Occasionally we receive an email from someone that likes what we are doing and likes the future of the industry we are serving and wants to invest in our company. In 8 years, we’ve never considered it because we simply don’t need it. Even if we did take the cash, we would really have no use for it because our growth strategy would stay exactly the same as it’s been this whole time. And that’s because it’s fun and pretty predictable and definitely manageable.
More recently, we were contacted by someone who suggested that taking capital and/or becoming a tool in a broader suite of tools could help us make a bigger impact on the independent restaurant industry. Hmm. It’s hard to tell exactly what was meant by that – but I can tell you that our definition of making a bigger impact is much different. The impact we see us having on our industry is one that money just can’t buy. It’s not a sexy, newsworthy impact…one created by the assembly of companies and people and investors that everyone hears about. It’s an impact made by saying no to complication and broader solutions and saying yes to staying the course and making the perfect customers really happy – one at a time.
So where does that leave us for the future? Not making a big enough impact over time? Maybe. Or maybe I should I ask the woman who recently signed up for a new account for her new restaurant and told us (via email) that she has used us in the past and said “WE LITERALLY CAN”T LIVE WITHOUT YOU”. She used all caps too. I don’t know, I feel we’ve made a big impact on her and her business. Or maybe I should call the guy who recently gave my parents his business card while dining at Mellow Mushroom and told them that Schedulefly was the greatest thing ever created. He said that – I laugh at it because it really isn’t – but his enthusiasm for us is so awesome. He was sitting at the bar having dinner and overhead my parents talking about it with the bartender and said he used to use it. He gave my Dad his card because he wanted to sell Schedulefly. He knew we didn’t have sales people yet felt so strongly about the value it added at his restaurant that he just knew he could be successful at selling it. Seemed like a big impact was made. For the record, still no sales people.
And it goes on. Nearly every day someone new says something that would make us believe an impact had been made. And these days – 8 years into our journey – if 15 new restaurants sign up each day for a trial run of our software – 10 of them (atleast) say they heard good things about us from someone in the industry or that they have used us in the past. We don’t pay people to talk about us. We don’t even make it easy for them to talk about us – becuase we are not on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram or any social media site at all. But we do try to make the experience for them enjoyable enough that they will say something great. So we just focus 110% on being really easy to do business with and offering a fast, uncluttered, focused, useful software application that makes life for people in our industry a tad easier.
The bottom line is, I really feel like we are exactly like many of the customers we serve. We serve THE BEST local independent restaurants in cities all over the country. They are known for their narrow focus on what they serve and their service. They don’t serve everything. Most don’t have huge menus, but smaller ones with a clear focused list of quality choices brought to you by knowledgable staff that make the experience of being a customer easier and more awesome. I even read about one that didn’t allow take out – because they knew the overall experience could only be controlled when the customer was seated in the restaurant. While that’s a bit unusual, I admire them for taking a stand and not trying to make everyone happy. They are saying no, in order to make a bigger, better impact over time.