Schedulefly Stories

Growing a software business one restaurant at a time

Month: January 2018

Sam was a good girl

Most marketing and advertising is very ordinary and predictable. In many cases – the product or service is really unique but the marketing is not. Why is that? Used up all their creativity on the product? Laziness? Reluctant to do things that are not measurable? Who knows, but I think maybe competition is to blame for much of it. It seems the harder a company competes, the more tired and ordinary their marketing becomes. Fear of competition can make companies do some silly stuff. Man, I say forget everyone else and all that stuff anyone can (and will) do and let’s go do things that we are proud of and that people will one day associate positively with our brand. Things that are memorable. Who cares if we don’t really know if it’s helping us grow.

Yeti does this. Yeah I know they are big and corporate now and definitely do a lot of ordinary things to try and get a quick sale – but someone there is still smart enough to do things that really connect with their ideal customer in a way others don’t. They make films that tell inspiring stories about typical customers doing what they do. Fun stories that connect with their ideal future customer on a very emotional level. Stories that have nothing to do with their products. Stories people share and blog about! Are these videos part of the reason they’ve been able to turn a plastic cooler into a status symbol for an outdoorsman? I doubt they know (or care), but I bet they keep making them. I think it’s a sign that the suits in the boardroom have not drained the fun and passion completely out of the company just yet.

Here’s a great film they released last fall. It’s a beautifully made film about a duck hunting dog named Sam (and her owners). If your a dog person, grab a tissue. It’s a tough one to finish.

Wes

The difference between successful people and really successful people

Warren Buffett is considered to be one of the most successful investors in the world. I love his simple quotes about life and investing – there are some great ones. This one is my favorite:

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

I’m sure it’s easy to say no all the time with billions of dollars in your bank account and not many worries and tons of confidence – but it’s a thought provoking quote either way. It’s definitely not easy to do – which is to his point I think. Saying no in business, especially in the beginning, when you have very few customers is not natural. It’s hard to know where the the business may take you so you entertain many ideas and requests. That’s what happened with us anyway.

We didn’t get stubborn and really focused for several years. We entertained many things and early on we said yes to some things we probably should have said no to – but we certainly didn’t know better then. Now we are confident enough know better. The only way it’s a yes for us – is if it’s a HELL yes. And that’s rare. We’ve blogged about that before and have recorded some recent podcasts on this topic. One of those topics, for example, is about partnerships and integrations with other companies. We don’t integrate with other products – and for good reason (in our minds). Without integration – the 5 of us completely control our customer experience 100%. I’d honestly rather create our own point of sale system then try to build a reliable POS integration with 15 different systems run by 15 very different kinds of businesses with different service models than us. Integrations and partnerships are great selling tools – but they are not great for ensuring a kickass customer service experience every day. We’d lose the ability to control the entire customer experience if we counted on other companies to do their part – so it’s a no. That’s just one example, but one that defines us (good or bad) in our industry. Will that helps us become really successful one day? I don’t care.

The way I read Buffet’s quote is that there are many ways to become successful and in the beginning there are probably more yes’s – but to pass everyone and become REALLY successful – you eventually have to start saying no most of the time. I mean heck – if everyone else is saying yes all the time – won’t they all eventually become the same one day anyway? Why not do the opposite? I’ve always loved the idea of doing less than the competition and being known for that. The competition thinks we lack things, but our happiest customers feel the opposite.

So I guess “really” successful is a relative term for everyone and is only measurable when being compared to someone else, but I’d bet most people that have become really successful – say no to nearly everything.

Wes

p.s I still love the story of when Wil emailed the owner of a very successful software company that we admired early on and asked if we could fly to Chicago to visit him and buy him a cup of tea (it was known he digs tea) and talk business for 30 minutes. He responded with simply: “Wil, I’m sorry, I just don’t have the time”. Back then I thought that sounded tired – but now I totally get it. I bet he had plenty of time. Just not for us.

Happy 2018

What’s up y’all? Just a quick note to thank all of you who rely on Schedulefly for your restaurant’s staff scheduling and communication. There are about 279,000 of you at almost 7,000 restaurants, and we couldn’t be more proud than to serve you. Independent restaurant people have always inspired us, and it’s so exciting every single time a restaurant signs up for a free trial or becomes a paying customer. We take the responsibility of making sure our software is always straightforward, fast, crisp, smooth, reliable and clear very seriously, and the same goes for making sure we are super easy to do business with and take GREAT care of you any time you need anything. You’re awesome, you deserve these things, and you can rely on us to provide them every day, every week, every month, every year. Ten years into this, Wes, Tyler, Hank, Charles and I still run the business like it’s start up, with the same level of passion and enthusiasm and excitement and love for what we do that we’ve always had. I’m confident that will be the same ten years from now as well.

Wil

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