Becoming a Destination Business

Eric Chester, Reviving America’s Work Ethic Expert, Speaking in Longmont, Colorado on Thursday, November 15

Eric Chester, a leading expert on the emerging Generation Y workforce, will discuss “The Declining Work Ethic in America and How to Fix It” from 9 to 10 a.m. November 15 at the Left Hand Brewery Tap Room at 1265 Boston Avenue in Longmont, Colorado.  The event is part of Destination University’s “Tapping the Experts” series on topics vital to business owners and entrepreneurs. The event is free and open to the public.

Chester, is the author of five books, including his most recent best-seller “Reviving Work Ethic: A Leader’s Guide to Ending Entitlement and Restoring Pride in the Emerging Workforce” published this year. He is the founding CEO of the “Bring Your A Game to Work” program.

The talk focuses on restoring the traditional workplace and instilling it into younger frontline workers in order to increase productivity and performance. Chester will answer questions from audience members following the interview.

Destination University, the online training network for small business owners operated by The Schallert Group of Longmont, will record the event and make it available online (www.DestinationUniversity.com) on-demand for members.  Jon Schallert, President of The Schallert Group, will interview Chester during the hour.

The live event seating area has a capacity of 50 participants, so reservations are necessary to reserve a seat. Reservations can be made by calling (303) 774-6522, by clicking here, or by going online to DestinationUniversity.com and clicking on the “Tapping the Experts” tab.

This event is co-sponsored by the Left Hand Brewing Company.  

Business Owners: Use Your Community’s “Secrets” to Grow Your Sales

teapothIt’s Summer, and that means consumers are traveling and vacationing. Inevitably during these travel months, you’re going to find that consumers and the media start becoming obsessed with finding the out-of-the-way place that no one else knows about.

Face it: Everyone wants to be “in-the-know” about the little-known, secret hideaways that haven’t been discovered yet. Whether it’s knowing about that great little restaurant that has wonderful food that’s never crowded, or that fantastic new store with the amazing selection that never advertises, or that great spot by the river where you’re guaranteed to catch fish but not find a crowd, we all want to be the one that knows about the Must-See Secrets.

This blog post is written for business owners, but all of you reading this have those favorite spots. For example, whenever we put on a Destination BootCamp in Longmont, Colorado, we always are asked by the people who come for the class to tell us which restaurants are the best.  And we always send people to an incredible Southwestern restaurant in Longmont that’s hard-to-find and whose owner never advertises.  It’s not a chain and it serves knockout green chili, but those of us who go there often also know that this restaurant has an owner won’t put up with screaming kids running rampant through his dining area. We always tell our guests to be on the lookout for parents who can’t control their offspring because this owner will kick them out, rather than ruining the dining experience for every other customer.  To us, this means you are guaranteed great food and great atmosphere, and possibly, if you’re lucky, excitement that’s not seen in other dining establishments!  Who wouldn’t want to eat in a place like that?

As a resident of your community, and a business owner in your community, wouldn’t it be great to be able to market your business, bring people in your doors, all the while helping those who are coming to your area to find these incredible secrets?  Sure it would. Here are some simple steps to help your business and community at the same time:

First, I want you to start thinking about how you can position your business as a place that knows your local consumer “must-sees”.  As you do this, the more attention your business will receive.  To begin, answer these four questions:

1.  What are the “Must See” events in your community, or in your business, this month that haven’t been well-publicized?  When you let customers know about these events, you are seen as being “In the Know”.

2. Can you think of some of the “Great Product Values” that you or other businesses you know are offering this month, that might not be reaching as large of an audience as possible?  Write about this in your e-newsletter and in your social networking posts.

3.  Can you name “Ten Extraordinary Products” in your business or in another business that you can talk about and that your customers probably don’t know exists?  Look for items that could be limited in quantity, or newly arrived.  You could be changing this list monthly!

4.  Can you list any “Secrets” or “Secret Places” that are must-sees in your community that you have to be an insider to know about?

When business owners are trying to find content to post on their Facebook page, put in their blog, write in their e-newsletter, and stay engaged with their customers, focusing on the secrets of your community can lead to a wealth of content.

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

Why Our Destination BootCamp Works

Here’s a letter from a business owner who attended our Destination Business BootCamp seven years ago. That owner was Dan Horwath of Up the Creek Antiques in Centralia, Washington.

Another business owner recently emailed Dan, asking if our BootCamp was really worth attending. When Dan replied to him, he copied us on his email. This is Dan’s letter in its entirety.

We love getting letters like this!

“I’m not good at a time line. Forgive me if I don’t have exact dates.  About 12 years or a little more ago, Jon came to Centralia and talked to local businesses about destination marketing. We attended that event reluctantly, thinking that it would be a waste of time. I have to say that Jon is an engaging speaker. He presented quite a different take on how we had approached our business and marketing.

After that session, Jon walked around the town visiting a few businesses and pointing out things that he thought would change things for the positive. He spent about 10 minutes in our antique store and during that time we took furious notes. Over the course of the next few weeks, we implemented most, if not all his recommendations: things like lighting, placement of product, ways to highlight… As a result, we saw an immediate increase in interest in our customer base. They stayed in the store longer, seemed to engage the sales staff more.

When several years later the City sponsored some businesses to his Boot Camp, we made sure we would take advantage of the opportunity. We were not disappointed. It was fairly intense. The focus is on becoming a destination, set yourself apart, not just an “also ran” in the local economy. The tools were definitely there, the inspiration and continuing help and support were/are also there.

As for results, we turned our antiques business into a contender on a national scale. The greater proportion of our sales are from out of state, with a significant amount from the East coast and Midwest. We are the Antique Destination that includes Oregon, Washington, and Idaho as well. We get visitors from all over the country, as well as sales. That’s an accomplishment that isn’t readily achieved by many antiques businesses. We would not have ever achieved that goal were it not for Jon. In fact, in the present economy, I’m sure we would have closed several years ago. We have remained open and viable, mostly through the level of our destination sales, rather than those in our local limited demographic.

In any of these ventures, you get out what you are willing to learn and put in. For us, we can recommend Jon’s Boot Camp without reservation. It made a world of difference in our approach and bottom line. Jon has offered advice and help over the years, just a phone call away.

If you attend, please give our regards to Jon and enjoy yourself.

If your ever in Centralia, please stop by and see firsthand what we have implemented as a result of attending: 209 N Tower Ave Centralia, Washington.  You may visit our web, which has incorporated many suggestions from Jon and has been a major success. www.upthecreekantiques.com. That site was developed in 1998 and still comes up on the first page, if not the first item of most searches.”

Regards,

Dan Horwath, Owner, Up the Creek Antiques

Reinvent Your Mom and Pop Business in 2012

Ever wonder what “reinventing” your business actually looks like?  How does one go about this process?

Have you ever thought about significantly changing the business you’ve created?

If your business makes you feel like you’re the only one doing the work, maybe it’s time to stop being a one-person band and reinvent your business.

Indiana writer Gene Stowe has detailed the process of business reinvention in this article.  I think he did a great job explaining how reinvention works, and how I learned the process of turning a business into a Destination.  He also covers why becoming a Destination is the best choice for most small businesses.

To read the article, click here.

In Praise of Slackers

The last time I wrote in my blog, I wrote about complaining business owners who don’t make changes to improve their businesses.  If you don’t remember what I wrote, you can read it by clicking here.

Looking back, I was wrong about them.  I admit it!

I am now ready to embrace the complainers!  Here’s why:

My revelation on this point occurred when Alisa, our new Business Development Manager, left during the morning for a dentist appointment, but later returned a couple of hours later, resuming her regular duties.  Thinking about my own dentist appointments that are often filled with needles of Novocain shot into my gums, making it impossible for me to talk when I return to work, I couldn’t help but notice that she seemed quite functional.

So, I asked her: “How are your teeth?  Are you in pain?  Are you still OK to be at work?” But Alisa assured me she was totally fine.

She then said to me: “My dentist told me that if all his patients took care of their teeth like me, there’d be no need for her.  She’d be out of work.”  She explained that she took great care to clean and maintain her teeth after being told how important it was, and how her dentist appointments were non-eventful checkups absent of the pain I regularly came to associate with my visits.

We talked a little more and then, my light bulb moment occurred. It came to me in a flash that if everyone with teeth, brushed, flossed, and cared for them like Alisa, what a huge impact that would have on the dental industry! How would these dentist offices stay open, if all of their patients gave them nothing to do?

Let me use my dentist as an example.  I think my dentist’s office employs about 5-7 people, and I’d guess they are all pretty well paid professionals, all doing their work on people who don’t brush and floss as well as Alisa does. What if these people had no work?  For example, my dentist is a great dentist and a great guy, but I bet he doesn’t have any other marketable skills besides dentistry (maybe watch repair, with those tools he’s accumulated and his steady hand). But the rest of his staff? Not so talented.  I foresee “Will clean teeth for food” handwritten signs by the interstate.

Now, take this idea a step further. Multiply the impact if every dentist office in the country closed because everyone took care of their teeth like they should. Think of the massive unemployment problems that would result.  I bet most of these dental workers would be out on the streets, forced to selling their stash of free toothbrushes and mini toothpaste tubes. And think about that loss of revenue that previously circulated in our economy from people paying for dentures, implants, cleanings, oral surgery, x-rays…all of it gone!  What an economic downturn our country would experience, if everyone cared for their teeth like Alisa!

And that’s when it dawned on me that I’ve been looking at this the wrong way.  All those business owners who don’t attend my workshops, who don’t make their businesses unique and distinctive…these are people I should be thanking!  The owners who complain all the time and do little to help themselves while remaining stagnant, I should hug!  These owners are the ones who are maintaining the below-average business standards that allow the rest of my clients to stand out.  These owners are the people who set the low bar! These are the entrepreneurs who make it possible for any other company to look so good, by them being so bad at what they do.  These are the people whose poor service gets anchored in the minds of customers, so when my clients’ employees go just a little above and beyond the call of duty, their efforts seem Herculean.

I am the first one to admit when I am wrong, and I was wrong about the slackers.  It was wrong for me to have berated them.  The slackers, malcontents, and complaining business owners have done nothing wrong.  Granted, they haven’t done anything particularly right either, but they don’t deserve to be flogged into changing.

I’ve changed my mind!  Immobile owners like these should be praised. They should be encouraged to “Do nothing, move nowhere, change not!” Their businesses are perfect, in their most imperfect states, and the rest of the proactive business world needs them to maintain their business inertia.

So to all owners out there who are constantly working to improve yourself and your business position, do this: The next time you see one your business peers who fits this slacker/complainer description, don’t avoid them. Don’t look away. And certainly don’t berate them with those positive suggestions of change you typically heap on them. Next time, give them a hearty pat on the back and a cheery “Carry on!”

Their mediocre business is crucial to your creation of the Destination Business of your dreams. Without them, your challenges would be much more difficult.