One. Deep. Breath.

My wife came home from a training our church was holding emotional and mental health and couldn’t stop telling me about all the stuff she learned in a session with Dr. Jerome Lubbe. She found a YouTube video of a smaller talk he did, and it’s worth a watch.

Starting a running a company is hard. I feel like I have spent the last 7 years in fight of flight mode, but as Dr. Lubbe says in this video, “It’s not a bear.”

Spend 30 minutes and watch. I will be digging into more of what this guy has to say.

Turning luck into lessons.

Two of my team members and I recorded our season one recap episode for Top Restaurateurs this morning. It’s going to be a fun one to listen to.

Nate, our Director of Business Development, said something that jumped out at me during our conversation. He said one of our guests was very good at turning luck into lessons.

Too often we fail to look back at how we got to where we are. Often times, connecting the dots backwards shows us the things that happened while we were working. They are events that were critcal to our success, and if repeated, could continue to help us achieve our future goals.

We can’t assume it was just our hard work and continue on relying on more hard work. We have to take into account where we got lucky and then focus our future hard work towards repeating that luck.

Grit in my kids.

I took my three youngest boys to a trampoline park today. They have a feature there where you try to knock an opponent off a balance beam using a padded pole. At one point I looked over and saw my 12 year up against an older kid who stood at least a foot taller and 70 pounds heavier. We will call him Big Guy.

Big Guy must have knocked my son off the beam over a dozen times, each time swinger harder than the last. My son just kept getting up and trying again, listening to the taunting and laughing from his opponent.

Then Big Guy took a giant swing towards my son’s head. My son ducked down and stood back up as he returned a blow in the direction Big Guy was leaning. Big Guy fell hard off the beam.

Then my son walked over to where Big Guy was laying, said something and threw his pole down at him before walking away towards a crown of cheering kids.

When we left, I told him I watched the whole thing and asked him what he was thinking when he kept getting up. He said, “I was thinking, he is either going to hurt me, or I am going to beat him.”

This is what grit looks like, and he inspired me to up my action this week.

What’s working right now.

I’ve spent most of the last 4 months chasing my tail. We got the MVP version of LineCheck running in June, and have had a a tough go at developing a lead generation model to hit the goals we were after.

Then a couple of weeks ago, something started clicking. I’ve spent this week studying our customers and their buying path. We are really close to a repeatable and scalable lead generation model.

We have not changed much when it comes to messaging or buyer persona. The product is improving weekly, but it’s not changing what it does. What’s working is the frequency of communication. We started emailing our list every Monday, Wednesday, Friday instead of once a week. All of our metrics are up: opens, clicks, demos scheduled, and yes, unsubscribes.

People are so busy it is unlikely they will notice you the first time.

The other area where we are doing more is our demo time. We used to qualify and demo on the same call. Now we are breaking it up over two calls. Call one is to qualify a lead’s problem can be solved with our software, selling the solution, and discussing price. The second call is the one where we actually show the product. Our close rates are up because of it.

I have always believed an increase in action leads to an increase in results. And, if you pay attention and improve, you get and exponential return on action over time. It’s really fun to see that principal work.

Posting every day in November.

It’s November, the month of abstaining from certain activities to bring awareness to causes. Just Google “no November” to get a list.

It’s also National Novel Writing Month, and while I will not be writing a novel, I would like to practice my daily blogging habit again. This seems like the month to do it.

Looking back, most of my opportunities have come as a result of my writing. I have been accepted into summer academies, gained employment, raised money to start businesses, attracted early customers, convinced people to work for my companies, met cool people, started a podcast, and sold stuff…all because if being able to write well.

Currently, the best lead generation strategy we have for our products is sending a 3-times-per-week email to a ton of people telling them stories about how their jobs will be better with our products.

The leaders I follow and emulate are great writers and write often…people like Jason Fried, Derek Sivers, Bryan Miles, Fred Wilson, Brad Feld, Seth Godin, and David Heinemeier Hansson.

I already write daily (privately) with the Day One app. It helps me clarify my thinking, get rid of negativity, and log my memories. I believe it will be a powerful collection of thoughts to leave behind to my kids and future generations.

So let this be my public commitment to hit publish every day on this blog. If you want to follow along, subscribe via email.

Complacency and parmesan cheese

I wrote this for my company marketing email, and I wanted to share it here as well.


What does parmesan cheese have to do with restaurant management?

The best part of hosting Top Restaurateurs is what I get to learn. Recent guest Tim McLoone told one of the best allegories about unmanaged restaurants I have heard, and it applies to all businesses.

It went like this:

A nice restaurant hand-grates parmesan cheese at their restaurants. They use a cloth napkin and a good, old-fashioned grader. It creates a pleasant aroma and a great customer experience.

Over time, these graters begin to break, so the staff goes looking for the crank style graters they used to use. It’s still a good customer experience, but not the one that was intended by the restaurateur.

After a while, the cranks break, so the waiters ask the kitchen for ramekins of parmesan cheese. It’s not a great customer experience, but the customers still get cheese.

The ramekins get lost, and break, and before long customers are receiving their parmesan cheese in little plastic cups.

The restaurant struggles. The staff doesn’t commit to the high level of service and experience they once did. Complacency sets in. Customers stop coming. The restaurant can no longer afford to buy the little plastic cups, or the cheese for that matter. They are out of business.

When you are not intentional about setting expectations and creating accountability systems, shortcuts will be taken, and business will suffer.

What are the areas of your business that are likely to slip if left unmanaged? What are you doing to make sure that does not happen?

The good news is it’s never too late to start doing something about it.

Unconscious Competence

There are skills you possess which are so natural or innate you don’t recognize them as skills.

Often these are skills you picked up watching your parents or peers. Great speakers and sales people are usually the children of great speakers and sales people.

They are tied to your temperament and personality. It’s easier for people to be assertive, be good at conflict resolution, entertain, or problem solve when their natural tendencies lean that direction.

It’s important to be able to identity these skills because they often point to areas where you can make the greatest contribution. I find this exercise particularly beneficial when I am stuck. If I think through skills of which I am unconsciously competent, I am able to see a path to break through.

So spend 30 minutes reflecting and noticing what you do well. Document the steps you take when you are using those skills. Do work to understand why are you have those skills. What you uncover will open doors for you.

Another podcast, seriously?

Yep. Thanks to my Envoy team, we are producing the restaurant industry’s first podcast dedicated to interviewing CEO’s and Founders about the business side of running restaurants. It’s less back story and more real actionable advice business owners can learn from and apply.

I am having a blast doing the interviews, meeting and learning from really smart business people. You can check out the show, find a great way to subscribe, and binge all of the episodes here.

I would start with one of these:

If you like it, please share with your friends and leave a review wherever you listen to podcasts.

My new podcast

Ever since I heard my first podcast, I wanted to start one. And now, I finally did. It’s called You’ll Figure It Out.

Here is the description:

You’ll Figure It Out is an honest conversation about life as an entrepreneur. You can do anything you want in life, you just have to figure it out. Scott Reyes is the CEO & Co-Founder of three companies, has 4 kids, and an insatiable appetite for learning.

I post a new episode each day of the work week to talk about what I am working on, a story from running my companies, and a lesson I have learned or am learning.

If that sounds interesting, please check it out and tell some friends.

Here is today’s episode.

Complacency kills retaurants.

I've been in client meetings with our LineCheck beta customers over the past 3 weeks. I am so excited about this product because of the problem it solves.

Complacency kills restaurants.

Restaurants don't grow complacent in an instant. They creep that direction, building momentum in every passing moment.

The basics get shortcut because they seem seem unimportant. Maybe they have a time constraint, so they cut a corner…just this once. No one notices. So, the next time the situation comes up, they take the same shortcut. Soon a habit starts.

A shortcut in one area leads to shortcuts in other areas…or bigger areas. Before you know it, these shortcuts have crept into every process in your restaurant until you have a culture of complacency.

Your lines aren’t set up correctly before a rush. Your bathrooms don’t get cleaned. Your equipment doesn’t get the attention you deserve. Things start breaking. Customers stop coming back.

The fundamentals are so important. Get them right, and the almost everything takes care of itself. Ignore them, take shortcuts, become complacent, and you will have a really hard time moving your business forward.

This is what LineCheck is all about. It’s Restaurant Execution Software (RES) designed to meek you and your operations team executing on your fundamentals. You schedule your processes and know when they are not done on time or incorrectly.

It’s the visibility restauranteurs need to be sure the fundamentals are being taken care of.