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Check out Wil and Wes and the Schedulefly Journey - a raw, honest podcast on owning and running our small business. Recorded in our cars, houses and in the woods.

Sam was a good girl

Jan 17, 2018 | Schedulefly Crew
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.


The difference between successful people and really successful people

Jan 16, 2018 | Schedulefly Crew
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.


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

Jan 10, 2018 | Schedulefly Crew
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.


25 podcast episodes in, and we're just getting started

Oct 13, 2017 | Schedulefly Crew
Wes and I have recorded 25 episodes of our podcast, "Wil and Wes and the Schedulefly journey." We started out with some stuff about the back story of Schedulefly, but most of the episodes feature one of us sharing a philosophy we have or an experience that helped us shape the way we do things around here. Episode titles include "Technology doesn't make a restaurant successful", "Golfing with a VC", "Keep making fries," and "When breaking up is easy to do."

We touch on issues relevant to both software businesses and restaurants, so dial it up on iTunes if you're into podcasts or if you need something different to listen to while you're in your car. It's here. We're having lots of fun doing this, and we hope you enjoy it.


Schedulefly Podcast with Wil and Wes

Aug 28, 2017 | Schedulefly Crew
Wil and I recently started a podcast that was inspired by years of communication we've had back and forth via voice notes. Instead of bothering each other with phone calls - we almost always send voice notes. In fact - we were laughing today when we realized we have not talked live to each other in a few years. Heck - I've not seen Wil in person nearly 5 years. 99.99% of the voice notes are unimportant anyway and really don't require a disruptive phone call. They are usually rambling thoughts and comments about Schedulefly, customers, prospects and life in general. Most of them are just cheer-leading kinds of things to fire each other up - like something great we heard someone say about us or something tired like a template style sales pitch from the office of a venture capitalist. The podcast is similar, although we are trying to keep the topics we discuss a tad more focused and not all over the place - as we often are in voice notes.

Anyway - we thought some of you might like to hear us talk about why we do things the way we do - and of course why we don't do many things too.

Here is the podcast on iTunes


Our next film...

Aug 22, 2017 | Schedulefly Crew
We are working on The Story of Bida Manda, about Van Nolintha (below) and how Bida Manda, one of the most popular and respected restaurants in N.C., came to be. It's a story of deep parental love, hard work, deflating road blocks, family, friends, and a maker authentically expressing his vision and the feelings rooted deep in his heart. We're fired up to have the opportunity to make films about some of the many incredible independent restaurant people we feel so fortunate to serve and, in Van's case, call friends.

Van and Wil at Bida Manda

We don't back down to corporate bullies

Aug 17, 2017 | Schedulefly Crew
​"Wil, independent restaurants understand that large fifty million dollar companies like mine get better pricing."

That's what the director of operations of a large restaurant group told me this week. He was pressing me to give his restaurants a better multi-unit discount than the standard 10% discount we give all customers with more than one account. I politely declined to give him a better deal, letting him know we learned early on after trying this path that we have to be consistent. He didn't care about consistency and was trying to tell me his smaller competitors won't care because they expect him to get better pricing. I told him they shouldn't expect him to get a better deal from us, and he shouldn't expect a larger organization than his to get a better deal than he does.

Unsatisfied, he pressed again.

"Half of our restaurants use your software. Half don't. Maybe you have the best software for the second half, but why else would I direct them to switch to you if you won't give us a volume discount?" I told him I am not sure if he should tell them to switch and said that if volume pricing is the top issue then we may not be the best solution and that he should do what's best for his organization.

(awkward silence)

He went on, "Well I expect you'll run this up the flag pole before telling me what our price will be." I nicely let him know I am the flagpole, and all five of us our on the same page on this issue.

(more awkward silence)

Well, I want you to know I adamently disagree with how you do things and I highly recommend you reconsider. At this point I decided to just say "Ok, I understand. What else do you want to talk about today?"

What I refrained from saying is, "Look dude, I'm not telling you how to run your business, don't tell me how we should run ours. The problem here is you like to bow up and bully small vendors into caving on pricing, but we're not scared of losing your business so your weapon of choice, fear, won't work on us. Feel free to look for another provider." I should have said that, but it was implied with my above response.

We built Schedulefly to serve independent restaurants, which means we aren't used to anybody trying to push us around. We've had it happen a few times, but we've always put the bullies in their place. Larger organizations might get better deals from all of the other vendors they deal with, but not this one.