When in Doubt, Get Creative.

One of the responsibilities of being a quality leader is to help other aspiring and established entrepreneurs achieve their goals and dreams. Through the reflection of our past failures, sharing encouraging words or spreading our expertise throughout our networks, we do our part to lift our colleagues.

Welcome to my new blog series #WhenInDoubt.


This week, I spoke with Tiffany Cruickshank, owner and operator of 
Peak Running in Downers Grove, IL. She is in the process of opening a new location in Burr Ridge that will not only sell the same exceptional gear, but will also include a bar, creating the perfect place to sit down for that after-run brew with your run club.

As a small business owner, I truly admire Tiffany’s imagination and creativity. She clearly knows her audience and what they want, and has aligned her business to match.


Do you have a motto or rally cry for your business or for yourself? If so, what is it and if not, what would it be?

Reach for the Peak in life and business! Don’t limit yourself to what’s in front of you. Aim high and plan accordingly — you might surprise yourself.

I’m not sure if this is PC but the new motto for our Burr Ridge store will be: Running is great, beer is good and people are crazy (in a good way!).

As a serial entrepreneur, I have certainly had my share of highs and lows. How do you maintain your own resilience despite the setbacks that come with being an entrepreneur?

Staying true to the vision is number one. Keep your eyes on the prize and do everything you can to achieve your goals.

In addition, working towards and eventually running a small business takes massive amounts of patience… and I’m about to be running two! Be ready to exercise that patience, but don’t let it hinder your goals.

I always say that “Good Business + Bad Culture = Sh*t.” I truly believe that longevity in business comes down to building a strong internal culture for your team. How do you instill strong culture within your company?

I lead by example.

I love interacting with my customers and I want my passion for my business to shine through at all times.

I’m very lucky to have a dedicated and loyal team. We all share a deep passion not only for providing the high quality products that we sell but also for running! We have a united goal to make each customer experience over the top, and ensure that every customer leaves with a smile.

I have said that at the heart of great marketing is establishing loyalty and trust with your customers. What tactics do you use to achieve loyalty and establish trust within your company?

We keep our marketing efforts simple and to the point. We promise not to bombard our customers with emails and posts and stay true to that. Our customers appreciate that!

Our new store concept will feature a bar with around ten craft beer selections, wine, and snacks. Our goal is to provide a space for running clubs, couples or friends to continue the camaraderie shared during a run at our store. We want customers to feel as comfortable buying fitness clothes or shoes as they would be talking over a beer. We’re excited to bring this new concept to the fitness retail world and create even more loyal customers.

I strongly believe in turning bad experiences into some of the greatest teachers and lessons. You never fail as long as you learn, right? What would you say has been your biggest learning lesson in building your business?

It takes time to build your brand and patience is key. Have faith that you are doing things to the best of your ability and you will overcome most obstacles along the way. Like I mentioned earlier, just stay true to your goals! Your goals, your passion, your committment are all behind driving your business forward. Never lose sight of that. Always remember that opening a businesss is a marathon, not a sprint!

I always strive to be the person I needed when I was a younger entrepreneur by paying it forward with my honesty. What advice would you give to someone coming up in your shoes? What is something you wish you knew then that you could share with someone today?

Do your homework! Prepare as much as you can for what’s ahead and you’ll tahnk yourself later. However, know that there will always be bumps along the ride, no matter how much you think you’re ready. My advice is to expect the unexpected and roll with the punches.

Kill them with kindness, stay focused, and you’ll reach your goals of leading a great business!


For more info about her new Peak Running Burr Ridge location, check out what the Tribune had to say!

Chicago Athlete Magazine covered the story as well.

Best of luck with the store opening, Tiffany! Stay true to your vision even if the going gets tough.


Shaun Black is the Founder of Koha, launching Fall 2017.

#WhenInDoubt, a new interview series by Shaun Black. New episodes every other Friday on Facebook.

Follow @mrshaunblack on Instagram and Twitter for more small business insights and inspiration.