Roadblocks and missteps are part of the entrepreneurial journey. Today host John Laurito talks about some business mistakes and how you as a business leader can turn blunders into breakthroughs. He also shares some of the good things you can implement in your business to attract more customers and be the best at what your business offers.
[1:31] Guess the riddle
[3:08] Listen up, Papi’s Cuban Cafe!
[11:46] What’s the smallest thing you can do to add to your ROI?
[13:01] For the love of golf
[20:01] Ask these three questions
John Over the last two decades, I’ve been on an insatiable quest to learn everything I can about leadership. What makes the best leaders so good? After running companies small and large over the last 20 years, today I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name is John Laurito. I’m your host, and I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this very topic and what makes the best leader so good. Welcome to tomorrow’s leader.
John All right. Welcome to the show. Hope you are doing great. I know. First of all, I told you last week I would tell you the answer to the riddle last week or last episode. I told you in this episode, I tell you the answer. And I realized I can’t do that because as I record this episode, that episode hasn’t even been published yet. It is going to publish tomorrow, so you will get the answer very soon. But I need to give you a chance to hear it and email me your responses or text me your responses and then acknowledge the winner. So stay tuned. It will be in the next one. I’m going to give you another riddle today and again, as soon as I record the next episode after this has gone public, which I turn around very fast, I got a great team of people who does all the production.
John They put it out there, they get it. All I do is record it, and send it to them. So literally, we’re not talking for a long time. We’re talking like a day. So be patient. It’s coming. But I got another riddle for you today. Okay. And this one… I don’t know I’m sensing somebody is going to get it. These are not designed to be easy riddles. These are designed to be tough ones. So I’m really interested to see who, if anybody, without cheating. Again, I know you can cheat and get the answers, but I’m relying on you. I’m relying on good faith efforts to do this the right way and come out with your just, you know, get the brain juices going and come out with the answer through your own mental power.
John So here is today’s riddle. A woman was born in 1971, yet is celebrating her 30th birthday this year. How is that possible? And this is the present day. This is 2022. Again, a woman was born in 1971, yet she is celebrating her 30th birthday this year. How is that possible? Again, email me or text me your answers. For the first person again, I’ll throw out the same rewards. First-person I will give acknowledgment to you will become famous because I’ll mention your name on the next episode and I will send you a book, Tomorrow’s Leader book signed by yours truly with a personal note in there. So anybody who knows that shoot that over to me either email John at Laurito group dot com or shoot me a text 8605737230.
John All right. With that, let’s begin today’s episode today. As in the past, they’ve done these business blunders and I’m going to call them business bravos. I’m trying to think of a B-word and blunders and bravo. So in any event, I get a couple of them for you. And this is really not what I’m going to give I’m going to give credit to this rest, this place because I really like this place. So I hesitate to call it a blunder. But there’s one thing, as you’re going to find out in a minute that they could do to easily grow their business, I’m going to say by 10%. That’s my rough estimate. And I’ll tell you what the scoop is.
John So every morning Jeff and I do our workouts, we get a lifetime, Jim, and we are driving back from the gym and we probably are crossing this intersection for those local to North Carolina to Holly Springs area, we go to the Lifetime gym in Carrie. We’re driving back and Kildare and cross over 1010 Road and on the intersection there. If you’ve been through there recently, you know what I’m talking about. There’s a little Cuban truck. It’s called Pappy’s Cuban Cafe. And this place is great. If you look it up, it’s got like, you know, almost five stars. So they’re just dynamite. So any event, you know, little kind of parking lot and it’s just this truck that’s Pappy’s Cuban Cafe. And so I love I’m a big coffee nut J Jeff is too we love coffee so I any opportunity to stop somewhere and get a Cuban coffee is phenomenal if you haven’t had it. Wow.
John Like that is absolutely some of the best of the best. So, you know, one day we’re driving back from the gym, we see this and we’re like, hey, you want to grab a cup of coffee, Cuban coffee? And we stop there and we always drive by that intersection. By the time we’re done with our workout and driving home, it’s usually probably 730 between 730 and 745. So we pull up there, we’re all excited to get our cup of coffee and we walk up to the thing and they’re closed. We’re like, why are they closed at 730? Like, there are cars all over the place on the road. It’s a work week, a little workweek weekday. You know, people are on their way to work. Like, why would a coffee shop why would this place that has Cuban coffee be closed at 730, or 745?
John So we kind of knock on the window there and the guy opens up again. It’s one of these food truck types of places and we’re like, Are you guys closed or open? So now we’re closed. When we’re up until eight, we’re like eight. Oh, man, he said, Well, what were you guys looking for? We said, Just a cup of coffee. We wanted to like the little Cubano, whatever, and he’s like, All right, no problem, I’ll make it for you. So he makes it for us. It’s phenomenal. It’s absolutely fantastic. And we enjoyed it, it was great. Well, you know, we always go by there at the same time. So it’s always 730, 745 and we’re always running into the same dilemma. They’re closed. They don’t open till 8:00 in the morning. And I talk about this with Jeff. We’re like, why? Why are they closed? So here’s the thing. We’ve been by there probably, I don’t know, at least half a dozen times, maybe ten times.
John And some of the times they’re super nice. I mean, some of the times, if not most of the times, they actually serve us, even though they’re technically not open. You know, we just walk out and we’re like, you still haven’t changed the hours? You are still open till eight. And I think we’ve even told them, like, why are you got all these? I don’t know if this is one of those things. Maybe I just didn’t say it and I’ve gotten some in there, but I’m like, You guys have got to open at 7:00. Like, you got so much traffic coming through here. Like, literally everybody’s on their way to work. This is a really busy intersection. Most of them are stopped when the light is red right in front of your place. So you’ve got such an opportunity to scoop up so much business in that hour. I mean, honestly, I just think about how many people would want a Cuban breakfast sandwich. Oh, my gosh.
John They looked phenomenal. That coffee. I mean, what a great way to start the day like and you know people and I’m one of these that like get a good coffee that I like. There were times when I went to Starbucks. I swear to God, I’m not lying about this four times a day. It was ridiculous at the height of my coffee addiction. And I was a big Starbucks guy. And I would quickly tell another story and I’ll go back to this other story. I would. This was when I was in where was I? I was running the Hartford, Connecticut office. I was asked to also run the Worcester, Massachusetts, office as the interim field vice president.
John So I would and it was one or two days a week I was going there. So on those days that I would go, there was an hour or maybe an hour and a half drive, I can’t remember. And so I would wake up and I would leave at like six in the morning, let’s say, and I would stop immediately and I would get a quad latte now. Quad, as you can deduce from that name, means four. It’s a latte with four shots of espresso. And it, for those of you who have not had a latte, a latte, a large latte is like two shots. I had four. So that’s basically the equivalent of four cups of coffee at 6 a.m., as I’m just about to embark on my trip to work. And I drive that hour and a half. And when I got there at 730, I would stop at another Starbucks and I would get another quad latte. So I’d walk into the office for these advisors that had I was their interim fil vice president and I’d be there one or three days a week.
John I was jacked up on caffeine. I mean, I was literally like going go nuts. And then I’d go through my day, I’d have a couple more cups of coffee that day, and then I’d leave at night at the end of the day, and I would stop at another Starbucks and I would have I would order the same exact thing. I’d order for a quad latte, and four more shots. And then there were times in between that during the day had something in other Starbucks. I mean, it was nuts. I mean, can you imagine that? I remember asking the Starbucks people, I’m like, what’s the most amount of, you know, I’ve got four shots in my life. Say, what’s the most amount you’ve had? Somebody ordered, they said 12 like 12 as in 12 espresso shots and one cup of coffee.
John They said, yeah, so said actually legally or whatever. Starbucks law, that’s the most we can put in it. I’m like, like what’s what makes it 12? Why not 15? One at ten? What was the like? I don’t know. Somebody just said that’s the most we can do. I don’t know if that’s unhealthy. At that point. I would think ten unhealthy now. I did 12 in the course of a day. That’s a lot. Okay. So but I just was amazed by that one drink with 12 cups of coffee. Basically, you’re having 12 cups of coffee in one cup. That’s what it is. I mean, that’s unbelievable. But hey, who money judge? I drink a lot of I don’t drink as much coffee now as I did. But anyway, okay, let me get back to Poppy’s Cuban Cafe. So Poppy’s has this I mean, they’ve got a recipe for success, no pun intended. They’ve got great food, a great menu, great people, really good guys, great location. Like no overhead because they’ve got this truck and they’re literally right.
John This location is this big parking lot, an easy place for people to get off. Perfect spot. Yet the one thing they’re not doing is they’re not opening early enough. If they changed and opened at 7 a.m., I truly feel like they would earn 10% more revenue easily and they’d get more customers. So it’s probably more like 15 to 20%. They’d get repeat business because once people get hooked on their coffee, they’re coming back and back and back. The other mistake is they’re closed on Mondays and are open every other day. Now, I know a lot of restaurants and businesses that are closed on Sundays, on Mondays. But even if you had to close on Monday, just keep it. I don’t know. I’m just this is just me thinking, but I’m like, is there a way to just get somebody there to get that morning traffic? You know, Mondays for people, that’s the day. They need a lot of coffee. I’m just saying now these guys were there already, so it wasn’t like they’d be coming in earlier. They’re already there to open up at 7 a.m. m now.
John They were willing and able because most of the time they did service. So to their credit they did. But if they were willing to serve us, why not just open the doors, and put a big sign out? They’re open at 7 a.m. again. They’d have tons and tons of business. So I don’t know. Little thing that could make a huge difference. I’m always thinking about that for businesses. What’s the small thing? The smallest thing that you can do that might add a dramatic return on investment. That extra hour a week, I’m sorry, in a day. And maybe they take it off on the other side, or maybe they take an hour off from 3 to 4 or whatever. Closed down that extra hour on the front end is a huge return on investment because all it is really it’s just the extra, you know, ingredients and food that they buy too, to be able to cook and prepare for that hour.
John And it’s the people’s power. It’s the two owners which are the owners that are there. So, you know, it’s just yourself waking up an hour early. That’s really it for the most. It wasn’t like they had a ten-person staff or they had to hire the people just to do owners. So I’m just thinking, you know, it’s a relatively small investment for a huge return on investment. Anyways, if you’re local, check out Poppy’s Cuban Cafe. They are not sponsoring this show. This is just my, you know, two sense, really cool place. Maybe I’ll try and get them as a sponsor. Who knows? But this is not a sponsored show. This is just my true belief. That’s a great place to check out a little business lesson in there. Here’s the second thing, though. I think about businesses that are doing it right. Here’s another here’s an example of a business really doing it right.
John I’m a huge golfer. I love golf. I know many of my listeners love golf. And you know the deal, you get two different courses. There’s a certain kind of vibe. It’s some are more casual, and some are higher-end. Some have no rules or very few rules. Some have a lot of rules. I remember a friend of mine invited me to golf to his country club and he was what’s called a social or I don’t know, a social member, an executive member, not a social member. Executive member, which means his membership was less money than full membership, and for that he had fewer privileges, so to speak. So he was a lower-end member at a very, very, very high-end club.
John He had been on a waiting list for like five, six, seven years to get into this club. He paid a lot of money upfront to get a bar, and his membership annually was thousands of dollars a year. I mean, well over $10,000 a year. I think if I remember, it was like 15 grand, maybe even 20. It was a huge amount of money. And I remember he invited me and two other people and with that, he listed out a list of rules. Literally, we got a list of rules that we had to follow, including that you could not I mean, your hand had to be pointed forward. You had to have a collared shirt, which that’s a common rule on a golf club, had to be tucked in. You could not change your golf shoes. You couldn’t put your spikes on in the parking lot like you couldn’t put your shoes on in the parking lot. Like, wow, like why? Who cares about that?
John I mean, I always do that like a get out of my car, take me, my flip flops, or whatever sneakers off and I put my spikes on. Why would you not be able to do it in the parking lot? So I show up at his place and I pick him up and I’m wearing flip flops and he is looking at me. Paranoid is like, What? How come you’re hugging me wearing flip-flops? You’re you know what? You can’t change in that parking lot. I’m like, Why? I’m just going to change in the parking lot. I’m just going to. That’s fine. Yeah. He’s like, You can’t. And I’m like, I know, I know. You set me the rules. I get approval to mess with you.
John But I got to say, it was the most stressful round of golf I’ve ever played in my life. I got to tell you, honestly, from the time the pressure to stay on time, on point and pace, the pressure to follow all these weird rules, I can’t remember this was many years ago, and I can’t remember exactly all the rules, but there were some weird ones that I had ever seen, including that can’t change your spikes in the parking lot. And it just was not fun. It took the fun out of a great experience. Golfing is one of my favorite things to do. I was just out, by the way, for Father’s Day with my son Nick and my dad. Now my dad is 87, just actually tomorrow turning 88. Wow. 88 years old and my might and he still plays great. He’s out there. Help.
John These can be knock-on wood. And I’m thinking, wow, how cool is it to have three generations of people on a golf course playing golf together? And I said that to my dad and my son. I’m like, there we are, three generations playing together. How many people have that opportunity? Either that they all have three generations that are alive and well enough to play golf, or that locally, geographically, or close enough to do it or that are available. Whatever the case is, here we were on Father’s Day playing golf. Now I’m going to contract contrast the experience of that other high-end golf course. With this, we went to a place for those of you local in North Carolina, you know, I’m talking about in Holly Springs called or I guess it’s an apex I think called knights play. Now, this is a par three golf course. And granted, you know, some people have mixed feelings on par-three golf courses, including me.
John You know, I like to get out there and drive the ball and really play a real round of golf. But it is a ton of fun and it’s a great course. They keep it in really good condition. It’s light so you can play it like up to midnight. I think they’re open till midnight. It’s amazing to play night and they’ve got 27 holes. So you’ve got a lot of holes you can play. This place gets packed. When I say pack, they’ve got a driving range. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the driving range less than 90% full. And it’s a huge driving range. I mean, it’s a huge, huge driving range. And the course itself, I mean, you know, in North Carolina, the great thing about it, you can play golf 12 months a year and it’s open 12 months a year. I’ve never seen the course not crowded, put it that way.
John Now it moves fast because it’s a par three course. Sometimes it’s really crowded, though. But I will tell you what they do so well is just make everything so easy like they are so friendly. Sometimes you go to golf courses and they’re just, you know, they get a little bit of a pompous attitude like, you know, they’re doing you a favor by letting you in here. And it’s a public course. And, you know, they’ve got they’re all persnickety about their rules and the pace of play and all this kind of stuff. And the starters got an attitude and all this kind of stuff. These guys could not be nicer. I mean, genuinely, they appreciate you coming in, even though they’re crushing it. I mean, they’re crushing it. I know they’re crushing it with, with, with profits. They are so appreciative. And it shows I mean, the way they treat you, the way they talk to you, the way they make it, as easy as possible for you to golf there if you don’t. You know, my dad was calling me the day before and he said, you know, I think was our golf game tee time Saturday night. I said, no, I was on Father’s Day.
John I was on Sunday at 4:00. He said, Oh, I thought it was Saturday we were talking about. And then Sunday rolls around. I’m like, Oh, jeez, what if I did accident? Maybe I said on the phone Saturday and what went through my mind is, you know, what, if I screwed up and we showed up, they would have been fine. They would have worked us. And somehow I guarantee they would have been like you guys. No worries about it. We’ll get you in. That’s the type of place it is. So they just make it so easy. When you decide you pay for 18, you decide you don’t want to put it in, you go in. It’s not an issue. They’re like, I know you just say, Hey, I only played nine. There’s no like looking at the watch to try and verify the time. And, you know, they don’t listen. GRAY Hey, they open the cash register.
John You’re not even done with the sentence. They open up the cash register and give you money for the back nine that you didn’t play or give you a coupon to play the next one. They are incredibly nice and just make it such a good experience. So nights play golf, you haven’t got a chance of your local plate. It’s a lot of fun. If you’re in town, let me know. I’ll play. I’ll go out there with you. It’s a lot of fun. So any event, just little things. I think about as a business owner, as a leader, how easy is it for people to do business with your company? How easy? What kind of experience is it? Forget how great your product or services are.
John That course could have been in magnificent shape, but if they were jerks and made the experience not fun or yeah, I mean, and there are tons of golf courses out there like that. It’s just, listens, you got a choice. People have a choice on where they play and what they do and work to who they give business. You got so much competition out there, these little things make a big difference. Popeyes Cuban Cafe is a great place. Not a lot of Cuban places around here. You know, people have a choice at 730 in the morning now, they’re going to go to Dunkin Donuts and get coffee. Are they going to go to your place? They’d much rather go to your place, but you got to be open.
John You’ll let people know you’re open and then, you know, run some specials or whatever you want to do. But there’s tons of business to get out there. These small things make all the difference in the world. So my point today with this blunder and bravo, just think through what. And sometimes you get to ask other people. Sometimes you got to ask your customers, What are we doing that you love? I always think about this as three questions I love to ask What am I doing that you want? Or What are we doing that you want us to do more of? Continue doing or do a more second question What are we doing that you need us to stop or change? Okay. Here’s the third question. What are we not doing that you want us to start doing?
John Okay, so what are we doing that you want us to continue to do or do more of? Second question what are we doing that you need us to stop or do less of or change? And the third question is a really good one. What are we not doing that we should be doing? Okay, ask your people in the organization that question. Ask yourself that question. Ask your customers that question. And you will get unbelievable answers. Okay, great, great questions. Maybe I’ll change the title of this to three questions you need to ask rather than what? Whatever. That I’m just thinking out loud because sometimes I do that.
John I hope this was helpful for everybody. As always, I greatly appreciate you listening like this. Share this, and get some other people involved. This, this, this podcast is growing like wildfire. I love it and I appreciate all the help that you’re doing to make that happen, including going down below, give five stars because that does make a difference. You know it. I know it. All right. Great. Hope you enjoyed the show. Hope you enjoy your day. Stay healthy, stay happy. And I’ll see you next time. Thanks.
John Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader. For suggestions or inquiries about having me at your next event or personal coaching, reach me at John@johnlaurito.com. Thanks, lead on!