Zigzag Your Way to Success Sep 30, 2011, 8:00 am By Emily Haleck

Guest post by Rich Christiansen, Author, The Zig Zag Principle: The Road to Success is Never a Straight Line  

Have you ever set your sights on the top of a mountain and then started climbing straight through the trees and up the sheer cliffs? Or jumped in your car and headed to the other side of town—as the crow flies? 

Of course not! Because you instinctively know that, just as a mighty river has to wend its way around obstacles and obstructions, the best route from where you are to where you want to be is never actually a straight line.

Many small businesses fail because they ignore this law of nature—the law of zigzagging—by setting big, hairy goals and trying to charge straight for them. The solution to save loads of money (and sanity, too) is to zigzag your way to success.

Let me explain a few of the steps.

1)      Set a Firm Foundation. The first step in building your foundation is assessing your resources—and I am not only talking about money. We all have skills and relationships that are often more important than money; I call them hidden assets. Next you should identify your beacon in the fog: set your primary goal and establish the values that will define your business.

2)      Zig 1: Always Get to Cash. The first zig to reaching your goal is to drive to profitability. This may mean being thrifty at the beginning and maybe even mean changing direction for a while to get enough cash flowing to keep the business alive. Running out of cash is the fastest way to kill your business.

3)      Zag 2: Add Processes and Resources. Once you have figured out what keeps you in the black, you must document these processes so you have a successful formula in place as your business grows. Then add the appropriate resources. You are making the transition from working harder to working smarter.

4)      Zig 3: Add Scale. This is where your business really gets exciting. You can make money in your sleep! By using established processes you have documented, you take your product or service out to the masses. Successful franchise companies know how to do this well. 

I have set some ambitious goals in my life, and I used to think the only way to achieve them was to drive in a straight line to get there. Now I know that I achieve considerably more success, while maintaining my sanity and sense of life balance, by zigzagging.

Rich Christiansen is the author of the recently released The Zig Zag Principle: The Road to Success is Never a Straight Line and co-author of Bootstrap Business: A Step-by-Step Business Survival Guide, both of which provide an inside look into the action formula for business success. Rich has founded or co-founded 33 businesses, 11 of which were complete failures, and another 11 of which have become multimillion-dollar companies. Through these experiences, as well as 20 years as a corporate executive, he has learned the ultimate process for starting a business and loves sharing what he has learned with others.

This  article should not be considered advice from Bank of American Fork or its affiliates.

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