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Thursday, October 1, 2015

Caring about who you serve

Seems like every week I get at least one email from someone trying to sell us something that Schedulefly would use - software usually. In most cases - it’s a sales pitch that sounds as if it were sent to 10,000 other businesses too - they just inserted my name at the beginning. I ignore every single one of them. Do they even care what kind of business we are or what we do? Does that matter for any reason at all? Am I weird for thinking that matters?

Today I was thinking about our business and our focus and the benefits of actually caring about who you serve. We don’t send emails to anyone at all - but if we did - I’d want us to send a warm personal email that clearly showed that we had done a minute or two of research on that restaurant and had a real reason for wanting to do business with them. I mean - for us - not all restaurants are right. Seems an email blast - even if filtered down to independent restaurants would still be a crapshoot right? But that’s me and based on the reaction I get to our sales and marketing approach in general - I am a fool.

If you are somehow fortunate enough to be able to figure out who is perfect for your business and then single out those kinds of businesses - there are so many great things that happen. Your product and your marketing and your message can stay very simple and clear and confident. You can speak to the right kinds of customers in a smarter way - since you understand what they are up against and how they run their business. You’ll also find that you, personally, will be so much confident when pitching or talking about your company. Basically - the right and wrong kinds of customers are really easy to see and to describe….and you’ll waste zero time on the wrong ones.

It’s that way for us. I can describe our perfect customer and the kinds of people who work there. I’m not saying that all of our customers are the same - but even the ones that seem very different - share some very similar qualities. And we know what they are.

With our focus - it’s almost as if we are creating our own little sub culture of customers (and prospects) who think the same way, treat people the same way, hire the same way and operate the same way. Because of that - our pitch and message to them is so much more genuine.


Monday, September 28, 2015

"We believe in people more than we do in things"

Meherwan Irani got an MBA and spent 15 years in corporate America, working for other people. He was not unhappy, but never jumped out of bed in the morning excited to head to work. So in 2009 as the economy was collapsing, he and his wife Molly took a leap of faith and decided to start a restaurant. Meherwan was a self-taught chef with a dream, a thoroughly-researched, 150-page business plan and need for $70,000 to get started. All the banks turned the Iranis down for a loan, as did the SBA. But they raised the money, convinced the landlord of a prime location in downtown Asheville, NC to lease them his space, and opened Chai Pani on day one with customers lined up around the block while having spent $0 on advertising and having only $250 in the cash register (and $0 in the bank), knowing they needed to sell a lot of food in the first three days or they'd have nothing left. They were so busy the first day they had to close at 2pm because they ran out of food. Just five years later (2014), Meherwan was nominated for a James Beard award for best chef in Southeast, and today he and Molly own five successful restaurants with another opening soon. This is a very inspiring, educational story about trusting the people that work for you, having passion and faith in yourself, using scarcity to your advantage, and not relying on conventional wisdom. Enjoy...

If you are reading this on your phone or in an email, you won't see the podcast player. Click here to listen on iTunes. 

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Monday, September 21, 2015

"It takes discipline to stay simple"

Cris Eddings co-owns Chuck's Fish (two locations) and 5 Bar (five locations). His restaurants are very popular and very highly rated. He and his team follow their own compasses and don't pay attention to conventional wisdom when it doesn't align with what they believe. So they do things like raising the minimum wage for non-tipped employees to $10.25/hour well before the idea became a national topic, opening a highly focused concept (5 Bar) with only five of each category on the menu (five entrees, five appetizers, etc.), and replacing the expense of advertising with initiatives such as investing into funding their non-profit organization, which sends food trucks out several days per week to feed underprivileged people for free. This is a very refreshing and inspiring interview. Enjoy...

If you are reading this on your phone or in an email, you won't see the podcast player. Click here to listen on iTunes. 

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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

"The more you do to something, the more people can you tell you did something to it"

We posted this video a year ago, but I wanted to re-run it. Luke Pearson (Lift Films) did an incredible job of capturing the passion and pride Andrew Ullom takes in his work as a pastry chef at Beasley's Chicken + Honey in Raleigh, N.C. I love his comments on why he and his team focus on simple ingredients.

We haven't made a video in ten months, but we are back at it soon, filming one of the many interesting owners I've spoken to for our podcast. Thanks for reading, listening to and watching our Restaurant Owners Uncorked content. We LOVE creating it.


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Friday, September 4, 2015

"My business plan called for $1,000,000 but I opened for $70,000"

Mic Heynekamp of Eddyline Brewery was in our book, Restaurant Owners Uncorked, and told me one of the most interesting stories I've ever heard about opening a restaurant. He and his wife, Molley, drew up a $1,000,000 business plan to open their first place. It included new equipment and everything conventional wisdom says you need to do to get started. After getting declined for financing, they began to whittle away at the plan, learning that creativity and common sense helped more than a big pile of money. They wound up finalizing their business plan at $100,000, and opened for $70,000, just 7% of what they had originally anticipated they needed. In this interview, Mic tells how they did it, as well as how they built their second location for $750,000 when an architect had told them it would cost $5,000,000. This interview offers tons of practical, repeatable pieces of advice on getting started with your first restaurant, as well as Mic's thoughts on why small towns are a great place to operate, and how you can run your business with trust and delegation to enable a balanced lifestyle and room to grow. Mic and Molley own locations in New Mexico and Colorado, and are currently in New Zealand working on opening a location there. This is a great story, enjoy...

If you are reading this on your phone or in an email, you won't see the podcast player. Click here to listen on iTunes. 

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