Schedulefly Stories

Growing a software business one restaurant at a time

Month: August 2012 (Page 1 of 2)

Another incredible video from The Meatball Shop…

Notice the genuine passion that flows from Michael when he talks about his love for the restaurant business and why his team always comes first. Like he says, you can’t copy authenticity…

It’s not so different

I spend most of my free time fly fishing here on the NC coast. Fly fishing for saltwater fish is difficult, at best. It’s more like hunting. You typically see the very fish your going to try and catch before you cast – more like deer or turkey hunting. It’s done in very shallow water and the weather usually has to be just right in order to find the fish and have a shot at catching one on fly. I tie a lot of my own flies (when the weather is crummy) and depending on the time of year – the flies are tied to look like a crab, a shrimp or a baitfish. For me, the most rewarding type of fishing is during a full moon phase when the tides are extra big. When this happens – the marsh inshore floods and red drum swim up on the flooded grass flats and feed on small fiddlers crabs. It’s a short window – usually only lasts about 2 hours – but it’s a full on buffet for the fish. When the fish goes after a crab – his head goes down in the mud and his tail sticks out of the water (see photo). It’s a heart pounding experience to be one-on-one with a tailing redfish.

Yesterday I had a really fun short trip by myself. I had never caught a tailing red drum (with a fly rod) alone. It’s really tough alone because you have to push the boat around until you find a tailing fish and then get out of the boat and wade to him on foot. I was out there alone with no one in sight hearing only the ocean nearby when I saw a tail pop up. I was pretty far away, so I poled the boat in his direction. He would go down after eating then pop up a few yards away minutes later. He did this for about 10 minutes until I got close enough to get out of the boat and go after him (after snapping a quick pic of his tail). I double checked my knots and the fly (which I tied the night before) and got in the water. It was about thigh deep and getting shallower as I got closer. He went down for what seemed like forever and I was afraid I’d spooked him. I was bummed. He felt my presence, didn’t like it and fled.

Well, as I turned to head back to the boat feeling defeated – he popped up again – in SUPER shallow water. He was so shallow his entire back was out of the water. He was moving fast – I could tell he was shallower than he wanted to be – but was on a mission to eat before the tide dropped out. Well, after 3 or 4 casts that were close – but not close enough – I finally out one about 2 feet in front of him – in his path. I let it sit there and as he got up to it I twitched it one time and he rushed up and ate it! The line came tight and I exhaled a giant YES!! In the marsh, alone, hollering and laughing all alone. Me and that one fish. I kept him tight while I moved towards the boat so I could take a pic. After a few pics, I let him go and then a thunderstorm to the south ran me home. I only saw that one single fish. It was incredibly satisfying to catch that fish!

On the ride in, I thought about all the customers we’re bringing on that are the kind of customers I pictured using Schedulefly when I sat down to develop it 6 or 7 years ago. It was like I was tying a fly for that one fish. I was thinking it’s not so different, the sport of fly fishing in salt water and our approach to our business. I was creating a software for one kind of place – the place I worked in college. So after finishing it I had to figure out how to find the restaurants that I had tied that fly for and present it to them. We had to do it carefully and present it to them in a way that would not spook them or cause them to flee. Well just like fly fishing, we are still figuring out how to present our offering – but we are learning – and getting better every season. We are learning what works and are excited each and every time a restaurant sees the fly, likes it and bites.

Until the next tide…
Wes

WOW! This new vid from The Meatball Shop is killer!!!

This video of Daniel Holzman, co-owner of The Meatball Shop in NYC is so good, I’ll let it speak for itself. Enjoy…

Wil

5 great reasons to NOT raise money

I have never owned a company that has taken outside investment, so I share these kind of one-sided tips without knowledge of both sides….but I have worked for a business that was acquired. That acquisition was really just a large investment from an outside company that I bet had one simple phrase written on their white board. “Return On Investment”. As much as an investor might say it and want it to be true…the people don’t really matter, the culture doesn’t really matter. The return is what matters. It makes sense. I mean think about your own investments. Do you care if the people in the trenches running the business are enjoying their lives? Do you care about their insignificant milestones and the fun they are having on their journey? Probably not. You care about the return.

So anyway – on to 5 things that are great about building a business without the help of outside investors (if it’s possible to do so).

1. You can design your company to make yourself happy, your family happy and your employees happy – which makes customers happy. People love to do business with happy, enthusiastic people. Investors ultimately do not care about your long-term happiness, they care about a return on their investment. Your customers can tell when you’re not happy.

2. You can ignore your competition completely – ultimately ending up with a very unique product influenced by no outside forces. Investors will worry their butts off about your competition, constantly reading about them and will likely “ping” you (often) about what they are up to and who they are now serving etc. It will distract you from your vision. (P.S the word ping is so tired, but it’s relevant to this post).

3. You can be truly unconventional in all aspects of your business. While investors are definitely risk takers by nature, they are not risky when it comes to execution. They will encourage you to be very conventional, doing things that have worked well for their other “investments” – only making your business more like everyone elses.

4. You can grow at a pace that is comfortable (and fun) for you to scale – and learn while you grow. It’s fun as heck to learn while you grow and figure stuff out along the way. Stuff you may undo – or you may keep. Investors don’t want you to learn while you go. That’s too risky. They will recommend people to help you, people who will hand you a playbook.

5. You can enjoy the journey. Growing a small business is an incredible journey with milestones that literally happen every week. Milestones that are fun to celebrate with your team and your family. Since we celebrate along the way and enjoy the journey, it’s not a means to an end. It’s incredibly satisfying to celebrate each and every milestone, no matter how small they are. Investors don’t care about insignificant milestones and having fun along the way. They want your business to become as valuable as it can be, as fast as it can, so they can exit and get their return.

I am loving the pace, the milestones and the journey. I am loving the fun of doing unconventional things without any pressure to do what has worked for others. I am pretty sure our customers appreciate it.

Here’s to enjoying the journey!

Wes

AWESOME new Sfly "commercial"…

When we were interviewing Michael Chernow from The Meatball Shop in Brooklyn for our Restaurant Owners Uncorked video series, he brought up Schedulefly. We loved what he said, so we made a short commercial from it to display on our site. Check it out…

New vid! Why the house comes first and how to find the right business partner

In his final video Scott Maitland, owner of Top of the Hill Restaurant & Brewery in Chapel Hill, N.C. talks about why the house always come first and how to find the right people to be your business partners…

If you like this vid or any others in the Restaurant Owners Uncorked video series, we’d be honored it you’d share with your friends or people you think might enjoy. Here’s the URL for the series: http://blog.schedulefly.com/search/label/rou-video-series.

Up next in the series are Michael Chernow and Daniel Holzman, owners of The Meatball Shop in NYC.

Thanks so much!

The Schedulefly Crew
(Wes, Tyler, Wil & Charles)

Testimonial of the year so far

A customer (we’ve had for 2 years) emailed this today and I’ve been sitting here in my kitchen working and wondering where on our website I should stick this…so figured I’d share it here on our blog first.

I refuse to work as a manager in another restaurant that doesn’t use it! My staff and I have agreed that if our company ever decided to stop using Schedulefly…we would quit! (I’m not joking!)

Awesome email, thanks Heather! And congrats on your family’s great news…

Wes

"It’s not the critic who counts"

I thoroughly enjoyed the Olympics. It’s always personally and professionally inspiring to watch people who’ve put the heart and soul into something for many years. Whether they win or not, they’ve worked their tails off and I tip my hat to all of them.

A few days ago I saw Lolo Jones cry when being interviewed the day after she placed fourth in the women’s 100m hurdles. But she wasn’t crying because she didn’t medal. She was crying because she had been asked about a recent article in The New York Times. The article ripped her for being all style and no substance, and questioned whether she had any chance of success in London. (I won’t link the article because I don’t want to have anything to do with driving traffic to it.) Lolo recounted how hurt she was when she had read the article because she had trained so hard for so long, and as the results proved, she was absolutely full of substance.

All I could think of while watching that segment was on of my favorite quotes, from Theodore Roosevelt. It rings true for athletes, business owners, artists, musicians, and anybody who has poured themselves into some endeavor and subsequently been stung by a critic…

It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

Don’t let your critics bring you down. Don’t let your doubters impeded your path. Rather, let them live in fear of doing great things and use them to fuel your fire, so that no matter the outcome, when it’s all over you can hang your your shoes knowing you made it to the arena and spent yourself for a worthy cause.

Wil

New Vid! Why it’s a great time to raise money for a new restaurant

In his sixth video Scott Maitland, owner of Top of the Hill Restaurant & Brewery in Chapel Hill, N.C. talks about why now is a great time to raise money for a restaurant, and why you should flip your list of potential investors upside down…

If you like this vid or any others in the Restaurant Owners Uncorked video series, we’d be honored it you’d share with your friends or people you think might enjoy. Here’s the URL for the series: http://blog.schedulefly.com/search/label/rou-video-series.

Thanks so much!

The Schedulefly Crew
(Wes, Tyler, Wil & Charles)

Thank you Schedulefly customers…

We’re so stoked to have the opportunity to serve so many great teams of awesome people. We talk about that all of the time, so we figured this would be a good way to let you know how much we appreciate your business…

Thank you,
The Schedulefly Crew

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