Becoming a Destination Business

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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

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

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

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

Get-out-of-your-rut
What to Do if Your Business is Stuck

We all know what it’s like to personally get stuck in a rut, doing the same thing, again and again. Sometimes, it can take a lot of effort to jumpstart ourselves out of non-productive patterns, in order to accomplish new goals.

Well, businesses get stuck in ruts, too. And it’s easy to know when a business is in a rut because it exhibits signs of stagnation, or as I like to call it, a plateau. The most obvious signs are a slowdown in sales, a decrease in customer traffic, or a failure to reach previous year’s profits, even though the owner might be working as hard or harder than he or she worked the previous years.

Getting out of a personal rut can be grueling, but it can also happen overnight, if one decides to change right now.

Getting a business out of a sales rut can be more difficult: It’s my experience that many business owners think they can jumpstart revenue growth by spending more hours in the business and working harder. There’s nothing wrong with working harder and longer, as that type of effort often caused the business to reach its current success level.

But if you’re trying to achieve larger, double-digit sales growth, it rarely happens by working harder and longer.

As an owner, when your business is stuck in a rut, generating the same revenue year after year, you must be willing to step back and admit that there might be a better way to grow sales, instead of just doing more of what you’ve always done!

It’s time for a change in business strategy. It’s time to look at how other successful businesses broke out of their ruts, and it’s time to admit that there might be an EASIER way to generate higher sales that you don’t know.

Get out of your rut

So if you’re in a business rut, or you just like the idea of double-digit sales growth, here’s my advice:

Attend my next Destination BootCamp on October 7-9. When you come to Longmont, Colorado for my 2½ day class, I’ll take you through a 14-step process 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 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.

And if you don’t believe me, just click over to our DestinationBootCamp.com Testimonial section where we have the words of actual owners who have been through the same class.

Best of all, 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).

Hope to see you in Longmont next month!

 

Jon Schallert

images-11
Free Webinar! 9 Amazing Marketing Resources: Use Them Now and Have a Great Holiday Season

TURKEYYes, it’s the middle of the Summer, but it’s time to think about the 4th Quarter of the year.  Why?  Because there are only 100 days or so until Thanksgiving, and if you don’t focus now during these warm months, you’ll be kicking yourself later when you’re out in the cold.

Here’s a webinar that I conducted on August 11 that might help you.  This webinar shows you 9 different low-cost, high impact marketing tools and resources that you should be using if you want your year-end sales to be the highest ever.

This webinar takes 32 minutes and 5 seconds.  During that time, I explain these 9 amazing marketing resources and tools that you’re probably not using.  And if you are already using some of these tools, you’re probably using them incorrectly.

Once you watch this webinar, I’ve also provided a link to a free report that will help your business stand-out from the crowd in such incredibly easy ways that you’ll go to bed at night wondering why you never used this technique before

Plus, at the end of the webinar, you’ll receive a $200 value bonus.

If you’ve never watched one of our online webinars, here are a few tips:

First, use Google Chrome, Firefox, or Safari as the browser to watch the webinar. Do NOT use Internet Explorer.

Second, when you click on the link below to start the webinar, in the upper right hand corner of the screen you will see a box with an arrow point diagonally to the right. Hover your cursor over it and it says “Pop Out”.

Pop Out

 

Click on that box (it looks like the image to your left), immediately after the webinar starts and it will be much easier to view on your screen.

Just click on the title to watch my free webinar on the 9 Amazing Marketing Resources to Use Now to Have a Great Holiday Season.

Feel free to share this link or this blog with any of your colleagues, friends, business owners, or community leaders who might need a little good karma and some great advice to drive their sales higher!

Thanks, everyone!

Jon Schallert

PS: I’m always open to hearing your comments on my webinars. Send them to Info@JonSchallert.com.  Thanks!

Taste_and_See_Restaurant
The Ultimate Customer Experience, Part 2

To all my blog readers:  Last week, I wrote about my travels across New Brunswick, Canada and our experience at the Coffee Stain Restaurant in Bathurst, New Brunswick.  Here’s Part 2, as I write about how I discovered another Ultimate Customer Experience in the same province, in the community of Sussex.

Part 2: Food and Friends, Inspiring Your Day

After speaking at New Brunswick’s annual Tourism Conference, we worked our way south through New Brunswick on the way back to Maine.  We got off the highway and drove into downtown Sussex looking for breakfast. We were trying to find a non-chain restaurant where we could get a home-cooked meal, but after driving through downtown, we could only find a little bakery. I ran in to ask if there were any other restaurants in town, and the owner told me, “If you want the best breakfast in town, go over there to the Taste and See.”  She walked me outside and pointed across the road, right where we had just driven past.  “It’s right behind that building,” she said.

Isn’t that great, I thought, that owners in this little town actually refer customers to other businesses!

So we drove back to where we’d just passed, and we found the restaurant the baker had pointed at.  From the picture below, would you have missed it, too?

Taste_and_See_Restaurant

 

 

When we entered, we realized the Taste and See Restaurant is really two businesses in one, as the front side of the dining room has a separate area for those who just want to walk in off the street and grab a cup of coffee. That area of the business is called the Stable Grounds Café.

Stable_Grounds

The Taste and See was a much bigger restaurant than the Coffee Stain in Bathurst, but it was filled with as much warmth and good cheer as we’ve ever experienced.  From our booth, we could see the cooks in the kitchen moving rapidly making the customers’ meals, and when the skillet breakfasts we ordered came out (don’t ask me to name everything in it!), they tasted as amazing as they looked.
Yummy_at_the_Taste_and_See

Here’s something even more amazing: When the regulars came into Taste and See, most of them were greeted by name and often with hugs. It seemed the waitresses knew everyone!

I asked our waitress if they’d mind if I snapped a few photos of their interior décor.  They didn’t mind, so I took a shot of their inspirational quotation chalk board wall, along with Gotta_Gotheir hilarious bathroom signs.

Taste_and_See_WallSoon, one of the owners, Janice Gillies, came over to talk to us about how she and her partner, Joanne Barton, opened up Taste and See.  She talked about how they developed their unique recipes and how they created their imaginative interior (where else have you seen painted shutters used to decorate a wall?).Taste_and_See_Interior

Janice also told us how her staff reaches out to every customer when they come in, like the time she said “Good Morning” to one of her regulars who looked a little down, who came back with a noticeably unhappy response.  Undeterred, Janice told him, “I think you need a hug” and proceeded to wrap her arms around him.  That’s all it took!  He brightened right up and left happy after his meal.

Janice also showed us how every one of her team personalizes every coffee order.  She and her crew write an inspirational quotation on every cup of coffee that goes out of their restaurant. They take a black marker and hand write the quotation on the insulated sleeve that goes around every cup.  Quotations like:  “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass — It’s about learning to dance in the rain” and “The best way to predict your future is to create it” give her customers an uplifting thought as they start their day.

You’re not going to see that at a Starbucks! In fact, I’ve never seen it at any other coffee shop.

Before we left, Janice assembled her crew for a group shot.

Taste_and_See_Staff

I know in the world of economic development, most of the focus goes to attracting and retaining companies that create “primary jobs”, luring in companies that employ greater numbers of people. That’s all well and good, and I understand their importance, but aren’t those the same companies that we read about in the paper who demand tax credits and demand more community dollars, or they threaten to leave the community and move elsewhere?  Sure they are.

Primary jobs are critical, but when it comes right down to it, can you imagine what a community would be like without businesses like the Taste and See Restaurant in Sussex, and the Coffee Stain in Bathurst?

I can’t.

Businesses like these two restaurants convey love and emotion every day to anyone entering their doors.  Businesses like these are our community ambassadors, our most treasured community destinations, and those places where we must take our family and friends who are visiting from out of town.  “Let’s go down to the Taste and See for breakfast,” we say.  And when visitors leave our towns, we know they’ll retell their stories to their friends and say: “You have to go eat at the Taste and See Restaurant when you go to Sussex!”

You’re never hear someone say: “Oh, when you go through that city, make sure you go by and visit that widget factory.”

I’m relatively certain that with these two blog posts, I’ve probably embarrassed the owners by elevating their businesses to this level. I bet they’ll read what I’ve written and not think they’re worthy of my praise.

But make no mistake:  Businesses like these make living in a community worth living in, staying in, and visiting.

If you’d like to learn more about Taste and See, visit their Facebook page by clicking here. I they’re deserving of a Like from all my readers!

Thanks, everyone! Let me know if you enjoyed these last two posts. They’re a little different from what I’ve done in the past.

Jon Schallert

Do-NOT-Compare-your-business
The Only Comparison You Should be Making

One of the mistakes I see entrepreneurs making is to compare their business to other ones in their marketplace and in their industry.  Though this is logical and natural for us to compare our business with other businesses, I’ve found there are few positive outcomes from doing this.

Let’s say you compare your business to one that isn’t as successful as yours. It’s easy to look at that business and judge it and feel superior to it. This happens a lot in close knit marketplaces where business owners are frequently talking and networking together.  But the downside of comparing yourself to an inferior business is that it gives you a false sense of security, a false sense of importance and worse, a false sense of accomplishment. That false sense of superiority over another business leads to satisfaction.  Once you’re satisfied, it’s hard to make changes to improve, to move forward, and to stay ahead of your competition.  Shoot, you’re ahead of the person next door to you! Isn’t that good enough?

What about comparing your business to another business that is clearly superior to yours?  You’d think this would lead to growth and business improvement, wouldn’t you?  I do think it’s good to have mentors and to study business models that you can learn from, but many owners spend so much time focusing their attention on other superior businesses that they neglect the time to find their own uniqueness and to develop their own superior qualities.

The businesses I talk about in my Destination workshops and my Destination BootCamp are put there to give you examples of success.  You should never try to mold and conform your business into the successful pattern that someone else has created.

Over time, it’s destructive to continually be comparing your business to one that somehow has achieved more than yours.   Comparisons neglect to take into account how the superior business rose to its current status.  For example, I always get a kick out of watching Donald Trump when he starts pontificating on success.  Just once, I want someone to ask him, “Do you think you’d be as successful today if your father hadn’t been a successful real estate developer in New York, built a fortune worth $400 million and passed along a lot of that to you when he died?”

So quit comparing!  Your goal is to create your own one-of-a-kind success, created at your own pace, with your own rules.

The only comparisons you should be making are to your own past achievements, and then, aligning them with your own future goals, all the while, remembering that your success will be dependent on a host of factors, not the least of which is your ability to make your business new, using new techniques and reinventing your business on a regular basis.

This next quote is from an unknown business leader, and though it’s a little extreme, it does make sense:

“If we’re doing anything this year the way it was done last year, we’re obsolete.”

That’s the only comparison you should be making!

_________________________________________________________________________

NATIONAL MAIN STREETS CONFERENCE:

I am speaking at the National Main Streets Conference in Detroit next week, and I’ll be presenting only one presentation at one time:

My presentation will be:  “Once Optional, Now Required:  The New Rules of Business Success”, on Monday, May 19 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. in the Ambassador Salon II room. I suggest you get there early, as I don’t  know how many seats are available.

Hope to see you there!

 

Frank-Sinatra-was-wrong
Frank Sinatra was wrong about New York, New York

 

My Dad loved Frank Sinatra.

Let me restate that:  My Dad loved Frank Sinatra’s singing and the words to his songs.

Here’s a thought I had while driving through Kansas last month, as Frank Sinatra’s song, “New York, New York” came on the radio.  I listened to Sinatra sing these lines during the song:

These little town blues
Are melting away
I’ll make a brand new start of it
In old New York
If I can make it there
I’ll make it anywhere
It’s up to you, New York, New York.

Driving through Kansas, all of a sudden, I realized: “This song’s baloney!  Sinatra should have been singing about Kansas, because if you can make it in Kansas, you can make it anywhere.”  When I got back to my office, a little research confirmed my gut feel:

There are 2,893,957 residents in Kansas, which computes to just over 35 residents per square mile (obviously not counting tourists, like me).

But in New York City, there are estimated to be 8,405,837 people, in roughly a 305 square mile area. That means that the population density of residents in New York City equals 27,560 people per square mile.

Do the math, folks, and old New York, New York is 787 times more densely populated than the state of Kansas!  If I’m opening up a business, my odds of success are so much greater in New York City than in Kansas, given that I have so many more potential customers immediately outside my door, with much more disposable income.

Sure, there’s more competition in New York City, but it doesn’t compare to the challenge of having 7,870% less customers.

So, Mr. Sinatra, your song’s wrong.

The most innovative, creative entrepreneurs I’ve met are those who’ve created Destination Businesses in places where demographics say their businesses shouldn’t exist.

And that goes for Kansas, or South Dakota, or Mississippi, or anywhere else that is less populated.

But not New York City.

Until next week,

Jon Schallert