ASA 52 | J-Curve Growth Principle


Is your business built on a deep foundation? What about your selling process? Or are they built on quicksand? The deeper the foundation, the taller the building – and it’s no different in business where the foundation means the relationships. Join Alex Mandossian in this episode to learn more about this concept as well as three specific powerful insights: why there are only three reasons why entrepreneurs fail in business, why building a business foundation determines your growth level, and why the J-Curve growth principle is about your market, not just your message.

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J-Curve Growth Principle

The deeper the foundation, the taller the building. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to New York City, but I lived there for years and there you will find the Empire State Building. It is a 102-story skyscraper. It scrapes the sky in New York City. It was designed by Shreve, Lamb & Harmon and it was completed in 1931. That’s deep in the heart of the Great Depression.

The building has a roof height of 1,250 feet. That’s about 380 meters and it stands a total height of 1,454 feet or about 444 meters tall. If you remember the movie King Kong, it was the Empire State Building that King Kong was climbing and was battling all those airplanes and had that woman in his hand.

At the top is that antenna, which increases its height by over 200 feet. Its name, the Empire State Building, was derived from the Empire State, which is what New York is known for. New York City is in New York, if you’re not familiar with it.

As of 2017, the Empire State Building is the fifth tallest completed skyscraper in the United States, but it always wasn’t that way. It’s located on the west side of Fifth Avenue and it stands between West 33rd and 34th Streets. Construction began in October 1929. That is when the Great Depression happened. Can you imagine?

Construction didn’t begin until the old Waldorf Astoria, which also stands in New York City, an elite hotel and Waldorf Astoria was standing where the Empire Building stands back in the day. They had to demolish that first. Maybe sometimes you have a business idea that has to be demolished or obliterated or destroyed before you can start a new business or a new project or a new campaign. That was there and they had to remove it for the Empire State Building to be constructed.

The Empire State Building

The foundation of the Empire State Building, which is what this episode is about and why the J Curve Growth Principle is unique and important to understand, was getting excavated before the demolition of the Waldorf Astoria was complete. Can you start the foundation of a new project or even a new business before you’ve completely demolished the old one? The answer is yes, which is why I’m telling you this story and it is true. Post-foundation construction started March 17, 1930.

It took a while to create the foundation. In fact, the Empire State Building, after the Waldorf Astoria was demolished, didn’t go up. First, it went down because the deeper the foundation, the taller the building. It went down over 50 feet. Think about that.

As it went down, it had to come back up to the street level because if they didn’t build a deep foundation, then the building wouldn’t be supported. Is your business supported with a deep foundation or have you built it on quicksand? Do you have a selling process that’s built on a foundation or are you attempting to get a transactional sale?

Foundation means relationship. Foundation means asking for a commitment that’s appropriate for your prospect to advance to the next step, not to close the sale. That’s building a foundation on quicksand and it’s transactional, not relational, which I’ve talked about many times in previous episodes.

The whole thing was well-coordinated like a business. There was a team. There was an architectural team, an engineering team, a construction team. All of it is happening in the worst economic times in world history, 1930. People are jumping out of buildings and committing suicide because they had lost everything in the stock market.

The Empire State Building created new jobs, but imagine doing it at the worst time possible. That means you can build your business in the worst time possible, not when everyone is saying times are great. If you have a deep foundation, you’re building will be built tall if you decide to.

In fact, more millionaires came out of the Great Depression than any other time in human history. Even during the dot-com stages we’ve experienced. This well-coordinated schedule meant that 86 stories were topped out on September 19th in 1930, six months after the construction started.

I don’t even think the buildings in Vegas are built that quickly and the building and the mass were completed by November 21st in 1930. From that point, the interior work proceeded at a quick pace. It was opened on May 1st, 1931. That is 13.5 months after the first steel beam was erected. It’s amazing. The tallest building in the world and all of it during the Great Depression when times were not only bad, they were the worst ever.

Can you begin a foundation and start selling with a building? Can you build a foundation and as soon as the foundation is built, and the building is getting built up to 86 stories, can the interior on the ground floor, 10th, 20th and 30th, can you have another team work on that? These are the systems of your business. Can you start selling for occupancy before the building is complete?

[bctt tweet=”Build your business to last; be like the bamboo.” username=”AlexMandossian”]

I live in California in the United States and sometimes, I will see a trailer in a parking lot and it says, “Future site of a specific gym.” A gymnasium is about to go up. They are selling or pre-selling the gym for people to come in and the gym will be constructed within a year. They’re selling gym membership before the gym has even broken ground before. There’s even a foundation.

I know Ikea sends out its catalogs and you have these billboards saying, “Future site of IKEA.” They’d done all the research, but they’re getting the momentum and they’re getting the market ready so that the message doesn’t do all the work.

J-Curve Principle

Everything must go down first before it goes up. Think about a tree. I talked about that in a previous episode. The J curve, think about a J. It goes down first and then it begins to go up. It is like a field hockey stick. If you know the game of field hockey, it looks like a J versus a hockey stick. You’ve heard of hockey stick growth. That’s where the stick is horizontal, then it goes straight up.

Business doesn’t work that way. If you’re introducing a new product, there is a J curve. If you’re building a new business, there’s a deep J curve. If you’re starting a new launch, there’s a J curve. There’s always a J curve. Not because it goes down, doesn’t mean it’s not going to come up.

When Steve Jobs launched the iPod in the early 21st century, in 2001, Apple back then it was called Apple Computer. Apple went down in sales by over 50% and that’s a new product launch for an entire year. This is the iPod and then it went up, but it didn’t breakeven until its third year, then the rest is history. That led to the iPad, iPhone and iWatch. Apple arguably is one of the most valuable companies on earth, if not the most valuable.

Everything has the J curve because its principle aligns itself with the laws of nature, like the Empire State Building had to go down first before it went up. The Empire State Building stood as the world’s tallest building for many years. I would say it’s because people aren’t willing to build a deep enough foundation until the completion of the World Trade Center of the North Tower in Manhattan in 1970.

Following the tragic September 11th attacks in 2001, the Empire State Building was the tallest building in New York until the new One World Trade Center was completed in April 2012. Why? I believe the analogy is a deeper foundation, the taller the building.

That brings us to the business part of this episode. If you hate to sell, selling is a part of the foundation of your business. You have operations and selling is a part of marketing. With operations, you also have some sort of a production that you’re doing.

Why People Fail

You don’t have to sell training as I do. You could be selling a product, but there’s a production involved. There are operations involved, which include finance. There’s marketing, which includes sales. I believe there are three reasons why people fail.

Number one, they don’t start. Number two, they don’t finish. Number three, most tragic of all, they don’t continue. They find themselves in the downward slope of this J curve and they don’t realize it’s going to curve back up again, so they don’t continue. They don’t keep digging for gold. They stop three feet from gold.

They sell their mining equipment, their picks and shovels, and then someone else digs another three feet and they find the gold. That is a true story that happened in California and it’s in the book by Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich, Three Feet from Gold, which is also a title of a book written by a friend of mine.

The J curve in any business and life with your children, with education. Things go down first before they go up. It’s about your market in business. It’s about your target audience, your avatar, your ideal client. In this case, for this episode and every other episode is my ideal reader.

That’s why I’m speaking to you. I’m not speaking to a crowd. I’m speaking to one person. You’re busy. The shovel of reality hits your forehead every single day as a parent, as a child of parents, if they’re still living, as a brother or sister, if you have any siblings, as a citizen, as a boss, as an employee. You have many roles and your market’s the same way. You have to warm them up and that’s the foundation. It’s not about your message.

Remember the iPod, it wasn’t about the message of 1,000 songs in your pocket because the Sony Walkman was inferior to the iPod. The iPod was not an improvement. It was a replacement. As in a previous episode, I’ve told you that because of my good friend Perry Belcher reminds me constantly that a replacement of any product is always going to beat an improvement.

ASA 52 | J-Curve Growth Principle

J-Curve Growth Principle: Foundation means relationship. It means asking for a commitment that’s appropriate for your prospect to advance to the next step, not to close the sale.


How many Sony Walkman backpacks could you have with all those CDs? You could only play one at a time, but yet one iPod and you could load it with 1,000 hot songs and you didn’t even have to buy the whole album. You could buy one song at a time, thanks to iTunes, which Steve Jobs also built.

Remember, it went down first before it went up. The three reasons why entrepreneurs fail is not starting, that’s procrastination, is not finishing, that’s perfectionism. They don’t continue, which is the invisible assassin to growth. Not continuing is the most tragic and people stop as long as you have a foundation.

Be Like A Bamboo

Foundation means strength. The Empire State Building stood tall and still stands tall because of its deep foundation. If you want to move away from buildings, let’s look at nature. You have bamboo, which is the fastest growing plant on earth. It’ll sometimes grow 4 to 6 inches in one week.

If you have bamboo in your backyard, it takes over your backyard, like my good friend, Jack Canfield, a co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul and author of The Success Principles. I’ve interviewed him over 90 times. I’ve interviewed him more than anyone else. The thing that’s most notable about Jack is his backyard is full of bamboo and they have to put nets underground because bamboo takes over.

Bamboo grows down first. It builds a strong root system. In most cases, at least three years, some cases up to fifteen years without seeing the first bamboo shoot come out of the ground. It’s because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not growing. Bamboo goes deep first, builds a root system, and then grows quickly. It’s the fastest growing plant on earth, but it starts with its foundation and your business is the same way.

Let’s compare bamboo with eucalyptus. The eucalyptus tree originated in Australia, but we have eucalyptus trees in California. I grew up in Pasadena, California near Los Angeles. I went to Allendale Elementary and I remember I was taking the bus every day.

When there were Santa Ana winds, which were these strong gusts of 30 and 40 mile an hour winds in Pasadena and parts of Southern California, we wouldn’t go to school because all the eucalyptus trees had fallen in the streets. I would be grateful to the Aussies, who gave us the eucalyptus tree.

The eucalyptus tree grows tall, but has a shallow root system and with the wind, it comes toppling down. The bamboo laughs at the wind. Build your business to last. Be like bamboo. Let’s go to ice hockey. How many people talk about hockey stick growth? That is a myth. I don’t believe in hockey stick growth where you go horizontal and then you go straight up.

If you’re building a business on vapor, then the end result is the dot-bomb, which was at the turn of the century, right around when Steve Jobs introduced the iPod. All those businesses built on vapor and had the venture capitalists funding things that weren’t real. They all went under. If you had invested in any dot-com stock, you lost a lot of money.

Whereas in field hockey, which I’ve never played, but I know what a field hockey stick looks like. It looks like J and that is a great metaphor of what your business looks like as you’re growing it and creating your systems first and having a sales system, not a sales transaction. You go south first, then you go north.

Be like bamboo and remember how the Empire State Building was built to last and it was built to last through planning and coordination as you can do with your own company. There are different stages of business growth and one stage can start at $100,000 because it’s more about planning than promotion.

Stages Of Business Growth

My good friend, Clate Mask, co-founded Infusionsoft, which I still utilize many years later. I started in 2003. He taught me that the stages of business growth after researching and studying all businesses, he found that they’re specific stages and there’s a pattern of growth. I’ll give it to you. There’s a lot of education and a tight time span. I hope that you’ll identify with it and you will plan for it.

Let’s say the first stage is $100,000 a year and I’ll use US dollars. The next stage is $300,000. You can’t grow to $300,000 to the next stage unless you have a new foundation, unless you have new teams, and unless you have new suppliers. You need different people to take you to the next stage and from $300,000, the next stage after that is about $1 million. After $1 million, the next stage is $3 million.

The stage after that is $10 million, then $30 million, then $100 million, and then $300 million. It is a mistake to hire someone who works at a $30 million company if you’re doing $1 million because they don’t face the same problems you do in growth and they’ve forgotten about it.

[bctt tweet=”Foundation precedes fortune.” username=”AlexMandossian”]

How many experts have you studied where they make things seem easy, but you say, “What about this thing and that thing? I can’t do that and I can’t do this.” Do you know what you’re complaining about if you do that? You are complaining about the foundation and you are what you complain about. If you don’t have a foundation, you won’t get to the next level.

Whether that’s operations, whether that’s the production levels, and your team, and people that work with you or even your marketing systems, so $100,000, $300,000, $1 million, $3 million, $10 million, $30 million and so on.

Problems Entrepreneurs Face

The Alexism for this episode is this. There are two types of problems entrepreneurs face each day. Number one, the ones they now have, and number two, the ones they will have. You are a problem solver. You solve problems for your clients, your patients, your students, your members, your customers, whatever you call them.

Without solving their problems, without getting them out of their pain points, then you’re irrelevant. It’s important to not only understand, but to realize and to actualize that business building is all about building a foundation and going down first the J Curve Principle. It is teaching us and how deep your foundation determines your growth level, like the Empire State Building.

Building that foundation means getting your market warmed up so that when you finally start messaging, as Ikea does, as a new gymnasium does here in the United States, like any new launch, you warm them up. Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Formula is warming up people, is building the market, is creating a community, and then the message to buy becomes a lot easier.

Review Of Insights

Let’s take a review of the insights you and I rediscovered in this episode. If you go to iTunes, you’ll see them in reverse order, but if you go to, you’ll see them in chronological order from one to whatever is there.

I want you to apply these three insights. Number one, there are only three reasons why entrepreneurs fail in business, not starting, not finishing, and tragically not continuing. Number two, why building your business foundation determines the ultimate growth level of your business? Think foundation first, then think fortune.

Foundation precedes fortune. Number three, why the J Curve Principle is about your market? It is because it’s your market which is paying you, not your message. Your message costs money. The reason you go down first is that the market is getting warmed up to the idea, like the iPod.

Steve Jobs sold an iPod, 1,000 songs in your pocket. There’s this thing called iTunes online. If you remember, as I do, I didn’t have an iPhone back then, there was no iPhone. I had a phone. I had a laptop. I had a desktop. I go, “What is this iTunes? What’s this iPod thing? How do you use it? It doesn’t have any levers or knobs or anything.” We had to get warmed up to it and now it’s as natural as breathing.

Remember, these insights will only work for you if you work them. Make sure you execute what you’ve learned in this episode because if you do, I believe your future will be bigger than it is. It’ll be brighter than it is and you’ll create it on your terms.

Speaking of reviews, if you’ve already given me a review on iTunes, thank you. It means so much to me and I want you to write down your biggest takeaway or you’re a-ha moment from this episode on an index card so you can revisit it in the future. It’ll be like a little hook, so you remember. Writing is the doing part of thinking.

If you have not given me a review on iTunes, then here’s what I want you to do. Go to and don’t give me a review of the show in general. That’s not what I’m asking for. I want you to write your biggest a-ha moment, the distinction, your big takeaway, or your pack my bag moment in the review section. Even though it says review, pretend it says, “A-ha,” and don’t review the show.

Give me your a-ha moment for this episode in the review section of iTunes because iTunes was only designed for reviews for the show, but I want it more specific so other people can gobble up what you’re saying and you’re learning as you’re writing. It’ll mean so much to me. Once you do that, iTunes will ask you to rate this episode and I do hope I’ve earned five stars from you.

Will you do that for me? It’ll take three minutes out of your day, but what you declare on iTunes and then rating it may be a valuable lesson that you can take home and then write it on an index card. It’s We are also on Stitcher and Google Podcasts.

ASA 52 | J-Curve Growth Principle

J-Curve Growth Principle: Business building is all about building a foundation and going down first the J-Curve principle.


I have one final gift to give you in honor of this episode and that’s complimentary, which means free access to my video eCourse that will teach you how to identify your market. It is difficult for most people to identify their markets. Number two, you’ll learn how to create an irresistible message. Number three, you’ll learn how to capitalize on the most lucrative media sources available to you.

All you got to do is go to and you won’t have to pay the $197 tuition because you’re one of the few who do you got this far. Maybe you may qualify for our clear path mentoring because in business, if you have a clear path from point A, where you are to point B, where you want to be. That’s like having your GPS to do it.

This is the show dedicated to making ethical influence within your reach and brings more certainty in your personal and professional life. Please do whatever it takes to join me next time because our topic is going to be how to avoid bad karma in business.

When do you like to do that, how to avoid bad karma in business? I’m going to encourage you to invite a friend or bring a study buddy. In fact, invite him to this episode. It’s free. It’s 25 years of sales and marketing know-how, my millions of dollars of mistakes, and you’re getting all of that in 25-minute chunks week after week.

I hope it was worthwhile. I encourage you to invite a friend, bring a study buddy, and I can’t wait to connect with you then because it’s going to be super fun. In one episode, I think you’ll enjoy with your study buddy. I can’t wait for our path to cross again.

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