Becoming Legendary Don't drown in the Quo

June 30, 2017

Using Social Media Successfully

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Jones @ 6:45 pm

Using Social Media Successfully – Week Twenty-Eight

Well it looks like we are up to five groups of three who have started to pray at the same time as us – we have started a trend. One of the new group leaders (the short-term furnished housing owner) sat in with Josh, Liz and me and asked us to tell how we go about our prayer meeting. We gave a general rundown and then we started our reporting for the week. None of us had any bad stuff to say, only praises to mention. We all entered into this week’s prayer with thanksgiving for how our groups have multiplied and we asked God to make us all committed to pray for each group. It’s amazing really. All of these business owners praying and teaching one another – It’s networking with God and with each other. I cannot believe how all of this has transpired. But I guess that is how God works. He starts marketplace ministry right here and then we carry the supernatural back to our offices and employees. When we finished our time of prayer, Josh did say that his Lubbock lawn care teams seemed more motivated than usual. I patted him on the shoulder and congratulated him.

As for this week’s larger gathering, we actually had a female pastor and teacher (Lubbock Pre-K) come and share about how to build an effective army of volunteers who are willing to spread word of mouth. She said that since there are so many social media mediums, we ought to think about how to get our customers engaged for our businesses’ growth. She said that by encouraging her unpaid volunteers to share Facebook posts and to retweet what the church puts out there on Twitter, they get a stronger base of messaging that takes the place of paid marketing. I didn’t really understand how to get this army of mine to do what she suggested, but it was mainly because I have not invested much time into building my business via social media. I’m not sure why I haven’t done much of this since it is free advertising, but I am going to start now. Why not make my networking expand to the web universe? The overall leader of the group said that he would start a Facebook page for our gatherings and asked us to send out notices to who we know in business. Why not grow?

It’s funny that this came from a pastor. I had expected a big supernatural message, but it was instead a very down to earth message. She did a good job and really got me thinking about stuff I was not doing.

So readers, what do you think about this whole thing? Do you make use of social media to engage any sort of volunteer army? If so, has it seemed to help? Let me know in your comments. Thanks in advance…

June 26, 2017

Be slow to subcontract

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Jones @ 8:28 pm

Be slow to subcontract – Week Twenty-Six

We had our prayer time and gave ourselves fifteen extra minutes before the large gathering so we could report on what was going on in our lives. Liz told us that she had seen other Lubbock catering businesses begin to optimize their websites using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and she thought that this was why the catering business was falling off a bit. She said that her company was ranking at the top of Google up until last week and then she noticed a drop into fourth place. Statistics show that if a website is not in the top three they hardly get any customer clicks. So, Liz asked if we could pray for her as to whether or not she should invest in SEO to get her business back to where it was before. We prayed over that and all felt like she should give it a try – hire a local business that does this work and let them do what is necessary to get her back on top. Josh said that his lawn care crews were starting to shift from winter scalping into spring landscaping and he wanted prayer that he wouldn’t lose any of his best workers as they made this move. As for me, I just asked for prayer for my family and especially my wife who has been suffering from a terrible flu. It was affecting her time with the kids and putting extra burden on me when I got home from work – not trying to be selfish – I do want her to be well just for the sake of her being well, but it would be nice to have her back at full steam so we could do our jobs around the house with unnecessary struggle. So, we all prayed and we believed that God heard us, because we know He has our best interests in mind. He knows how many hairs we have on our heads and so He certainly doesn’t miss anything about our daily lives.

The large business group was led by a short-term furnished housing leader named Jonathan who spoke about handling sub-contractors. At least that is what I think you would call the outside groups you hire to handle various tasks. Anyway, he talked about how he had hired an outside maintenance team that he had not properly vetted and found out very quickly that they were not representing the base company well at all. They were slow to handle resident maintenance requests and were very harsh with any complaints that came in. So, Jonathan immediately fired this group and decided to take his time to find a crew who had a stellar reputation. While he looked around carefully and asked others who they used, he paid his own staff extra money to cover for the needs of the residents. Jonathan warned us not to rush into hiring any team from the outside because they may or may not have the same vision and mission as your inside team. This talk reminded me of an earlier talk and so I wasn’t that enthusiastic about the talk. But, I certainly did appreciate the effort and the reminders.

Ever used an outside team for your maintenance, accounting or janitorial needs? If so, what were your experiences good and bad? Thanks for commenting. Best to you and your businesses…

June 21, 2017

Paying a Living Wage – Week 23

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Jones @ 5:35 pm

Paying a Living Wage – Week Twenty-Three

Prayer with my lawn care buddy and my Lubbock catering friend (it has been so great to become friends through this prayer thing) was really good. We did quick reports on our last few week’s requests and it seems that God is truly listening to us and making things better. How great it is to bring our needs to God and actually get answered with positive results. It’s nice to pray with expectancy. This week all of us brought the book that the Lubbock Pre-K leader told us about and we talked about how we can use it to be even better at bringing spirituality not only to our group sessions, but to our actual workplaces. I would have never thought of getting my employees together and praying with them but now I think I might just take the plunge and see who wants to pray with me for our lives. It seems like a no-brainer to bring people at my work together for prayer – we would certainly bond with one another and with God. And as the boss, I would be the best one to introduce it. I will be careful though to make it clear that this is not mandatory and that those who attend will not get special attention from me. I’m not going to give raises to those who pray and keep the others at a simple living wage.

Speaking of a paying a living wage, we had a female speaker who worked for an architectural firm share with us what it is like to not be the boss. She said that we all (the bosses) should take a serious look at making sure our workers are paid at a living wage. She explained that she had started out making less than what she needed to pay all of her bills and it made her feel terrible and even angry when she went into work. She actually carried some angst and it came out in passive aggressive ways towards her bosses. But, when she went to her bosses and explained her situation, they were gracious enough to side with her. They raised everyone’s salary from a lowball base up to a living wage so that everyone could pay their bills and live a better life. It was amazing to hear this woman, who is not at the boss level, share about this controversial topic. I could see my fellow bosses in the room fidget around uncomfortably while she spoke and at discussion time there were a lot of questions about how to raise salaries for everyone without having to lower their own salaries. One of the bosses in the room was very flustered and said that he thought since he was the entrepreneur who took the initial risk to build the business, he should not have to raise his employees’ salaries and have to cut his own salary. Other bosses agreed but there were several (the corporate housing owner in particular) who piped in about how they needed to take this idea into serious consideration. The speaker answered all of them by reiterating that if they don’t pay a living wage, they risked having disgruntled employees who might not work as hard as they could if they didn’t have a living wage. She said that if we wanted to keep good employees around who were loyal to us, we should go for it. I decided right then and there that I was going to have a meeting with my hardworking staff about what they needed to get them to a place of having enough pay to keep them going. I was going to tell my workers that I was going to take a pay cut so that they could live better. This would certainly make them happier and better workers. I hated to cut my own salary to make this living wage possible, but then I thought about how hard it must be to work super hard only to be stressed to the maximum because their pay wasn’t high enough.

So readers out there – what do you think about this idea? What will you do with it?

June 19, 2017

Short-term Housing for Professionals

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Jones @ 12:56 pm

Short-term Housing for Professionals

A lot of professionals are on the road all of the time trying to help their company reach new regional marks. Sometimes these professionals are forced to be away from their hometowns and from their families for longer than thirty days and this is a difficult ask. It’s super hard to be away from your home for thirty or more days. But at least there are good options nowadays for these traveling workers as far as accommodations go. Now professionals are not forced to live out of their suitcases in a cramped hotel room. They can instead take advantage of smaller leases at short-term housing spaces that are furnished and well appointed. (I’ve been to West Texas for nine months before and found Lubbock short-term furnished housing to stay in for an affordable price.)

Here’s what to look for when you are booking this sort of short-term housing:

  1. How attentive is the management staff in regards to your needs? You should be able to tell right away when something is amiss by watching how professional the management teams are. Ask them how their maintenance teams work and how fast that broken things get fixed.
  2. What amenities are on site? Does the short-term housing have a pool? Does it have in house washers and dryers and if not, do they have a laundry spot on site? Is there a workout room open to the guests? Is cable or Direct TV included in the price or do you have to buy it separately? Are mailboxes on site? Etc.
  3. How old is the furniture in the room? Has it all been thoroughly cleaned since the last tenant was there? Were there pets in the apartment they want to put you into? Are there any newly reconditioned apartments available for you to choose?

Those are the main questions I made sure to ask during my last stay and I was glad I did. I looked at several of the short-term housing options and the only ones that fit into my standards were Home Style Suites and At Home Corporate Suites. They provided amazing places to stay for world-weary working travelers like me.

So, what do you think? Have you ever had to make use of these sorts of short-term housing units? What companies did you think were best? What kinds of questions did you ask of these companies so that you wouldn’t be surprised when you got there?

Let me know. I’m sure I’ll be sent out again shortly. I don’t want to miss out on the best places to live in my temporary state.

June 15, 2017

Teenage Birthday Parties

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Jones @ 4:37 pm

Teenage Birthday Parties

When your kid is still a kid, it’s pretty easy to figure out what to do for their birthday party – go to Chuck E. Cheese, Altitude Jumping, Dave’s Need for Speed, etc. But when your child becomes an adolescent, it can be harder to plan for their party. Very often your child will want to appear more mature than the old days. They probably won’t want to go to the spots mentioned above. In fact, statistics say that most teenagers want to have a sleepover with their best friends. So, the accommodation part is easy, but what else do you need to think of to make their birthday party a success?

  1. Cake and desserts – Not everyone can bake very well and so if this is you, you can go to a Market Street grocery store and find everything you need to satisfy all of the guests.
  2. Lubbock catering – Besides the dessert part, good food is also important to provide. You could order several pizzas and probably be okay, but I want to suggest that you go outside of the box. I want to recommend that you get the best catering in Lubbock from Chick-fil-A. They can deliver to your house and help you set up a spread that the teens won’t soon forget.
  3. Decorations – I would definitely not go overboard on this part because teenagers don’t want to draw that much attention to themselves. I think that it is best to ask your teenage birthday boy or girl what sorts of décor they want.
  4. Games – Again, you want to ask your teen if they want games to be a part of their sleepover. If they say they do, you can find whatever you need on social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram. Those site are amazing at providing games for all ages. (It might just be a video game party – so ask your teen what video games they might be wanting at their party.)
  5. Movies – A lot of times, teenagers just want to chill out with their buddies and watch some movies. You can get these by looking at the On-Demand station on your TV set. But, if they want to get scared together and want some old school classics, you might have to look at EBAY and find the titles they want (Ex. The Shining, Amityville Horror, etc.) When I hit my teen years, I remember renting like 5 scary movies and staying up all night with my friends watching and screaming.

Well, those are my best suggestions. Please send me your comments so I can add them to my next blog. I appreciate you being willing to expand my mind on teenage parties.

June 14, 2017

Christmas Fun

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Jones @ 5:10 pm

Christmas Fun

There are so many fun traditions you can be a part of during the holiday season and I have to admit I have not done a lot of them over the past few years. But, I’ve decided to add some traditional fun back into my Christmas preparations this year. What traditions do you have? Any you want to share so I can really go for it this year?

Here is what I am planning for this year:

  1. Holiday lighting – Basically I want to go all out in lighting up the outside of my house. I live in Lubbock and I have heard that the best Lubbock Christmas lighting company is called Lubbock Roots. I’m too lazy to do it myself and I would mess it up bad anyway. I can just see myself falling off of my own roof and snapping my neck with a string of lights in my crumpled hand. No thank you. So, I am going to go ahead and book my Lubbock holiday lighting in the summer (now) because I hear that this company gets reserved up very early. I have seen their work before and I want to recommend them to all of my readers. They offer all sorts of options and I think they will kick some butt on my house’s exterior.
  2. Real tree – I have always loved the smell of pine in my friends house when they put a real tree in their house. I also just think real trees look better once they are decorated than the fake decorated trees. I’ve never had one myself because I always think I’m going to burn my house down. But, this year I am going to get some of my buddies fireproof a real tree.
  3. Christmas party – I don’t have much family in Lubbock, but that doesn’t mean I have to just sit around and pity myself as a lonely person at the holidays. I will go to my parents’ house in Dallas at some point to hang out with family there, but I also want to invite some friends and colleagues over to my house before that happens. I think it will be fun to get some of the best Lubbock catering and play Christmas games and sing some carols around my block. We can also hang up mistletoes everywhere and make some of our own ornaments. Why not? Why not have a pseudo-family party before I go to my real families’ house?
  4. Fruitcakes – I have always heard that fruitcakes are gross, but I am going to buy one for myself and send one or two out to some friends. I just might have the right palate for those ill-reputed desserts.
  5. Gifts for the poor – There always seems to be a toy drive to bless kids around the city whose parents don’t have enough money to buy their children fun presents. This year I am going to make sure to “adopt” like three kids that I buy gifts for – I might even get involved in delivering my gifts to their families. It’s time for me to be selfless in the holiday season.

Well, I am sure there are other things that come to mind as I prepare for this Christmas. I’m open to your suggestions and care what you think about the above ideas. Thanks in advance…

June 12, 2017

Chick-fil-A Love – Part Three

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Jones @ 3:01 pm

Chick-fil-A Love – Part Three

 Okay, there is the wonderful food and the amazing customer service that we have been covering over the past couple of blogs – but now we come to show off Chick-fil-A’s brilliant branding strategies.

One sentence: “Eat Mor Chikin” written on signs penned by rebel cows who are suggesting that people dump eating all of the beef they are consuming and to start eating more of Chick-fil-A’s chickens. It’s a classic ad campaign that has become a major part of Chick-fil-A’s brand and identity. I don’t know what marketing group came up with that one, but it was not only smart for a couple of ads – it is always smart marketing. Customers and non-customers alike are able to pick out what company these cows represent. That’s hard to do but they made it possible. They have cows looking menacingly at people eating burgers. They have parachuting cows spreading the message in a drop from the sky. They have cows playing practical jokes on people. They are just cool cows and they are funny. Chick-fil-A has chosen humor to send a clear message and it’s hard not to fall in love with it. I keep those cows in mind any time that my stomach growls – who needs a burger when you can help those cows out and have the original chikin sandwich?

Beyond those cool cows, Chick-fil-A also sends a message of community love. I have seen them contribute so much Lubbock catering for events being held for the sake of non-profits. They feed people so that these non-profit groups can present their messages of community too. I love how they care so much for others. It’s an amazing thing to witness such devotion. They don’t just say they are for communities in which they exist – they prove it. This is rare. They also contribute to the community by presenting scholarships to workers and by holding special events to bolster relationships. Their “Daddy-Daughter Date nights” are a cool example.

So, that’s my take on the wonder that is Chick-fil-A. I love it and I hope that if you don’t love it yet, that you will pay attention to what I’ve written and become a fellow restaurant lover.  As well, you might want to give serious consideration to them when you have an event that requires catering in Lubbock (or really anywhere).

I’m out for now. If I become aware of any other legendary businesses, I’ll let you know. Best to you readers – Eat mor chikin!!!

June 9, 2017

Chick-fil-A Love – Part Two

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Jones @ 2:40 pm

Chick-fil-A Love – Part Two

It’s morning and I am feasting on a few Chick-fil-A breakfast options.

Today I am having two Chick-fil-A Chicken Biscuits and part of a Greek Yogurt Parfait to inspire me to inspire you about the greatness of Chick-fil-A as a whole. You know how they always say, “When you love something, set it free.” Well, that may be true when you are dealing with all sorts of things, but I can tell you that it doesn’t apply with Chick-fil-A. At Chick-fil-A, it’s “If you love the food (which you should), set it into your mouth and chew.”

Clichés are so cliché.

Anyway, in Part One of my love story with this restaurant, I started by telling about how Chick-fil-A has expanded it’s menu and I listed a bunch of foods to prove it to you – to get you to see that Chick-fil-A has gone above and beyond the fantastic and “Original Chicken Sandwich” and has come up with a variety of foods that will please anyone on the planet. Well, I thought I was going to get all of these foods down in Part One, but I didn’t. So, let’s continue shall we – see the list below – I think all of their foods are available for their Lubbock catering, but you might need to check in at 806-798-1100.

Okay healthy and hungry people, here are some great Chick-fil-A choices.

  1. Grilled Market Salads
  2. Cobb Salads
  3. Spicy Southwest Salad
  4. Superfood Side Salads
  5. Fruit Cups
  6. Chicken Noodle Soups
  7. Chicken Salad Cups

And if you have kids and want them to have fun and eat well, see the list below:

  1. Nuggets Kid’s Meals
  2. Chick-n’Strips Kid’s Meals
  3. Grilled Nuggets Kid’s Meals

Treats for kids (and really for every adult with taste buds)

  1. Frosted Lemonades
  2. Frosted Coffees
  3. Cookie and Cream Milkshakes (Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry, and Peach as well)
  4. Chocolate Chunk Cookies
  5. Ice Dream Cones

And never forget the blessed waffle fries that you can supersize. These fries can be a small meal in itself…

Besides food and treats, what else makes Chick-fil-A memorable?

I’ve polled several people and their answer to this question is straight-up amazing customer service. The young people who take your order are as polite as you get and they usually respond that it has been a pleasure to serve you. You just don’t find this sort of initial kindness in other restaurants where waiters or order takers are just there to make their minimum wage. I attribute this difference to rigorous training and accountability structures that lead to regular evaluations. Complaints about a worker’s attitude are probably logged and workers are probably coached to address this. I also commend the managers and assistant managers. They are always carefully making sure that each customer gets what they asked for and quickly. There is no hot food that comes out cold and less edible – the management teams make sure of that. Anything less than stellar quickness is unacceptable. I have seen several free meals given away when the customer is dissatisfied. You can’t beat that.

Okay, I said I was going to cover their marketing and Lubbock catering acumen, but I will save that for the final blog.

June 8, 2017

Chick-fil-A Love – Part One

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Jones @ 6:14 pm

Chick-fil-A Love – Part One

I love eating Chick-fil-A no matter what city I am in. Even though I’ve had it hundreds of times in my hometown of Lubbock, Texas, I can’t seem to get past (nor do I want to get past) the original chicken sandwich with extra pickles or the mega sized nugget pack. I think I love them both equally. Anyway, I’ll avoid writing a sonnet about my personal food habits and move on to talk about the other things that Chick-fil-A does well.

Perfect segue: Chick-fil-A’s other food options are myriad goodness. I had no idea that they offered so many other menu items. Just check this breakfast list out and stand back with wide eyes and in palate joy with me:

  1. Chick-n-Minis
  2. Chick-fil-A Chicken Biscuits (my stomach’s early morning choice)
  3. Egg White Grills
  4. Breakfast burritos
  5. Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuits
  6. Sausage, Egg & Cheese Biscuits
  7. Chicken, Egg, & Cheese Bagels
  8. Breakfast Platters
  9. Mini Hash Brown Bites
  10. Fruit Cups
  11. Greek Yogurt Parfaits
  12. Buttered Biscuits
  13. Sausage, Egg, & Cheese Muffins

And that is just to start the day off right.

What impresses me about the above list is that it simply reveals Chick-fil-A’s desire to meet the desires of a wide-ranging customer base. You want healthy, you get healthy. You want a few extra calories, go for it. You want to eat one of each choice at one breakfast sitting, I don’t recommend you pile that much in, but if you are a professional eater like Joey Chestnut, rock on.

Same goes for lunch and dinner– Chick-fil-A didn’t just sit back and rest on their chicken sandwich laurels. They found out what their customers wanted to eat and they made that food happen. (I hope these lists don’t bore you, but instead make you hungry for more Chick-fil-A.) Check out the lunchtime and dinner options:

  1. Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwiches
  2. Chick-fil-A Deluxe Sandwiches (add that cheese, lettuce and tomatoes)
  3. Spicy Sandwiches
  4. Spicy Deluxe Sandwiches
  5. Chick-fil-A Nuggets
  6. Chick-n-Strips
  7. Grilled Chicken Sandwiches
  8. Grilled Nuggets
  9. Grilled Chicken Club Sandwiches
  10. Grilled Chicken Cool Wraps
  11. Chicken Salad Sandwiches
  12. Smokehouse BBQ Bacon Sandwiches

I have to mention here that Chick-fil-A in my town offers the best Lubbock catering for those who are having events of all sorts. I know that two stores in particular have made catering in Lubbock into an art. Check out their delivery and pick-up options by calling 806-798-1100 or you could just go in to either the 6820 Slide Road store or the 6416 82nd Street store to talk in person. They will get you what you need.

Okay – this was just Part One and we are still on food. Part Two will start with more food but then move onto customer service and the classic advertising campaigns.

In the meantime, get yourself to a Chick-fil-A and eat some of the most scrumptious food anywhere. You will probably see me there enjoying all of the possibilities. This is me signing off until next time. Feel free to comment as you chew.

June 6, 2017

Discounts and Loss Leaders – 18

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Jones @ 11:01 am

Discounts and Loss Leaders – 18

Business Prayer was especially cool this morning first of all because Liz, Josh and me shared our struggles openly again. I have been working on scaling back some and it has definitely worked as far as taking steps away from burnout. I have learned a lot from this move and best of all I have seen business and profits pick up in spite of my doing less. I attribute this to God moving and am thankful that my Lubbock lawn care friend and my Lubbock catering friend have been praying daily for me. Josh said that he was also experiencing gains at his work and he was grateful to Liz and me. He is working on doing more Bible reading at home so that he can learn more about how God works. He asked us what book to start reading and both Liz and me suggested Philippians. Liz is having some issues with how her husband is not leading their children toward good attitudes. He is not modeling a biblical perspective with a lot of things he says and Liz is worried about this. She asked for us to pray for that. Besides those things, we noticed that there are now three groups of three meeting to pray before the main meeting. One of those new prayer people is from a private Christian school in the area (Lubbock Pre-K) and another is from a lady who manages short term furnished housing. I’m not sure who the others are, but it is exciting to watch prayer grow in our midst. We all need God to help with business and family because that pretty much takes care of the whole of our lives.

As for the meeting, I have to admit that I kind of drifted in and out of paying attention. The lady who presented was from a grocery store and she talked about how to use discounts and loss leaders to draw customers into whatever business we find ourselves in. I totally get how this is important, because a lot of customers are drawn to businesses that offer such things, but I already have this going on in my work – I offer my work for much less than others who do what I do and so I was simply in agreement with the speaker. I wasn’t moved into action in the same way as I have been with other topics. But looking around the room I saw a lot of notes being taken and a lot of heads nodding. So, just because this week’s presentation was not as applicable to me, I was happy to see that others were getting a lot from what she said. It did leave me wondering how the Christian school could use discounts to get a bigger enrollment. Their representative was the first to ask questions in the discussion time and I paid close attention to that. Anyway, it was a solid meeting once again.

How do you business people out there use discounts and loss leaders to increase your profits? Do you think it works in a significant way? Please let me know what comments you have. I am always interested in what you readers have to say about the subjects we cover in this larger group.

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