along with that it’s also important to understand that to keep people in the inner circles we have to put a lot of energy into the relationship. Think of your high school friends who you were very, very close to. Now they are likely way on the outside. So if you don’t put energy and effort into relationships then they actually tend to float out to the outer circles.

The conclusion that I drew is chose your inner circles wisely and don’t confuse those you should be friendly with to those who are true friends.
Thank you, Ray Bard. I very much appreciate that knowledge and it is definitely something that we can apply in all our business relationships as well as our personal relationships.

The Five Circles of Influence

July 2nd, 2013 by Rich Christiansen

Several weeks ago I received an invitation to fly down to Austin, Texas and spend an afternoon with Ray Bard. Ray is indeed one of the most brilliant men that I have had the opportunity to encounter. Ray has the uncanny ability to take a complex concept, simplify it, analyze the moving parts, and assemble a very successful mechanism. Ray has represented more business best selling books and helped launch more famous books than anyone else in the industry.

As we were meeting with Ray he outlined a model that he’d been giving some thought to titled, “The Five Circles of Influence” which I wish to share with you today. This is a contextual way to consider your relationships. Looking at the diagram you will see outlines of the five layers of networking in your life.

The most inner circle is your Blood Brothers and Sisters. This is a very small group of individuals that would take a bullet for you. These are the people that would actually jump in front of a car for you at their own peril to protect and save you. If you’re a very lucky individual you may have one or two people. A rich and wealthy man beyond belief will have five or six individuals in this category. Truth be told, sadly many people have no one in their life that falls into this category.

The next circle is known as the Inner Circle. Again if you are indeed wealthy, Ten to fifteen people maximum go into this group. These are people that you could call at 3 a.m. and they would pick up your phone call without any hesitation. These people are very, very close to you.

The next group is known as your Tribe. Your tribe is typically made up of maybe fifty. These people are like-minded; they share common interests, are very aligned and closely associated with you, and are strong believers in you but wouldn’t necessarily take a bullet for you.

The next is your Community. This is your neighborhood. Most groups are around three hundred strong. As Ray talked about it turns out that people typically don’t know more than three hundred people and can’t remember more than three hundred names. This circle would be people on your Christmas card mailing list. This is your community of people you know.

The most outward circle is your Network. This group includes everyone in your Rolodex that you’ve ever met that you would have association or contact with.

The entirety of these groups constitute the power and influence in your life. The more influential your inner circles the more powerful you will be and the more impact and reach you will have. For instance, if one of your three blood brothers happens to be someone extremely powerful then your area of influence also dramatically increases. This is a very interesting diagram if you’re looking at it from the standpoint of being a thought-leader, publishing a book with the intent to turn it into a best-seller, if you’re looking to have influence from a political standpoint, or if you’re just trying to define your relationships. Too frequently we mistreat and we don’t understand why people aren’t responding the way that we want them to. It’s because we don’t clearly have them in the influence circle that we think we do.

Along with that it’s also important to understand that to keep people in the inner circles we have to put a lot of energy into the relationship. Think of your high school friends who you were very, very close to. Now they are likely way on the outside. So if you don’t put energy and effort into relationships then they actually tend to float out to the outer circles.

The conclusion that I drew is chose your inner circles wisely and don’t confuse those you should be friendly with to those who are true friends.
Thank you, Ray Bard. I very much appreciate that knowledge and it is definitely something that we can apply in all our business relationships as well as our personal relationships.

The Five Circles of Influence

July 2nd, 2013 by Rich Christiansen

Several weeks ago I received an invitation to fly down to Austin, Texas and spend an afternoon with Ray Bard. Ray is indeed one of the most brilliant men that I have had the opportunity to encounter. Ray has the uncanny ability to take a complex concept, simplify it, analyze the moving parts, and assemble a very successful mechanism. Ray has represented more business best selling books and helped launch more famous books than anyone else in the industry.

As we were meeting with Ray he outlined a model that he’d been giving some thought to titled, “The Five Circles of Influence” which I wish to share with you today. This is a contextual way to consider your relationships. Looking at the diagram you will see outlines of the five layers of networking in your life.

The most inner circle is your Blood Brothers and Sisters. This is a very small group of individuals that would take a bullet for you. These are the people that would actually jump in front of a car for you at their own peril to protect and save you. If you’re a very lucky individual you may have one or two people. A rich and wealthy man beyond belief will have five or six individuals in this category. Truth be told, sadly many people have no one in their life that falls into this category.

The next circle is known as the Inner Circle. Again if you are indeed wealthy, Ten to fifteen people maximum go into this group. These are people that you could call at 3 a.m. and they would pick up your phone call without any hesitation. These people are very, very close to you.

The next group is known as your Tribe. Your tribe is typically made up of maybe fifty. These people are like-minded; they share common interests, are very aligned and closely associated with you, and are strong believers in you but wouldn’t necessarily take a bullet for you.

The next is your Community. This is your neighborhood. Most groups are around three hundred strong. As Ray talked about it turns out that people typically don’t know more than three hundred people and can’t remember more than three hundred names. This circle would be people on your Christmas card mailing list. This is your community of people you know.

The most outward circle is your Network. This group includes everyone in your Rolodex that you’ve ever met that you would have association or contact with.

The entirety of these groups constitute the power and influence in your life. The more influential your inner circles the more powerful you will be and the more impact and reach you will have. For instance, if one of your three blood brothers happens to be someone extremely powerful then your area of influence also dramatically increases. This is a very interesting diagram if you’re looking at it from the standpoint of being a thought-leader, publishing a book with the intent to turn it into a best-seller, if you’re looking to have influence from a political standpoint, or if you’re just trying to define your relationships. Too frequently we mistreat and we don’t understand why people aren’t responding the way that we want them to. It’s because we don’t clearly have them in the influence circle that we think we do.

Along with that it’s also important to understand that to keep people in the inner circles we have to put a lot of energy into the relationship. Think of your high school friends who you were very, very close to. Now they are likely way on the outside. So if you don’t put energy and effort into relationships then they actually tend to float out to the outer circles.

The conclusion that I drew is chose your inner circles wisely and don’t confuse those you should be friendly with to those who are true friends.
Thank you, Ray Bard. I very much appreciate that knowledge and it is definitely something that we can apply in all our business relationships as well as our personal relationships.