Telling People Where to Go
Boy, do I like to do that!! I can bark orders with the best of them! It just dawned on me that I have been experiencing telling others "where to go" for a very long time!
Grayline Bus Tours
For as long as I can remember, (yes that is a long time), I’ve been directing people where to go. And by that I mean—what highway, what by-way, what tourist attraction, and what bus to take.
During my summers in high school and college, my job was working for Grayline Bus Tours in the Black Hills. I sat at a desk in numerous hotel lobbies in Rapid City. Some summers I also drove to other motels and touched base with them about Grayline Tours and brochures..
It was at the height of the tourism ‘years’ that our tour busses were packed full. It was a great time to be in tourism. We had buses going to the Southern Hills and to the Northern Hills and then three times a week to the Passion Play in Spearfish. I worked hard talking to customers and making it easy and convenient for them to get a tour and inform them about what they would be visiting by bus or by their own transportation. Oh, the questions that came up--I could have written a book!
I’ll Be Their Guide
Another job I had during this time was working at a very large campground in Rapid City at the time. It was when Holiday Inn’s had campgrounds and I worked the desk, helping tourists. Those were the best times and I loved my jobs. It came easy for me to guide them on a map and tell there what sites they needed to see. The Holiday Inn Trav’L Park had over 200 sites for camping and that did not include tenting space. There were times that we needed overflow too as the tourism business was booming.
Family and friends had always come out to the Hills when I was growing up. There would be discussions as to what to go see and how to make several days of it, and how to make those destination stops. It continued on into my adult years-- what tourist attractions to go to and what not to miss or any special events going on that we wanted to be sure to visit. Even my father and uncle, during their college years, drove tour buses in the hills.
It’s In My Blood…
I LOVE guiding people and making sure they get to the sites they want to see, or even sites they had no idea about. There are many times that I wish I had gone into tourism as a profession, but now I get the best of all worlds. I get to work on the economic and community development side in our state, rural countryside, and I also help others through Travel Backroads .
Via my online directory, I am wanting to help tourists and weekend travelers find their destination and business, or a service that they should know about. Some people want me to sample a business's chicken, or pie. I love knowing that and enjoy marketing businesses and services. My problem is there is only one of me and thousands of businesses. But I believe I have a service to offer and it IS of VALUE.
I care more than many about local business, I believe that. I will do what it takes to help others know how to find my customers' business. My directory is just getting it’s “feet wet” and we're off and running.
…It Does Comes Natural to Me!
Let's do this!
What are you Passionate about?
I had another conversation the other day with a gentleman. He told me that he does not care whether he shops local or not. He does not care if his community shrivels up and dies, or not. Surely he does care somewhere inside of him.
When do things become an obsession with someone? I think I have crossed over into that obsession zone. My heart kind of fell when I heard him say that so emphatically. Here I am so concerned for our small rural communities and small rural businesses, and he does not really care.
Then I ask myself, why do I care so much?
They say to be worried when you talk to yourself, but be very afraid when you answer yourself back!
I do not know why I care so much, I just do.
I suppose if our grocery stores disappear, we just do the "Amazon" thing or the new Walmart Blue Box, or Hello Fresh or Blue Apron. We can now shop and get a boxed meal and drive up to get it, or if you live a distance away, they will probably mail it to you. This too shall run its course. Entrepreneurs and big box stores have found a new niche'. Big stores especially have to remain pertinent and viable too or they are looking at bankruptcy.
It is Not Easy...
I thought selling Ads, Videos, "The Works" would be easy for me at Travel Backroads. It is not. Some have jumped on my bandwagon and see my vision for their businesses. I live, eat, and breathe Travel Backroads but it's not an easy thing to sell my vision to other businesses. One problem might be that I'm not a salesperson, yet this is the easiest thing in the world for me to sell. I believe in it and I am passionate about what value I am bringing to the table.
We all have to find our passion. I know day in and day out you might face another day where there are few customers or the weather has shut you down again. Maybe you have had to go out of business and your dream came crashing down. Be open to working with others in your community because it is that "co-opetition" that is going to help you in the long run and the "collaboration". It is not easy day in and day out to find that passion. But I think we all just need to think back to what got us started on our dream to begin with.
I have wondered if it is about aging that I do not really care to walk to a Walmart anymore; even with 'falling prices". The whole "Big Box" idea seems so impersonal and I'm not crazy about the size of these mega beasts. (and...specifically produce. I think that Walmarts' have to pluck their fruit trees way before the fruit is even ready and let it ripen in their apple boxes. It seems that most everything is tasteless.) I really do not want to walk from the dog food aisle to the back corner for a gallon of milk. I have a close friend that owned her own business in another location and when Walmart was built in the town next to hers, she never set foot in it. Before "Shop Local" or "Shop Small" was even popular, she probably could have coined the practice of it. She grasped early on how they would affect the business climate in the community it was in and the surrounding communities. Remember Vermont who fought Sam Walton from coming into their state? They fought and held them out temporarily because they knew what would happen. I don't mean to bash Walmart though--I realize they provide many jobs and meet many budgets.
Some specialists in the field of business and the Wall Street Journal are talking about "dead malls". I find that amazing remembering when they were all the rage; but understand they are needing to change as well or they'll end. Strip malls appeal more to me because I can run in and run out after getting what I'm after.
Small Retailers are Increasing
We are definitely seeing a change in "retail." Deb & Becky from SaveYour.Town say that small retailers are increasing at a faster rate. John Schallert states that sales are being made "in person" and that does not always happen in the big stores. Consumers are beginning to look locally. They want to feel a connection to the product or the person making it, or they want to know their purchase really made a difference.
Thinking Outside the Box
I believe what we are witnessing however are the copycat stores who thought the best idea was to add more locations upon locations. Retail however now is being reinvented in some very big ways. If you can think it in your small business, then make it happen. It is going to be those proactive retailers that make themselves "destinations" and provide something new to their customer. The concept will only gather strength. If you can think it, make it happen for your store; creativity, rethinking, being proactive, personal and creating the "experience" will help small retail thrive, and despite competition, to grow. Think outside the box with retail. Try new things: after the normal 'open hours' and track sales during that time, train your employees to sell, embrace "shoppertainment", and the list goes on.
Offline and Online Sales
Spotify encourages "small retailers" to connect by jumping into the "off-line" AND "on-line" arena; make sales every way possible. I'm not an expert but can read and process like everyone when researching. One of the biggest things I'm learning is that you need online for your store as much as you need offline. You need a website to sell. Last summer when I made a video of a store, a woman inquired about a product they saw in the video. Make it easy for the consumer to track your products. Sell, sell, sell...if you can think it, you can make it happen.
Travel Backroads is another tool to use and to help travellers and locals find you. There is nothing I will not try to help you with. Have you listed with me? Check here in Services for pricing!
What ideas are you thinking about or making happen that helps your business?
I'd love it if you'd share.
I cannot reach every Chamber or business in South Dakota or the surround states. I could use help! Word of mouth is huge and your sharing with business owners would help get this directory on it's continued journey to helping local. Local has to mean something and it's one on one retail that will make the difference in the long haul. The cost of this directory is so minimal because I'm not in this to get rich but to help pay a bit for my time and to push our communities 'local' whatever that may be.
I'd sure appreciate your help in continuing to get the word out.
Happy New Year!
Happy New Year!
I am trying to get this out before the start of 2018. How do you think our local businesses fared this holiday season? It's a small window of time and boutiques, shops, restaurants are trying to get a piece of that pie. It does not stop or rest there as commerce must be a daily continuance. Here are some terrific Top 10 Reasons to Buy Local adapted from "localfirst.com.".
1) Significantly more money recirculates in your local community.
When you purchase at locally owned businesses rather than non-local businesses, more money is kept in the community because local businesses frequently purchase from other local businesses. Purchasing local goods and services helps grow area businesses as well as the local tax base.
2) Unique businesses create character and prosperity.
The unique character offer communities is what brought us here and keeps us here. Our tourism businesses also benefit.
3) Environmental impact is reduced.
Local businesses make more local purchases and require less transportation. they are usually located n town rather than on the outskirts. This reduces sprawl, congestion, habitats loss and pollution.
4) Most new jobs are provided by locally owned businesses.
Small, locally owned businesses are the largest employers in the United States.
5) Nonprofits receive greater support.
Local business owners donate more to local charities than non-local owners.
6) Customer service is better.
Local businesses often hire people with more specific product or service expertise.
7) Local business owners invest in community.
Local businesses are owned by people who live in this community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community's future.
8) Public benefits far outweigh public costs.
Local businesses require less infrastructure and more efficiently utilize public services compared to chain stores.
9) Competition and diversity lead to more and better choices.
A market place of several small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term.
10) Investment in the greater region is encouraged.
A growing body of economic research shows that in an increasingly homogenized world, entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character.
As we head into 2018, I have been asking myself if I have gotten across to others, what this directory is all about? With a new year here, I am asking businesses on the backroads, cities or in your homes, to purchase your basic listing from Travel Backroads and go from there--boosts, social media, videos, and anything else we can do to promote you. I am working diligently advertising for travelers to find the Travel Backroads Directory online and whatever highways they find themselves on in the great plains this summer,
List with Travel Backroads and we've got your back for a whole year of promotion, affordably! Make it a great 2018!!
Have a Great New Year,
I love my business.
I love yours.
This is a new tagline I'm using.
It says it all for me.
It says how much I'll fight for you. How much I'll work for you. How much I love entrepreneurs; their dedication, their creativity, and their risk taking. Business, in some manner, has been in my blood for sometime in a variety of ways, so I think that is why I have this kinship I feel.
Being fiercely loyal and wanting to drive the passion to go local, this is a very apropro business for me to own. When the thoughts first came to me and I created my Facebook page "Backroads Dakota" it started then; wanting others to know about amazing businesses out there.
Are you NOT overwhelmed with all of them on Facebook? They're cropping up daily and it's difficult to keep track; at least I feel that way. Then, thanks to others this past year, MY VISION became more clear, I have become dedicated to LOCAL AND SMALL BUSINESS, through a Directory.
I AM FIERCELY LOYAL. For me, it's about my obsession to try to share and get your business out there for others to find AND then DO IT AFFORDABLY! Who knows better than myself, a coach of entrepreneurs, on how much it costs businesses to promote themselves, and how businesses pay out money in all directions. Take a chance on Travel Backroads, I'll do it for less. Maybe another new tagline should be "Le$$ is More!"
My website since beginning in June is in a state of flux. I've added 4 new pages on my website since I began:
P.S. I welcome your comments; I love food for thought!
One day at a lunch, I was visiting with some women who were considered retirees. I was sharing about my Travel Backroads Directory and they were all ears. I was sharing some of my hopes and dreams and why I want to lead others to all the local "gems" in the rough; those local businesses off the beaten path, downtown in an obscure location, or even perhaps operating out of a home. My passion continues to grow.
"Let's go" they said. I laughed and told them I was not near ready to set up a bus trip! "Well, get going then!" was their reply. They were ready that day and I realized that destination trips, bus trips and a short 1-2 day excursion was definitely a dream that I would try to make happen.
In order to put one of these together, the directory needs to continue to grow so there are more and more businesses and destinations to discover. Through the course of my building this directory, I am working hard to advertise and to get my directory found online; through Google, tourism and state chambers, finding ways to get my directory noticed and therefore the businesses. I believe I have a 'gem' in the rough and that is this directory. I won't refer to this as a "venture". A "venture" makes it appear by definition as a "risk" or a "daring undertaking". I don't believe this is. I believe I have something that is so worthwhile, just like those businesses that are listing with Travel Backroads and those that have yet to list.
I believe that bus trips are not too far off in the distant future. I need to get word out more and more, but I particularly need more businesses to list. I also need others to pass the word and for business owners to realize how reasonable it is to get their business listed. Slick and glossy Ads in magazine's cost a small fortune, as do television and radio Ads. Not only do you pay for one month or time but you have to pay per each time. It can wipe out a budget quickly. Travel Backroads works for you for 365 days of the year. You list at our reasonable rates and we promote for a year. You can hardly afford not to work with us driving the passion to go local.
Definitely these are not too far off in the distant future. List your business today or give a gift this holiday season that lasts for a year.
Your help in driving the passion to go local will be greatly appreciated!
P.S. Check under "Services" on the menu to see our price list.
Will Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods potentially affect us in the Heartland?
We don't know how it will affect us in the future or not too distant future; it's too soon to tell. What we do need to pay attention to is how could it impact our local communities and businesses? Will it affect us in South Dakota? I know it is already affecting us in the heartland; with all the online business our state is not seeing a dime in taxes or are just beginning.
Some communities have amazing community support of local businesses.
How can we help our communities be more pro-active in this manner?
Is this something we think about; to make our communities economically healthy?
It is a "ripple down effect" if we keep money in our local economies feeding privately-owned businesses that hire local employees, or distribute products from our farms to stores and more. It all matters. That's the bottom line. It's a "ripple down effect."
Personally, I believe we can help:
1) Avoid "Amazoning" if possible, and keep our ecosystem of local businesses strong and growing.
2) Teach your children now and let them see first hand your shopping at home when possible.
3) What's good for the goose is good for the gander; for example, don't support shopping at home, but turn around and purchase mail-order pre-packaged foods that deliver to your door. Buy your products locally.
4) If you cannot find it in your community, you're still better off going to the next community, versus buying online.
We can be pro-active for our communities,
P.S. I welcome your comments; I love food for thought!
"Driving the Passion to Go Local"
"Follow your Passion"
passion, Passion, PASSION!
I have found a passion since living rural in my adult life. I now feel a passion for our businesses, our communities, and youth. I want to have passion for what I believe. For me it's supporting local.
I do the best I can. Can I do better?
I hear it all over the place now--radio ads, my own Ads, TV Ads and plastered online. It is like a trend or a fad perhaps, and it is definitely everywhere you turn.
Adding my own two cents, for the business owner downtown or in rural America it has to be more than a catch phrase. It has to be a reality. You can be hanging by a thread or swinging from a rope. You can also be basking in the sunlight. A business does not get too many chances to 'make it'. Nor do our communities...
In a conversation recently, with a gentleman vendor in his 70's (not that age matters), he replied to a comment I made in visiting, "all the purchasing we do online; we have to bring taxes back to our state. We need to do more shopping at home too". His reply to me (thinking he'd agree) was "We are dying (rural towns), who cares?"
Strong local businesses,big and small = continued growth, attraction to families, and professionals and making our communities a great place to live.
It is my passion. It is why I began Travel Backroads. It is why I pursue sharing local businesses with others on my directory and mapping the customers' way, through their doors.
Do you share a similar passion? I'd love to read your comments if you would care to share!
Just a personal sidenote: I'm heading west next week to the Black Hills! I'd love to visit about a video and an annual listing, if you're available! Just drop me a line! Let's make it happen!
Since my email address is not MY domain name...it can go to your spam. Please ok my email. Thank you!