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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)

DSCF3886

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

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

Dancing Lampshade
It’s a New Year: Stop to Change Direction

Stop to change direction

It’s New Year’s Day, 2015, and you might be wondering why I’m blogging today.

Well, I know a lot of you are home, with family, maybe relaxing for the first day in a long time. You’re probably checking your emails because you might have been up dancing a little too late, or you did a bit too much celebrating.

Whatever the reason, I have a thought for you.

I can think of no other single event that will be more important to your business this year than setting a large goal, a lofty Resolution, for you to achieve in 2015.

The reason this is so important is when you set a huge goal, it makes you stretch and step outside your comfort zones.  A goal like this will help prod you to achieve something you never thought possible.   When we set a goal like this, it will pester us in the morning, jump-start us from the moment we get out of bed, and when we go to sleep, it will recirculate in our dreams

Jim Collins called them Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals, but I think of them more as goals that when I focus on them, I say to myself: “Can I really do this?”

Setting a goal like this at the beginning of the year gives all of us a starting point, from Day 1, to make the most of this new year.

But here’s the thing:  In order to create a goal like this, you’ll have to make time to pull yourself away from your day-to-day operations. You will have to carve out some time from your normal routine to think, plan, and dream.

I know most of you have been going full-speed over the holidays.  You must put on the brakes now. It’s the time to schedule some down time, and the creative time you need. You must give yourself permission to slow down and be introspective, to think about all that is possible for you, and this is especially important right now if you want to take your business to some higher goal, or in an entirely new direction.

I love the quote by Erich Fromm: “You have to stop in order to change direction.”

Today is that day. This is your time, the time of the year to stop, if you want to be somewhere else this time, next year.

That’s all I got! Happy January 1.

Now stop and make this your happiest New Year ever.

Jon

dollar
Ramping Up Your 4th Quarter Sales

Ramp Up Your Sales

Recently I recorded a new webinar in our studio called “4th Quarter Marketing Strategies to Implement Now”.  In the webinar, I covered 18 different tools, techniques, and tips that are critical if you want to grow your customer traffic and sales in the 4th Quarter (the final 3 months of the year).

We’re about half into October, and you might be wondering, “Why is Jon doing a webinar on increasing 4th Quarter sales? Everyone already knows this is important!”

Yes, you’re right. Everyone knows that the last 3 months of the year are critical to the profitability of a small business. But what most people don’t realize is that in today’s economy, consumers are very guarded in their spending. Talk to any small business owner and they will tell you that consumers have become much less willing to make frivolous, impulse purchases on a daily basis. But when it comes to special events, like weddings, birthdays, and holidays, they will open their purses and wallets and run their credit cards up!

Put another way: During the last 3 months of the year, consumers want to spend, and have an almost pent up demand to spend. Consequently, if your business isn’t ready to offer consumers value and market to consumer correctly, you as a business owner are missing out on huge amounts of revenue for your business.

If you’re interested in watching my webinar on “4th Quarter Marketing Strategies to Implement Now”, you’ll want to become a member of Destination University, our online training network. My new webinar is part of the more than 150 webinars recorded by over 50 business authors and experts, and for less than $1 a day, you can join the hundreds of business owners who access Destination University to grow their businesses. To learn how to join Destination University, click here.

But for this blog post, I want to share with you tip #14 from the webinar, how to use the new online local marketing tool called Alignable.

Alignable

Alignable is the free social network for local businesses, allowing businesses to connect and collaborate easily and grow their marketing reach at the same time. It’s one of the most powerful, easy-to-use tools available to leverage the power of Facebook’s business pages.

Just to be clear, Alignable doesn’t replace the need for a business to use email marketing or social networking tools like Facebook, Twitter, foursquare, or LinkedIn.  It works in tandem with these tools and gives you more local marketing power.

To get started using Alignable, just click here (Alignable.com) to jump over and get started.

I’m not going to go into a lot of detail on Alignable here (you’ll pick that up as you’re working with it), but here are some tips to get you started:

Begin with Alignable by setting up your Profile page, which is the first impression that a consumer sees.

Alignable tries to auto-populate as much information as possible by lifting the information directly off your business Facebook page, but there are other details that you have to complete. I’ve found that a big part of creating your Profile is selecting a photo of yourself for the image on your page. Don’t put a logo where your personal photo should go, as people are more likely to want to help a person than a logo. Additionally, there is a large graphic at the top of your Alignable page called a banner and I just used the same image from my Facebook business page (it’s called your Cover photo, that horizontal picture at the top).

But here’s why I’m most jazzed about Alignable for small businesses:

Alignable has a “My Neighborhood Area” where you learn what’s happening in your community and your local business neighborhood and where you can promote your business.

On that page, you can create a business Promotion and broadcast it to the world. It’s really simple to add a title, description, upload an image, and provide a date, and like magic, your Promotion is live.

Now, publicizing a promotion for your business might not seem like a big deal because many of you are posting to Facebook all the time, often with pretty good success. But what makes this Promotion area so powerful in Alignable is that when you upload a photo, headline, and description, Alignable’s software automatically creates a search engine optimized web page.

Think about the 4th Quarter of the year and many businesses use promotions all the time to bring in more customers, but imagine the marketing power those promotions will have if a search engine optimized web page is automatically created, targeting local consumers who are searching for your product, service, or city’s name.

Take this further, and imagine that whenever you launch a Promotion in Alignable, your fellow local businesses that you’ve connected to in Alignable were also sharing your information, and on their own, creating their own search engine optimized promotions.

This is such a powerful tool, I suggest creating a business promotion in Alignable at least once a week, if not more!

If there’s one marketing tool that you should be using this 4th Quarter, it’s Alignable.  Get signed up today by clicking here or go to Alignable.com and start connecting with local businesses to boost your marketing reach.

Thanks, everyone!

Jon Schallert

CAR_LOT
When Buying Local Doesn’t Feel Local

I understand why I should shop local, and I do. I’ve always thought locally-owned businesses add the flair, the uniqueness, the character, and the differences that make a community shine. Without them, one city is pretty much like all the rest.

I also understand the economics and the importance of spending local dollars in local businesses, and the value of those dollars recirculating, rather than spending my money in a superstore where most of my dollars end up in Bentonville.

I get all that.

And remember, I’m also the guy who consults with independently-owned businesses, teaches them how to beat larger competitors by becoming Destinations, and even has a webinar called: “How to Get Locals to Spend More Money Locally.” If there ever was a guy invested in shopping local, it’s me.

But I’ve got a problem: What’s a person to do when there are locally-owned businesses that don’t feel local at all, and national chains that do?

Let me explain.

I buy most of my groceries at Safeway, a national grocer. I’ve always gone to Safeway, even as a child: My first memories of shopping were at the Safeway in Littleton, Colorado in the Woodlawn Shopping Center. Every time my brother and I went with our Mom to shop at Safeway, it was an event. The lady in the bakery always gave us a free cookie. We got to hang on the cart as we were wheeled around. There was a mechanical horse that we got to ride while Mom was checking out, if we’d been good.

Fast forward 50 years, and today, when I walk into my Longmont Safeway, I know most everyone by name. And best of all, they know me. Now, I’m not going to embarrass them by using their real first names (so I’ve changed them), but Bill in the produce section rides his bike to work each morning and we often complain about customers who think they can tell good corn-on-the-cob by tearing it open. His assistant, Roger, shares with me the best craft breweries he’s hit over the weekends. Sam in the deli knows that when I ask for a quarter pound, he better not hit 1/3 of a pound and he knows I’m always going to ask him to slice it fresh.

When I’m done shopping, I know all the cashiers: Miguel has a couple of kids and last year had his home burn down, and everyone in the store took up a collection for him. Jenny loves George Strait and spoils her grandkids. Roberta’s from Kansas, works at the local school as a second job, and always works holidays to get time and a half. Margaret is always there early in the mornings, always cheerful, and totally ignores the sign that says: “15 item limit” when I’m in line.

OK, so compare this to the locally-owned supermarket that came to Longmont last year, directly across the street:

I know who the owners are (they live in Boulder, 15 miles away), but I’ve never seen them in the store. In fact, all of their company’s marketing materials, including their e-newsletter, are for their Boulder store, not the Longmont store. I could care less about the Boulder store. If they’d like me to bond to this store, start with locally-focused marketing materials.

Next, their employees: I’m sure they’re nice enough, but honestly, I can’t tell. Most of the time, they’re talking to each other. Literally, I can walk by, or stand behind them trying to get to groceries, and they are oblivious to my presence. Sometimes, they look right at me, but do not speak. Weirdest thing.  When I walk into the produce department, you have to interrupt them if you want any response, otherwise, they’re hell-bent on pyramiding the apples.

Next, the deli: There’s never the same person in the deli, and I don’t trust their recommendations.  The last time I asked which roast beef was best, they sold me a brand that had the texture of a Croc’s sandal.  Right next door is their meat department which makes great chicken sausages.  But this weekend, I needed a bunch for the football tailgate party, and they were out of every flavor but one.

Finally, the cashiers. I hate to say they’re lifeless and emotionless, and I understand that cashiering is not a glamor job, but honestly, they seem the most excited when I say I don’t want a paper bag.

OK, so earlier I asked for your advice on what to do:  Shop with a chain that feels local? Or, should I spend money in a locally-owned business that makes me feel like I’m shopping Walmart?

Here’s what I do:

I support the independent businesses that value my business, where they know my name and appreciate my dollars. I support businesses that go out of their way for me when I have a special request, and in turn, I go out of my way to spend with them. Bottom line: If a business delivers the products and services I need and I have a relationship with the business, its owners, and its employees, I spend money there.

Since I’m also a shop-local kind of guy, I avoid national chains and superstores whenever possible, unless somehow, they’re able to transform themselves from big and impersonal, into local and familiar (which I have to admit, doesn’t happen very often).

Which brings me to Safeway and the locally-owned store across the street. I’ll shop both, but I’m going to tolerate the locally-owned one that doesn’t feel local, and I’m going to keep spending the majority of my grocery dollars at my local Safeway. That’s because Bill, Roger, Sam, Miguel, Jennie, Roberta, and Margaret do a good job, plus they are my neighbors, and they make me feel like their neighbor, too.

PS:  I’m sure this locally-owned store doesn’t know this, but on top of having employees who are responsive to customers, there are 13 additional marketing techniques that any business can leverage to show its customers that it’s a locally-owned business and that it values local customers.  Would you like to know what they are?  Read on!

Still Time to Save $200

Our final Destination BootCamp of 2014 occurs on October 7-9, only held in Longmont, Colorado.

(And yes, during Day 2, around 11:00 a.m., you will learn the 13 different shop-local marketing techniques that most businesses don’t even think about using).

You will also learn during my 2½ day class the entire 14-step process to make your business a Destination that I’ve developed after 27 years of interviews with thousands of successful business owners. I’ve taken the lessons from North America’s most brilliant independent business owners, and distilled it into a proven system that allows you to attract more customers from a greater distance, keep more local customers buying with you, while attracting the media for free publicity (which means your marketing costs can decrease).

Not only will my Destination BootCamp help you increase your customer traffic and sales, if you register for our October 7-9 Destination BootCamp, you can take $200 off your tuition cost by using the Promotion Code “Escape” when you register (sorry, this does NOT apply to Community Reinvention Program groups from the same city).

Need more convincing? Just click over to our DestinationBootCamp.com Testimonial section where we have the words of actual owners who have been through the same class.

Successful Independent Business Magazine

Wrapping up:  I’ve always wanted to create a publication that would help independent entrepreneurs and show them how to make their businesses more profitable, while bringing more customers in their doors.

I am pleased to announce that our new magazine, Successful Independent Business, will be available soon. Here’s the inaugural edition.

Successful Independent Business Cover Issue 1

Successful Independent Business is designed to tell the success stories of owners just like you, located in large cities and small towns, achieving spectacular success by following the Destination process that I teach.

If you’d like to receive Successful Independent Business, you can read it online or have it mailed to your business. You just have to tell us how you’d like to receive it by going to this link (click here), and signing up for it.

OK, that’s it for this week!  Thanks for tolerating my rambling and I hope to see you in Longmont next month at our Destination BootCamp!

Jon Schallert