Small Business Success

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

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

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

What’s Your Business Potential?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have you maximized the Potential of your Business?

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

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

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

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

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

I know a little bit about business success.

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

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

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

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

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

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

And so does your business.

Registration Now Open

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

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

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

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

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

Jon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As writer Gregory Maguire so eloquently put it:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks, everyone!

Jon Schallert

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

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

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

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

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

Check out our Destination BootCamp Graduates

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Want to Change Your Business? Better Learn to Pivot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In his own words, Eric writes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Upcoming Workshops Across the USA

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

Thursday, February 19: Jacksboro, TX

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

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

Tuesday, April 21: Garden City, KS

Wednesday, April 29, Murfreesboro, TN

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

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

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

Jon Schallert

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

Creating Your Business Resolutions for the New Year

Creating Your Business ResolutionsThis week, you’re going to start hearing the word “New Year’s Resolutions” being mentioned quite frequently.

But you won’t hear those words in this blog.

Instead, I’m more interested in helping owners create their Business Resolutions for the New Year, and less concerned about personal New Year’s Resolutions like “Spending more time with family and friends”, “Losing weight”, and “Getting organized” (though these are important, too).

Just ask any entrepreneur about what Business Resolutions they have planned for their upcoming year, and you’ll find they immediately start talking about all the tasks that they didn’t accomplish in the previous year, while quickly rattling off everything they’d like to accomplish moving ahead.

This response is pretty common because most owners I work with are bottom-line, results-oriented people. They focus on the question: “Did we hit our goals or not?” When they miss their target, they quickly detail their mistakes and where they fell short on a particular goal, and their minds immediately focus on what they’re going to do better in the future.

If you own a business, I have a suggestion for you. There’s a better way to create your Business Resolutions for 2015.

Here’s my advice: Before you start listing everything you didn’t accomplish in 2014, and start beating yourself up over what you didn’t complete, first focus on what you achieved.

This will be new for you, but before you focus on 2015, I want you to make a list of every major business accomplishment you achieved in 2014. If you have to, do this with your spouse, partner, employees, or anyone who has a solid knowledge of your business. Look back at your calendar if you have to. Month by month, write down the major accomplishments you achieved, the new aspects of your business that you created, and all the innovative ways you grew your business successfully in 2014.

What I want you to do is start the New Year by patting yourself on the back for what you accomplished, not focusing on what you didn’t do. This is important because the successes you achieved in 2014 can be repeated and multiplied if you focus on the steps that you took to create those successes. But this only works if you take the time to replay them.

If you’ve never taken the time to list your business achievements in the previous year, try it. It’s very rewarding!

First, you’ll find there’s a huge feeling of accomplishment when you read a list of everything you achieved in your business.

Second, if you are one of those over-achieving perfectionists who has a tendency to always bite-off-more-than-you-can-chew, and then, chew it anyway, this will give you time to reflect on the monumental assortment of tasks that you completed.

Third, you might just look at the list and say, “Now I know why I’m so tired!”

Do me a favor: Don’t rush through this exercise. They’ll be plenty of time to think about all the goals you didn’t accomplish. Being the perfectionists that most of you are, there’s a good chance that you set the bar too high on what you wanted to accomplish in 2014 anyway. It could be that you tried to accomplish too much with too few resources, like time, money, or help from others.

Trust me: They’ll be plenty of time for you to focus on all the goals you didn’t accomplish that you’ve already been kicking yourself for not achieving.

For now, I want you to focus on what was right about your business in 2014. Doing this now will give you a much better shot at creating greater successes in 2015.

At first, this might be hard for you because you’re a master at dwelling on all the areas where you fall short.

But take a day or two, make your list, evaluate where you excelled, and just bask in the afterglow of your accomplishments.  Your mind will appreciate the time you give it to replay your successes.

If you’re like most business owners I consult with, you’ll come to the realization that you achieved more than you remembered.

Face it:  You made great strides.  2014 was a challenging year and you came out the other side.

Congratulations!  Well done!  Happy New Year to all of your successes!

Jon

The 2014 Holiday Season: The Strongest in 10 Years!
2014_Is_Going_to_End_Great

You can write this down and take it to the bank.

Yes, I can see the future.  Your 2014 year is going to end surprisingly strong and on December 31, you will be screaming with excitement!

If you’d like to learn how I know this, jump down to the end of this newsletter and you can learn why 2014 will finish so amazingly strong and why you’re about to have the best Christmas selling season in a decade.  But first…

Registration is Now Open for our 2015 Destination BootCamps, with an Early-Bird Discount

I’m going to keep this short: If you’re thinking about attending one of my Destination BootCamps in 2015, we’ve now have the dates posted and registration is now open for all 4 of our 2015 classes.  Best of all, IF you register by December 31, 2014, you will save $300 on the BootCamp tuition price.

This discount will NOT be repeated in 2015. This is the only time we will be offering this.

Sorry, this does not apply to our Community Reinvention Program participants. This offer is good for independent business owners who are registering on their own.

If you aren’t sure about attending our Destination BootCamp, take 2 minutes and click here to read about the 81 different business lessons you’ll learn when you attend my class.  Then, jump over to the registration page to take advantage of our $300 Early-Bird pricing.

Why 2014 will be the Best Holiday Selling Season in 10 Years

If you are a business, you are going to have a great holiday season. There are two reasons why:

Here’s #1: Right now, there are 34 days to Christmas, counting today. You might not have thought that far ahead, but I have. This is important to your business, your business district, your shopping center, and ultimately, to your town or city.

Christmas falls on a Thursday this year. Honestly, that fact, by itself, isn’t significant at all, EXCEPT that most businesses will allow their employees to not come into work on that Friday, December 26.

Why is that important? It means that post-Christmas sales will experience a 3-day weekend. That hasn’t happened since 2008, when the economy was going down the toilet. That will mean that the smart businesses that moderately reduce their prices after Christmas will have an extra day of crazed shoppers in their stores.

Then, look ahead to the following week after Christmas. There are 3 work days, the 29th, 30th, and 31st. Most people slack off on that Wednesday, the 31st. Most employees won’t be working on Thursday, January 1. Then, there’s another Friday. Want to bet that a lot of people don’t work on that Friday, January 2?

I bet they won’t.

What all this means is that the last two weeks of 2014 will have two unofficial 3-day weekends where consumers will have more time to spend. This pattern of shopping days hasn’t occurred like this since 2008 when money was tight, and then, it happened before that in 2003. If you were in business in 2003, go back and look at your sales numbers for those last two weeks.

I’ll wait while you do it…

See? I told you.  That was a really great holiday season, wasn’t it!  Well, the opportunity is here again, over a decade later.

This is the Second Reason Your Sales will be Better in 2014

I have a free webinar that’s going to help you have the best ending to 2014.   I’ve posted it online and it’s called “4th Quarter Marketing Strategies to Implement Now”.  In it, I explain 18 different tools, techniques, and tips that you can use to make your sales better than ever. It’s free, and you can watch it by clicking here. Do it now, while you still have the time to put some of my ideas into play.

Thanks to all of you

That’s it for this newsletter, except for one thing:

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to reflect on all the blessings we have in our lives. And with that, I want to thank all of you for being readers of this newsletter. I left my safe corporate job 18 years ago to start my consulting firm and to try to start a career teaching business owners how to make their businesses stronger by becoming Destinations.  I hoped to one day teach what I knew in front of audiences as a public speaker.  At first, no one knew what I was talking about. But because of readers and supporters like you, lots of people now know what I’m talking about when I say you can reinvent your business and community into a Destination.  But without you reading this newsletter, spreading my advice and putting it into practice, I’d just be talking to myself.

Thank you all for being part of my adventure!

Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone!

Jon Schallert

Why Everyday is More Important than Saturday

EverydayThere’s a great Buddy Holly song called Everyday that was recorded in Norman Petty’s studio in Clovis, New Mexico.

There’s a reason I’m telling you about this song.  First, it’s a killer song.  Second, I have a story that goes with it.  Third, I want something to stick in your brain.  But first, the story:

A few years ago, the Clovis Main Street Program brought me in to speak to their business owners.  Kenneth Broad, an associate of Norman Petty’s, took me over during lunch and gave me a private tour of the Norman Petty Studio where so many great recordings were made.

The studio is not open on a daily basis to the general public. You have to request a private tour.  When you do go inside, the studio’s been kept in the same condition as it was in 1957 when Buddy and his band recorded there.  It’s like stepping back in time, as you can see from my photos here.

Norman_Petty_studioSV400004

The song Everyday was recorded with Buddy playing in the main studio, while drummer Jerry Allison sat outside in the hallway, slapping his hands on his lap, keeping the beat.  You can listen to the song by clicking here, and as you listen, you can clearly hear Jerry slapping his hands on his jeans.  There is also an instrument that sounds like bells being chimed and that’s called a celeste.  Norman Petty’s wife, Vi, played the celeste and it can be seen in the photo on the right, on the right (it looks like a small piano).  And yes, they let me hold one of the band’s guitars.

Jon_in_Clovis

So why am I bringing up this song Everyday?

Here’s why:  There’s a small business promotion, sponsored by American Express, called Small Business Saturday that’s coming up soon, and it is a great promotion. True marketing brilliance actually, for a $5.7 billion company to launch their own initiative that aligns themselves with small businesses.  When you go to the Small Business Saturday website, American Express asks: “On November 29, will you be there for them?”

I definitely will be out supporting small businesses on November 29.  But my question is:

“Why aren’t we there for small businesses everyday?

Now, I’m not talking about giving small businesses something they don’t deserve.  I’m not talking charity here. I’m not talking about a cash mob that goes in and gives money to a business to surprise them. And I don’t think it’s good to try to make consumers feel guilty so they’ll support small businesses, nor do I think it’s a good idea to try to get consumers to feel obligated to support a small business when it doesn’t do a good job.

Quite frankly, the independent business owners I know who are worth a damn understand they have to earn a customer’s support everyday. They know they have to give good value, good selection and above average service everyday if they’re going to be rewarded with their customers’ loyalty. And if you ask them, the majority of them don’t want your pity, or your charity, or for you to feel sorry for them.

What they want is a shot at your business. And most independent business owners I know, if given the chance to do business with a consumer, will beat a larger competitor 99% of the time because they can outperform them in a myriad of ways.

I don’t think any business owner I know expects consumer to shop them everyday, but they would like you to consider them first everyday before you decide to make a purchase.  Give them a shot before you buy online. Give them a shot before you walk into Wal-Mart and buy something already assuming that Wal-Mart is going to have the lowest price.   (Let me tell you a secret:  Wal-Mart doesn’t always have the best price but they always have the best marketing team!)

Yes, the Small Business Saturday promotion is coming up and I’ll consciously think on that day to spend some of my holiday cash in a small business, but then, the next day and everyday after that, before you walk into a superstore and hand over your money like a zombie to the cash register person who is ringing you up like a zombie, and before you just jump online and order something to ship to your house, consider the small businesses in your town. They are the lifeblood of your community, with the revenue that comes into their cash registers flowing directly into your community at a much greater percentage than superstores and online vendors.

Yes, shop small businesses on November 29, but then, if you really want to be there for small businesses, consider small businesses first everyday.

FreeAttention:  Free Webinar for Every Business Owner

Everyone knows that the holiday season is critical for the profitability of a small business, but if you’re a business owner, are you doing everything you can do maximize your sales?  I think I have something for you that might help. I’ve posted a free webinar:  4th Quarter Marketing Strategies to Implement Now.  In 28 minutes, you will learn 18 different tools, techniques, and tips that are critical if you want to grow your customer traffic and sales during this holiday season. And if you find it valuable, share it with your friends #Grow4thQuarter.

Click here if you want to watch this free webinar, or go to my website at www.JonSchallert.com and click on the FREE tab to view it.

Super SaturdayComing to Paonia, Colorado this Saturday!

If you would like to learn how to make your rural business and small town a Destination, think about coming to my all-day workshop in Paonia, Colorado on Saturday, November 15.

That’s it for this week !  Thanks everyone!  Send me your comments and thoughts at Info@JonSchallert.com, and feel free to share this on through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn if you find it valuable.

 

Jon Schallert

 

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