Curt became the leader his business needed—and grew it by 628%.

Curt Richardson, OtterBox

Fort Collins, CO

Chief executive firefighter.

When Curt started OtterBox with his first machine shop in 1998, he thought he’d gotten what he always wanted. But pretty soon, he was working tons of hours, fighting fires constantly and not making any money. His business turned into a job. And the dream turned into a nightmare.

I remember feeling like I was on a giant gerbil wheel: just going ’round and ’round and ’round, doing the same thing over and over.

Curt Richardson, OtterBoxCurt Richardson, OtterBox

Stagnant and exhausting.

Curt found himself doing the same thing over and over and hoping that if he could only do it faster and harder, he’d be more successful. But, eventually, he realized he just couldn’t keep up. He couldn’t keep working more and more hours only to get the same result.

e-myth business coaching otterbox curt river

I was always in the tyranny of the urgent. I needed to go do it, do it, do it—and the reality is, I needed to help other people do it.

Curt Richardson, OtterBoxCurt Richardson, OtterBox

Creating the systems to help his company flourish.

Together with his Coach, Donna, Curt built the systems his people needed so he could stop fighting fires every day. He documented his approach and built his personal process into systems his team could run. This created the foundation of his business and stopped the cycle. He learned how to communicate his vision to his people so they could align around the mission: to do things the OtterBox way.

e-myth business coaching otterbox curt and donna

As a small business owner, you’re very much about just getting it done every day. You’re not thinking, ‘How do I set this up so I’m not right back here tomorrow?’ And that’s really what systems and processes do.

Curt Richardson, OtterBoxCurt Richardson, OtterBox

Three Factors for Success

Number One

Align your team around your vision.

Through his EMyth work, Curt clarified his vision for OtterBox and learned how to communicate it to his team in a way that inspired them. Their unique mission—“We Grow to Give”—embodies the heart of why Curt started the company and is a shared value his team can rally around.

Number Two

Design systems to support your goals.

Curt knew he didn’t want to fight fires every day. So he broke the vicious cycle by building systems to get the results he wanted, the way he wanted them.

Number Three

Create a culture you believe in.

Ask Curt what the best part about OtterBox is, and he’ll tell you it’s his people. They join his company in support of his vision, and they stay because OtterBox truly embodies it. With the clarity of Curt’s vision, he’s created a culture inspired to give back.

e-myth business coaching otterbox curt and donna walking

A business and a life to be proud of.

Today, Curt has a business that’s grown by over 628%—without him there to run it. He has as much time as he wants to focus on the things he loves in life—hunting, sculpting, spending time on his ranch in Wyoming, and deep-sea fishing near his home in the British Virgin Islands. And he and his wife, Nancy, have the time and money to give back through the OtterCares Foundation, the nonprofit Nancy founded to educate and inspire youth toward philanthropy and entrepreneurship.

Today, Otter’s a symphony.

Curt Richardson, OtterBoxCurt Richardson, OtterBox

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