Getting Out of a Business Slump

The importance of celebrating your successes

Last Thursday I spent the day in Marshall, Michigan, speaking to nearly one hundred business owners from all over the State. Some owners drove in from over 4 hours away to spend the day learning how to turn their businesses into Destinations, capable of pulling in customers from far outside their marketplaces and keeping the locals spending money at home.

Owners started arriving at 7:30 in the morning, with some finally heading back to their businesses after 4:00 p.m. It’s tiring for me to speak all day, but my day is not nearly as long as it is for the owners who come to learn. All of the owners who attended took time to leave their businesses for an entire day, and when the workshop was done, most of them go back to their businesses to work on the tasks that are still waiting for them.

I’m always amazed by the dedication and work ethic and stamina of the owners in my audiences.  These owners not only work hard, but they are also constantly critiquing themselves, always critical of their own shortcomings, always pushing themselves to achieve more, wanting to be better as owners and leaders in their communities.

If you’re an independent business owner who sees yourself in my description above, here’s something I want you to start doing:  At the end of each day, I want you to take a few minutes to write down the major successes you accomplished in your day.  Find a journal or a notebook that you can dedicate to this purpose and just grab it at the end of every day, and quickly jot down any major achievements you had that day.

Here’s why I’m asking you to do this: The owners I know don’t acknowledge their successes. Most owners are great at beating themselves up over the tasks they haven’t completed. They dwell on the mistakes they’ve made, and the opportunities that might have passed them by.

I think part of this is their perfectionist nature and part of it happens because owners expect themselves to create successes. When successes happen, they don’t dwell on them. They don’t pat themselves on the back when they knock something off their list; they just move onto the next unfinished task and the next challenge ahead.

Writing down your successes will seem foreign to you at first, but just take a couple of minutes at the end of each day and jot down any significant wins you’ve had. That’s it. Pretty simple.

One last thing: Try this technique for 1 month, and then, email me at [email protected] and tell me what you see happening.

We Have Seats in January and February’s Destination BootCamps

Every year, it’s the same: Our Destination BootCamp classes that are held early in the year always have the smaller attendance numbers than the ones that are held in the Spring and Fall.

Year after year this happens and my theory is that early in the year, owners decide to take certain steps to improve their businesses, but by mid-year, when sales haven’t grown like they wanted, owners realize that taking my class might help. Consequently, our later-in-the-year BootCamp classes always fill up.

There are plenty of advantages to taking our January 29-31 or our February 19-21 BootCamps: If you attend one of these classes, the smaller class size means that you receive more 1-on-1 assistance from me.  The early BootCamp classes also give you the entire 2019 year to implement the changes you learned, which means you’ll most likely see a greater impact in your 2019 revenue figures.

Finally, my 2½ day Destination BootCamp is only held in Longmont, Colorado, and it’s the only way you can learn my entire 14-step Destination Business strategy that I’ve been teaching since 2002.

If you’d like to learn more about all of our Destination BootCamp classes or you’d like to register for these empty seats, just go to:

Thanks, everyone.  That’s it for this week.  Let me hear of your successes!



Coming to a Town Near You: Destination Business Mobile Office

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Coming to a community near you: the new Schallert Group Destination Business Mobile Office.

Now when you bring Jon Schallert to your town or city to help your business owners, Jon’s going to be bringing his entire office with him. This allows you to have access to all of Jon’s resources right in your town!

Look for this little powerhouse coming to your city in the future months!

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:  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
234 N. Front St.
Central Point, Or. 97502
541- 326- 8836

Handling Your Great, Good, and Bad Ideas: A 3-Step Process, Final Step #3

For the last couple of days, I’ve been taking you through the 3-step process of handling your overload of ideas.

Here is the third and final key in this process, and you must remember this most important point:  24 hours is never enough time for a creative thinker like you, with too many ideas.


As an owner, you already feel like you work all the time. You don’t, but if you did, it wouldn’t make things much better.  Here’s why:  As you get past the 8 hour mark, up into the 10, then the 12, and finally to the 16-hour mark of working, your productivity drops off, and you start being not so nice.  People respond less well to someone with blood shot eyes who is screaming with too much caffeine in them.  Working too much will also cause your family, your dog, and those who were helping you to quit responding.  And let’s not forget those employees.  They’ll still show up for that paycheck, but have you ever seen unresponsive and uncommitted?  You will.

Think back a few days on my earlier blog post and remember how some of you had another person helping you, making it not just you, but you and someone else?  When you work all the time that person will leave, call you names, and you will be stuck with only you.  Just you and your caffeine, wide awake and alone.  And your situation will not be improved.  It will be just you, and you will still have too many ideas.

So here’s my advice.  In your big pile of ideas that you’ve sifted through, look for ideas that will IMPACT SALES IN A HUGE WAY!


This is the key to handling too many ideas!

Sure, this seems logical, but there is power in putting this into practice.

You must learn to identify those great ideas that you can put into place, with your limited amount of time and sanity, which will significantly change your business for the better by increasing sales the most.

These ideas have to be the BIG ones.  They will be the ones that change how you do business.  They are ones that could reinvent your business into a different revenue-generating entity that spins off much more cash and pulls in many more customers.

You must use your good judgment, and look at the remaining ideas, and say: “If I put this into practice, how much will it move our overall sales number?”  And if your answer is “A little” or “Not much”, put those ideas off to the side.

Let’s practice one idea together.  You pick up an idea from your pile.  It says “Hold another Open House”.  Will this really impact your sales and possibly reinvent your business?  You say No?  Yes, you are right.  This is not that BIG idea.

The best ideas will often create a disproportionately large increase in customers or immediate large sales for your business, or move your business forward with such momentum that the new sales might begin resembling an entirely new branch of your company.

Once you find these ideas, you must focus your limited energy, resources, spouse or partner, employees, and remaining team that doesn’t hate you, on these tasks, every day.  In your day-to-day operations of your business, you must find time to implement incremental steps in these move-the-needle, BIG ideas.

Here’s another hint:  You will find that ideas of this magnitude aren’t the ones that most of your peers at the tradeshows you’ve been attending have been repeating.  If your peers really do have BIG ideas like these, they are quietly keeping them to themselves.  I have found that the really BIG ideas won’t be found in your industry, but in an adjacent industry or a totally different industry and you will be able to apply the concept to your industry, where it will be brand new.

I have found this is one of the primary reasons that our Destination BootCamp works so well.  It’s not just me teaching you, but it’s also what happens when you take smart, dissimilar, dissatisfied business owners, all motivated to change their businesses, and the process that happens when they come together for three days of strategic over-thinking.  They exchange ideas under the 14-step framework of becoming a Destination Business and they begin to hear ideas that they’ve never heard before. And then it clicks.  Light bulb!  And as Einstein said, that’s a Eureka moment in the world of adult learning.  Yea!

Summing up and moving on:  There is only one you, and yes, you are like a snowflake, unique and one-of-a-kind, as your parents said.  Unfortunately, your ideas and mode of operation have become stale and like everyone else in your industry.  Then, there are too few hours in a day, and you have too many ideas.  Working on too many ideas for too many hours and your business begins lacking the focus it needs.

The alternative to doing what you’ve always done is to find BIG ideas that will move your sales needle in a big way.  Break down the BIG idea into smaller steps and plan the steps out month-by-month, week-by-week, on a calendar.  Finally, work the plan with you, your partner, and your employees, and delegate to those who can help.  Oh, yeah, and find mentors that have done this before.

Doing it alone feels right, but it’s not. It feels right to plow forward, work longer, and make it on your own.  This is your inner entrepreneur on a misguided quest to right your course.  Instead, you must step back and rethink your business strategy.

If you have more comments or questions, post them on this blog.  Or, make your way to our Destination BootCamp next month on June 21-23, 2011 ( and watch the Eureka moments find you.

Handling Your Great, Good, and Bad Ideas: A 3-Step Process, Part 1

Here’s something that’s critical if you are going to build a better business: learn to act on your great ideas, nurture your good ones, and discard your bad ones.

But this is easier said than done, especially for most owners of businesses.  You see, most owners are extremely creative people with ideas constantly popping up in their heads every day.

Do you recognize yourself?  If so, this blog post is for you.

I see it all the time.  Most owners keep lists and pages of their ideas.  Owners are great note-takers and list-makers. The problem comes finding time to act on those ideas.  Rather than devoting time to work on them (what companies call innovation time, or research and development), most owners work in their businesses and will do anything to NOT work on their ideas.  For example, some owners read trade publications, talk to business owners in their same field, and attend industry conferences, and when they return, they are thoroughly overloaded with more ideas, piles of notes and scribbles of thoughts, and magazines where they’ve highlighted every word in yellow.

Face it. You have more ideas than you need!  And I’m including the bad ideas you get from people who come up to you, knowing very little about your business, who say: “You should do this, if you want to make more money.”

Do the math, and collectively, you have some great ideas mixed in with a bunch of good ideas, about half-a-ton of not so good ideas, and a couple of hundred ideas that you don’t know if they’re good or not, and a few that you wrote down or heard that you don’t understand.

Then, I come around and tell you to reinvent your business as a Destination which really puts you in overload (it shouldn’t; my stuff’s the easiest).

Here is the first step in the process to help you handle your great, good, and bad ideas.

Today I will share the First Idea.  #2 and #3 will appear in this blog in the next two days.

#1 Step: Remember that there is only one you.

“There is only one you”.  What does that mean?  It means that you are limited in what you alone can accomplish as one person.  Your parents used to say “There is only one you” but they meant that you were like a shining star or unique like a snowflake.  And though you might have been and maybe are now, I don’t mean it that way.

Put another way: You are just one person trying to handle too much.

But, you might say, “Wait, it’s not just me!”  You might say this because you have a supportive partner or spouse or good employees who are likewise focused on your business.  Yes, this support is wonderful, but that makes a few more “kind-of-like yous”, and even though your spouse might be infinitely more talented than you and right on the same page, that only means there is at most, just one more than you.

And yes, some of you have brilliant people working for you.  They can take some responsibility for handling different ideas.  But deep down, you know that there is a reason your employees work for you and don’t have their own businesses.  They are not you, and some aren’t even like you. They don’t wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, thinking how to make payroll the next day. They sleep at night while you are up thinking of the hundreds of ideas that caused you to sit up in bed.  They don’t agonize over that customer your business just lost, and that sale that just walked out the door.  Deep down, they are less committed.

Granted, there are other possibilities to have more people help you with your ideas.  You can delegate responsibilities to others (though most owners don’t do this real well because you have a tendency to be a little controlling, oh, snowflake that you are).  Yes, delegation is a possibility.

But let me come back to what I said: There is only one you.  And you know it, and for the most part, the really great ideas that are percolating around up there will have to be put into practice by you.

Tomorrow, we’ll cover the reality of having too many ideas, and what to do about it.

For All Owners: Your Presence is Needed

Being able to meet and interact with the owner of an independent business might not seem like a big deal to you, but to many customers, your presence has power.  You physically being in your business, talking to customers, helping them solve their problems, and listening to their issues, is one of the joys that a customer feels when they get to interact with the actual owner of a business.

Let me give you an example of how making yourself visible can have a big impact on your bottom line:

Last year, my wife and I took a trip to California, and went to visit some wineries near Sonoma.  We had never been to any of their wineries before, and we soon learned it’s a pretty big event to tour these places.  People from all over the world come to California to taste and critique their wines.

If you ever go to California’s wine country, the whole wine tasting experience is overwhelming.  We stayed in a little city where there were over 40 wineries within 5 miles of our hotel.  So, upon our arrival, the first thing we did was ask the concierge at the hotel to give us some recommendations on where to go.  Then, armed with our list of recommendations, we were ready to start the next day, checking them off one at a time.

But we soon learned that going to each winery on our narrowed-down list was still a daunting task.  The first day we headed out, we started at the top of the list.  We were at the first winery when it opened at 10:00 a.m.  I don’t know if you’ve ever sampled wine not long after breakfast, but it didn’t take too much time before my taste-buds were numb, my mind was a little loopy, and all the while the winery people are talking about the aroma of chocolate and cherries and spices we were supposed to be tasting in our mouths as we sampled the wine.  I tasted none of this.  By noon, I was ready to head back to the hotel and take a nap.

On the second day, we changed our strategy.  We decided to just hit the wineries that our friends had recommended to us.  One of the wines on our “primo list” was named after two partners who had started the winery (for the sake of not incriminating them, let’s call it the “Michael-Joseph Winery”).

When we arrived at Michael-Joseph’s, the place was a palace.  There was an immaculate garden and a spectacular view of the vineyards from the main tasting area.  We walked in, and were the only ones there.  We were greeted by a nice woman who seated us at a private table.  She started taking us through the different upscale wines created there, and during our tasting, she started telling us the story of how Michael and Joseph had started the winery from scratch.  She told the story of how they had built it up, and the trials and effort they had both gone through.  She then told us how they had won all these wine awards, and finally, how Joseph had purchased Michael’s half of the winery from him, becoming the sole owner.  Her whole story was very inspirational.  You really appreciated the hard work that these owners had gone through to create the wine we were sampling.

Not long after she had told us this story, a guy walks through the tasting room with his dog.  The dog comes over to us, and the woman pouring wine for us makes a comment to the man walking through.  He responds, and walks into an adjacent room with a huge desk.  The dog sat down with us.  The guy looked like he knew his way around the place, so I asked her if this was Joseph, the owner of the winery.  “Yes, that’s him,” she said.  Joseph continued to stroll in and out of the far corner of the room as we continued tasting wine, and the woman and he would talk back and forth, carrying on a dialogue, while we were sitting there.

Now, maybe it’s just my fascination with how entrepreneurs become successful, or maybe it was a case of being a little star-struck because I’ve never met someone whose name is on a bottle, but I started thinking how cool it was that this guy is the one who built this whole thing from the ground up, and how cool it was that he’s right here, walking around with his dog, and about the time I’m thinking it would be pretty neat to talk to him, he disappears.

Just gone.  And he doesn’t come back.  And soon, we’re done with the wine.

When we left the winery and we were both driving in the car, when I turned and said, “Wouldn’t it have been cool if the owner had just come over and said something to us?”

And right then, we both realized that if this owner had taken just a minute or two to say hello, and take the time to introduce himself to us, the whole winery experience we were having would have been so much more memorable.  It could have only been a moment, but we would have probably bought a whole lot more wine, and we certainly would have talked about the experience of meeting Joseph, the winery owner, to all of our friends.

Now, relate this to your business:  If you build your Destination business correctly, there will be two aspects of it that will become famous:  Your business and you.  Yes, I know some of you are uncomfortable being in the spotlight, but I’d suggest you get over this stage fright because when you build a successful Destination Business, the curtain on your stage will inevitably rise.

There is a fine line between being the celebrity-owner and saying hello to customers, and spending all your time gabbing with them, and getting nothing else done.  It’s a balancing act, but rehearsing your brief interaction helps:  “Hello, nice to see you, thank you for coming in, oh, yes, we are glad you read about us in that magazine, and again, thank you for coming in, it’s a pleasure to meet you, here’s my card, and now, I have a meeting to go to, goodbye.”

Get comfortable being the Expert in your business and using your “celebrity” status to your advantage.  Most of the time, it won’t take much to have a big impact on your customers.

What’s Your Calendar Say?

Today is the 54th day of 2011. There are 311 more days to go before 2012.  I know this because every morning, I look at the calendar on my wall, and in tiny numbers, it tells me that information.

That’s just one benefit of a calendar like this.  The bigger benefit is that my calendar shows me how I’m going to grow my business in 2011.

What did your calendar tell you today?

Funny question, right?  But look on your wall, or on your computer, and do you have a physical calendar that details the step-by-step plan you’ve created to grow your business in 2011?

You probably don’t have one.  Most of my clients don’t have one when they begin working with me.  But I’m going to suggest you get one.  Get a big 2 foot by 3 foot horizontal 2011 Yearly Planner calendars that has all 12 months visible, that you can write on with a dry erase marker.  Put it on the wall where you see it every day.

When you first put it up, it will be uncluttered and blank.  Your future will never look so uncomplicated as when you put up your new calendar.  But after day 1, this calendar holds the promise of a brighter future.

Why is this calendar discussion important?  You can use your 2011 calendar like I do, as the physical representation of the twelve month revenue strategy you will be implementing.

I can see on the calendar my plan and my progress of achieving superior results in 2011 over 2010.  Best of all, on December 31, 2011, after a full year, if I am not satisfied with my company’s 2011 end-of-the-year revenue numbers, I don’t have to look any further than that calendar to see what I did, the order and frequency I did it, and decide what to change for the future.

You might be thinking:  “Wait a second, Jon.  What about the economy?  That’s going to impact my numbers in 2011!”

The reality is that you cannot blame the economy if you start now with a plan.  If you write a year-end sales decrease in 2011, or you write a lesser increase than you hoped for, your plan will be the reason.

For most owners, though, they have no proactive plan.  Where most owners dwell is in the day-to-day, adding-it-up-as-you-go, let’s-see-if-we’re-ahead-or-behind, reactive record-keeping mode.  That’s not an entrepreneurial plan; that’s a bean counter function that your accountant can do!

Your job as the owner is to create the vision and the plan that drives the totals you want!

Think back on last year:  If in 2010, you went day by day, waiting and hoping that the economy would turn around, shame on you!  Hoping the economy will get better is not a plan!  Hope itself feels good, but as one wise man once said:  “Hope is not a strategy.”

Onto 2011:  My empty calendar, already 54 days into the year, is ready for more of my future plan.  Your calendar is ready, too!  You can deviate from what didn’t work in the past, and set out a course for the year with new tactics that you didn’t try before.  Your goal should be that at the 365th day of 2011, you don’t look back on your past 365 days with regret, but with satisfaction that you learned from 2010 and didn’t repeat those mistakes in 2011.

Let me say it again:  If you are not happy with your year-end sales numbers this year, don’t blame the economy.  Blame the plan you created while in this economy.

Today, go buy that calendar.  Then check back on this blog tomorrow, as I give you Step 2 to grow your sales in 2011.

Don’t Be a Shoveler

At our Destination Business BootCamp, one of my favorite chapters to teach is how entrepreneurs and owners must attain a balance as the leader of the business to maximize the potential of their business.  Without a doubt, it’s the chapter where the owners in attendance do less talking and contributing than any point of the BootCamp, and I know why.  During this chapter, I hammer home the point that owners must quit operating as Mom and Pop business proprietors and instead, must start running their businesses like a CEO would run their company.

What that means for most owners is that they must start passing off some of the simple, day-to-day tasks that often dominate their working hours, so they can start thinking about more strategic and substantial ways to grow their company.

This chapter is especially sobering because I think we all see ourselves in the worst-practices examples in time management that I show.  You’ll notice that I say “we” because I can be as guilty anyone else in using my time unwisely.

One of the examples I reference during this chapter is the Steven Covey – Franklin Time Management system.  It’s a fantastic workshop that will help any time-scattered owner, and one immediately learns that there are only 4 types of activities that one engages in.  You are either being:

  • Reactive to outside stimulus and taking action when you must respond to an issue you didn’t create.
  • Proactive in handling your most important priorities of your company.
  • Adding and contributing value to your company by the nature of the tasks you choose to do, or
  • Contributing marginal value to your company by the tasks you do.

Then, I take examples of a typical business owner’s day to show one of each of these 4 activities.

When I come to the Reactive/Marginal-Value Tasks, the example I use is showing an owner who comes into his or her business, after it’s been snowing all night.  The sidewalks are covered with snow.  The owner grabs the shovel, heads outside, and starts clearing the snow off the sidewalk. Again, they are reacting to the snowfall on the sidewalk, so this is a Reactive task, but they, as the owner of the company, do the shoveling, rather than delegating this task to someone else.  This gives it Marginal value.  Marginal, reactive activities are the worst time wasters for business owners, and in this example, shoveling provides n value to the overall strengthening of their company.

Now, jump forward with me when I’m speaking on the phone to an owner who just attended the BootCamp.  She mentions that she found this time management exercise extremely beneficial and enlightening.  She starts recalling examples that I used during this chapter and mentions that this was a huge Eureka moment for her at the BootCamp.

“I’ve concluded,” she told me over the phone, “that being a CEO is hard.”

I agreed.  Thinking like a CEO is much harder than just engaging in every single task that pops up in one’s business, I told her.

She went on to say:

“It’s easier to be the shoveler.  I like shoveling.  I like doing something and seeing an immediate result, like the snow going away.  I like think-less jobs.  It’s hard to be the CEO of your company.  Being a CEO is NOT a think-less job.”

I like shoveling and doing think-less jobs!  No one had ever put it that way. But she was right.  Being a CEO is not easy.  It involves planning for the growth of your business.  This involves thinking and being creative, probably two of the most difficult aspects of running a business.  Being a CEO means you have to decide what must happen now, and what steps must happen next.  Strategic thinking about how you’re going to make your business a Destination is definitely an activity where thinking’s required.

But shoveling?  That’s relatively easy, isn’t it?  And when you are done, you can look at your completed work and say, “I did a fine job of shoveling.”  We all get an immediate reward as we check another item off our list.  No wonder so many of us engage in these reactive, marginal  value tasks.

So the next time you are sitting down, evaluating what needs to be accomplished in your day, think of this owner, who admits that she prefers shoveling to thinking about how to grow her business.  Are you the same way?  Are the tasks on your list tasks that you should be handling?  Or, are the tasks you’ve put on your list more of the “think-less” kind?

Focus on tasks that you absolutely MUST handle since no one else can!  Growing your business takes being a CEO, regardless of the size of your business.

Want to learn more about proactively becoming a Destination business.  Think about attending our next Destination BootCamp on March 15-17.  Click here to learn more.

Free Webinar, February 2 and $200 Early-Bird BootCamp Registration Discount

Announcement #1:  No-Cost Webinar, Wednesday, February 2

Once a year I do a free webinar to help businesses and that time is next week.  Join me next Wednesday, February 2 for a no-cost one hour webinar.  I will be conducting this webinar online at two separate times during the day, so more business owners have a chance to attend.

Webinar Title: “Jumpstart 2011:  12 New Ideas and Powerful Tools to Grow Sales and Eliminate Headaches in Your Independent Business.”

If you attend, here’s what you’ll learn:

  • Four (4) key questions you must ask about your business if you want to have any chance on improving your business above your previous year’s sales.  As the economy comes back, we think sales should inevitably get better, but wouldn’t you like your business to accelerate more quickly than the mass of post-recessionary businesses?
  • One (1) key change you must make as an owner if you want to build your business into something that has value that you might actually be able to sell one day.
  • Four (4) key technology tools (3 are free), that you must be using in 2011 to stay ahead of your competition and to simplify the running of your business.
  • The simplest promotion that you can run during low traffic time periods that costs you nearly nothing, gives up minimal profit margin, but your customers will love it and think they are getting a ton!
  • One (1) new behavior that you can immediately implement in any size community that will give you better ideas and help you come up with better decisions than you could ever do on your own.
  • One (1) New Media marketing tool that can instantly raise your business website’s search engine rankings, and help you land free publicity at the same time, that most of your competitors never will have used.

Finally, I will cover all the new highlights that I’ve added to our 2011 Destination BootCamps, only held here in Colorado three times a year.  Yes, there will be a short promotion message at the end of this webinar, but that’s the price you pay if you want all this other great information for free.

Add all these points up, and you get twelve tools, tactics, and tips that you’ll leave with after this webinar.  It will take me no more than an hour to cover all this, and if I get done early, I’ll take your questions that you can submit during the webinar.

Again, that’s next week, Wednesday, February 2, and the two times you can watch are  6:00 a.m. and at 12:00 p.m. (noon) Mountain Time.  Let me say this again!  These times are in our Time Zone!  Every year, we have a couple of people who log-in an hour or two late, and call us and ask if we’ll do the webinar again, just because they didn’t read the times correctly.

If you want to learn what I’ll be teaching on February 2, you must attend one of these webinars.  These webinars will NOT be archived for later viewing.


Announcement #2:  $200 Early-Bird Registration Discount

For the first time ever, we are offering an Early-Bird registration discount to our March 15-17 Destination BootCamp, which is only held in Longmont, Colorado.  Register by February 14 for our March BootCamp and receive a $200 discount off your registration cost.

This is a one-time offer, only for our March 15-17 BootCamp class, and this early registration $200 off bonus is not applicable to our June or September classes.  Those always fill up early.  Our March BootCamp is traditionally our smallest class, and this is a way to reward you as one of my blog readers, especially if you have ever thought about attending our BootCamp.

You can only get this $200 off, discounted registration form by clicking here to download it.  This form disappears after the February 14, the early registration deadline.

This offer is also only applicable to single, full-priced BootCamp registrations, and the $200 discount cannot be applied with any other discount, nor can it be applied to Community Reinvention Program registrations.  If you have already registered for the March 15-17 BootCamp, we will be crediting your account with this $200 Early-Bird bonus.

If you have friends or business associates who might benefit from the webinar or our $200 off, Early-Bird Registration offer, please forward them this blog address.


Jon Schallert

You’re Invited to a Free Webinar: Your Organization Could Win a $1000 Scholarship to our Destination BootCamp By Watching

Your organization could win a a $1000 Scholarship to our Destination BootCamp, just for watching our free webinar!

This invitation is for you if you are a President, Director, Board Member, or leader of any of these organizations:

  • Business Association
  • Downtown or Main Street organization
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • Economic Development organization
  • Private company

You are invited to join me for a free webinar on Tuesday, November 30 at 8:00 a.m. Mountain Time when we introduce our new Destination University Partner Program.  Just by watching, you might also win a $1,000 scholarship to one of our 2011 Destination BootCamps.

If you know business owners who are struggling in this economy, you owe it to them to attend this webinar. It’s taken us 5 years to get Destination University to this point.  Destination University is a one-of-a-kind, online learning, social network of progressive business owners who are growing their sales, their customer traffic, and their profits.  Owners can access the network on their own, 24-7, from any computer or their mobile smart phones, making DU the first totally mobile, online learning program exclusively for small business owners.  (My consulting competitors hate to admit it and they’ll say I’m hyping it up, but no other company can offer your organization a business improvement program that is this comprehensive.)

It doesn’t matter how large or small your company, organization, or community is.  During this webinar, you will learn how you can become part of this world-wide business-support network, add huge value to your organization, while offering your members this cutting edge technology, all for a minimal investment of less than $1 per day.

I know you are busy during this holiday season, so as an incentive for participating, every organization who takes the 35 minutes to attend this free webinar will receive a certificate for $49, which can be applied to the Destination University registration fee.  Additionally, one organization will win a $1,000 scholarship to one of our Destination BootCamps in 2011. What a great prize to give to one of your business owners in your organization!  To have a chance for this scholarship, you must register and be watching, as the drawing will take place at the end of the presentation.

To register, click here.

I look forward to telling you about our new Partner Program on November 30.

Jon Schallert

PS: Feel free to share this post with any of your peers or other directors of organizations that you think could use this.  They will thank you for it later.

What Happens When Owners “Get It”

I spoke in Wake Forest, North Carolina on October 13.  Today’s October 21. I just received this email from the Chairman of the Wake Forest Downtown Revitalization group.


“Wish you could have been here for our merchant meeting this morning.  We spent the first part of our meeting going around the room and discussing everyone’s Aha! Moment from your workshop.  It was awesome to watch and listen to everyone talk about focusing on how their business is unique, or what they wanted to to with a monument… or how they are now refocusing on the concept of time zones.  The mayor and the director of the Chamber were there and were just as enthusiastic as all of the merchants.  It was really cool.  Thanks for an awesome workshop.”   John Shoemaker

How can owners go from being seemingly apathetic and stagnant to invigorated and proactive in one week?  Here’s how:  They just have to see the upside possibilities when their business model strategically shifts and they are given the tools to increase their sales and customer traffic. It’s always exciting when business owners understand what to do next with their businesses, and they start seeing the process to take their businesses from location-dependent ones to Destinations that pulls both locals and consumers from outside their area.

When this happens, just get out of their way!  They will do the rest to change both their businesses and communities!

Thanks for sharing this, John, and for letting me share it with my blog readers.

There’s Nothing Fun About Business Reinvention

I was just in Albany, Oregon where I did the keynote speech on “Business Reinvention” for the Oregon Main Street Conference.  It’s always fun for me to get on stage and explain to business owners and community leaders the positives of reinventing a business and to show real-life examples of business owners who have done it.  But although it’s exciting to show how an owner can change their business model, and how that change can cause a community to rise up out of this economic quicksand, there is nothing enjoyable for any owner about being in this economy, and having your business not generate the sales it should, and being in the midst of it, wondering what to do next.


If you are a community leader or a business association director, you should realize that many business owners are at their financial, emotional, and creative-thinking limits coming into this all-important 4th Quarter of the year.

What that means is that many owners will appear as if they are apathetic towards changing their current business state.  When I say “appear”, I mean that your outside perspective will not be accurate because these owners aren’t apathetic at all.


They are just numb.

You should understand that by the most conservative estimates, we are entering into the third year of this recession and despite what the experts say about the recession ending about a year ago, someone forgot to post it on the General Public’s Facebook page and most consumers are still acting 2008/2009-ish.

Unless you take time to talk to owners one-on-one, and delve deeply into your questioning, you will not hear it from them, and most will not admit it right up front.  But just keep asking, and it comes out.  For example, one owner described to me that she felt like she has been in survival mode for almost two years.  One owner described how his business lost over a million dollars in sales volume just last year, what it was like to have to layoff employees who had been with his company, and how he couldn’t do anything until the economy comes back.  Another told me that no matter what he tries, nothing works.

However they describe it in their words, the end result is the same.  We as a country have hundreds of thousands of business owners who are collectively stuck in a phase of entrepreneurial powerlessness.

If you want to help these owners in your community or organization, here are four (4) pieces of advice:

1.  If you have a suggestion for a business owner, make sure it will increase their sales or customer traffic.  Period!  Frivolous, extraneous suggestions that would be “nice-to-implement” are not the type of suggestions that are needed now.  Owner need “must-implement” suggestions that will move the needle.

2.  Suggest owners concentrate on lowest risk, highest return-on-investment marketing, especially in this 4th Quarter and the upcoming 1st Quarter.  These next five (5) months are the most critical months of the last three years.

3.  Suggest to owners that their advertising becomes more targeted towards attracting their very best customers who have the most disposable income to spend.  Targeted advertising means that many owners will have to clarify, identify, and know how to reach and entice these top customers into their businesses, with the result being that the advertising dollars they expend must pay for themselves.  You will find most owners do not know how to target their top customers well.  (This is one of our most popular Destination University online webinars.)

4.  Recognize that owners have limited dollars to put at risk and even less extraneous time to invest.  Don’t expect overwhelming response if you want time and dollars committed to a project that won’t or can’t show immediate results.

5.  Suggest that owners look at finding cooperative networks where they can brainstorm with their peers, and send business back and forth to each other.  You might have some cooperative networks in your local marketplaces, but don’t forget about our Destination University Student Center. It is one place where owners, experts, and authors from around the world are sharing ideas with each other on a daily basis, all while watching webinars that are bringing owners up-to-speed on business improvement tactics that many have missed.  (For example, in the next 75 days, Destination University will have eight (8) live online webinars that all focus on improvement tactics that owners can use right now.)

I had one business owner (who was a realtor), say to me: “I’m experienced enough to know that I don’t control the marketplace.”  He was right.  He doesn’t control the economic marketplace.  But what he missed was this:  Though he can’t control the economy, he CAN control every aspect of his own business and EVERY response to that economy.

The most proactive business organizations and communities are gearing up to help independent owners who are ready to get out of their collective sleepwalking.  Don’t be surprised if your idea isn’t returned with some skepticism.  This economy is not the normal mode of operation for most businesses, and most have not reinvented themselves, so expect some push-back to your ideas, but don’t let up.  It takes a while to show those who are numb that there is a way out of their current situation.

(If you’d like to learn more about how your business or your organization can use our Destination University program to help your businesses, click here).

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