Community Reinvention Program

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

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27 Pieces of Advice to Make You Better

GottaLoveSalmonThe other day, I was reading a short article entitled “Eight Steps to a More Satisfying Life”. In it, I learned why some people are more happy than others, why some people are naturally miserable, and how the body and the mind work together to create our own individual happiness.

One of the contributing writers was University of California psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky  who explained the eight keys to a more satisfied life:

  1. Count your blessings and keep a gratitude journal
  2. Practice both random and systematic acts of kindness
  3. Savor life’s joys
  4. Thank a mentor
  5. Learn to forgive
  6. Invest time and energy in family
  7. Take care of your body with plenty of sleep, exercise, stretching, smiling, and laughing
  8. Develop strategies to cope with stress and hardships

So while I was pondering how I was going to carve out more time in my day for #6 “Invest time in family” and #7 “Take care of body”, I came across another article:  “Healthy Diet Helps Mood”, where an author talked about the importance of eating the right foods in order to be happier.  He recommended:

  1. Eating salmon because fatty, cold-water fish contain omega-3 fatty acids which keep cell membranes pliable.  I also learned that if I don’t have a salmon handy, I can also eat tuna, anchovies, sardines, walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, or green leafy vegetables.
  2. Every morning I should eat some oatmeal, soy milk, and two scrambled eggs, which gives me tryptophan.  This is an amino acid that helps in creating serotonin, the brain’s feel-good hormone. Check!  I’m all about feeling good.
  3. In order to fight any chance of depression, I should eat spinach, which contains B vitamin folate, but I can also get the same effect with peas, navy beans, orange juice, wheat germ, and avocados (like in guacamole, with margaritas, though the latter was not on his list).
  4. Every day, I am supposed to take a Vitamin D supplement, which helps with seasonal affective disorder, which I don’t think I have, but it sounds scary and I don’t want it.
  5. I learned it’s important to always stabilize my blood sugar, so I should eat broccoli and blueberries, and eat them in combination with proteins in fish, chicken or turkey.
  6. Finally, it was suggested that I eat quinoa, a whole grain that is also a good source of B vitamins. (Pronounced: Keen-wa. Say it right, or they laugh at you, I’ve learned).

Now my list had 8 to-do’s from the top list, and 6 to-eats from the bottom list, but I also have a really smart biochemist friend, and I had asked him what supplements he takes every day.  Here’s what he consumes:

  1. Mega doses of Omega 3 fish oil
  2. A high-dose, complex multi-vitamin
  3. A calcium complex supplement
  4. A CoQ10 pill for cellular energy
  5. An 81 milligram enteric-coated aspirin
  6. Cruciferous vegetables for cellular detoxification (broccoli, better steamed than raw) cauliflower, cabbage, or if I don’t like those vegetables, take broccoli powder or a sulphurophane supplement, helpful for reducing the risks of cancer and detoxification at the cellular level
  7. Fresh berries for antioxidants and to fight carcinogens
  8. Lots of fish and nuts, for my brain, heart, and prostate
  9. Plus, control my level of unrefined carbs, and always balancing them at the same time with fat and protein, like eating bread with olive oil or peanut butter.

Right then, I started feeling a little overwhelmed.  If you are keeping track, I am now up to 23 suggestions on how to improve my life.

If you’ve ever gone through a self-improvement reading experience like this, maybe you found yourself getting a little stressed wondering how you were going to get all of these things done, (especially finding that sulphurophane supplement).

Tell me again where I’m going to find that time for savoring life’s joys? (#3 from List 1)

Here’s my point today: If you ask for advice in this world, you will find it, in books, articles, websites, from friends.  And now from me.

Here are my 4 key pieces of advice concerning the 23 pieces of advice from above:

#1: Create routines and systems to repeat tasks that are most important.  Be disciplined in following them.  Every meal, brush and floss.  Every morning, pop the pills. Every night, exercise.  Whatever you want to accomplish, create structure and eliminate chaos on those goals that can be systematized.

#2:  It’s all about prioritizing.  What tasks really need to be done that will really impact your world significantly for the better?  If you’re using my list of 23, focus on the ones that will help the most and eliminate the extraneous.

#3:  Then, you have this little thing called your business demanding your attention, so this piece of advice applies to your business: Focus your effort on the big priorities that will move your business forward in dramatic fashion.  I know some of you have heard me say this before, but face it: You will never have enough time to do everything that pops into your head and your current business to-do list won’t be accomplished by next Christmas. If you need increased sales and customer traffic, you must learn to identify those tools that will move the needle into double digit increases, and put on the back burner the less impactful steps that won’t cause your business to skyrocket.

#4:  Finally, my last piece of advice: Go easy on yourself. At the end of today, cut yourself some slack.  I’m told Rome wasn’t built in a day.

But starting tomorrow, go make friends with some cruciferous vegetables and a salmon.

Jon Schallert

Congratulations to our March 2014 Destination BootCamp Graduates

Congratulations to our March 2014 Destination BootCamp Graduates, shown here.  This class of 22 was comprised of an incredibly diverse group of over-achieving business owners, with two larger Community Reinvention Program groups from Goshen County and Torrington, Wyoming and Forney, Texas (and two BootCamp Graduates back for another class).

March 2014 BootCamp Class

If you’d like to be part of our next BootCamp in May, or if you’d like to learn how your community can participate in our 6-month Community Reinvention Program, feel free to call me, email me, or click here for more information.

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Moving Forward and Avoiding Anchors

Jon Schallert Destination BootCamp: Moving Your Business ForwardNormally when I get done with one of my Destination workshops, I get owners in the audience wanting to pick my brain on specific steps to make their businesses grow. They want to talk in greater detail about the 14-steps to become a Destination.

But recently in one audience, there was a small, vocal group of owners (clearly in the minority), who wanted to talk about all the things their city hadn’t done to help their businesses grow. They wanted to rehash stories of what it was like ten years ago and the mistakes the city had made. How the city didn’t have enough parking spaces, enough of a marketing budget, enough people to keep the sidewalks clean, and enough people thinking about small businesses. According to these owners, there wasn’t enough of anything.

I politely answered each question thrown at me and told this vocal minority that today, you have to be a business that is so unique, that consumers will come, regardless of your parking situation. I pointed out that if your business isn’t one-of-a-kind, you can have all the parking in the world and it’s not going to matter. I pointed out that people will avoid what they are bored of seeing, and people will not take a minute out of their day to revisit an average business. I emphasized that I was talking about Right Now, right here, today, not back then, ten years or even ten days ago.  I told these owners that we were moving forward, focusing on what they could change today, not revisiting the actions of prior groups.  I emphasized that I was giving them the opportunity to pick my brain and learn how to reinvent their businesses into Consumer Destinations, right now.

But these owners kept it up. They kept asking the same questions, and it suddenly dawned on me that most of the people in the room wanted to move on and change their community and their businesses.  Obviously, the city that had brought me in to speak wanted to move ahead. They were the ones who were forward-thinking enough to put me in front of this group.

Here’s my point in telling you this:  There are businesses located near you who will do anything they can to keep your business at the same level as their business. These owners do not want to move forward because it is easier to rehash the past, and complain about it, than it is to move ahead and face change. The future is a scary place for them. It is simpler to look backward and analyze what went wrong.

It’s important for you to understand that these owners are more content to scream about the changes that are happening, than to gear up their thinking and competitiveness and relearn what needs to be learned in order to make their businesses viable again. They scream because they are in a state of paralysis, not knowing how to change the business they have created, nor willing to fold it up and admit that they can’t compete anymore.

Most importantly, these owners are trying to pull your business down, not because they knowingly want to hurt your business, but because they sincerely believe their way is the only way. They don’t understand what you are trying to do with your business, and explaining your goal of creating your business into a Destination will be as foreign to them as learning Swahili (which I’ve heard is tough to learn). As they try to help you, they are working to keep you from pulling away from them, just like an anchor. Despite your best efforts and optimism, it’s more likely their negativity will suck the energy and enthusiasm out of you.

It is my advice that if you want to move ahead at rapid speed with your business, these types of people need to be avoided. Instead, you should seek out others who hold a similar belief in what you want to accomplish.  Find someone who is more skilled than you are, and learn from them. Understand that once you are successful, these negative neighbors of yours will not celebrate your success.  Instead, you will become a business that they will envy, and that’s a whole different kind of negativity. These owners see you in a smaller role than you imagine for yourself.  Insist on being as large as you want to dream.

You might wonder what happened with these owners during this discussion.  I agreed to disagree with them and I told them that we weren’t going to rehash the past. And with that, I focused my attention on of those who wanted to improve.

And that’s how it has to be done in your community:  When the train is pulling out of the station with most everyone on board, you never hit the brakes because a few didn’t hear the whistle.

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A Rare Opportunity for Six Ohio Business Owners: Don’t You Wish You Lived In This City?

I have to share with you an exciting opportunity that is available for business owners in one Ohio community. You’re going to wish your business was located in this city after reading this!

The reason I’m telling you about this is to bring attention to this amazing program and to get your help passing this information along to business owners who might benefit from it. Cities and towns around the country are going to be jealous of the support this Ohio community bank provides its local small business owners.

Business owners in Tiffin, Ohio have the opportunity to attend my 2½ day Destination BootCamp in Longmont, Colorado in October this year, where they will learn my 14-step strategy to turn their businesses into Consumer Destinations. For the third year, Croghan Colonial Bank has created the Small Business Reinvention Scholarship where up to six (6) Tiffin owners can receive a $1,500 scholarship for no-cost attendance to our Destination BootCamp.

Croghan Colonial Bank previously created these innovative business scholarships in both Fremont and Norwalk, Ohio. If you want to read about those communities and their business successes following their attendance, click here.

Through a partnership with the Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce, six (6) individual Tiffin businesses will be chosen through an application process. The selected business owners will attend the Destination BootCamp on October 9 -11, 2012. Upon their return, there will be monthly conference calls conducted by me to help the owners put into practice what they learned at the BootCamp. After they come to the BootCamp, I will then travel to Tiffin to conduct a workshop for all the businesses there and conduct on-site one-on-one consultations with each business owner who attended the BootCamp.

If you know a Tiffin business owner who could benefit from this program, or if you are a Tiffin, Ohio business owner who wants to grab this opportunity, contact Gwen Stallard at Croghan Colonial Bank, gstallard@croghan.com or John Detwiler at jdetwiler@tiffinchamber.com, or (419) 447-4141. You can also call me at my office at (303) 774-6522 and I can talk to you more about what you’ll learn at our BootCamp.

The application for this exciting program can be found by clicking here:

Applications are due on July 16, 2012 with final selections to be made not later than August 15, 2012.

If you want to learn more about our company’s Community Reinvention Program (which has had over 40 communities participate in it), you can click here:

Thanks, Everyone!

Jon Schallert