Posts Tagged : Destination Business BootCamp

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.

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

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 myDestination 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!

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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!

 

The True Foundation of Your Business

It’s so easy to get busy running your business that you forget that every customer who enters your doors has a need, and they are hoping your business will fulfill it.

Here’s a true story that a retailer in New England told me. This retailer owned a quaint floral and gift store in a busy, historic downtown. It was a store with attractively-themed merchandise filling each of its small rooms, and one could easily shop each of the rooms, as they were connected in a large loop.  Throughout the day, business workers hustled by during lunch hour, students walked by after school, and nurses and doctors from the nearby hospital walked in during their breaks.

It was during one of these busy days that the owner greeted a female shopper walking into her store. She related to me how this female shopper slowly moved through each of the smaller rooms, spending time in each one. After several minutes in the store, the owner walked over to see if there was anything she could help the customer find. The customer thanked her, said she was just looking, and that she loved her store. The owner thanked her, and left her alone. The owner remembered the customer moving slowly from room to room, like she was inspecting each piece of merchandise, eventually making her way through all the rooms, taking the full-circle route through the store without buying anything, and saying goodbye before walking out the door.

The owner then told me how the next day, this same female entered the store shortly after lunch and moved slowly through each room, carefully looking at all the products, walking the entire loop and again not purchasing anything.  It happened again, the following day, and again, the next day. This female would appear like clockwork, and take the route through the store, each day as intently looking at the merchandise as the previous days.

By the end of the week, the owner was convinced that this shopper was being sent by a competitor to snoop through her store.  She waited patiently to see if she would appear again, and decided that on this day, she would confront her about her strange behavior.

Sure enough, just after lunch, the woman entered the store again.  But this time, the owner stopped her and said, “May I ask you a question? Every day this week, you’ve come in and spent time looking at all the merchandise in every room, and you seem to really like my store, but you never purchase anything. Is there something in particular you are looking for, or something that I could help you find?”

The woman stopped and said, “Oh, I do love your store. I love what you do with flowers and all the plants and products you have are so unusual. I love how your store looks, and I love how it smells, and the music you have playing is so soothing.  But no, there really isn’t anything specific I’m looking to buy.” She paused, as if knowing that her answer wasn’t enough to explain her behavior, and then said to the owner, “You see, I’m an out-patient at the hospital around the corner, and I’m undergoing cancer treatments right now. They’re going to continue for a number of weeks more. In between the treatments, I like getting out of the hospital for a break, and your store helps me forget my troubles. I can just walk inside your doors, and I’m somewhere else.”

I don’t think I’ve ever heard a business receive a higher compliment!  For this customer, the store was an oasis from the problems and pains she was experiencing.

I think owners work so hard focusing on their product selection, their services, and their day-to-day operations that they forget that emotion is the foundation of every business, and if it’s lacking, you’re giving up the prime advantage every independent business has over all of its competitors.

The emotion of your business is where it all begins. It’s the first thing a customer feels coming in your doors.  It’s the final piece a customer feels when they leave. And its memory is what they’ll remember long after they forget everything else.

Until next week,

Jon Schallert

The World’s Tallest, Best-Kept Secret Boot

A few years ago I spoke in the little city of Red Wing, Minnesota.  If you’ve never been there, it’s located southeast of Minneapolis, right across from Wisconsin, separated by the Mississippi River.

Before I went to Red Wing to speak, I did research on the city, and learned that Red Wing shoes and boots are still made in factories there in town, and that they had a corporate Red Wing Shoes store in their downtown. That point was reinforced as I was driving in, as I spotted several signs about Red Wing Shoe’s “Corporate Flagship Store”.

But imagine my surprise when I walked into their corporate store and found looming above me the world’s tallest boot, size 877, stretching from the first floor to the second. And this giant boot wasn’t even mentioned on the billboard.

 

As all of you know, I look for oddities like this boot, and in fact, encourage business owners to think about creating something so one-of-a-kind that customers will come to see it.  Sure, customers come inside and stare at it, but then, they go around the store and buy. Plus, they end up talking about it, which spreads your message via word-of-mouth marketing. We also know that in addition to being a huge customer-traffic generator, it can also be a media magnet for reporters who want to write about the unusual.

Clearly, the Red Wing Shoe company took a lot of time, effort, and expense to create a leather 2,300 pound, two-story boot. So when I was in the store, I asked one of the Red Wing employees why the world’s largest boot wasn’t on the billboard that advertised their flagship store, and why it wasn’t right up front on their corporate website. His answer: “Everybody already knows that The Boot’s in the store.”

I’m sorry, but I had to tell him: Most of the world, including many newcomers walking into the Red Wing Corporate store, did NOT know that this store had the world’s largest boot.

Here’s the lesson for all of you: Businesses have the mistaken belief that their marketing message has already been absorbed by the majority of their customers. This is one of the most damaging misjudgments any business can make, large or small.

I’ve said this before to some of you: There will always be more potential customers who know nothing about your business than those who have spent money with you.  And of those that have heard about your business before, most won’t understand it completely, most will have forgotten some aspect of it, and most will have not internalized your marketing message, even if they’ve heard it before.

There is someone new, every day, walking in your business, experiencing it for the first time.  Every day, you have the opportunity to amaze someone who has never heard of your business before, and bond them to your business for life.

Remember: Your very best customer of all-time might be the next person through your door. Don’t make the mistake of assuming they know what’s unique about your business.

Until next week,

Jon

A New Attitude Beats a Positive Attitude

You’ve probably heard motivational speakers talk about the need to have a positive attitude.

With all due respect to Norman Vincent Peale, a positive attitude for independent business owners isn’t enough.

Today’s entrepreneurs need a New Attitude.

When business owners tell me they are dissatisfied with their business performance and they want more customer traffic and higher sales, I tell them this:

When you step into your business this morning, take a look around and realize that the business you occupy is entirely your own creation. Sure, maybe someone passed it down to you through the family, or you bought someone else’s business, or you’re running a franchise that has limits not of your own design, but the bottom line is:  The business that surrounds you is what you’ve built, with your money, hard work, and vision.

You, as the owner, are the only one capable of changing your business in any significant way, and it begins with singular NEW moments of vision. These moments will only happen if you are willing to question what you have in front of you, and come up with something better. Something totally NEW.

As the owner, you cannot focus on all the reasons you feel your business hasn’t succeeded. You must focus on what you can control. It might be absolutely true that your city isn’t as business friendly as somewhere else, or that your Mayor has never spent a dime in your business, or that your downtown doesn’t have the parking garage that you feel it should have.  But you must ignore these things!  You are going to focus on what you can do right now that will increase your business performance and you are going to quit focusing your energy on areas that are out of your control. Doing so is a waste of time, and when a business needs help, time is a critical commodity.

Let me take a step back for those of you reading this who don’t know me:  For the last 12 years, I’ve conducted a Destination Business BootCamp where business owners spend over two straight days with me, learning techniques to reinvent their businesses. And while the owners in that BootCamp class are as diverse a group as you’ll ever find sitting together for two days, there are two things these owners have in common:

#1: A willingness to learn, and

#2: A nagging dissatisfaction with their businesses.

And #2 is critical:  For owners to move forward, they must reach a point of discontent where they want change to happen now, not sometime in the future.

If you’re a business owner, developing a NEW attitude is easy. Just look at those concrete components of your business that make you unhappy. Your store interior.  Your front windows.  Your advertising. Your marketing message.  Your website.  Your energy-sucking, waiting-to-be-told-what-to-do employees (I’ve heard some owners have these). You name it.  Look at these tangible components and decide how you would like them to be.  See them NEW and don’t compromise with your NEW vision.  Be demanding!  Be unreasonable!  Be unrealistic!  See it in your mind like you want it to be, and don’t settle for what you have.

Notice that I said look at those concrete components that you want to change.  Don’t look at your sales growth and say, “I’m dissatisfied with my business sales and I want more revenue.” Wrong!  Sales are a function of the concrete components you’ve created that aren’t operating effectively, and a reflection of the strategy you’re using to draw customers to you.

When owners change their components and change their strategy, guess what happens? Owners start walking in their doors every morning with a positive attitude.

But seeing your business NEW is the first key and this demands you bring some creative thinking to the table, taking a step back, and not settling for the business that’s in front of you.

You brought this business into the world. If you’re unhappy with the results, reimagine it as the business you’ve always wanted.

Moving Forward and Avoiding Anchors

Normally 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.

Quit Worrying About the Size of Your Marketplace

When I consult in communities around the country, I often hear business owners say things like: “My marketplace is too small”, or “There aren’t enough of my type of customers around here to support my type of business”, or “When more people move here, my sales will improve.”

When I hear words like these, I realize that the owners I’m talking to have not embraced the idea that their business can become a Destination. Instead, they are running a business that is location-dependent.

The truth is that no one can accurately measure the financial potential of a community today, and where your business is currently located does not have to limit the sales your business generates.

As for measuring the potential of your demographic area, an accurate measurement of its potential cannot be done. Sure, I know that there are really smart people out there who can run demographic numbers that show the statistics of a marketplace. But the problem is these statistics then are correlated to the potential dollars that can be spent in that same area.

Unfortunately, these studies do not take into account the potential impact of a business that makes itself a Destination, a business that is so decidedly different that it consistently pulls consumers from outside its marketplace.  In fact, every analysis of every marketplace focuses on who is living there, not the potential spending power of everyone who could buy there.

Here’s why any analysis of a marketplace falls hopelessly short of the real potential of an area: Let’s start with every shopper who is walking around with a credit card, giving that customer exponential spending power. Do you accurately know the spending power of the customers who walk in your doors? You can guess, but you’d be wrong. Even in today’s economy, some of those credit cards are still tied to home mortgage lines-of-credit, and even though credit card spending has declined, some consumers still have gargantuan impulse- buying power.

Then, there are the tourists, who also carry credit cards, who visit your area, and these consumers are never measured or factored into traditional statistics. Plus, studies don’t take into account consumers from cities outside of the traditional 15 miles who don’t think they can possibly find what they are looking for in their city, so they drive somewhere else, thereby participating in Road-Trip Retailing. And studies don’t take into account the spreading of the wealth that occurs when consumers in your city, who logically should buy from your business, drive illogically away to spend their money elsewhere.

Now, I haven’t mentioned consumers who spend money over the phone, via catalogs, with infomercials, on the Home Shopping Network, or via the Internet. Those numbers cannot be accurately measured; they can only be guessed at.

And let’s not forget those consumers in your city or town who walk in, and say, “We’ve lived here 20 years and we never knew you were here.” Suddenly, your business has discovered incremental business in your backyard.  And remember:  Don’t slap that walking-around-in-a-daze, advertising-avoiding, living-in-a-vacuum consumer. This person is your neighbor!

Add all these groups up and even the smartest statistician can’t tell you the potential spending power that you can capture from the consumers who you could lure to your business, IF you were marketing your business as a Destination.

Here are 5 simple tips that should give you piece of mind about the potential of your marketplace:

  • Worry less about the limits of your immediate demographic area.
  • Focus more on creating a business that is so different, that you literally remake the demographics of your marketplace, and the share of it that you claim for your own.
  • Don’t simply focus on the consumer walking down your street, or driving by.  Focus on a consumer hundreds of miles away, and make your business so different that this distant consumer longs to visit your business in person. If you position your business to capture  that person and keep him or her interested, the ones walking down the street will be easy to pull in.
  • Think about attending our Destination BootCamp and learn how to reposition your business into a Consumer Destination.
  • And one last thought: Your “marketplace” is always larger than you can imagine, and most of us don’t imagine large enough
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

Such a Big Change: A Letter from a Destination BootCamp Business Owner

This week I received a letter from a business owner who had attended my Destination Business BootCamp in 2011.  Normally, I just keep these letters for myself, but this one, I’m going to share.  When you read it, you’ll see why. There are parts of it that hit the emotions that every business owner in the world has ever felt.

By the way, I asked the owner who wrote this letter if sharing it was OK with him. He gave me permission to do so.

Our Destination BootCamp is a two and one-half day workshop. It takes me that long to cover my 14-step strategy for making a business a Consumer Destination. It’s not like when I speak at a conference for an hour. In the days I have with the owners in attendance, I can show them a different way to position their businesses to be successful.

Here’s a photo of the class. The business owner who wrote the letter was Louie Colosimo, owner of  Red Glass Oak in Central Point, Oregon. To see Louie’s amazing business, go to his website here: http://RedOakGlass.com.  His creations are amazing!

Louie had come to our Destination BootCamp with five other business owners from Central Point and with Tom Humphrey, the Director of their city’s Community Development Program. Tom had organized the group and Louie was one of the participants he had asked to make the trip to Colorado, as part of our Community Reinvention Program.

That’s all I’m going to say. Here’s Louie’s letter to me, in its entirety. I haven’t done any editing.

Thanks, Louie, for letting me share your letter. I hope it helps other owners realize that they can make changes to their businesses and turn a poor situation around.

Here’s Louie’s letter:

Dear Jon,

Short version: I want to thank you for all you’ve taught me.

Longer version: Last year, when Tom Humphrey asked me if I wanted to attend your Businessman’s Boot Camp, I was about a week away from quitting my business and throwing in the towel. Deep in debt, out of energy, and my best sales person was seriously drifting away, the future looked bleak at best. I’d even begun to ask around if anyone knew of a good bankruptcy lawyer. It was either quit or try one more time. Finally, I decided to go see you and give it one more shot. The least that would happen would be that I’d get a free trip to Colorado and escape the shop for a few days. I’m so glad that I did. You absolutely turned my life around. Not just my business life but my regular life (?) too.

But not at first.

On the first day of Boot Camp, or rather in the first two hours of the first day, my ass hurt from sitting. I kept shifting from side to side… left bun, right bun and back again. And you were so indefatigably cherry and positive. I kept thinking, “Christ, I should’a quit. At least with bankruptcy it’d be over and I won’t have to think about it.” But then, you showed “problem/solutions” and order began to creep in. My butt began to hurt less, then I forgot about it.

By the end of the first day, I was mostly a convert. I did my homework that night and woke to face the second day. You got better and so did I. By the end of the last day, I wanted to stay and stay and listen. You never wore down. You kept believing that we all could do it. And finally, so did I.  Not only were you telling me how to market better, but what I finally realized was that you were demonstrating how to do it in real time. I was your customer. You took care to treat me special, give me all the information I needed to understand your product, and see how many others managed marketing. You were able to define your business (on an elevator ride between the 3rd and 4th floor); you had your monument-al achievements, and best of all, you were proud of your accomplishments.

I knew that to stay in business, I had to market my product. But knowing that it isn’t the same as knowing how to do it. To me, marketing was like trying to grab a hold of a sand storm. There was no handle. No place to start. What do I do first, second, etc? And what you told us wasn’t the answers I wanted to hear.

Instead, you asked questions. Being asked a good question was so much more valuable than being told a general something, a fortune cookie solution. Right off the bat, you asked the hardest thing of all, for me to define my business in one sentence. I always thought that I had done that, until I really thought about it. Now that I think about it more, what you did wasn’t asking for a definition, but more like you challenged me to look at myself and my business the way the world does, from the outside looking in. I always looked at myself and what I did from the inside out. I was a glass blower! Now, I want the world to see me as a glass artist that creates hand blow art glass pendant lighting and inspiring standing chandeliers. So that’s how I define myself and it fits how I see myself. It was and is such a small shift in perception. Such a big change! I understood what I needed to do to keep on going. I’m still slipping and sliding, but now it’s in the general direction of where I want to go.

One last thought about trying organize a sand storm: I’ll be shoveling with the Taj Mahal in mind and realize that all I’ve got is a mud hut and it’ll come to me again that I can’t do it all at once no matter how I try. But, I can do something every day. And I do. Plus, I could bring some hot dogs, beer, a kite and enjoy the beauty and flow of it all.

The other day, I was talking to Tom Humphrey about you and I said that I’d like to hear Jon talk about stress relief, when business gets scary. Without a blink, he immediately gave me a “Jon” answer. He said, “Market better.”  Dorothy had a yellow bricks to guide her, but we’ve got Jon, which is a different kind of brick. When in doubt of the direction to City of “ahhs”, all I have to do is ask myself (or the Central Point team) what would Jon do to get there? When I left Colorado, I felt like all three of the clunks from the wizard of Oz all rolled into one: I needed to get a brainy plan, the heart to keep on going and the courage to stick it out. And I can. After all, Jon believes I can.

With the utmost sincerity and thanks,

Louis Colosimo
Art glass pendant manufacturer
Red Oak Glass.com
234 N. Front St.
Central Point, Or. 97502
541- 326- 8836

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