Posts By : Jon Schallert

IMG_1357
New Destination BootCamp Date for 2016, Plus Unedited Testimonials from BootCamp Attendees

IMG_1357This is a short post to let you know that we have added another Destination BootCamp to our 2016 schedule.  We now are taking applications for our newly-posted October 11-13 date.

We have added this additional date because the two remaining Destination BootCamps for 2016 of September 13-15 and October 26-28 have both filled up and can take no more attendees.

As of Thursday, August 4, we have 24 seats available for this new BootCamp date, October 11-13, and if you miss this date, the next time to attend will be 2017.

If you’re wondering if the Destination BootCamp can help your business, here is a sampling of testimonials from business owners who just attended the BootCamp last week:

Actual, Unedited July, 2016 Destination BootCamp Attendee Testimonials

“The most comprehensive and current 2½ day program I have ever attended on owning and operating a business from financials, leadership, customer service, through social media.”

“You will learn so much: marketing, media, internet options … so much to learn!”

“There is an incredible wealth of information.”

“Destination Business BootCamp takes you out of your day-to-day rut, and gives you perspective from the mountaintop.  Those blind spots that are holding your business back become visible.”

“There is so much good information in one place over 2½ days.”

“You have no idea what you didn’t know until Jon reveals it.”

“Destination BootCamp has given me the motivation to carry on in these economic hard times.

The information learned will be the survival tools needed to make our business more successful.”

“Take the step and the time to work on your business – get to this BootCamp yesterday!”

“We all need to take a couple days out of the office to plan, prep and prepare.  We need a break from working in the business to work ON the office!”

“Jon gives you ideas to bring life back into your business.  This a very organized way to develop a plan of action specific to your business and the destination business principles will help you clarify and target your business approach.”

Need more information to help you decide?  Call me directly at my office and we can talk about how this class can grow your sales and customer traffic beyond what you’re doing now.

Thanks!

Jon Schallert
(303) 774-6522

October late 2015
Opportunity for 18 Grand County Business Owners to Participate in Community Reinvention Destination Business Program

Grand County Economic Development will pay for 18 Grand County business owners to participate in Jon Schallert’s Community Reinvention Program which begins with a 2½-day Destination BootCamp in Longmont on October 25-27. The organization is accepting applications for the grants until September 15.

Last year, 18 county business owners took advantage of a similar opportunity to participate in Schallert’s Community Reinvention Program that included his 20-hour Destination BootCamp workshop, 4-months of follow-up training, and a 1-on-1 on-site visit from Schallert to provide specific marketing advice to grow their businesses into “Consumer Destinations” (see photo below).

October late 2015Schallert, who has taught tens of thousands of entrepreneurs how to make their shops irresistible to both local and tourist customers, started developing his trademark 14-point strategy during a decade at Hallmark Cards where his model was called “The Schallert Method”.  Schallert’s firm, The Schallert Group, started in 1996 and is based in Longmont, where he holds six Destination BootCamps a year.  Over the last 14 years, over 50 counties, cities, and towns have participated in the Community Reinvention Program.

“I learned so much,” said Rachel Rayburn, owner of Altitude Jewelry in Winter Park, who attended last year. “It really feels like I’m now starting to see the benefits of that. It just took me a while to sift through all that new information. I was letting everything go on autopilot, and I wasn’t doing anything to market, and that was a mistake. He said, ‘Do lots of little pivots, do little low-cost things, see what works for you. We’ve had a lot of success with that.”

Rayburn implemented Schallert’s shop-rearrangement suggestions after his visit – putting a signature jewelry line on a dominant wall rather than by the door, for example – with immediate results.

“We flipped all of the cases and moved everything around,” she said. “We started seeing the sales of what we make increase almost immediately.”

To apply the BootCamp ideas to her Mountain Grind Coffee & Bistro in Winter Park, Susan Volk displayed her unique positioning statement on her most visible wall, promoted local food on a Wall of Fame behind her counter, and installed a copper replica of an old-fashioned expresso machine as the coffee shop’s “monument.”

“It was great to be able to put some of those things to use,” Volk said. “I was also able to use some of that information to create a new brochure that did a better job at telling my story. I think it’s generated a little buzz as well.”

Steve Kudron, owner of Quacker Gift Shop in Grand Lake, said the tips helped his personal business approach as well as his marketing. The store, which specializes in unique tourist-related items like rubber duckies, hand lotions, and fresh fudge, has online and wholesale components, along with his storefront on the boardwalk in Grand Lake.

“During the BootCamp, one of the things I learned was having the right kind of balance as a leader and what were some of the tools to be able to do that,” Kudron said. “That was a good refresher for me and an opportunity for me to make positive changes in our business.

‘I was able to take our understanding as a destination type store and really turn it using his unique positioning concepts. I was able to drill down and find the right blend of marketing as well as uniqueness in our store to really make a difference.”

Last year’s event also provided business owners in the county an opportunity to meet and start sharing ideas.  Business owners from Winter Park, Fraser, Granby, Grand Lake, and Kremmling all attended last year.

“It was great to meet people from other parts of the county,” said Volk, who later took a four-day trip to meet fellow participants in their own shops. “I met with a lot of those different business owners and got a chance to check out their businesses. I was struck with the creativity and energy they had there. Hopefully that raised some awareness for businesses in other parts of the county.

“It’s very challenging, particularly in small and rural areas where it can seem very competitive at time. The more of us that are succeeding, whether we have competing businesses or not, the better it is for all of us. I came away from the BootCamp and the Community Reinvention Program with a really strong sense of that, and I’d like to see that carried on to businesses across Grand County.”

Small business owners may apply to participate in this year’s Community Reinvention Program by submitting a letter of interest. Grand County Economic Development received a $27,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant with a token $290 investment from the County for the program. Eligible businesses must have fewer than 50 employees and less than $1 million in gross sales to qualify.

For more information and to apply for the program, call Grand County Economic Development at (970) 531-1343 or email: dbutler@co.grand.co.us.

Interested business owners can also visit:

http://grandforbusiness.com/jon-schallert-destination-bootcamp

Creating Consumer Insistence
Creating Consumer Preference: The First Step in Becoming a Destination

Creating Consumer InsistenceFor those of you who just had a 3-day, July 4th weekend, you might have experienced what I did this past weekend, an overwhelming number of choices on where to spend my 3 days off.

All of these were on my “Possible Go-To” list:  There were several 4th of July parades in our area.  There were firework shows on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday nights.  Two of my favorite breweries had bands playing at them (Left Hand Brewing and Wibby Brewing).  Plus, there’s always a fun concert in our city’s park where they fire off a cannon that makes all the dogs pull out of their collars.

Then there’s the new Independence Day movie.  In this one, Will Smith’s character is dead.  I heard the movie’s not that great, but I’m still wondering how are we going to beat the aliens without Will Smith?

I’m guessing you experienced much the same this last weekend:  Where do you go when there’s too much to see, too much to do, and too little time to do it in?

You did what I did. You made decisions and judgments.  Quick ones.  You heard about all the things you could do, on television, radio, and from your friends.  You read about what was going on, in the newspaper, on Facebook, via Twitter, in emails, and online.  You probably discussed all the choices with your family, your spouse, or your friends.  Then, you decided.  You processed all the choices and said: “This is what I’m doing this weekend.”

Here’s why I’m focusing on this:  When a business is working to become a Destination, there’s one primary outcome that they must accomplish.  How do we get a consumer to say:  “I’m going to that place!”  That’s really the #1 Goal. Get the potential customer to come to your business.  Do this well and it leads to Outcomes 2, 3, and 4:

#2:  Customers connect with your business, and they spend money with you.  A little money’s OK, but spending a lot is preferable.

#3:  They leave as ecstatically happy customers, and they go out and talk positively about your business, spreading word-of-mouth.

#4:  The next big step: Getting them to come back again and again, each time, giving you and your business money.

To summarize:  That’s the place I’m going, followed by, that’s the place where I’m spending my money, followed by, that’s the only place I’m going from now on.

It seems easy, but it’s not easy. There’s a definite step-by-step process that must be followed.  Now, I’m not saying that the process is hard.  It’s not hard.  Any business owner can do it if you follow the correct steps to create Consumer Preference, and you know strategically how to push the motivational “buttons” of consumers.

Intrigued?  Well, if you’d like to learn how to push those buttons so that customers come to your business again and again, read on.

2016 Destination BootCamps

Most of you know that I spent years discovering what makes one business a Destination that becomes extremely profitable and successful, while another business in the same community doesn’t have that success.  To learn this, I interviewed over 10,000 business owners and traveled to over 500 cities and towns.  I also kept really, really good notes, processed what I learned from all the brilliant business owners I’d interviewed, and then, (and this took a little luck), realized that what each of these super-successful business owners was doing was actually a repeatable process that I could teach. And for the last 19 years, I’ve taught this.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to take you years of your life to learn this.  You can learn how to make your business a Destination in 2½ days, at my Destination BootCamp, held in Longmont, Colorado.  (Here’s a photo of our most recent class)

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If you want me to teach this Destination strategy to you, you have two (2) Destination BootCamps in 2016 where we still have seats available:

Our next BootCamp, on July 26-28, has approximately 12 seats left, and I expect when it’s all said and done, that the class size will probably have about 25 attendees, based on our current projections.  (By the way, with this class, we will pass one thousand (1,000) business owners who have taken our BootCamp.

We’re not giving anything away to the thousandth owner/attendee, but I still think it’s kind of cool.

Then, our following Destination BootCamp on September 13-15 has approximately 8-10 seats remaining.  We are estimating this class will fill up.

Miss these 2 dates and you’ll have to wait until March, 2017 (8 months from now), to attend my next Destination BootCamp.

Interested in learning more?  Are you interested in learning why hundreds of business owners and entrepreneurs have attended over the last 14 years and you still haven’t?  If so, go and read “What You’ll Learn” at the Destination BootCamp by clicking here.

Or, if you’re still skeptical, you might want to read what other previously skeptical business owners (just like you), said AFTER they took the class.  Read that by clicking here.

And finally, if you have any questions about how my BootCamp can help your business, feel free to call me directly at 303-774-6522, extension 104. I’m happy to talk to you.

Thanks!  Hope to see you in Longmont soon!

Jon

Thrive not Survive
Everyone Wants You to Grow, but Who Really Wants You to Thrive?

Thrive not Survive

To all independent business owners!

Here’s something to think about:

I once received a call from the sales vice-president of a well-known national franchise who wanted me to speak at their annual convention.  He’d heard about me from one of his independent franchisees, and he knew that I helped businesses grow their sales, customer traffic, and profits as a Destination Business.

We seemed to be the perfect fit, but then he said:

“One thing: I can’t have you mention anything about that Destination-stuff you speak on. These are franchisees. They have set territories.  You can’t say anything about becoming a Destination Business because I don’t need a bunch of franchisees leaving that convention, all half-cocked, thinking they can pull customers from anywhere they want.”

And with that, I politely declined speaking for them, and referred him to another speaker.

Now don’t get me wrong. I understand his concern.  I know how franchised businesses work.  A well-known franchise (like a McDonald’s), wants their locations to deliver brand-uniformity: The same image, the same products, the same promise.

Consistency, not differences.

But here’s the thing: Consumers don’t always want the same.  Most of the time, they actually want uniqueness. They want one-of-a-kind.  They like individuality.  And they especially love Shop-Local, independent businesses run by local owners.

Who knew Mom and Pop were gonna be so Hot?

But the good news is: The principles of being a unique Destination can be merged with franchise systems. But you need a franchise management team that’s willing to grow and learn, like the Real Deals on Home Décor franchise. When I met with the Real Deals on Home Décor executive team, they hired me to help their franchisees grow their businesses.  Period!  No conditions. No limitations.  They wanted me to teach their franchisees and their management team all about my Destination strategy and they wanted me to give their independent owners all the tools they needed to bring in more customers and sales! We took the Real Deals franchise model and incorporated the most powerful parts of my 14-step Destination process and blended them together.  Then, they had me teach the strategy to their independent owners.

Real Deals on Home Décor wanted their franchise network of independent business owners to thrive, not just survive.

Now think about your company’s manufacturers who supply your business with products.  I learned there’s a difference in manufacturers when I spoke at the American Lighting Association.  No sooner had I left the stage when I was approached by the management team from Kichler Lighting, one of the largest lighting manufacturers in North America.  They liked what they’d heard and within 2 weeks, they had me design an entire 12-month training plan for their lighting showroom customers that included workshops, 1-on-1 consulting, and monthly Destination webinars, all designed to drive more customer traffic into their businesses.

Kichler Lighting created a program that took the strengths of their product lines and mixed it with the Destination Business process to help their retail store owners grow. Not just plod forward.

They wanted them to thrive.

Why do I tell you these stories?  Because I want you look closely at the companies, resources, and programs that are integral to your business, and then, decide if your company is receiving what you deserve.  Are the people who manage these entities just helping you maintain your business, or are they giving you all the tools to accelerate your business to its greatest potential?

Some of you know that James Cash Penney, the founder of the JC Penney chain, was a fellow Longmont, Colorado entrepreneur. His first business was located just 2 doors down from our location at 321 Main Street in downtown Longmont just 119 years ago.  I’m going to end this blog post with a quote from my former neighbor:

“Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.”

It’s time for you to insist that those forces start working towards your company’s maximum growth.

Destination BootCamp update:

I wanted to update you on our remaining 2016 Destination BootCamps:

  1. We have three (3) remaining Destination BootCamps in 2016 that have space in them. Their dates are:
    1. June 7-9
    2. July 26-28
    3. September 13-15

The October 25-27 class is full and can take no more participants.

Here are three workshops in my schedule that are open to the public:

Thursday, May 19: 8:00 to 9:30 a.m. at Hutchinson Community College, 1300 N. Plum, Justice Theater in the Shears Technology Building in Hutchinson, Kansas, Increasing Sales & Profits as a Destination Business. To register, call 620-665-8468 or email dukartd@hutchcc.edu.

Tuesday, May 24: 9:00 to 10:15 a.m. in Milwaukee Wisconsin at the National Main Street Conference, Room 102C in the Wisconsin Center.  The 7 Steps to a Memorable Main Street: Capturing Today’s Customers as a Destination Downtown. Join me for my 1 and only session, and then, stick around and let’s talk about your Destination Downtown challenge.

Tuesday and Wednesday, June 14-15, Austin, Texas at the Real Places 2016 Conference, sponsored by the Texas Historical Commission. Go to RealPlaces.us for more information.

Thanks, Everyone!  Let me hear of your successes by emailing me at Info@JonSchallert.com

Jon

Lies to Look Out for
The 4 Biggest Lies Customers Tell You

Lies to Look Out forMost of you who own a business know this, but customers lie.  They lie a lot.  Most don’t do it in a spiteful way, but from the time they’re walking in your business, they’re not telling you the truth.

Does this shock you?  You must be new to the world of independent business ownership.

Let’s start with the first lie they spout when they walk in: “Oh, I’m just looking.”

But they’re really not. Most people are too busy to walk into a business and stroll around just looking.

Here’s what they’re really saying but not telling you:  The outside of your business looked interesting and something caught their attention. They had something in their head that they needed and they thought you might be the place.  They had a problem and they thought you were the solution.  Now they’re inside and your place isn’t living up to what they expected.

Now their interest?  Not so much.

Now that they’re inside, you’re about to hear the next lie.  Here it is:

“You have a cute place.”

Now, there are variations of this lie.  For instance, you might hear: “What a nice place”, “Your place is so different”, and “Wow, look at this place”.  Regardless of how it’s uttered, this is the lie to make pleasant conversation as they’re looking for that thing they need that they’re beginning to realize you don’t have.  They’re buying time, conveying friendliness, and scanning your business, deciding if your place is really worth the time to stay in and explore.

Finally, when they go up and down one aisle (I call it the “Just-looking-loop”), they start for the exit.  And right here, they’ll often spout these two Big Ones:

“I just love your place”.

My Mom used to say to me:  “Your nose is growing.”  Try saying that to them.

This is a bold-faced whopper.  For those of you who are naïve, who think they’re sincere, here’s how to know if they’re telling the truth:  If they say this, and it isn’t followed by giving you money and buying something, it’s a lie.

And the final one I love:  “I’m going to look around, and I’ll be back.”

Now they’re laying it on thick.

This one has different meanings.  Bottom line: They’re out of here. You’ll never see them again. This is their exit lie. This lie can mean that they misjudged your business, thought you had something that you either don’t have or they weren’t able to find, and now, they’re trying to be nice by giving you that exit compliment.

Or, this lie can have a different meaning these days:  It can also mean they found what they want in your business, but they’re going to check online to see if it’s cheaper and if it is, they’ll buy it there.

Well, that’s all the time I have today in this blog.  Hope you enjoyed the 4 Biggest Lies Customer Tell You.

Upcoming in my future blogs, I’ll explain these two favorites:

“I don’t come down here much because there’s not a lot of parking” and “I get so busy I just buy it online.”

Gotta love em!

With 40 Pages of Updates, You Should be Coming Our Way

We have five (5) Destination BootCamps this year, the next one being in 18 days on April 19-21.

By the way, we only have 3 seats left in it.  (And if you’re interested, the skiing is excellent in Colorado; stay for the weekend and go up skiing). FYI: Our registration BootCamp deadline for our April class is Monday, April 11.

After the April BootCamp, our next Destination BootCamp is on June 7-9, followed by one in the end of July, mid-September, and the end of October.

But you should know that in all of our 2016 BootCamps, I’ve already made over 40 pages of updates and changes, to keep the material current.  Lots of new website, social media, and digital marketing changes and additions, along with new photos, success stories, and my new “Shop Local” section, where you learn how to actually get customers to shop local, without having to play the guilt card (which doesn’t work anyway).

Finally, I’m always happy to talk to you and walk you through how I think you’ll benefit from our BootCamp, and if your business isn’t a good fit for my class, I’ll tell you that, too.  Just call me at our office number below.

Hope to see you in Colorado this year!

Until next week,

Jon

Your Money is Going Up in Smoke
Quit Killing Your Business: Preserve Your Profit Margin

Your Money Up In SmokeI’m not very good sitting in an audience. Sitting’s not my thing. But I’m especially bad at sitting still when there’s a business consultant on stage telling independent business owners that their best shot at bringing customers in their doors is to discount their products and services.

You see, I was speaking at a conference, had some time between my sessions, and wanted to hear this consultant’s take on small business success, but I wasn’t in my seat 3 minutes and he starts telling the owners in the audience that a great way to bring people into their businesses was to give a “tax-free” day to customers, and discount their prices by the percentage of their tax rate.

Now, I’m not saying this technique won’t work.  It will.  But so will discounting your product 20%, 30%, or even 50%.  But why stop there?  If you really want to attract thousands of customers in a single day, just give all your products away for free!

Nobody wants that, do we?  Yes, we want customers to come in our doors, but we want them to pay a fair price so at the end of the day, we’ve made a profit and we’re making a living doing what we do.

But that starts with understanding the downside to price discounting.

Business owners are mistakenly giving up critical dollars that their businesses need to survive. I meet owners every day that have gone down the road of constantly offering discounts, but who also complain to me at the end of the year that they’re not generating a profit.

Folks:  Heavy discount marketing = a profit poor performance.

Plus, the more businesses discount their prices, the more their customers are trained to wait for the discount. (Think Kohl’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Sports Authority).

Oh, wait:  Sports Authority just filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Coincidence?

There are smart ways to market a business with price discounting, creative methods that don’t hit your bottom line so hard, and in many cases, give the customer a feel that they’re getting a great deal, while really not giving up very much profit margin at all.  I have webinars in DestinationUniversity.com, our business owner training network, on this topic.  But for now, remember these basic tenants on discounting:

  • Every customer wants good value these days, but not all customers need a discount to purchase.
  • Discount marketing attracts the least loyal consumers who are most likely to desert your business when another business discounts more.
  • These same discount-oriented customers generally spend less money and demand more attention than more profitable customers.
  • Bottom-line reality: The more you discount, the more bottom-feeders you’re going to attract.

Want to minimize your price discounting?  It starts with focusing on making your business distinctive, specialized, and one-of-a-kind, focusing on unique products and specialized services that people haven’t seen before.

Or as I like to say: Creating customer insistence by becoming a Destination.

Only 4 Seats Left

We have only four (4) seats left for my April 19-21 Destination BootCamp, where you can learn to implement my entire 14-step strategy that turns your business into a Consumer Destination, equipped to entice customers from hours away.

If you’re not familiar with Destination BootCamp, click on www.DestinationBootCamp.com and take time to read the nearly 200 testimonials from business owners just like you, who write about how Destination BootCamp has accelerated the sales and profitability of their stores, sometimes by hundreds of thousands of dollars!

This is the fourteenth year I’ve been doing the BootCamp. We’ve nearly run 1,000 business owners through my process.

I know you’ve thought about attending. Why haven’t you?

Don’t miss this chance to transform your business. Make the commitment to come to Colorado and attend one of my 5 Destination BootCamps in 2016.

Until next week,

Jon

Sinking Ship
Can Your Business Change its Course like an Aircraft Carrier?

Sinking Ship“No matter how far you have gone on a wrong road, turn back.” Turkish proverb

Let me tell you a story that a friend of mine, a retired Navy Commander, told me. One night over a couple of libations, I asked him what he did in the Navy, and while he was listing his different jobs, he mentioned that he had piloted an aircraft carrier, the largest sea-going vessel in the world.

Do you wonder just how large it is? A Nimitz-class aircraft carrier is 1,000 feet long (approximately 3 times the length of a football field), and as wide as a football field, 100 yards wide. Each one weighs 100,000 tons, which sounds large, until you do the math and realize that it’s tremendously heavy at 200 million pounds of metal floating on the ocean.

The more we talked, the more I asked questions. Seriously, this friend of mine had navigated an aircraft carrier! Finally, this question came to my mind: Just how long does it take to turn an aircraft carrier completely around to head in the opposite direction? Not just a small turn, but a complete 180-degree turn in the opposite direction? Here’s what he told me:

When he was “driving” it, he could make a 1 degree change in the direction of the ship every couple of seconds. That meant that in roughly 3-5 miles, depending on the speed of the ship, the current of the ocean, and the wind, he could completely turn the vessel around in just 3-5 minutes.

Think about that: A 200 million pound ship that can go from one direction, to the total opposite direction, in 3-5 minutes.

So my question is:

Why does it take entrepreneurs so long to change the direction of their business,
when they know they’re going the wrong way?

Seriously, I meet business owners all the time who confide in me and admit that the revenue they’re bringing in from their business is inadequate. They admit to me that their business has changed into something that is unrecognizable from what they dreamed of creating. And finally, they tell me how their business no longer gives them the joy and the thrill of owning it. It’s a burden, or worse, it’s turned into a really bad job.

Shoot, if you wanted a job, you could have stayed in the one you had before you started your business.

Listen to me: You CAN change the course of your business for the better, and you can do it in a short amount of time. Yes, it will take time to get it to where you want it to be, but it all starts with a simple decision: Admitting that you don’t like what’s happening and deciding that you will no longer steer your business in that direction.

Trust me on this: You ARE more nimble than a 200 million pound aircraft carrier. You have a brain to move your business forward, and it only has propellers. But if it can change its course in 5 minutes, don’t you think you should be able to change your course in even less time? I think so.

I’m going to leave you with this quote from Jim Rohn:

You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.”

Don’t wait another day to do it!

33 Days from Today

Just 33 days from today, you could be sitting in my Destination Business BootCamp learning an entirely new way to bring more customers in your door. It took me almost 30 years to learn this 14-step strategy, but it’s all available to you when you make the trek to Longmont, Colorado to be part of one of my classes.

If you’d like to read about what you’ll learn at my Destination BootCamp, just click here.

You are also welcome to call me at any time, if you’d like to learn if my class can help your business. Just call our office line below.

As I said above: Don’t wait another day to do it!

Thanks, Everyone!

Jon

Prairie Dog Town
The Dangers of Using 5-Legged Cow Marketing

Prairie Dog TownWhile you’re contemplating the title of this post, let me tell you a quick story.

When I was 22 years old, I drove from Colorado to Connecticut to start my first job following college. If you’ve ever drove east out of Colorado, you know that most people end up taking Interstate 70, which stretches for over 400 miles across Kansas.

For those of you who’ve driven this highway, no sooner are you over the Kansas border motoring east when you start seeing signs like the one above proclaiming that if you stop in Prairie Dog Town in Oakley, Kansas, that you’ll get to see a Russian Wild Boar, an 8,000 pound prairie dog, and a live 5-legged cow.

For a 22 year old like myself, starting his first career job and feeling very free and adventurous, the first time I saw this sign, I knew I had to stop. I mean seriously: Who doesn’t want to see an 8,000 prairie dog and a cow walking around with 5 legs?

Once you cross the border at Kanorado, Kansas (yes, that’s its name, and think about how few cities really have names that tell you their exact location), it’s about 75 miles to Oakley. And just to make sure you don’t forget that there’s an 8,000 pound burrowing rodent waiting for you, the owner of Prairie Dog Town placed hand-made-looking signs all along the interstate.

Now, some of you who are Kansas experts know that the Prairie Dog Town attraction is now closed, but let me clarify that their business closure happened fairly recently. For decades, this interstate highway tourist attraction remained open, so much so that any time I drove through Kansas, in my 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and nearly all through my 50’s, this place remained open, beckoning me with their signs to stop.

But let’s get back to when I was 22, and first decided to stop and see Prairie Dog Town. If my memory is right, it cost me $15 to get in. There were several rooms filled with stuffed animals (stuffed by taxidermists, not cuddly teddy bear stuffed animals), and many cages with animals stuffed in them. I remember one glass cage filled with rattlesnakes, and I do remember asking to see the Russian Wild Boar, which looked more like a small pig that had very little wildness about him.

Honestly, the cages didn’t interest me. I wanted to see the massive rodent and the 5-legged cow. I can share this with you now that the attraction is closed: The 8,000 pound prairie dog was actually a concrete statue. I remember protesting to the owner of the business that I had expected a massive live prairie dog, but he just kind of laughed me off as a City Boy that didn’t understand animals and pointed out that he never had said it was alive.

Which brings me now to the LIVE 5-legged cow: There were several cows out in the nearly-all-dirt pasture, but none that had 5 legs. It was easy to look at their legs from afar and see that every cow I spotted only had 4 legs on the ground. When I again protested that his signs had misled me, he took me out to a cow in the far pasture. We approached it together, and he told me that this was his live, 5-legged cow. Well, it really didn’t have 5 legs touching the ground, but it did have 4 on the ground and one long appendage hanging off its shoulder. Genetically, yes it was a leg that was horribly deformed that had sprung from this cow, but without his pointing it out, I would have assumed it was just some elongated shoulder growth, City Boy I was.

I left Prairie Dog Town a little disillusioned, feeling cheated out of $15, but moderately pleased that I had at least seen an animal oddity that I’d never seen before.

So here’s my question to all of you: In the 35+ years following my visit to Prairie Dog Town, do you think I ever stopped again to see how these animals?

Nope. Definitely not! I never stopped at that place again, even though I drove past it scores of times over the decades. One time, being conned and misled by this attraction, had caused me to decide that I’d never stop again.

My lesson to all of you is probably obvious, but I must say it: With today’s customer, you can ALWAYS get them to come in once. That’s not the problem. Getting a consumer to come into your business ONCE is NEVER a problem! It’s actually quite easy to run a nifty ad, place a creative Facebook ad or post, or use any of the myriad of social media tools that are available to your business today and it is EASY to get the consumer to come to your business. One-time!

But if you ever convince a consumer to come in your doors and you’ve conned them, or deceived them, don’t expect them back. It will be a one-time victory, but the negative ramifications of your one-time success will be devastating to your business, especially in this world of viral social media.

The sad truth is that there are business owners every day relying on 5-Legged Cow Marketing to lure consumers in for a one-time hit.

Don’t be one of them!

That’s all for this week, everyone! Have a great weekend!

Jon

Is_Your_Business_Living_Up_to_its_Potential
What’s Your Business Potential?

Is_Your_Business_Living_Up_to_its_PotentialIf you recently watched the Super Bowl, you heard a word used repeatedly during the game, and during the pre and post-game interviews. That word was Potential.

The dictionary defines Potential as: “latent qualities or abilities that may be developed which lead to future success…”

That sounds very positive, but in the world of sports, when Potential is used, it’s rarely used in a positive context. I’ve never heard an announcer say: “We are watching a world-class athlete right now performing at their peak potential.”
Why is that? It’s because with athletes, we just don’t know how good someone can become. We can tell when they’re at the top of their field, like Usain Bolt, the Jamaican sprinter who is the fastest person ever timed in track and field. But what we don’t know is: Has he really reached his potential? Or is there still another new 100 meter record just waiting to be set by him?

Consequently, when we hear the word Potential in sports, it’s used negatively:

“Once Joe moved to Colorado and started hitting the marijuana dispensaries, he never reached his potential as a football player.”

But in this blog post, I’m going to challenge you to think of the word Potential in a new and positive way. Let me ask you:

Have you maximized the Potential of your Business?

Why am I asking you this? Because as I travel the country speaking at conferences and in communities, it’s troubling when I hear business owners say:

“I still haven’t paid myself a salary since I started my business and I made more money at my previous job.”
“We opened our business 5 years ago, and we still haven’t hit our initial projections.”
“If our location was different, we’d do so much better.”
“I don’t want to do this forever, and I’d like to retire and sell this business someday.”

All of these owners are talking about their businesses not having reached their Potential.

Here’s something I’d like you to consider:  If you’ve tried everything you can think of, and you’re still not happy with the revenue your business is generating, isn’t it time to try something new to realize the Potential of your business?

Stick with me on this: I’ve consulted with entrepreneurs for nearly 30 years. I’ve interviewed over 10,000 business owners in over 500 towns and cities.

I know a little bit about business success.

Businesses that become Consumer Destinations MAXIMIZE their Potential.  They EXCEED the sales and customer traffic numbers of businesses around them.  They do so well, they defy the demographics of the area in which they are located.

I know this is true because owners who have created Destination Businesses make comments like this to me:

“Our business pulls customers from hours away.”
“I didn’t know it would be this easy to get free publicity.”
“I had no idea our sales could be this good.”
“I never dreamed our business would be this successful.”

The Potential of your business: You haven’t maximized it, but you can.

Let me leave you with a final thought from Bo Bennett:

Every day, people settle for less than they deserve.
They are only partially living or at best living a partial life.
Every human being has the potential for greatness.

And so does your business.

Registration Now Open

We have five (5) Destination BootCamps scheduled for 2016, with our first one coming up in 8 weeks.

If you’d like to learn the Destination strategy that I’ve taught nearly 1,000 independent business owners, attending our Destination BootCamp is the only way you can do it.

Go to Destination BootCamp.com to see our 2016 dates, and read about what other owners have said after they’ve completed our class.  (Seriously, you should go read what they said; just click here to do it.)

If after looking it our information, you still have questions, call me directly at 303-774-6522. I’ll take some time to talk to you about what kind of Potential your business can achieve!

Thanks, everyone! Until next time, let me hear of your successes.

Jon

Happy New Year 2016
What We Absolutely Know Will Happen to You and Your Business in 2016

Happy New Year 2016I don’t generally make business predictions, but here’s one thing that’s going to happen to every one of you, if you’re an entrepreneur or a business owner, in 2016.

Seriously, I can read the future.  I know you’re skeptical, and you might not believe me right now, but keep reading, and you will!

But before I get into that, let’s talk about 2015: For many of you, last year was a year to remember. All around the country, many of you told me that your business was never better. You had higher sales, better profits, and most importantly, more peace of mind than you’ve had in years.

As my accountant says: “Sales cure most things.”

But unfortunately, some of you told me that 2015 was the year you’d most like to forget. If your business is especially prosperous right now, it’s probably surprising to you that there are parts of the country that aren’t reaping the full benefits of our growing economy. If you travel and interview entrepreneurs like I do, you’ll soon learn that there are entire industries that are floundering and stagnating.

But thank goodness for January 1st. I know it’s really just another day, but I have to admit that when it rolls around, I do love checking off the date on my calendar, symbolically hitting the reset button, and looking forward to the year ahead.

Now, back to what I know is going to happen to you:

I’m writing this blog post on January 15. 351 days from now, on December 31, 2016, every one of you will take a moment to reflect on your successes or failures of 2016. You might be at a New Year’s Eve celebration, or you might still be working at your business, or you might be exhausted with your feet up on the couch. Wherever you’ll be, it’ll happen, and you’ll think back at the year it’s been and the achievements you’ve had, and the disappointments in your business that never came to fruition.

As writer Gregory Maguire so eloquently put it:

“I hate New Year’s Eve.
One more chance to remember that you haven’t yet done what you wanted.
And to pretend it doesn’t matter.”

Well, it does matter. There’s nothing worse than the feeling of regret when an opportunity has been missed. There’s nothing worse than having a vision of where you want to go, a dream of where you want to be, and falling short of the goal.

Here’s the good news about independent businesses: Nothing is written in stone! An independent business owner has the power to change and redirect their future any day they decide to change course.

Do not wait to exercise your ability to change the trajectory of your business. If you want it to be different, make it so. If you want it to improve, it can be done. Thousands of owners do it every year.

Will 2016 be as good for you as you hope it will be?

Don’t hope. Decide this will be your year.

More importantly, start taking the steps right now that will lead you to say (351 days from now), on New Year’s Eve, 2016: “This was my best year ever!”

Now, for those of you who like to save money:

By popular demand, we are extending our 1-time Destination BootCamp discount for an extra week: Register for ANY of our six (6) Destination BootCamps scheduled for 2016, and save $300 off the regular tuition price. This discount is extended through next Friday, January 22 until 11:59 p.m.   Sorry: This does NOT apply to Community Reinvention Program participants.

Check out the dates for our 6 BootCamps and save $300 in tuition costs. You can look at our upcoming dates at our Destination BootCamp website, and then, click over to the Register page.

Thanks, everyone!

Jon Schallert

Must-read business books
9 Business Authors You Gotta Know Who’ll Help Your Business Grow

Must-read business booksIf you’re like most business owners, you don’t have a lot of free time. You especially don’t have a lot of time to be reading business books that won’t help your business grow.

Unlike you, part of my job is to consume business books. I read them and decide which ones can help my clients grow their businesses, and then, interview the authors for our Destination University online training library (DestinationUniversity.com). After I interview them, we upload the recording to our computer servers, and any owner, anywhere in the world, can access those webinars and learn from them.

At our Destination BootCamp last week, a business owner asked me what single book she should read, knowing that she has such limited time. 1 single book.  That was a tough one.  After a week of thought, I decided to create my definitive list (in alphabetical order by author’s last name), of books that business owners should make time for:

  1. Marti Barletta is the definitive expert on how to market to women, the #1 consumer group most businesses should be targeting. Lots of wannabees pretend to know what Marti knows, but don’t be fooled because Marti is the one true source who really understands how businesses should change their focus and improve their sales by going after female customers. Plus, she shows you how to do it. Her “Marketing to PrimeTime Women” book is a must read.  If you’re a guy, you’ll love it until you get to the part where you learn that males die 6 years earlier than their wives.
  2. Eric Chester is the Man when it comes to understanding how to get the most from your employees. One of his first books, “Getting Them to Give a Damn”, and his book, “Reviving Work Ethic”, are must-have guides to getting employees to be productive or, the alternative, getting them as far away from your business as possible.
  3. Andy Core’s first book “Change Your Day, Not Your Life” is probably my favorite book to slap into the hands of an overworked business owner who tells me their life is out-of-control. Every page of this book has value. You read it and suddenly, you have the tools to get your life more under control as you move toward your most important goals. Plus, if you ever get to Arkansas, you can also visit his family’s craft brewery (which I think can contribute to the whole life-balance equation, too).
  4. Gotta include on this list author Debra Fine, and her book “The Fine Art of Small Talk”. Business owners and entrepreneurs waste hours of time going to networking events and not doing networking while they’re there. Debra has broken down the process of how you can talk to anyone, bond to anyone, get away from a conversation with anyone, and get a referral from anyone. Need I say more?
  5. Shep Hyken cranks out customer service books and does keynote speeches on customer service at a tremendous rate, but  personally, I really can’t stand customer service books that keep saying the same stuff that you know your employees are really not going to do anyway. But Shep’s books are different, especially his book “Amaze Every Customer Every Time: 52 Tools for Delivering the Most Amazing Customer Service on the Planet”. Open any page of this book and you can apply it to your business and it works! It works!
  6. Jason Jennings is a great friend, a wonderful business writer, and a skilled professional speaker, but the problem with putting Jason on this list is that it’s honestly hard to recommend just one of his books. One of my all-time favorites is “The Reinventors”, but you won’t go wrong picking up any of his books, including his new one, “The High-Speed Company”.  Fantastic author to interview, too! (You’ll see when you join Destination University).
  7. Mike Kerr is a writer and speaker out of Canada. If I remember correctly, he was once a park ranger, and he could be a stand-up comedian, but he’s also written some killer books on how to bring humor and inspiration to your business. You might say: “Who needs humor and inspiration in a business?” (and the answer would be everyone who’s in your business), but after you read his book “You Can’t Be Serious” and his newest one “The Humor Advantage”, you’ll figure out why adding humor to your business is really one of the most profitable steps you can take.
  8. I have to put Henriette Klauser on this list. Her book, “Write it Down, Make it Happen” is the most important business book I have ever read because it helped me leave my “I’m-going-to-slit-my-wrist-if-I-have-to-do-this-job-another-day” job, and create the company we have now. Her book was the guide, and I just followed it. I buy this life-changing book for more of my friends who are in dead-end careers than any other gift.
  9. Last but not…well, you know, is Lynn Robinson. Lynn is an intuition expert. I didn’t know what that meant, but after I read her book “Trust Your Gut” and “Listen”, I realized that listening to my gut instinct was really one of the smartest business decisions I could ever make. I don’t care what business you own, these books can help.That’s my Top 9 list. My apologies to my other author friends, but to all of you who own businesses, this would be where I’d put my time, if my time was as limited as yours.

Check out our Destination BootCamp Graduates

26 business owners and community leaders took 4 days of their time to come to Longmont, Colorado. They are now changed business owners. Just ask them. Shoot, just look at them!  They have a new business strategy and a new process to grow their business, and during the BootCamp, I even tell them what to do first when they return to their businesses to get the most impact.  Plus, they get a nifty collectible t-shirt!

Destination BootCamp Class September 2015Congratulations on the communities of Leavenworth and Hutchinson, both from Kansas, for sponsoring groups of owners to attend, all made possible with the help of the amazing Network Kansas organization.

 

Seats still available for our September 29 — October 1 Destination BootCamp

Our Destination BootCamp at the end of September is the only remaining 2015 workshop where we still have open seats, and since we just added the class a few weeks ago, we have lots of empty seats for this one. That means that if you’ve ever wanted to learn how to make your business a Destination using my 14-step process (that your competitors probably don’t know), and you’ve also wanted a small class where you can get a lot of 1-on-1 attention, this is the class for you!   It’s less than 3 weeks away so sign up now at www.DestinationBootCamp.com

That’s it everyone! Stay in touch and let me hear of your successes!

Jon Schallert
Want to connect?  (303) 774-6522 or email me at Info@JonSchallert.com

Lean Start Up Image
Want to Change Your Business? Better Learn to Pivot

Before we get to today’s Blog Lesson:  Great News for Kansas Business Owners

You might not have heard, but NetWork Kansas has designated our Destination BootCamp as a board-certified program that qualifies for up to $3,000 in funds to cover registration and travel expenses for businesses that are located in Network Kansas’ 48 Entrepreneurship (E-) Communities.

Our 2½ day Destination BootCamp workshop now joins the Kauffman Foundation’s Ice House Entrepreneurship Program, Wichita State University’s Growing Rural Businesses program, and NetWork Kansas’ Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge series as one of only four (4) board-certified programs.

Best of all, if you are a business owner in one of NetWork Kansas’ 48 E-Communities, this is a huge opportunity for your business!

If you’re not familiar with their organization, NetWork Kansas supports counties struggling with the economic challenges in a time of government cutbacks and global competition. Their communities have access to state tax credits so they can build loan funds to stimulate entrepreneurship. We are honored to be associated with NetWork Kansas, and if you’d like to read their whole announcement, click here:

Today’s Blog Lesson:  Want to Change Your Business?  Better Learn to Pivot

EricLean start up Ries is the author of the best-selling book, The Lean Startup, and the man who made the term “pivot” part of today’s business terminology. His book is not one focused on small businesses, nor is it one that most busy, independent business owners would pick up. But his concept is one that every entrepreneur today needs to understand. Here’s a basic explanation of the pivot.

Eric discovered that the most successful companies didn’t follow a prescribed course of action, nor did they often follow their exact business plan that they initially started with. The most successful companies made many quick changes and judged the success of those incremental changes. He also found that companies that were less successful often resorted to making large, radical changes in direction when they weren’t successful in launching a product or service.

In his own words, Eric writes:

“The hardest part of entrepreneurship is to develop the judgment to know when it’s time to change direction and when it’s time to stay the course. That’s why so many lean startup practices are focused on learning to tell the difference between progress and wasted effort. One such practice is to pivot from one vision to the next…”

The pivot is based around:  “ the idea that successful startups change directions but stay grounded in what they’ve learned. They keep one foot in the past and place one foot in a new possible future. Over time, this pivoting may lead them far afield from their original vision, but if you look carefully, you’ll be able to detect common threads that link each iteration…”

To give you specific examples, let’s take the companies of Twitter, YouTube, and Groupon, each of which abruptly changed course several times before they achieved success:

  • Twitter started out as a podcasting tool, but then, morphed to a short message tool.
  • YouTube started out as a video sharing site when co-founders Steve Chen and Chad Hurley realized they couldn’t easily share videos that their friends had shot at a dinner party.
  • Groupon started out with the name “The Point” and was a website where people could ask others to contribute money to certain causes and to organize political activities.

The reality is that if these companies had insisted on following their initial course of action, it was likely that no one today would know of these companies. All of them deviated from the initial path, what Eric calls a pivot.

“Virtually every startup he could think of had pivoted at one time or another…He believes are almost certain to change course before becoming successful.” Fast Company Magazine

I always think of the pivot when I talk to an new business owner who spends weeks writing a business plan. I have nothing against writing a plan, but the majority of successful Destination Business owners I’ve met deviated drastically from their original business plan, while just a handful I’ve met followed their plan to success.

For an in-depth description of the Pivot, you can go to Eric’s blog by clicking here.


Take the 3 Minute Test:  81 Business Lessons You Must Know to Succeed Today

If your business is not generating the sales and customer traffic you’d like it to, think about attending our first Destination Business BootCamp of 2015 on March 3-5.

Now in our 12th year, over 800 small business owners have attended my Destination BootCamp and learned my 14-step strategy on how to make your business a Destination to consumers.

Our March class will have owners coming from all over North America, in over 20 different industries, and that’s just part of what makes our BootCamp the most unique business workshop you’ve ever attended.

If you own a retail store, a restaurant, a service-oriented business, or a professional practice, and you want more customers in your doors WITHOUT giving up profit margin, learning my Destination strategy should be on your priority list for 2015.

But don’t take my word for it. Take 3 minutes to jump over to our DestinationBootCamp.com website and read the 81 different business lessons you’ll learn when you attend our BootCamp.

Upcoming Workshops Across the USA

Here’s a list of Destination Business workshops (that are open to the public), that I’ll be conducting in the next several months. Just click on the listing and it will take you over to that specific workshop’s information page where you can learn more:

Thursday, February 19: Jacksboro, TX

Thursday, March 19: North Carolina Main Street Conference in Morganton, NC

Tuesday, March 31: National Main Streets Conference in Atlanta, GA

Tuesday, April 21: Garden City, KS

Wednesday, April 29, Murfreesboro, TN

Tuesday, May 12: Abilene, TX (location not yet available)

Tuesday, May 19: Greeley, CO (location not yet available)

That’s all I have!  Thanks for reading this post, and keep sending me your successes! I love hearing how you’re using my Destination tools!

Jon Schallert