Posts Tagged : Main Street

It’s a New Year: Quit Running

I’ve spoken and consulted in more downtowns in the United States (over 500), than any other business consultant , but one of my most memorable workshops happened in downtown Stamford Connecticut in April, 2003. That morning, before I addressed an audience of business owners, I decided to insert an image of a hamster running in its wheel. That image seemed to me to be similar to what I had seen owners doing, working extremely hard, endlessly repeating the same tasks, even though those tasks never helped them achieve the progress they wanted in their businesses.

When I flashed the image on the screen, an owner of a baby specialty store (where Katie Couric shopped, I remember him telling me), rose out of his seat and shouted:  “That’s me!”

The audience roared. That little hamster resonated with owners.

Fast forward a few years. On a whim, I decided to see if anyone knew why hamsters ran endlessly on their wheels. And to my surprise, I discovered Dr. Chris Sherwin of the University of Bristol, School of Veterinary Sciences, who had published a paper on “Voluntary wheel running”.

Who knew there was an actual expert who studied why hamsters run on their wheels! Intrigued, I downloaded and read Dr. Sherwin’s 40+ page treatise and I’ll summarize it for you:

Dr. Sherwin found that hamster running occurs when a hamster is part of a “captive environment”, and it has an “urge to remove itself from its immediate area”. As they run, they perceive their activity as being “important”, and the running itself becomes “self-reinforcing”, causing them to continue spinning in circles, going nowhere. Finally, their running is “a result of feedback dysfunction”. They think they’re getting somewhere, but they aren’t.

So how does this apply to you and your business?

If you’re in business today, you have your own hamster wheel, and no owner (including me), has mastered how to escape the wheel completely. We all have a hamster wheel because our business models (the process by which companies provides value to customers and they, in turn, provide company revenue), doesn’t always operate correctly, efficiently, and at its optimum level of profitability.

My guess is that most of you have never looked at how you can alter your business model.  You’ve just been doing it, day after day, week after week, and for some of you, year after year. It’s actually fascinating how an owner can create a business that year after year, generates about the same revenue as the last, and even more fascinating to me, how an owner can be annually as displeased with the results as the previous year, and still not change!

Want to change your business model. Here’s how to start, by asking yourself these four (4) key questions:

  1. What parts of your business model are still operating efficiently and profitably, and meet your expectations? (Think of the parts of your business that you’re satisfied with.)
  2. What parts of your business model are dysfunctional, inefficient, don’t create the revenue you want, or don’t make you happy?
  3. What changes would have to happen in question #2, that by the end of 2013, we can list it under question #1 next year?
  4. Finally, what would have to change in you for your business model to start working more efficiently and profitably?  (By the way, if you have a spouse or partner who is also a decision-maker in your business, this includes the changes they would have to make, too).

2013 is gone, it’s a New Year, and you have a choice: If you’re not generating the revenue in your business that you want, it’s time to look at your business in its entirety and question everything that doesn’t produce the results you want. You built this business, you created your business model, and frankly, you’ve built your wheel. And you have the choice to change it.

You’re not a hamster. 2014’s the year to quit running on your wheel.

Registration is open for our March 4-6, 2014 Destination BootCamp. if you’re unhappy with your current business results, check it out by clicking here.

There are going to be 10 Winners: Shouldn’t one of them be your Community?

The Summit Business Conference Contest

This is Jon Schallert.  Our company loves contests, especially ones that motivate communities to support local businesses. That’s why we’re awarding $22,000 in our company’s consulting services to those communities who send the most people from their city or town to the Summit Business Conference in Boulder, Colorado, October 18-19 (where I’m one of the 9 speakers).

If you are not familiar with the Summit Business Conference, it’s an amazing, one-of-a-kind gathering of nine (9) business experts and authors who typically conduct keynote speeches for major international conferences or consult with Fortune 500 companies. But for the Summit Business Conference, they’ll all be presenting on one stage, over 2 days, united together to help independent business owners, entrepreneurs and anyone who supports local businesses.  You can read more about the Summit Business Conference at their website

But back to our Summit Contest.  Here are the details:

The top two (2) communities that have the most people attending the Summit Business Conference from their city or town will receive a free Destination Business workshop, presented by me (Jon Schallert) in their area, to be scheduled in 2012. The value for each workshop is over $8,000. Better yet, if you’re one of the winning communities, when I come to speak in your area, charge admission to this event and use my workshop as a fundraiser!

The next three (3) communities with the next highest attendance will receive a free Destination Business Live Webinar, broadcast from our Destination University studio for up to 500 of your members. The value of each Live Webinar is $1,500.

The next five (5) communities having the next highest attendance will receive a free community membership to our online training network, Destination University. This annual membership is valued at $360.

In the event of a tie in any of the above categories, a random drawing will be held to determine the awarding of the prizes.

How to Enter

It’s very simple: Publicize the Summit Business Conference in your city, town,  downtown, or Main Street district and encourage your local business owners to register. Send a representative from your organization too, if you want them to learn the advanced business skills that are going to be discussed at the Summit Conference.  But remember: Since there are a limited number of seats, once the 250 seats are sold, attendance will be closed. Obviously, communities that register the most people earliest will have the best chance to win.

Encourage your community leaders and business owners to learn about the Summit Business Conference by visiting the Conference website,, and the Summit Conference blog on the website. You can download digital PDF brochures of the conference by clicking here. Once downloaded, you can email them to your community leaders and entrepreneurs. If your group would like hard-copy brochures to distribute to your local businesses, just call our office. We will ship them to you so you can pass them out.

We have structured this contest so both large cities and small towns have an equal chance to win.

Good luck!  We look forward to seeing you in Boulder, Colorado on October 18-19.

Jon Schallert

PS:  Some communities like Phillips County, Kansas have created scholarships for their business owners to help them pay for the costs of attending the Summit Business Conference.  If you want the businesses in your community to improve, you have to be proactive!