Posts Tagged : Jon Schallert Destination BootCamp

Creating Consumer Preference: The First Step in Becoming a Destination

Creating Consumer InsistenceFor those of you who just had a 3-day, July 4th weekend, you might have experienced what I did this past weekend, an overwhelming number of choices on where to spend my 3 days off.

All of these were on my “Possible Go-To” list:  There were several 4th of July parades in our area.  There were firework shows on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday nights.  Two of my favorite breweries had bands playing at them (Left Hand Brewing and Wibby Brewing).  Plus, there’s always a fun concert in our city’s park where they fire off a cannon that makes all the dogs pull out of their collars.

Then there’s the new Independence Day movie.  In this one, Will Smith’s character is dead.  I heard the movie’s not that great, but I’m still wondering how are we going to beat the aliens without Will Smith?

I’m guessing you experienced much the same this last weekend:  Where do you go when there’s too much to see, too much to do, and too little time to do it in?

You did what I did. You made decisions and judgments.  Quick ones.  You heard about all the things you could do, on television, radio, and from your friends.  You read about what was going on, in the newspaper, on Facebook, via Twitter, in emails, and online.  You probably discussed all the choices with your family, your spouse, or your friends.  Then, you decided.  You processed all the choices and said: “This is what I’m doing this weekend.”

Here’s why I’m focusing on this:  When a business is working to become a Destination, there’s one primary outcome that they must accomplish.  How do we get a consumer to say:  “I’m going to that place!”  That’s really the #1 Goal. Get the potential customer to come to your business.  Do this well and it leads to Outcomes 2, 3, and 4:

#2:  Customers connect with your business, and they spend money with you.  A little money’s OK, but spending a lot is preferable.

#3:  They leave as ecstatically happy customers, and they go out and talk positively about your business, spreading word-of-mouth.

#4:  The next big step: Getting them to come back again and again, each time, giving you and your business money.

To summarize:  That’s the place I’m going, followed by, that’s the place where I’m spending my money, followed by, that’s the only place I’m going from now on.

It seems easy, but it’s not easy. There’s a definite step-by-step process that must be followed.  Now, I’m not saying that the process is hard.  It’s not hard.  Any business owner can do it if you follow the correct steps to create Consumer Preference, and you know strategically how to push the motivational “buttons” of consumers.

Intrigued?  Well, if you’d like to learn how to push those buttons so that customers come to your business again and again, read on.

2016 Destination BootCamps

Most of you know that I spent years discovering what makes one business a Destination that becomes extremely profitable and successful, while another business in the same community doesn’t have that success.  To learn this, I interviewed over 10,000 business owners and traveled to over 500 cities and towns.  I also kept really, really good notes, processed what I learned from all the brilliant business owners I’d interviewed, and then, (and this took a little luck), realized that what each of these super-successful business owners was doing was actually a repeatable process that I could teach. And for the last 19 years, I’ve taught this.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to take you years of your life to learn this.  You can learn how to make your business a Destination in 2½ days, at my Destination BootCamp, held in Longmont, Colorado.  (Here’s a photo of our most recent class)

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If you want me to teach this Destination strategy to you, you have two (2) Destination BootCamps in 2016 where we still have seats available:

Our next BootCamp, on July 26-28, has approximately 12 seats left, and I expect when it’s all said and done, that the class size will probably have about 25 attendees, based on our current projections.  (By the way, with this class, we will pass one thousand (1,000) business owners who have taken our BootCamp.

We’re not giving anything away to the thousandth owner/attendee, but I still think it’s kind of cool.

Then, our following Destination BootCamp on September 13-15 has approximately 8-10 seats remaining.  We are estimating this class will fill up.

Miss these 2 dates and you’ll have to wait until March, 2017 (8 months from now), to attend my next Destination BootCamp.

Interested in learning more?  Are you interested in learning why hundreds of business owners and entrepreneurs have attended over the last 14 years and you still haven’t?  If so, go and read “What You’ll Learn” at the Destination BootCamp by clicking here.

Or, if you’re still skeptical, you might want to read what other previously skeptical business owners (just like you), said AFTER they took the class.  Read that by clicking here.

And finally, if you have any questions about how my BootCamp can help your business, feel free to call me directly at 303-774-6522, extension 104. I’m happy to talk to you.

Thanks!  Hope to see you in Longmont soon!

Jon

Everyone Wants You to Grow, but Who Really Wants You to Thrive?

Thrive not Survive

To all independent business owners!

Here’s something to think about:

I once received a call from the sales vice-president of a well-known national franchise who wanted me to speak at their annual convention.  He’d heard about me from one of his independent franchisees, and he knew that I helped businesses grow their sales, customer traffic, and profits as a Destination Business.

We seemed to be the perfect fit, but then he said:

“One thing: I can’t have you mention anything about that Destination-stuff you speak on. These are franchisees. They have set territories.  You can’t say anything about becoming a Destination Business because I don’t need a bunch of franchisees leaving that convention, all half-cocked, thinking they can pull customers from anywhere they want.”

And with that, I politely declined speaking for them, and referred him to another speaker.

Now don’t get me wrong. I understand his concern.  I know how franchised businesses work.  A well-known franchise (like a McDonald’s), wants their locations to deliver brand-uniformity: The same image, the same products, the same promise.

Consistency, not differences.

But here’s the thing: Consumers don’t always want the same.  Most of the time, they actually want uniqueness. They want one-of-a-kind.  They like individuality.  And they especially love Shop-Local, independent businesses run by local owners.

Who knew Mom and Pop were gonna be so Hot?

But the good news is: The principles of being a unique Destination can be merged with franchise systems. But you need a franchise management team that’s willing to grow and learn, like the Real Deals on Home Décor franchise. When I met with the Real Deals on Home Décor executive team, they hired me to help their franchisees grow their businesses.  Period!  No conditions. No limitations.  They wanted me to teach their franchisees and their management team all about my Destination strategy and they wanted me to give their independent owners all the tools they needed to bring in more customers and sales! We took the Real Deals franchise model and incorporated the most powerful parts of my 14-step Destination process and blended them together.  Then, they had me teach the strategy to their independent owners.

Real Deals on Home Décor wanted their franchise network of independent business owners to thrive, not just survive.

Now think about your company’s manufacturers who supply your business with products.  I learned there’s a difference in manufacturers when I spoke at the American Lighting Association.  No sooner had I left the stage when I was approached by the management team from Kichler Lighting, one of the largest lighting manufacturers in North America.  They liked what they’d heard and within 2 weeks, they had me design an entire 12-month training plan for their lighting showroom customers that included workshops, 1-on-1 consulting, and monthly Destination webinars, all designed to drive more customer traffic into their businesses.

Kichler Lighting created a program that took the strengths of their product lines and mixed it with the Destination Business process to help their retail store owners grow. Not just plod forward.

They wanted them to thrive.

Why do I tell you these stories?  Because I want you look closely at the companies, resources, and programs that are integral to your business, and then, decide if your company is receiving what you deserve.  Are the people who manage these entities just helping you maintain your business, or are they giving you all the tools to accelerate your business to its greatest potential?

Some of you know that James Cash Penney, the founder of the JC Penney chain, was a fellow Longmont, Colorado entrepreneur. His first business was located just 2 doors down from our location at 321 Main Street in downtown Longmont just 119 years ago.  I’m going to end this blog post with a quote from my former neighbor:

“Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.”

It’s time for you to insist that those forces start working towards your company’s maximum growth.

Destination BootCamp update:

I wanted to update you on our remaining 2016 Destination BootCamps:

  1. We have three (3) remaining Destination BootCamps in 2016 that have space in them. Their dates are:
    1. June 7-9
    2. July 26-28
    3. September 13-15

The October 25-27 class is full and can take no more participants.

Here are three workshops in my schedule that are open to the public:

Thursday, May 19: 8:00 to 9:30 a.m. at Hutchinson Community College, 1300 N. Plum, Justice Theater in the Shears Technology Building in Hutchinson, Kansas, Increasing Sales & Profits as a Destination Business. To register, call 620-665-8468 or email dukartd@hutchcc.edu.

Tuesday, May 24: 9:00 to 10:15 a.m. in Milwaukee Wisconsin at the National Main Street Conference, Room 102C in the Wisconsin Center.  The 7 Steps to a Memorable Main Street: Capturing Today’s Customers as a Destination Downtown. Join me for my 1 and only session, and then, stick around and let’s talk about your Destination Downtown challenge.

Tuesday and Wednesday, June 14-15, Austin, Texas at the Real Places 2016 Conference, sponsored by the Texas Historical Commission. Go to RealPlaces.us for more information.

Thanks, Everyone!  Let me hear of your successes by emailing me at Info@JonSchallert.com

Jon

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

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

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

When Buying Local Doesn’t Feel Local

I understand why I should shop local, and I do. I’ve always thought locally-owned businesses add the flair, the uniqueness, the character, and the differences that make a community shine. Without them, one city is pretty much like all the rest.

I also understand the economics and the importance of spending local dollars in local businesses, and the value of those dollars recirculating, rather than spending my money in a superstore where most of my dollars end up in Bentonville.

I get all that.

And remember, I’m also the guy who consults with independently-owned businesses, teaches them how to beat larger competitors by becoming Destinations, and even has a webinar called: “How to Get Locals to Spend More Money Locally.” If there ever was a guy invested in shopping local, it’s me.

But I’ve got a problem: What’s a person to do when there are locally-owned businesses that don’t feel local at all, and national chains that do?

Let me explain.

I buy most of my groceries at Safeway, a national grocer. I’ve always gone to Safeway, even as a child: My first memories of shopping were at the Safeway in Littleton, Colorado in the Woodlawn Shopping Center. Every time my brother and I went with our Mom to shop at Safeway, it was an event. The lady in the bakery always gave us a free cookie. We got to hang on the cart as we were wheeled around. There was a mechanical horse that we got to ride while Mom was checking out, if we’d been good.

Fast forward 50 years, and today, when I walk into my Longmont Safeway, I know most everyone by name. And best of all, they know me. Now, I’m not going to embarrass them by using their real first names (so I’ve changed them), but Bill in the produce section rides his bike to work each morning and we often complain about customers who think they can tell good corn-on-the-cob by tearing it open. His assistant, Roger, shares with me the best craft breweries he’s hit over the weekends. Sam in the deli knows that when I ask for a quarter pound, he better not hit 1/3 of a pound and he knows I’m always going to ask him to slice it fresh.

When I’m done shopping, I know all the cashiers: Miguel has a couple of kids and last year had his home burn down, and everyone in the store took up a collection for him. Jenny loves George Strait and spoils her grandkids. Roberta’s from Kansas, works at the local school as a second job, and always works holidays to get time and a half. Margaret is always there early in the mornings, always cheerful, and totally ignores the sign that says: “15 item limit” when I’m in line.

OK, so compare this to the locally-owned supermarket that came to Longmont last year, directly across the street:

I know who the owners are (they live in Boulder, 15 miles away), but I’ve never seen them in the store. In fact, all of their company’s marketing materials, including their e-newsletter, are for their Boulder store, not the Longmont store. I could care less about the Boulder store. If they’d like me to bond to this store, start with locally-focused marketing materials.

Next, their employees: I’m sure they’re nice enough, but honestly, I can’t tell. Most of the time, they’re talking to each other. Literally, I can walk by, or stand behind them trying to get to groceries, and they are oblivious to my presence. Sometimes, they look right at me, but do not speak. Weirdest thing.  When I walk into the produce department, you have to interrupt them if you want any response, otherwise, they’re hell-bent on pyramiding the apples.

Next, the deli: There’s never the same person in the deli, and I don’t trust their recommendations.  The last time I asked which roast beef was best, they sold me a brand that had the texture of a Croc’s sandal.  Right next door is their meat department which makes great chicken sausages.  But this weekend, I needed a bunch for the football tailgate party, and they were out of every flavor but one.

Finally, the cashiers. I hate to say they’re lifeless and emotionless, and I understand that cashiering is not a glamor job, but honestly, they seem the most excited when I say I don’t want a paper bag.

OK, so earlier I asked for your advice on what to do:  Shop with a chain that feels local? Or, should I spend money in a locally-owned business that makes me feel like I’m shopping Walmart?

Here’s what I do:

I support the independent businesses that value my business, where they know my name and appreciate my dollars. I support businesses that go out of their way for me when I have a special request, and in turn, I go out of my way to spend with them. Bottom line: If a business delivers the products and services I need and I have a relationship with the business, its owners, and its employees, I spend money there.

Since I’m also a shop-local kind of guy, I avoid national chains and superstores whenever possible, unless somehow, they’re able to transform themselves from big and impersonal, into local and familiar (which I have to admit, doesn’t happen very often).

Which brings me to Safeway and the locally-owned store across the street. I’ll shop both, but I’m going to tolerate the locally-owned one that doesn’t feel local, and I’m going to keep spending the majority of my grocery dollars at my local Safeway. That’s because Bill, Roger, Sam, Miguel, Jennie, Roberta, and Margaret do a good job, plus they are my neighbors, and they make me feel like their neighbor, too.

PS:  I’m sure this locally-owned store doesn’t know this, but on top of having employees who are responsive to customers, there are 13 additional marketing techniques that any business can leverage to show its customers that it’s a locally-owned business and that it values local customers.  Would you like to know what they are?  Read on!

Still Time to Save $200

Our final Destination BootCamp of 2014 occurs on October 7-9, only held in Longmont, Colorado.

(And yes, during Day 2, around 11:00 a.m., you will learn the 13 different shop-local marketing techniques that most businesses don’t even think about using).

You will also learn during my 2½ day class the entire 14-step process to make your business a Destination that I’ve developed after 27 years of interviews with thousands of successful business owners. I’ve taken the lessons from North America’s most brilliant independent business owners, and distilled it into a proven system that allows you to attract more customers from a greater distance, keep more local customers buying with you, while attracting the media for free publicity (which means your marketing costs can decrease).

Not only will my Destination BootCamp help you increase your customer traffic and sales, if you register for our October 7-9 Destination BootCamp, you can take $200 off your tuition cost by using the Promotion Code “Escape” when you register (sorry, this does NOT apply to Community Reinvention Program groups from the same city).

Need more convincing? Just click over to our DestinationBootCamp.com Testimonial section where we have the words of actual owners who have been through the same class.

Successful Independent Business Magazine

Wrapping up:  I’ve always wanted to create a publication that would help independent entrepreneurs and show them how to make their businesses more profitable, while bringing more customers in their doors.

I am pleased to announce that our new magazine, Successful Independent Business, will be available soon. Here’s the inaugural edition.

Successful Independent Business Magazine

Successful Independent Business is designed to tell the success stories of owners just like you, located in large cities and small towns, achieving spectacular success by following the Destination process that I teach.

If you’d like to receive Successful Independent Business, you can read it online or have it mailed to your business. You just have to tell us how you’d like to receive it by going to this link (click here), and signing up for it.

OK, that’s it for this week!  Thanks for tolerating my rambling and I hope to see you in Longmont next month at our Destination BootCamp!

Jon Schallert

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

It’s Time to Act Impulsively in Your Business

In the early 1900’s, there was a noted Harvard psychologist named Dr. William Moulton Marston.  You probably haven’t heard of him, and if not for my brain’s ability to capture the obscure, you probably never would. All his psychology writings are out of print.

Dr. Marston is generally known for two important creations. His first invention was the lie detector, which he created after he noticed that there was a correlation between people lying and the physiological changes that occurred in their bodies, including the elevation of their blood pressure.

Secondly, Dr. Marston was also the creator of the Wonder Woman comic strip. Yes, you heard that right. The same person who received a Ph.D. in Psychology from Harvard, the inventor of the lie detector, is also the same guy who envisioned Wonder Woman wearing tights, indestructible bracelets, and her magic lasso which could tie criminals up, make them obedient, and unable to lie.

Old Doc Marston’s brain worked in mysterious ways, didn’t it?

But forget Wonder Woman for a second (if you can), and think about Dr. Marston, the psychologist.  In his studies, he talked about the importance of listening and acting on our minds’ impulses, and how there is a scientific justification for taking rapid action.

The next quote is a long one, but if I shortened it, you’d never get the full gist of it, and you’re likely to never come in contact with the CBS radio interview I found from the 1940’s where he spoke these words:

“For years, as a psychologist, I’ve sought in the careers of great and of everyday people, the inner springs that make for successful living. There are two which seem to me of prime importance. The first is hard work, governed by cool, logical thoughtfulness. The other is sudden, warm impulsive action…”

“Most of us actually stifle enough good impulses during the course of the day to change the current of our lives. These are inner flashes of impulse that light up the mind for an instant. Then, contented in their afterglow, we tend to lapse back into routine, feeling vaguely that sometime we might do something about it or that at least our intentions were good. And in this we win against the inner self. For impulses set up the lines of communication between the unconscious mind and daily action…”

“The person who follows his impulses is not necessarily flighty. The timid soul, however, is fearful, lest impulse lead him into all manner of mistakes. But mistakes are inevitable. We’re bound to make them no matter which course we take. Some of the worst mistakes in history have followed consciously reasoned decisions…”

“The mistakes of inaction flanked by heavy reasoning are likely to be worse than the mistakes of a genuine impulse.  For one thing, they make our inertia worse day by day. We all know people who go through agonies of indecision before taking any important step. There are always arguments for and against, and the more we think about them, the more they seem to offset each other, until we wind up in the state of paralysis…”

“Impulsive action, which originates in a swift subconscious appraisal of the situation, might have saved all worry. And when a painfully thought-out decision proves wrong, how often we remember an original hunch that would have been right. The way to get things done is to bring mind and muscle and voice into play at the very second a good impulse starts within us.”

“The life stories of successful people are full of episodes that have marked turning points in their careers.  True impulses are intelligent.  They reveal the basic interests of the subconscious mind.”

So what does Wonder Woman, a lie detector, and William Moulton Marston have to do with your business?  I’m glad you asked:

As of this blog post, we are nearly one-third of the way into 2014, and my question to you is: Are you achieving what you want in your business this year?

We’re 17 weeks into 2014, if you are NOT achieving the revenue you want or the revenue you need from your business, what is your plan?  Did you have a plan when you started the year?  If not, do you have a plan now?  What is your next step? What actions are you going to take to set the course of your business upward?

And please, don’t tell me that you’re going to keep doing what you’ve been doing.

I believe that most entrepreneurs and business owners know in their gut if their businesses are in trouble or if their businesses are going to be fine.

As you’ve heard before, hoping your business will improve is not a strategy.

We’re at Day 113 in 2014, and whether you get help from me by utilizing my Destination Business strategy, or you decide to reach out to someone else, take action.

Until next week,

Jon Schallert

PS:  Every year, we get business owners who come to our Destination BootCamp, who say to me at the end of the workshop:  “I don’t know why I waited so long to attend this.”  My response:  “I’m glad you took action to attend it now.”

27 Pieces of Advice to Make You Better

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jon Schallert

Congratulations to our March 2014 Destination BootCamp Graduates

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

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

Something to Smile About: There’s Retail Opportunity Here

Several years back, I did the keynote speech for an economic development conference on my Destination Business principles.

When I was done, the next presenter got up and it was obvious he wanted to show that he was a well-traveled expert.  To illustrate this, he began by flashing up on the screen photographs he’d taken of small businesses that he found particularly amusing.

Most of the photographs were similar to what I have posted on this page, a small business that combined two or more products or services under one roof that you’d never expect to be together.  Now, to be fair, he didn’t flash the photo I have here of the quilt shop/liquor store, but he did show similar examples of unexpected combinations of products in the same business.

With each photo, the audience laughed, as he poked fun at the businesses being shown on the screen.

And all I could do was sit there thinking: “This guy’s totally missed the point!”

I’ve spoken in hundreds of cities and small towns, and I’ve never been to, nor seen the quilt shop/liquor store shown here. Someone sent me this picture.  And just to be clear, I’m not making fun of this business.  Actually, there’s brilliance in this business.

You see, in the world of retail development, this quilt shop/liquor store is called a “multi-focus business”, meaning that it has two or more unique business models operating under one roof.

So when I find a business like this that has an unusual combination of products in it, I know it’s often because it takes multiple product lines (often diverse ones), combined together, to generate enough revenue for a business in a small town to actually make money.  I also know that smart business owners try to meet the needs of local customers, while also trying to grow their revenue, while identifying consumer demand, hopefully discovering and capitalizing on unsatisfied niche categories to produce a greater return-on-investment.  (Basically, I’ve just described the fundamental rules of the most successful businesses.)

Plus, most independently-owned businesses in a smaller marketplace can’t operate like a retail store on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.  They don’t have millionaire customers walking in everyday and they aren’t located in a retail district that pulls customers from around the world.

Finally, when I talk to community leaders who complain that recruiting retail businesses is difficult, I point out that a multi-focused business is the first thing to look for.  This is because it’s always easier to grow an existing retailer in a community who’s already there, who already understands the marketplace and who’s already committed to the area.  Yet you’d be surprised how many retail development professionals look first to import a new business or poach one from a nearby community.

Personally, when I see multi-focused business, I start thinking: “How can we maximize this business into a stronger Destination, or even two separate Destinations?”

So remember: If you’re ever at an economic development conference and someone gets up and starts showing photos like this one, it’s OK to chuckle.

Just realize that inside that business, a creative, risk-taking entrepreneur came up with something that no one has ever seen.

And that looks like untapped opportunity to me.

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.

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