Why no advertising? Why no selling?

We frequently get asked why we don’t try more advertising (or traditional marketing) to spread the word about our software. We get curious looks by friends, family (and other people who hear about our business) when they hear we don’t go out and sell it. We don’t call anyone or meet with anyone or pitch it to anyone. They wonder, in cities like NYC, why we don’t have people walking the streets and hitting every restaurant on every corner and pitching Schedulefly. Well, for one, we are selling a $30-ish a month subscription and it just doesn’t make sense economically, but way more importantly – that’s just plain annoying. We are working harder than ever to make sure our brand is seen positively in our industry. It’s the most important thing we will ever do – more important than any amount of money we will ever make. One day when my kids start asking me about Schedulefly and the business I had a part in building- do you think they will care about how much money it made? Do you think they will be proud that we hired a bunch of people and became a “big” business? No, I know they won’t. They will (hopefully) be proud that we built a company that people love and they hear good things about it at school because their buddies use it at the restaurants where they work. Heck, maybe they will even use it one day and be proud that their Dad wrote the software. That’s what important, to me anyway.

But the problem is, that’s something I can’t easily articulate to someone who is asking why we don’t advertise? Why not more marketing and selling? When I do try and explain – it’s almost as if they are not listening until they hear something that makes sense to them. So here is what I usually say rather quickly:

Dude, listen. Every month we bring on hundreds of new customers. And at each one – there are 30 to 40 to 50 employees who nearly all log into Schedulefly every week – many every day. That’s roughly 4,000 new people who now know about our brand and use our software every month – and in every state in the country – cities big and small. And since we try and make their lives easier and keep it simple for them (all of them, not just managers) – many of them talk about us. They work at other restaurants that don’t use us and tell them about us – in casual conversation. They hang out with other restaurant wait staff and bartenders and managers and owners and use our name when speaking. They check their schedule on their phone when they are sitting at some other bar having a drink and it starts a conversation. And so on. Boat loads of similar examples. So really, every month, we bring on 4,000 people who might have something cool to say after they login and start using it. And we don’t manufacture their nice recommendations by offering to pay them (which is usually what the person wonders about – it seems like a no brainer). We don’t have some referral plan simply because it would not be genuine. We are not trying to pay to have “ambassadors”. We would rather take our chances and see if they become one on their own. Their recommendations then, are not tied to some gain. They are real. How could we do any better that that?

At about that point, I usually hear a “I got it”. Now maybe they realize how stubborn I am at this point and want to just move to others topics or maybe they actually do now “get it”. Maybe they now see that marketing and advertising and talking about ourselves and paying people to talk about us just doesn’t make any sense.


* side note, we have tried many things in the past and have evolved over the years to believe what we do now.