Posts Tagged : Jon Schallert Destination BootCamp

This New Year: Back to Zero

If you’ve never watched the show “Iconoclasts” on the Sundance Channel, here’s a business tip:  Start watching it. Each episode takes two successful celebrities, usually from different fields, and has them spend time together, discussing how they rose to the top of their game. Though the celebrity might be talking about acting, music, anthropology, running a restaurant, or mountain climbing, their success lessons are applicable to any business.

My favorite episode of the series put Robert Redford with Paul Newman. The Redford/Newman episode ran in the first year of Iconoclasts and even though this episode first aired in 2005, and Paul Newman died in September, 2008, this episode is often re-run on Sundance, and can also be found on YouTube (“Redford Profiles Newman: Iconoclasts”).

This episode is amazing as you hear Redford and Newman discussing their roles as actors and entrepreneurs, and talking about what they created outside of the world of acting. Newman created Newman’s Own food products company which started with him making salad dressing for his friends. Over time, Newman’s Own grew into a multi-million dollar brand that has donated over $300 million in profits to charities.

Redford’s non-acting venture took him to Utah where he bought the Sundance ski resort, started the Sundance Film Festival which led to the Sundance retail stores and catalog. But during this part of the interview, Redford remarks that focusing on Sundance helped him grow as a person because in acting:

“You can get in danger of falling in love with your work…
It’s important to stop, and take yourself back to zero,
and rethink what you’re doing, and get a fresh look at it.”

This New Year, make it a point to take yourself back to zero. Take time to rethink what you’re doing in your business. This might mean reinventing the tired components of your business, or embarking on a new business model that generates the revenue you’ve always been wanting. Taking yourself back to zero also applies to refocusing your life goals, your fitness goals, your relationship goals, and any other aspect of your life that currently dissatisfies you. The process of taking a fresh look is critical to seeing what you really want to achieve.

For all of you: Is there a new area of your business where you’re ready to jump in and look at it anew?  If so, let me hear about it. Our company loves helping entrepreneurs embark on new adventures and achieve success.

Reminder:  Registration is now open for our March 4-6 Destination BootCamp. Spend 2½ days in Colorado reinventing your business with other passionate business owners. For more details: DestinationBootCamp.com

This Independent Shoe and Boot Retailer Beats Zappos Every Day

Pick up any business book. Read any business article on innovation. Chances are you’ll find the name Zappos, the online shoe and apparel e-tailer, mentioned there.

For example, just this month, Donna Tam, a writer for CNET wrote the article: “Can e-tailer Zappos demolish the brick-and-mortar model?”

Sam Lewis, Associate Editor of Integrated Solutions for Retailers, wrote a similar article: “Can Zappos Bulldoze The Brick-And-Mortar Shopping Model?”

Ummm, Donna and Sam.

Here’s the answer to your question:

No.

Zappos is good. Really good. But let’s not get crazy.

Let me introduce you to an independent, brick-and-mortar, shoe and boot retailer that will never lose a customer to Zappos and gains quite a few from online shoe retailers every day.

Meet Kevin and Deb Durken, owners of The Boot Shack in St. Cloud, Minnesota.  The Boot Shack is a Destination Business. Kevin and Deb took what they were already doing well, attended our Destination BootCamp, applied what they learned, and now customers willingly fly to Minnesota from all over North America to buy footwear from “The Shack”.

Could these customers buy from brick-and-mortar retailers who are much closer?

Could they go online to e-tailers like Zappos and buy from them?

They could. But they don’t.

Up above is a photo of Kevin in the rarely seen position of him sitting in the store.

The photo below is a device that you might remember if you’re old enough. It’s called a Brannock Device. It’s what they use at The Boot Shack to measure a customer’s foot, to insure that the boots and shoes they sell to customers are the right size.

When I was a child, the Brannock Device was used in every shoe store in the country. My mother never purchased a pair of shoes for me from any store without the salesperson measuring my feet with the Brannock Device.

What makes Kevin and Deb’s business different from every other shoe and boot store, including Zappos?  It’s really simple:

The Boot Shack is the only store in the country that measures feet like they did in the old days, carrying Work and Western Boots in every size from 3-18 and widths 4A-4E.

Why is measuring a customer’s feet like they did in the old days so important?  Kevin said it best to me:

“People come in with stuff they’ve bought off the Internet, and what we see are unhappy customers after the purchase. Everybody thinks they have to get a deal, and then they call us, and they say, ‘I got a pair of boots and can you fit them? I’d like to come in and try on other sizes of this company.’”

Kevin reminded me about basic physiology when we were talking:

“Three things get longer as you get older. The feet, the nose and the ears. That happens with even our regular customers who come in. We’ll have people who have changed one full size in as little as 4 months.”

“On the Internet, it’s a small, medium and large world. But if you really want shoes and boots that fit, that don’t hurt your feet when you wear them, that fit correctly, you use the Brannock device because the arch is what you fit, and then, you fit the width…”

“Two-thirds of all people have narrow feet, and people are shocked by that. But as we tell people: If your toes were so important, why are those $400 orthotics that are prescribed by doctors designed to fit under the arch of the foot?”

“When you spend a day in The Shack, and you see some of these people come through here, and you hear about the tens of thousands of dollars they’ve spent with the medical profession, in the doctor’s office, in the chiropractor’s office, with surgeries, and you listen to all the pain and suffering people go through, and all the issues they have. Their hips wear out, and their knees wear out, and their ankles hurt.  That’s because the shoes they’re wearing don’t fit the arch properly and don’t fit the width properly.”

“Twenty or thirty years ago, you never heard these stories or saw these $400 orthotics that you do now, and now everybody’s got them because nobody wears anything that fits properly.  It’s like an epidemic that gets worse every year.”

“Our wonderful repair shop that we’ve done business with for years has said that the Internet is the best thing that’s ever happened to his business because people are in there constantly with crap they bought on the Internet that doesn’t fit and they’re in getting it altered or stretched.”

The Boot Shack is a one-of-a-kind shoe and boot Destination store.  When you go to The Shack, they’re going to measure your feet correctly, and then, they have a selection that allows them to fit your feet to shoes and boots that don’t pinch, rub, and hurt you when you walk.

Is there any question why people fly and drive from all over North America to buy from The Boot Shack, instead of buying from Zappos?

It’s pretty clear to me.

Oh, one last thing: In Donna Tam’s article, Zappos Lab Director Will Young wonders aloud, “How do we get people out of brick and mortar?”

I’m sorry to break it to you, Will, but you won’t get them out of this brick and mortar store.

The final 2013 Destination BootCamp is on October 1-3 and it’s for independent business owners who want to learn what Kevin and Deb are applying in their business. You can register at www.DestinationBootCamp.com.

 

 

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
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