Zingerman’s 12 Natural Laws of Business

Zingerman’s is an amazing business in Ann Arbor, MI. It started as a deli over 30 years ago and has grown into a group of 9 businesses doing over $40M annually (that is a lot of pastrami sandwiches!). One of their businesses is ZingTrain that helps other businesses learn their secrets of success. They share a lot of common philosophies with RunSignUp.

One of their cornerstones is their 12 Natural Laws of Business (similar to our Guiding Principles), which actually translates very well to Races, Race Management companies, Timers and Running Stores.

  1. An inspiring, strategically sound vision leads the way to greatness (especially if you write it down!).
  2. You need to give customers really compelling reasons to buy from you.
  3. Without good finance, you fail.
  4. People do their best work when they’re part of a really great organization. 
  5. If you want the staff to give great service to customers, the leaders have to give great service to the staff. 
  6. If you want great performance from your staff, you have to give them clear expectations and training tools.
  7. Successful businesses do the things that others know they should do …. but generally don’t.
  8. To get to greatness you’ve got to keep getting better, all the time!
  9. Success means you get better problems.
  10. Whatever your strengths are, they will likely lead straight into your weaknesses.
  11. It generally takes a lot longer to make something great happen than people think.
  12. Great organizations are appreciative, and the people in them have more fun. 

The one I like the most is #11 – it takes longer than you think to make great things happen. We are almost 9 years into the RunSignUp journey and it feels like we have only just begun (but at least we are having fun)!



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