Making Lemonade Out Of Lemons! Let’s Take A Moment With Shama Hyder

Shama Hyder:

Where do you start when you realize, I’m in the wrong column and I need to move?

Charles Gaudet:

So, Tony Robbins taught me this many years ago. He says, “The quality of our answers are directly related to the qualities of the questions that we ask.” One of the ways that we like to reposition the offer, especially nowadays, a lot of people are sitting there and thinking, if somebody’s not doing business with me, it maybe has to do with my price, and how do I adjust my price, and so forth. So it’s very price focused. What we like to do is reframe it. If you can answer this one simple question, then what you’re going to find is you’ve become more of a must-have.

Shama Hyder:

Hey, everyone. This is Shama Hyder here, and you’re watching Let’s Take a Moment with Shama. I hope you guys can see this, we’re livestreaming across platforms on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and so forth. Please leave your comments, I will check them later, I always do and I try to respond to as many as possible. Last week so many of you tuned in, we had thousands of folks from all over the world, and I think if anything now we feel a lot more united. I know I do, with people all over the globe, so I think there’s a shared camaraderie there. So why not this as well, right?

Shama Hyder:

Hopefully you guys are able to see this, let me just check one little thing, and I’m going to introduce our guest of the day today as well. As you can imagine, there’s a lot of technical stuff that goes into livestreaming like this, especially when it is across the board. Yeah, so I hope that you guys are able to watch this, and if you have any technical issues go ahead and list those in the comments too, we’ll do our best to iron them out next time.

Shama Hyder:

Now, with me is someone very special today. His names is Charles Gaudet, Charlie as he is known to his friends, which I hope includes me. Charlie is one of the smartest people I know, and I’m realizing I have a lot of smart friends, Charlie. I am so thrilled to have him, because not only is Charlie an expert in helping create predictable profits for seven to eight figure entrepreneurs and agency owners, he is also, aside from being my friend, he’s also my own business coach. So Charlie is who I turn to when I have questions, when I have challenges that I’m trying to solve, when I’m trying to figure out how to really wrap my head around something.

Shama Hyder:

So Charlie, I am so glad to have you here with us today.

Charles Gaudet:

Oh, it’s an honor to be here, Shama. It’s funny, because every time you and I have a discussion, I end up grabbing my notebook, and I walk away from our discussions with three to five pages of notes all the time. This is, I would have to say you’re one of the smartest people that I know as well.

Shama Hyder:

Well, I appreciate that, and I know you know lots of smart people too. Charlie and I have a lot of mutual friends, so I hope you can feel the mutual love, and hopefully it is pouring out to all of you watching right now. The reason I wanted to have Charlie onboard is we’ve been talking a lot about recession proofing. What’s interesting, and I think it’s so important to say this, Charlie, is we’ve been talking about this before the COVID pandemic, right?

Charles Gaudet:

Right.

Shama Hyder:

This is something you’ve been talking about for a while now, because as we know markets go through bull phases and bear phases and so forth. I think one thing is for sure, is that this time has changed a lot of how we do business, and how we will continue to do business. In some ways, it’s accelerated I think what was inevitable, right? From an economic standpoint.

Shama Hyder:

I want to really talk to you, Charlie, today about, and have you help my audience, who I love very much. A community globally by the way here, just so you know. We have folks who tune in from France, Switzerland, the Middle East, Hong Kong. All over the US, this is just a very global audience. Charlie, I just hope maybe you could give us a little bit of your take right now, on what’s happening right now, but also what are some ways that businesses and brands can be recession proofing?

Charles Gaudet:

Sure. One of the first things that comes to mind, Shama, is when people think of a bad economy or a recession, the first word that often pops up is cutbacks. Right? Companies are cutting back, consumers are cutting back, and so forth. There was a study that was performed on March 31st by Business Insider, and what they found is that 50% of all consumers are cutting back on all their nonessential purchases. What’s the one word that sticks out in that research report? They’re cutting back 50% on the nonessential purchases.

Shama Hyder:

Yeah, nonessential.

Charles Gaudet:

Right, right. So what happens during a bad economy or a recession is that consumers, they’re still spending money, whether it’s B2B or B2C. They’re still spending money but they’re becoming a lot more discerning with how they spend their money. So the first things that they cut out are the nonessential items, and then they look at … So anything that’s nice to have gets cut out, and then they look at their must-have items, and those will be the last to go, but when it comes time to it, they’ll prioritize their must-haves in order of least important to most important.

Charles Gaudet:

So the same thing happened all the way back in 2008. When that crash happened people got rid of their nonessentials, then eventually prioritized their must-haves. So today, regardless of whatever your business is in, it’s a matter of turning your product or service into a top priority, right, into a must-have.

Shama Hyder:

You bring up a really good point, Charlie. So all these people out there, if they’re listening and they’re like, “Well, I don’t sell toilet paper or hand sanitizer.” Or things that I guess in the COVID-19 world seem very essential. What are some things for them to think about? What are some ways to take a business that might not be deemed as essential, it might be important but not essential, and how do you recommend that they start to think about that and make that pivot?

Charles Gaudet:

So people always have money for things that are going to be most important to them. Whether that is to be richer, or healthier, or sexier, or any number of those things. So when your buyer did business with you to begin with, they were looking for some sort of ultimate result, whatever that might be. So how do you align your product or service to become more important than anything else than they were trying to do when it solved that problem?

Charles Gaudet:

So we see, if you look in the B2B space, if you look at marketing agencies for example, we know that a lot of people, a lot of companies have scaled back on paid advertising. Well, they do that because they see paid advertising as an expense. But if you were to reposition that offer to make it more essential, make what you do for them more essential, whether that’s demonstrating an ROI, whether that’s showing them where the industries have changed and how they can find the pot of gold in a different direction. Whether that is … Did I mention tying in what you do to an ROI? Because that’s definitely something important, but when you understand what the ultimate result is of your product and service, what it delivers, it’s a matter of repositioning yourself to make sure that you are the most important, because we’re not just competing with other competitors that are directly related to our industry. In a bad economy what we’re doing is we’re competing for every single dollar that’s out there. So how do you make yourself a must-have instead of a nice to have? Does that make sense?

Shama Hyder:

Yeah.

Charles Gaudet:

Did I answer your question?

Shama Hyder:

You did, you did, you absolutely did. So I think a lot of what you’re saying is how do you position your brand in a way that, like if you’re B2B for example, right? That you’re not positioning it as it’s an expense, because that’s what people cut back on. People cut back on expenses.

Charles Gaudet:

Yeah.

Shama Hyder:

But a field they don’t cut back on is value on investing on their dreams, of the things that they want, right? They double down on those things. So we think it’s about how do you move your business from a column of an expense column to can’t work without this column, right? So our coaching is a good example of this, and Charlie, I didn’t share this with you yet, but I think I will and I’ll do it publicly in front of everyone. So working with you, because … And I wish that I’d done it so much sooner, I think it’s one of those things where you can’t see the forest from the trees. A lot of times the things that you do with others, it’s hard to be able to sometimes see that for yourself. I love, working with you I feel like is the ultimately mirror because it helps me see things. I love it when you ask me things like, “Well, you did this for a client. How can you apply that to yourself?” And I’m like.

Charles Gaudet:

Sure.

Shama Hyder:

Those are good questions, right? Because I think that’s very true, but it’s funny because working with you in just the last, whatever however many months we’re working together. This year, given everything that’s happening, our first quarter was actually more profitable, we had more revenue than our entire last year.

Charles Gaudet:

Wow.

Shama Hyder:

I thought you might enjoy that if I held on to that [crosstalk 00:10:46].

Charles Gaudet:

I love to hear that.

Shama Hyder:

As a surprise, right? But it’s true, and a lot of what it is is it’s being able to … You’re able to see things that I take for granted, right? And it’s funny because in turn I can look at so many of my clients and say, “I can’t. You’re taking this for granted. This is your moment.” What an amazing opportunity you have in front of you right now. So I think sometimes we all need to sort of step back and reassess. So what tips do you have for someone who is right now saying, “Okay, I’m honest. I’m being honest with myself. I’m not in a must-have category, I’m in a nice to have category.” What are the things that they need to really do, whether it’s start thinking abour your audience? Where do you start when you realize I’m in the wrong column and I need to move?

Charles Gaudet:

So Tony Robbins taught me this many years ago. He says, “The quality of our answers are directly related to the qualities of the questions that we ask.” So you did ask a great question, by the way. But one of the ways that we like to reposition the offer … Especially nowadays, a lot of people are sitting there thinking, if somebody is not doing business with me, it maybe has to do with my price, and how do I adjust my price and so forth. So it’s very price focused. What we like to do is reframe it. If you can answer this one simple question, then what you’re going to find is you become more of a must have. That question is, how can you become the most expensive competitor in the industry and still have people lining up to do business with you? And you see, Apple in many ways asked that question, and they released one of the most expensive smartphones in the entire industry back in the 2008 recession, and they had people lining up for blocks, spending the night out in front of the stores just waiting to get their hands on a very expensive smartphone because they understood what was really important to people at that very moment, and a lot of it had to do with user experience, and how it made them feel, and have the product in their hands, and so forth.

Charles Gaudet:

So sometimes becoming an essential or becoming an important product isn’t necessarily putting money in people’s pockets. It could just be making them feel better than anything else that’s available right now. So that question is, how do you become the most expensive competitor in the industry and still have people lining up to do business with you?

Shama Hyder:

I love that, Charlie. I think what’s really important to note here is that it’s not … Both have to match, right? Value and perception. I think that sometimes we have a hit or a miss. Sometimes you have, like our ideal clients, when I work with someone I get really excited about, is someone who has the steak but doesn’t have the sizzle, right? And I think what’s really important is that you need both those things. You need to have the value, the actual thing that you’re putting out there, and you need to make sure that you are perceived as the best. I think Apple is a great example of someone that’s done both of these really well. Can you maybe share with us another example that’s not Apple that might not be an enterprise level, but might be a smaller medium size business that you feel has done a really good job with this?

Charles Gaudet:

Sure. By the way, the screen is frozen on my end. Can you still hear me? I want to make sure it’s still working. It could just be my computer.

Shama Hyder:

Yeah, I can hear you. It says perfect streaming put it looks like the screen has frozen on mine too, but hopefully the audio is good enough it’s still valuable. We’ll give it a second to clear off.

Charles Gaudet:

Okay. No problem. So if we want to talk about a small business, I think particularly in today’s day and age with coronavirus and the pandemic and whatnot. What’s one of the biggest industries that you can think of right now that’s been hit the hardest? What are say the top three?

Shama Hyder:

Hospitality.

Charles Gaudet:

Yeah.

Shama Hyder:

Airlines. Boy, travel anything I think, right? Restaurants obviously.

Charles Gaudet:

Sure. So let’s take travel. So we have a client that’s in the travel industry, and right now, I mean, you can’t … Flying is limited to essential travel. A lot of borders are bing closed and so forth. So for all intents and purposes there are travel agents across the board that are sitting on their hands saying, “There’s nothing that we can do.” I mean, people can’t travel, they can’t go on vacation, they can’t fly internationally, there’s nothing they can do. So they sit still and they don’t do anything. That’s not the case for one of our clients. He’s a tremendous individual. We’re still there? I notice I’m only looking at myself right now.

Shama Hyder:

Yeah, we’re here. No, you’re good.

Charles Gaudet:

Okay. All right. One of our clients, tremendous, tremendous individual. Super, super smart entrepreneur, like yourself, Shama. His name is Jürgen, he’s the CEO of Global Work & Travel, and he said, “You know what? Here’s the deal. I fully understand that people can’t travel right now, but what we can do is we can reposition our offer and we can give them something that they can look forward to.” So he repositioned all this marketing and created these packages, and these plans and so forth to give people something they can look forward to. The result for that is that his North American offices are, I think last week I think they had a historic sales week. The week before that they had another historic sales week. Every week, one week after another they continue to have historic sales weeks, and yet people can’t even travel or go anywhere yet. But their … He’s selling them, and this is the important thing, right? Because we talked about how can you be really important.

Charles Gaudet:

Well, right now what people want to feel is they want to feel like they have something to look forward to. They’re stuck in quarantine. They’re stuck in their home. They want something that they can look forward to and they’re willing to pay for that. So they’ll pay for a vacation that’s booked significantly down the road where they can at this point, because it logically makes sense, that travel is significantly discounted, right? So the company, Global Work & Travel is passing on their savings for the lowest rate they have ever had, while at the same time … Like I said, they’re having these record high. So it’s a really exciting time for them to be in the travel industry.

Charles Gaudet:

Now, granted, they’ve had to make a lot of strategic moves, and I’m sure they’d love the borders to be open, but it’s been … It’s how you turn lemons into lemonade, right?

Shama Hyder:

Yeah. This is something you and I talk a lot about, Charlie, and I feel like this is the perfect time to explore that, right? How do you turn lemons into lemonade, and that’s exactly what we’re all dealing with right now. I love that example where they’ve maybe slightly pivoted, but they’re working off of this desire, right? It comes down to this desire, this emotion to say, “When all of this is over, I wan to go do something fun.” Or it’s something to look forward to, and they’re capitalizing on that, which I think is so smart. Can you think of another example that’s like maybe a B2B example that’s really doing well right now in terms of … And it could be one of your clients. Just I think the more, for me at least too, it helps with case studies. So I think with the audience it helps when they hear stories like this because I think it lets you break out of this box thinking, “Oh, but it’s got to be only one way right now.”

Charles Gaudet:

Sure. Well, I feel like a great B2B example would be you, really.

Shama Hyder:

I’ll take it. It’s true, it really is.

Charles Gaudet:

I mean, but in many ways, I mean, when you look at the work that you’ve done with your clients, I mean, right now, again, we’ve got people who are reacting. They’re taking different situations and they’re reacting by immediately going to furloughs, and cutbacks, and everything else, and then you’ve got the other people who are taking action, and they’re asking themselves, how can we turn these lemons into lemonade? And several of your clients, they’ve had many of these moments. I mean, we worked on an example where I tapped into your brilliance for a client of ours where we said, “Okay, here’s the deal. This person is in a B2C space and they’re selling a consumer product that is traditionally seen as very much a nice to have.” How do we turn this moment into something that can generate demand?

Charles Gaudet:

You’re the one that came up with a wonderful hashtag that brought people together. So we showed look, there’s how we take a consumer product that is completely a nice to have, let’s reposition it into a product that becomes much more of a must-have because it taps into the emotion of taking people who are separated and bringing them together, which is something they really, really want, and they’re really willing to pay for bringing them together, and the company got a nice surge in demand.

Charles Gaudet:

So if we look at, you said what’s a great B2B example of somebody that’s doing well, it’s you because you’re helping these companies recognize the different moments, and all the different moments in the companies that they may have overlooked, right? Same reason why we’re working together, right? You’re showing them the moments that they may have actually overlook, and then, I mean, one of your clients alone, they’ve generated more leads, and I don’t know if I can mention their name, but they’ve generated more leads in the last several weeks of working with you in an industry that should’ve been completely decimated, than they otherwise wouldn’t have, even in the good times. This is probably … I hope I don’t get a lot of hate mail for saying this, but for certain companies this is the best thing that could ever, ever, ever have happened to them.

Shama Hyder:

It is.

Charles Gaudet:

Yeah. And it really doesn’t matter the industry. It’s how you position it.

Shama Hyder:

That’s the amazing thing, Charlie. Is that we have clients right now in some many different industries and they’re slaying it. I mean, they’re doing really well, and I’m so proud of it. I think that there’s a couple things you have to have.

Charles Gaudet:

Yeah.

Shama Hyder:

One, think you have to embrace this mentality of let’s go big, and this client that you mentioned, when everything went crazy he called me, and I remember taking that call and I was like, “Oh, man. He’s probably freaking out.” Right? Literally has lost more than half his book of business, like what … He’s got all these employees, it’s challenging, and he’s the CEO, and he calls me and he goes, “We got to double down. This is our moment. We got to go big.” And I thought, “This is amazing.” So I think there’s a couple things. I think you have to first have the mindset for it. Then you have to get out of this mindset [crosstalk 00:22:37].

Charles Gaudet:

Yes.

Shama Hyder:

Things are like cutting back. I feel like the pandemic that we’re really facing right now is this let’s wait and see pandemic. There’s two pandemics, and this is a mental one, right? Let’s wait and see, let’s wait. People miss so many opportunities when they approach things from a perspective of let’s wait and see, because there’s never a perfect time for anything. This is really a great time for a lot of things, right? This is how I like to say it.

Shama Hyder:

So to be strategic in this time, to look out for your community, to provide value. I mean, the goodwill you build at this time too is just, it goes so much further, right, than in times of non crisis. So one, I think is this mindset that you have to kind of get over this. It’s so funny, we’ve actually in many ways doubled our expenses, but we’ve also doubled our revenue because we’re doing things to help the business get better. What tools do we need? Who do we need to work with? How do we? For me it’s very important to walk my talk, and I feel like I can’t tell someone, “Oh, you should be doing this.” If I’m not practicing in my business. That doesn’t feel authentic to me. So much of what I share is what’s true in the trenches for me, what I’m learning every day as an entrepreneur and running my company.

Shama Hyder:

So I think one, it’s the mindset of not being in a place of let’s wait and see, what’s scary. You’ve got to be able to take some … You have to be able to tap into that entrepreneurial spirit and say, it’s good to take … I started my company when I was 23. It was during the recession. It was a very challenging time, and I remember doing it because I wasn’t, and I … Obviously we’re very successful, we grew 400% in our first year alone. I wasn’t scared to fail because I thought, “What’s the worst that can happen?” And so many times I feel like when you’ve had success, when you’ve gotten bigger, that fear sets in low, but I could lose certain things, and you lose that spirit of playfulness, of fun, of trying things, of saying, “I’m going to take a chance on this. I’m going to take a chance on myself, my business.” Like the travel company, great example of how can I pivot? I mean, people … Let’s face it. Even tough the industry is hurting, it’s one of the most talked about things right now, right? There’s your moment, same thing with restaurants.

Shama Hyder:

Any industry that’s hurting is in the news, and if it’s in the news, you can jujitsu that to win.

Charles Gaudet:

Yeah.

Shama Hyder:

You can really be able to … We have a client who does manufacturing, and he has become the poster child for talking about supply chains, and how should they be domestic, what do international ones look like? You know much harder it would’ve been before all of this to get him in mainstream media? Because it’s a niche, right? But all of a sudden that niche is mainstream.

Charles Gaudet:

Sure.

Shama Hyder:

Which I love. So I think part of this is mindset. I think the other part is leadership. You need … I’m going to hold my fingers up. The second part is leadership, where you need someone who isn’t afraid to take those risks, who isn’t telling their team, “Pull back. Let’s not move any of the chess pieces.” It’s the people who are saying, “How can we serve? How can we provide value?” And I think you have to be strategic. I see by the way, a lot of companies and stuff, they’re giving away all this stuff, which is great, but you’ve got to think about okay, but how are you serving? You start with your customers first. I think you look at how do you serve your customer base? How do you build that loyalty? And this is your chance. It’s amazing how pre COVID I would talk to so many clients, and one of their greatest concerns was customer loyalty and retention, and this is your moment. This is the moment people wait for to build that customer retention and so forth.

Shama Hyder:

So I feel like mindset is really important, leadership, and then execution. You do have a small window, and I think if you miss that window, it’s gone, and then you wait. It’s just like, it’s funny I was talking to Patrick, my husband, about stocks, and he was like, “I should’ve invested here. I knew it and I didn’t.” I’m like, “Why didn’t you?” Right? You totally should have. So I think that’s sort of the worst feeling to me, is oh, I should’ve done that. I should’ve done that differently. I think so many people when they come out of this are going to look back and be like, “I had that time. I should’ve taken that time to revamp my brand.” To become the most hygienic restaurant, to be the cleanest airline. We could’ve taken this and really owned our category, and I think there’s so many brands and businesses that are just completely missing out. Did you hear about the Neiman Marcus bankruptcy thing?

Charles Gaudet:

I did, and there’s another one actually. There’s one more. Another luxury retailer that just announced that they were going to go bankrupt as well.

Shama Hyder:

It’s so sad, Charlie, and I’ve been talking about Neiman Marcus for a while.

Charles Gaudet:

Yeah.

Shama Hyder:

I wish someone would’ve tuned in in these. Because they had a [crosstalk 00:27:47] for a long time, and even now the problem, and I think this is a challenge with a lot of legacy brands, is they don’t pivot to the audience they need to serve, right?

Charles Gaudet:

Yes.

Shama Hyder:

Neiman Marcus served a certain audience, but they completely alienated millennials, they alienated Gen Z. It was for a very different audience, whereas Nordstrom in comparison has done a great job embracing that. I know you have daughters and a wife who likes to shop as well. I know it’s not your favorite thing.

Charles Gaudet:

Yeah.

Shama Hyder:

But I know you’re familiar with the concept.

Charles Gaudet:

Right. Well think about Nordstrom, to your point, right? This is a little bit off target, but when you think about Nordstrom, as you said, I love to shop, right? But I don’t love to shop, but I continue to do business with Nordstrom because they took my market and they purchased the Trunk Club, right? So now I get these trunks that are shipped to me every month that have these clothes that I like. I’ll grab clothes, this is it. Here I’ve got the … This is from the Trunk Club, my jeans are from the Trunk Club. Everything that I have, right? So then I ship it back, I don’t have to shop, people are doing it for me. But now the way that that also applies to today’s market. You brought up a really good point, and that is mindset.

Charles Gaudet:

I truly believe that what’s going on right now in this pandemic is more of a mindset challenge than anything else out there. So when you get your mindset right, which is always the mantra we continue to repeat is this is the best opportunity for us to be in business. This is the best opportunity. This is the best opportunity. It’s kind of like one of those saying, that if you’re going to go out to buy a red car, everything you see are just red cars everywhere. So when you continue to repeat that this is the best opportunity, best opportunity, you’re going to find opportunities that you weren’t able to uncover in other times. Volvo, when you start saying this is the best time for us to be in business, then you have the mindset of okay, this really is a good time. Where is the opportunities? And then Volvo said, “Okay, so this really is one of the best times for us to be in business. So what is actually stopping people from doing business with us right now?” And so you look at the service department and they said, “Well, people are concerned right now.” They’re concerned with coronavirus and all these other stuff, and they’re not leaving their houses.

Charles Gaudet:

So what can we do to earn their trust and their business? And they said, “Well, what if we offer a valet service? What if we offered to drive to their house, drop a loaner vehicle off at their house, take their Volvos, we’ll cover the seats and the steering wheel in plastic, do all the work that they want to get done on their vehicles, then we’ll drive it back to them, wipe it down with disinfectant, remove the plastic, and take off.” It’s no disruption to their life, and when we got that announcement, I wasn’t even thinking of getting any work done to the vehicle, and I said to my wife, I’m like, “Hey, look at this. Look how easy it is. We might as well go ahead and have the work done.” And there’s so many different opportunities.

Charles Gaudet:

There’s restaurants where they’ve pivoted from just a regular menu to saying, let’s make this a little exciting and let’s change up a menu and do family style meals.

Shama Hyder:

Yes.

Charles Gaudet:

I live in the Seacoast, in New Hampshire. There are more restaurant seats per capita than anywhere else in the world. So I was on the phone with a restaurant owner recently, and I said, “How is business doing for you right now?” And he said, “Since we pivoted, since we started going to these family meals.” And they’re sharing it on Facebook and being very aggressive. He said, “Our food revenue is the same if not more today as it was when we were in business.” Isn’t that amazing?

Shama Hyder:

Yeah. I mean, that’s …

Charles Gaudet:

Like, it’s just so much. There really is so much opportunity out there.

Shama Hyder:

It’s interesting because I think on the consumer side, we’ve been ordering in almost every day. I’m doing my best to support restaurants across the board, and we’ve discovered places that we didn’t know before. We always talk about how we always want to go eat at these restaurants, try these places out at our community, and you don’t get the chance or whatever, you stick to like, oh, where should we go? You go back to your regular spot, right?

Charles Gaudet:

Yeah.

Shama Hyder:

So one of these places, and you’re right, it’s so smart, they … One of my favorite deserts is a soufflé. I love a good chocolate soufflé, and in fact one of my favorite places in Dallas, Rise, is closed right now, and I’ve been buying gift cards to support them, but I’m just thinking, I wish they would do this. We have a restaurant here in Miami called Two Chefs, and these guys will send you a soufflé that you can bake in your oven, right? It’s in the little container, it’s got the instructions, tells you how to. It’s great, in 15 minutes we can have, I can have my favorite dessert. It’s so funny because Patrick said, “I didn’t know. These guys are down the street and all these time they’ve never been on our radar.” I can’t wait to go back and actually have this in the restaurant when it reopens. But I think it’s one of these things, it’s such a great opportunity to tell your story. Let’s say you’re even closed and you can’t offer takeout or whatever. There are so many more ways you could be leveraging this time, by telling your story, by building online capital, by helping your community. It is just endless.

Shama Hyder:

I’m part of another group on Facebook for Miami moms, and there are so many businesses right now that are delivering to your door. I thought one was brilliant, kids toys, right? Like science toys. There’s a little toy shop down. I thought that was amazing. What parent wouldn’t want something to keep their children occupied right now?

Charles Gaudet:

Right.

Shama Hyder:

I saw another one-

Charles Gaudet:

Especially … Sorry, I think there was a gap. Especially though when you talk about kid’s toys, when you look at the local toy shops, when they compare the toys to the kid’s academic schedule, what they’re learning. If they’re learning about electricity, then pair the toys with, there are toys where they could play with different circuit boards or whatnot. If they’re learning about the globe, different toys related to globe, or different toys that might be in other countries that they can bring in and share with the communities. That’s stuff that parents would buy. They want to enrich the child’s minds.

Shama Hyder:

Absolutely. All it takes is a little creativity. What’s funny is when Easter came around and we have all these employees with kids, and I thought, “Man, this sucks. They’re not going to celebrate Easter like they usually would.” Let me make a basket, but my first thought was I don’t want to put this basket together. I went into this group and it was so cool that there were moms who were saying they’re making Easter baskets and then delivering it to your door. I thought, “That’s really good.” Except Charlie would you believe they were sold out? They were so busy they didn’t … They were sold out. I ended up having to make my own baskets.

Charles Gaudet:

I believe that.

Shama Hyder:

Which I thought that was amazing.

Charles Gaudet:

I believe that.

Shama Hyder:

Because even if you were a stay at home mom right now, there’s something that you could be doing within your community right now to make money that you just wouldn’t otherwise, right? Just I think also there’s such an opportunity to build goodwill.

Charles Gaudet:

Yeah.

Shama Hyder:

My husband, Patrick, and Charlie, I know you know him well and you guys have been friends for a while.

Charles Gaudet:

He is awesome.

Shama Hyder:

He is amazing, for those who don’t know him and haven’t had the opportunity to meet him. One of the things that I thought was interesting about Patrick when I first met him was that he didn’t have any friends, he only had best friends. So every guy friend he would introduce me to would take me to the side and be like, “Just so you know, I’m his best friend.” And I was like, “I’ve heard this a few times now.” And it’s because he’s amazing at building good will I think, and being there for people when they need it. So he’s terrible at responding to regular Facebook messages. You could send him a message and you won’t get a return message in like 10 days.

Shama Hyder:

It’s just not, he’s not good with those things. But at this point a couple of months ago he put in an order for masks, for N95 masks, and he got his shipment yesterday, and rather than selling these masks he sent a text to our entire neighborhood saying, “Who needs these masks?” And he’s been delivering like a little neighborhood Santa all these masks. But what’s interesting is he came home and he said, “Well, so-and-so has offered if we ever need notary services. So-and-so is happy to help if we ever need a babysitter.” And I’m like, “Wait a second.” And it’s because I think the natural inclination is people want to give, right? When they feel like they’re getting, when they feel like it’s such, it’s reciprocity. It just made me laugh because it was very sweet. It was sweet gestures, but he’s managed to get to know our entire neighborhood in the span.

Charles Gaudet:

Yeah.

Shama Hyder:

But this is such a great time to do things like that to build that goodwill and build that community.

Charles Gaudet:

Well, here’s something interesting that you brought up, right? So you actually brought up a few things, and remind me to talk about a barbershop after I’m done giving you this example, okay?

Shama Hyder:

Okay.

Charles Gaudet:

So one of the things that you brought up is this idea of Patrick just buying these N95 masks and really going out there to try to help as many people as possible. That is Patrick’s nature. He’s always one, like you said, to be very giving, and very supporting, and wants to help everybody, and he does it genuinely, very authentically that he just wants to help. It’s why everybody, like you said, comes around, they’re like, “He’s my best friend. I love the guy. Love the guy.” I honestly don’t want to meet the person that doesn’t like Patrick. I just can’t imagine who doesn’t like him.

Shama Hyder:

I haven’t yet.

Charles Gaudet:

I mean, he’s extraordinary. That being said, one of the things that a gentleman named Buckminster Fuller discovered many, many, many years ago, and Bucky has had an indirect influence on my life. The reason why we’ve had these T-shirts made up for our company, it says, “Together we’re better.” And we’re always saying, “Together we’re better.” You and I have said, “Together we’re better.” And so forth. We’ve really learned to understand the power in that phrase. Bucky discovered that if you add as much value as you can to somebody else’s life, and what happens is they will unconsciously do whatever they can to help you survive. He discovered that because in nature, the reason why the strongest survive is because the pack leader provides a safety for the other animals around them. So the other animals around them will combine to help the pack later survive. So I’m sure that you’ll, you’ve even experienced yourself that there are some businesses, like you mentioned earlier, that you’re going out of your way, and you are donating, and you are buying gift cards, and you’re doing everything that’s possible to help them survive because their survival helps you live a wealthier, happier, whatever life that you have because of the value they bring to you.

Charles Gaudet:

So I find it so funny that way back in the day, it used to be this saying that the purpose of a business is to increase shareholder value. Well, I haven’t met a single person yet that has said, “I can’t wait to do business with this company in order to increase their shareholder value.” Right?

Shama Hyder:

Yeah.

Charles Gaudet:

It just doesn’t work that way, right? We do business with other companies because of the value they bring back into our lives. So we focus on how do we deliver more value. If that continues to be our core focus, how do we continue to deliver more value? Deliver more value, deliver more value. The question that we shared early in this presentation. How do you become the most expensive competitor in the industry and still have clients lining up to do business with you? It’s because you’ve taken the focus off of price and you’ve brought it to value. When you can create that relationship, you’ll continue to thrive like Apple.

Charles Gaudet:

Now, the barbershop. Can I tell you a little bit about a barbershop?

Shama Hyder:

Yes. Tell me. Okay, wait, before you tell me about the barbershop I have to connect these dots, because I think what you said is so important. It’s understanding the value, and you have to be … I use the word shrewd carefully, but I think there is a certain shrewdness about making business decisions, and I don’t use it in a negative sense. I think it’s … Use clever if you prefer. But look at what Shake Shack did. Shake Shack got 10 million.

Charles Gaudet:

Brilliant.

Shama Hyder:

And they said, “We’re returning the 10 million.” Okay. The publicity Shake Shack got for that move is well over worth one billion. They could not have bough enough … Right? Superbowl ads to get that kind of PR. People saying, “Can’t wait to shelter at Shake Shack.” Shelter at Shake Shack. You’re welcome guys, run with it, right? It is just amazing. So to me this is where … If they had thought about someone, and this was mindset, leadership, right? Being able to take that. They’re a huge organization. While 10 million is a lot, it’s 10 million. But someone in that organization was smart and they said, “We keep this, we’re going to get crucified like Ruth’s Chris over here, right? We’re going to get a really bad time. It’s going to come out, but we return it, we get in front of it, we’re proactive, we use this moment, and all of a sudden the press we get will be.” Because let’s face it, Shake Shack probably pays 10 million for two ads, for two television ads, right?

Charles Gaudet:

Yeah.

Shama Hyder:

Making one television ad amplified. That’s some of their marketing budget right there that they leveraged. So it’s just very smart. Now I want to hear your barbershop story, but I had to connect those dots.

Charles Gaudet:

Well, that barbershop story I’m going to get to in a minute. This is our big open loop, right? We’re going to get to the barbershop story. No, but here’s something. You brought up Shake Shack, right? Well, here’s a funny thing is, where is your car right now? Where is your car?

Shama Hyder:

You want the honest story?

Charles Gaudet:

Well, I was hoping it’s in your garage, but I’m guessing not, right?

Shama Hyder:

No, it’s not in my garage, and I’ll tell you why, Charlie. This is the story of why Shama does not have a car right now. Are you ready for this? So I have a car, I love my car. I’ve had my car for many years. I drive an Audi A7, huge, love that car. Patrick comes home one day and says, “Babe, I’m thinking we should get you another car.” And I’m like, “Why? I love my car.” Well, turns out one of his employees is taking public transportation because he has lost his care somehow, I don’t know. This guy is one of these guys who’s got a lot going on in his life, so he no longer has a car. He’s taking public transportation, he has two children, and this is when the warehouse was still open, and because they’re considered an essential business, they create a lot of badge holders and stuff for hospitals and so forth. So this guy was taking public transportation and then coming into the office, and Patrick said, “I got to give him a car. I can’t risk him getting sick, him getting his family sick, him getting my employees sick.” So he literally came home, took my keys, said, “Say bye.” And so I don’t have a car, Charlie.

Charles Gaudet:

Oh my gosh.

Shama Hyder:

Yes. Saint Patrick strikes again, and that was very sweet. We were talking about I was eventually going to get another car and it’d been a few years, and as our family grows it made more sense. But anyways, I guess he thought this is his moment, she doesn’t need the car right now, I might as well. So I am glad it’s been put to good use, but that’s the honest story for where my car is right now.

Charles Gaudet:

He is amazing, that guy, I tell you. Well, for most people their cars are in the garage, right? So they’re not being driven, and so as a result of that the car insurance companies, they’re loving it because fewer accidents, the whole deal. So I got an email from Progressive insurance yesterday and they said, “In order to help people out.” Yada yada yada, they have put together this massive fund and they are going to just automatically credit people 20% off their car insurance, and they’re just going to give us all that as a credit. I’m thinking to myself, “Wow, what a cool company.” You don’t have to ask for it, you don’t have to cook a leg, you don’t have to do whatever. They just said, “You know what? We just want to help. We’re going to give everybody a 20% discount. Not discount, I’m sorry. We’re going to credit everybody, 20%.” Whatever it was. But I’m thinking to myself, “How cool is that?” And you’re big on creating these moments, that’s a moment that I feel that is being underutilized because-

Shama Hyder:

Absolutely.

Charles Gaudet:

When I tell other companies what Progressive is doing for me, they get FOMO. They’re like, “Why isn’t my car insurance company doing this for me?” That is crazy.

Shama Hyder:

Here’s where it’s really clever, Charlie, because how long do you think it would’ve taken for people to turn and say, “Wait a second. I’m not driving my car. So why am I keeping my insurance and why is my insurance still charging me the same amount?” Right? This is the Shake Shack thing. They got ahead of it. They knew, and this could’ve been a bad PR battle. This could’ve sucked for them if people started calling GEICO, and calling Progressive, and calling these guys and saying, “Listen, where is my money?” I’ll either cancel, I’ll reinstate, right? I’ll buy insurance again. This is also a great opportunity for any competitors in the space. That is one of the … By the way, did you know that of all the companies that spend money on advertising and marketing, the top highest company, the industry is insurance? Insurance, like car insurance sends, spends … Sorry, spends more money advertising and trying to get customers. They spend more on customer acquisition than any other industry. Here’s their chance to steal market share.

Charles Gaudet:

I wasn’t aware of that. That’s fascinating.

Shama Hyder:

Because guess what? People are canceling, people are pausing it, right? These guys are getting ahead of it. They’re giving you an incentive, they’re using that press, but what a great opportunity to say, “Guess what? You switch now, don’t pay while all this is going on.”

Charles Gaudet:

Yeah.

Shama Hyder:

Okay, tell me about the barbershop.

Charles Gaudet:

Amazing.

Shama Hyder:

I’m dying to hear about this barbershop story.

Charles Gaudet:

One other thing, because when we started this conversation we said that how can you turn lemons into lemonade. We say this all the time. This could be the best time in the world for you to be in business, and it’s not something that I just made up. I mean, in my book, in the first chapter I talk about how I love a bad economy. It really is a situation where you’re turning lemons into lemonades. So I get challenged all the time, and they’re like, “Well, what would you do in this situation? What would you do in that situation? How can you make this work? How can you make that work?” So it’s been great coming up with a bunch of these creative solutions. So one of the more recent ones, it was actually having a conversation with my 13 year old son, and so he said to me, “Dad, what about a barbershop?” I mean, because it’s not like you can-

Shama Hyder:

He’s so smart.

Charles Gaudet:

Right? He’s like, “Well, it’s not like you cut people’s hair right now.” And it’s not like you can … There’s only so many different products I guess, like hair gels and stuff you could sell. What is it that you could do? So I’m going to readily admit that it wasn’t something that I had an answer for like boom, boom let’s go. But after thinking about it for a few, I was like, “No, you know what? I’ve got the answer.” We’re stuck at home and we’re, for most of us, aren’t able to cut our hair. So we’ve got these things, you’ve seen the memes and the videos of corona cuts, right?

Shama Hyder:

Yeah. Bowl cuts, yeah.

Charles Gaudet:

Yeah. My 13 year old son was actually the one who cut my hair.

Shama Hyder:

He did a good job.

Charles Gaudet:

If you could believe that one. I think he did all right.

Shama Hyder:

Yeah.

Charles Gaudet:

I think he did all right, and he actually still keeps in contact, both he and I, our barber has become our friend, and we kind of text him back and forth and show him photos. Here’s the thing, right? The barber technically could have sold a corona cut package. He could’ve sold a package that would’ve included like … What is it? What do you call it, [Nurell 00:49:34] or something like that, the hair clipper. So he could’ve sold hair clippers, products, and then done regular Zoom calls walking through here’s how to cut this style of hair. We could’ve done a Zoom call with the barber, where the barber could’ve walked my son or my wife through how to cut my hair, right? It would’ve been something that still continues to keep them relevant, and would’ve just been a different way to generate revenue and keep things exciting.

Charles Gaudet:

I had a conversation recently with somebody as well, a restaurant in my local area. I swiped this idea actually from somebody, my brother-in-law, who shared this conversation with my wife. This is a very high-end restaurant. So one of the things my wife cooks all the time, but right now she’s got to the point where she’s like, “Oh, I just want something new.” So the high-end restaurant can turn around and they can create, take all the raw ingredients, put it into a giant bag, sell the bag of raw ingredients, they drop it off in everybody’s home, and then they do a giant Zoom call, and the chef, high-end chef that you normally wouldn’t get access to regularly, will walk you through, here’s all your ingredients, let’s prepare this gorgeous meal all together. Keeps the restaurant relevant, keeps money coming in, it makes it exciting.

Shama Hyder:

Absolutely, and you know what’s funny about that, Charlie? And I love both the examples. I’ve actually seen someone offering virtual barbershop services. They’ll walk someone else through cutting hair, which I think is awesome.

Charles Gaudet:

I love that.

Shama Hyder:

And let me tell you what we’re doing with another client, which I’m so excited about, and you would think how is this even, how are you even doing this? But they are an aesthetics, so it’s a surgery center but it’s a training center. So it’s a whole association and they do training. Now, imagine, it’s very hands-on training for medical professionals to learn how to inject Botox and whatnot, right? And what we’re doing is we’re helping them turn this and create a complete remote infrastructure to offer it online. Now, it’s really, really neat, we’re still working out all the details and what not in terms of, but figuring out the platform, all of this. But literally what we’re going to do is send these students dummies, mannequins, and saline filled syringes which then they can practice, and through the camera they’ll get feedback from the doctor telling them how to change their technique and so forth.

Shama Hyder:

So it’s really kind of interesting. Now you’ve taken something, you’ve been able to change it up, and now you’ve been able … It’s really cool because now rather than again, your moment, right? They’re sitting at home, you’re not practicing with your patients. What a great time to get your training in place, to get that certification you wanted. To me, of course, it’s so smart. But yeah, and it’s not … It’s really not expensive because you’re sending them little tripods so they can put their phone, and then they can position it so they don’t even, it’s hands-free, you can position it, and then they can show how they’re injecting the dummy, literally, and the doctor can give them feedback on technique, and it’s really cool. It’s very similar to what you might do in a live class where you’re injecting a human, but someone is still giving you feedback by watching your technique, and the lectures are all through this.

Shama Hyder:

So I just think it’s such a great opportunity right now for so many businesses. The barbershop stuff too. I think that’s so cool, right? You get this whole kit, cut your hair at home, and if you get some help, some camera help to say, “Okay, a little bit more like. Hold it like this.” I’m very lucky. I don’t think I’ve cut my hair in years, so I feel pretty good about that. Patrick, again, so he knows how to cut his own hair. Apparently he said it was the perks of growing up not wealthy. So he said, “I’ve been cutting my own hair since I was about eight years old.”

Charles Gaudet:

Wow.

Shama Hyder:

Yes, so he’s had … I mean, that’s the thing. We’ve had fun with this. I think the best you can do is keep your spirits and to find neat ways to serve people. In fact, what’s one of his top selling products right now is a little badge buddy that says, “Essential employee.” So you can add that to your badge so when you’re out and about people are like, “Oh, okay cool. All right, this is an essential employee.” They know that you are out here and it’s because you’re working. So I think that’s pretty neat. Yeah, we’ve both just been just sharing our whatever we can with the community, being able to turn lemons into lemonade, I think it applies so much to professional and personal right now, right?

Charles Gaudet:

Yeah.

Shama Hyder:

It’s not just … I think you could be very upset at any of these things about letting a 13 year old cut your hair, but instead … And I would venture to say you have a better relationship with your barber because you wouldn’t necessarily have this kind of perhaps text transaction chat in non COVID times. So it’s interesting. I think we start to see people as more human too, which is always nice. Anyways, thank you so much Charlie.

Charles Gaudet:

One thing-

Shama Hyder:

Add away.

Charles Gaudet:

Sorry. Well I just want to bring up one quick thing, one quick thing. You mentioned mindset, right? I think the most important book that anybody could read right now if they want to figure out how do I improve my mindset is a book by a gentleman named Viktor Frankl, F-R-A-N-K-L. The name of the book is called Man’s Search for Meaning.

Shama Hyder:

Great book.

Charles Gaudet:

Phenomenal, phenomenal book. I think very relevant in today’s world. Highly recommend it for people who are trying to figure out how do I work on my mindset in today’s day? So I just wanted to add that, Shama.

Shama Hyder:

And you know what? That’s a great. You answered one of the questions we had, Charlie. Someone asked, what book would you recommend right now? So that was a great idea for a book. So thank you so much for sharing that, and thank you so much for joining us on Let’s Take a Moment. Thanks to all of you guys out there watching. Again, leave your comments, leave questions for Charlie and I. I leave them, we will peruse them later, we’ll do our best to answer, and then I will see you guys next Tuesday, 11:00 AM Eastern right here. Hope you tune in. Have a great day.

Charles Gaudet:

Thank you.

Shama Hyder:

Stay safe.

Tips To Stay Productive From A CEO That Has Worked From Home For 11 YEARS!

Speaker 1:

Welcome back everyone to Your Future Home, brought to you by Rocket Mortgage, by Quicken Loans, where you get more than expected from a mortgage lender.

Speaker 1:

All right, so working from home. While it can be a way to save time, relax and even stay safe, it can also open up your workday to a lot of distractions. Joining us now to talk about how you can stay productive while also working from home is tech expert and CEO of Zen Media. Shama Hyder. Shama, great to have you here. Thank you so much for joining us. You’re actually an expert when it comes to working from home. I’ve been told you’ve been doing this for 11 years, which is crazy. I’ve only been lasting for a week trying to do this. So what sort of tips do you have? For a lot of us newbies, we’re setting up our first work from home space.

Shama Hyder:

Yeah, happy to help and share our expertise. Our entire team has actually been remote for the last 11 years since I started Zen Media. So we’ve picked up a few tricks along the way of being able to work remote. So this is definitely par for the course. I think the most important thing is to make sure that you have a routine that works for you. This is actually a really good time to set up and try different systems that you wouldn’t have maybe had a chance to try at the office. And by this I mean, for some folks, this is me included, I usually travel a ton. So I’m used to working on my laptop, like many of us. And I love that, I love being able to work from wherever I am. But while I’ve been grounded along with all of us, I’ve actually switched to using a giant monitor and it’s increased my productivity by 20% so even though we’ve been doing this for a long time, we’re also learning new things all the time.

Shama Hyder:

And so this is a really good time for everybody who’s working from home right now to test out what your ideal setup looks like, right? Something that you always wanted to try, but you always had a lot going on. This is your chance. So for me it’s been trying a giant monitor and it’s been a huge time saver because now I don’t have to go between multiple windows and it really does cut back on wasted time and increases efficiency. So this is your time to create that ideal workspace for you.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and Shama, a lot of people associate the office with work and then home for relaxing and doing your normal personal stuff. So how can you really stay motivated while you’re working from let’s say your kitchen?

Shama Hyder:

So, don’t work from your kitchen for starters, I think it is important to have a space that you designate as your workspace and you designate an area where it’s your family space, right? Or whatever it may be. So for example, I have a seven month old son and his nursery is off limits. So I do not take my computer in there, I don’t take my iPad in there. Any work stuff [inaudible 00:02:50] it stays outside. So it’s funny because I work all the time everywhere and like many of us, right, where we’re always working on our mobile phones and so forth, but it’s nice if you can’t, if you have to work everywhere, at least create a sacred space where you know that is personal and that you are able to unplug in that area. And for us that happens to be the nursery.

Speaker 1:

All right Sharma. Obviously we’re all trying to flatten the curve and do our part out here, but how important is technology to social distancing and also decreasing the spread of the virus?

Shama Hyder:

It’s absolutely crucial, right? I mean I think I’ll leave that to the scientists who already done such a good job explaining how social distancing works and why it’s important. But just think about this. Ten years ago, this would not have been possible. We could not continue on with our work lives and we have delivery now. Restaurants are able to offer curbside. It’s funny because if you really think about it, the impact to our lives has really been minimal because of technology, because we’re still able to stay connected to the people that we love. Still get work done, still talk to work colleagues. Of course, it’s not the same as total face to face, but 10 years ago this wouldn’t have even been possible.

Speaker 1:

All right, Shama, I’m curious, what sort of smart technology are you using to make a lot of this social distancing a lot easier?

Shama Hyder:

So there’s so many awesome tools now and I have to say that I think I’ve an unfair advantage because we’re both, my husband and I are just both such techies. So our whole house is wired for technology. Sonos obviously has great speakers. If you’re a music fan, you’re able to hook up those speakers to your app on your phone and you can then stream different music according to your tastes in different rooms. Again, like I mentioned, this is a great time to optimize your workflow. So even look at some of those apps that you may have wanted to use but really didn’t work for whatever reason. INK For All is a great one. It’s AI based, it helps you become a better writer. There’s a technology called GiftCast that lets you send video recordings and money to someone.

Shama Hyder:

So let’s say you really want to send grandma some money. You can’t see her right now. You can’t give her a hug that you want. You can send a video message and they get a link and then they’re able to transfer funds, you’re able to send money from your bank account and then they put in their info and they get it in theirs. There’s also things like Haptic technology, which is so cool. Bond Touch, for example, has matching physical bracelets. So think like friendship bracelets from back in the day when we were kids to now it’s haptics. So if I touch my bracelet and I’m thinking of you, your bracelet vibrates. So things like that I think make a huge difference in this social distancing world that we’re living in.

Speaker 1:

All right. Shama Hyder, CEO of Zen Media. Thank you so much for joining us. Such a pleasure. Thank you.

Shama Hyder:

Thanks for having me.

Speaker 1:

And coming up everyone, how you can turn a shed in a backyard and turn it into your getaway, the she shed next on your future home.

A FREE Contactless Solution For Your Restaurant! Let’s Take A Moment With Shama Hyder

Shama Hyder:

We were the first two to come out and say, “We will offer full contactless solutions.” I know Rom, you’ve been pretty much sleeping in your office trying to get restaurants onboarded with this technology. If there’s a restaurant that’s listening out there and regardless of whether they’re like an enterprise chain or they’re a small mom and pop, what’s the one thing that you would want to tell them that they should do right now and what’s the one thing they should really be thinking about as soon as they open back up to actually take customers again?

Rom Krupp:

The first thing is don’t give up. There’s some brands that feel that the business is not there, that’s not enough, and they give up. So, first of all, don’t give up. This is a time to experiment and innovate. You can try menu items you never had dared to because they weren’t exactly on brand. You can try curbside, you can try delivery. Don’t look at it as a profit exercise. Look at it as an exercise to learn your brand. Experiment with your brand. Experiment with technology.

Shama Hyder:

Hey everyone, Shama Hyder here. I guess our let’s take a moment today became let’s take two. Sorry about earlier delays if you tried to watch this live earlier. We were having some technical difficulties, but it seems like that’s very much par for the course right now in this new world that we are all living in and trying to figure out not just how to survive but hopefully really thrive in this world of COVID-19 and working from home and just so many things have changed with social distancing and so forth.

Shama Hyder:

And my goal with these live videos is to be able to highlight different areas of business of our world that are going to be forever and fundamentally changed, and to give you the skills and strategies and tools that you need to be able to succeed in these times and the soon to be times. So today, I’m joined by a very special guest. His name is Rom Krupp. Say hi, Rom.

Rom Krupp:

Hi, everyone.

Shama Hyder:

Rom is the founder and CEO of OneDine. He is also a veteran in the restaurant and hospitality space, also one of my dearest friends. And probably Rom, you’re probably one of the smartest people that I know, like hands down one of the smartest people that I know. And that’s how I often introduce him. I say, Rom is the smartest and also the most ethical person I know, which is a wonderful combination.

Shama Hyder:

We thought for this specific live, let’s take a moment this week. We’d really focus in on restaurants and hospitality, because I feel like this is one industry where we’ve seen massive change, massive disruption, and we’re going to continue to see more.

Shama Hyder:

So Rob, can you give us from your perspective what you’re seeing right now? What did the world’s sort of right before COVID-19 look like, what it looks like right now and what it might look like in the very near future. So, just sort of give us maybe like a 360 view.

Rom Krupp:

Sure. First, thank you for the kind words. And with an intro like that, I’m going to try to live up to that. So, prior to this, the restaurant space, it’s a growing space. People were spending more money in restaurants than in grocery stores. That pivot has happened about four or five years ago. More and more outlets are opening. So, the industry is experiencing amazing growth estimated to be at almost 900 billion this year before the crisis.

Rom Krupp:

With this crisis, restaurants had no advanced notice. Literally one day, government goes on TV, tells us to start social distancing, shut down dining rooms and all that money shifted away from restaurants really to grocery stores and online ordering, and restaurants that were equipped to handle it. Restaurants that had drive throughs and a high presence in delivery. They’re doing okay. Some are actually thriving, but most of just doing okay.

Rom Krupp:

But restaurants that heavily relied on an in-store dining, found themselves with a business model that doesn’t work. So, a lot of innovations coming out of it, both technological and non-technological innovations. But one of the things that the restaurants are looking for beyond the immediate solution and social distancing will end, but it will have a long tail.

Rom Krupp:

The longer this lasts, the more people’s norms are changing. People become more and more conscious into things like viruses and germs in general, not just viruses. So, I think people are going to be more aware of what they touch, how food is being touched, how food is being prepared, how they’re taking payments. How much interaction do you have with exchanging things.

Rom Krupp:

I think right now, we’re looking at door handles as the enemy. We kick it open. We don’t even touch it. You do that for three, four months and it’s hard for a lot of people to go back. Yeah, some people will go back the way it was, but a percentage of population won’t go back early. And until we have a vaccine or really effective treatments, I think there will be a lot of mitigating controls around all of hospitality to make sure that customers and employees and team members feel safe to work and interact.

Rom Krupp:

So, in the airline world, how does seating and planes look like? And hotels, how does … Think about people have to clean your rooms and the exposure they have. I mean there’s going to be a lot of changes there. And then when you think about restaurants, some of the most dirtiest things you can get into restaurants are menus, printed menus.

Rom Krupp:

So, how do you keep those clean? Do you go to disposable one time use menus? Do you go to contactless payment as a standard? The U S has been notoriously behind some of the other Western world and even some of the Asian markets where payments are much more advanced there. And now, we were kicking and screaming into EMV, just smart chips.

Rom Krupp:

We’re going to leapfrog now and get into a more contactless world. So, I think restaurants have to look at it as not just a short term fixed. We’ll do curbside and meal prep kits and even selling raw ingredients. They need to think of also longterm. How do they look in day one of reopening and day 365? Because there’s going to be a long tail to this as I keep saying.

Shama Hyder:

I think it’s interesting. If you look at Germany, I feel like there’s other countries that are already setting the precedent for what it might look like for when we get out of this. And so in Germany, they are getting back to business to some degrees. They’re lifting the lockdown as I understand it, but they’re limiting gathering.

Shama Hyder:

So, you are going to have 50 or less people at a given thing. You have to wear masks when you’re in public. And then when you were in restaurants, you’re actually limiting how many tables you can have and how much distance. They have protocols that we have to follow. So, this really changes.

Shama Hyder:

And I know you’re talking to brands every single day with OneDine, right? The full contactless solution, which I’m really proud of by the way to be a part of. And I love that we were the first to come out and say we will offer a full contactless solutions.

Shama Hyder:

I know, Rom, you’ve been pretty much sleeping in your office trying to get restaurants onboarded with this technology. If there’s a restaurant that’s listening out there and regardless of whether they’re like an enterprise chain or they’re a small mom and pop, what’s the one thing that you would want to tell them that they should do right now and what’s the one thing they should really be thinking about as soon as they open back up to actually take customers again.

Rom Krupp:

Yeah, sure. So right away, the first thing is don’t give up. There’s some brands that feel that the business is not there, that’s not enough, and they give up. So, first of all, don’t give up. This is a time to experiment and innovate. You can try menu items you never had dared to because they weren’t exactly on brand. You can try curbside, you can try delivery.

Rom Krupp:

Don’t look at it as a profit exercise. Look at it as an exercise to learn your brand. Experiment with your brand. Experiment with technology. Keep some employees engaged, core employees that you need to maintain continuity. Because if you lose your employees, think about the market post opening. There will be a lot of people out there, very talented people that were maybe anchored to certain brands for a long time, then that will be on the market and are open to rehire. So in general, you have to have some continuity.

Rom Krupp:

What they need to think about right now is how do they take this time to emerge better, smarter, more equipped to tomorrow. Are meal kits here to stay? There’s companies that built their whole business around meal kits. Restaurants can come up with meal kits. Not every occasion will be a dining out occasion for a while. How do we maintain the dining in? How do I take my favorite dish from a restaurant as a meal kit and I go prep it in my home?

Rom Krupp:

Which brings a whole different question. How do restaurants gain back the business they lost to a grocery business? And the grocery businesses thriving. Somebody told me in that industry that every day is like Thanksgiving right now in sales volumes.

Rom Krupp:

That money didn’t come out of nowhere. That money completely got poached out of the restaurant industry. So, in some respect, how do the restaurants should be rebuilt and how does it take back and even increase by offering more services? I’m not saying they should sell toilet papers after this. What I am saying is they should really look at the opportunity to take four or five favorite items and create permanent meal kits out of them, which will introduce an agenda item that I think needs to happen out there, which is how do restaurants universally get qualified for SNAP? Because the moment you start selling unprepped food, why can’t you tap into …

Shama Hyder:

Can you tell people who don’t know what SNAP is, what SNAP is?

Rom Krupp:

Yeah. So, it used to be called the food stamp system, but now it’s called SNAP. And SNAP is the way for the federal government to funnel people of low income or unemployed money to buy food, essential food. And today, it’s very limited in the restaurant industry. Very, very limited.

Rom Krupp:

There’s some restaurants in some States get exempt for certain products like pizzas that are unbaked to take home to bake. Now, we’ve got meal preps and raw ingredients being sold out of restaurants. Before this crisis, 40 million Americans were on SNAP. After this crisis, there are estimated 60 million more will join. That’s a huge financial budget that today is almost only in the grocery world. It should come mostly to the restaurant industry in a limited capacity, right?

Rom Krupp:

I don’t think you should be able to go and order a ribeye steak with it that’s cooked. But if you’re buying ingredients to meal prep, why not? Why not be another channel? [crosstalk 00:10:53].

Shama Hyder:

I mean, the rules say that you have to have raw ingredients, right? It can’t be cooked, which is why restaurants can’t offer it right now with what they have as is.

Rom Krupp:

Correct. But right now, they should be able to. And I think the USDA should take an action right away to immediately enable all the restaurants to sell on ingredients.

Shama Hyder:

I know you got a Change petition for that right now.

Rom Krupp:

Yeah. We just started a Change.org petition to try to drive that. Because I think the USDA could make a decision instantly that enables all restaurants on those products to accept SNAP.

Shama Hyder:

I’ll put a link down in the comments, guys, so you can see it and sign it.

Rom Krupp:

Yeah, that will be great. We just launched. We really think that, that wallet … Restaurants need to be able to tap that wallet, especially with the unemployment we’re about to see in the long tail. I think restaurants need to be able to accept those dollars, especially since to some respect, the lack of preparation and the overnight closing of dining room is what causes such a severe damage to the restaurants.

Rom Krupp:

I think restaurants add a month or two preparation towards closures. They could have built technologies and plans and menus and everything to be ready day one as opposed to react in an emergency, catastrophic way.

Rom Krupp:

So again, back to that, I think restaurants in general need to think about post-COVID world because we might deal with this before vaccine and treatment for 12, 18 months. We don’t know. Everybody’s guess is probably as good as mine. So, how do we go to …

Shama Hyder:

[crosstalk 00:12:19] your guess is probably better than most people’s.

Rom Krupp:

Time will tell. History only remembers the good guesses, not the bad ones. Everybody is a Nostradamus in hindsight. So generally speaking, I think though, this is the time to prep the dining rooms. They can’t wait.

Rom Krupp:

We had a no notice to change and adopt to close dining rooms, but now we know dining rooms will eventually open. Dining rooms have to be prepped today. Actions need to be taken today. So, when it does reopen, because it can be in a week, two weeks, four weeks, six weeks, eight weeks, whatever it might be in your state, in your area, in your county, are you ready for that day? Are you ready from a printed menu perspective? Are you ready from a hygiene, from table layouts, from checking your employees and potentially your customers for temperature?

Rom Krupp:

I mean, the government is talking about, and some countries are experimenting with testing people and giving them a certificate that they already had it, so they’re immune. So, let me ask you a question. Who joins society, the immune people or the non-immune people?

Rom Krupp:

Because if we can only test 10 million people, 12 million people, what happens to the other 300 million people? Do they stay home until they get sick or until there’s a vaccine? Or do we do the reverse? So, what do you do? I mean, there’s a big challenge. We’re dealing with a mass population. So, how do restaurants and hospitality deal with that? How do they prepare so they’re ready for day one?

Rom Krupp:

If they wait and suddenly next week, your local government says, the governor says, “Next week, we’ll reopening.” What do you do? Are you scrambling again? And now brands that had foresight, and instead of spending this downtime, just shutting down the business to actually spend this downtime to reinvent the business, put the mitigating controls in place. They’re going to be ready for that business and you might not.

Rom Krupp:

So, my recommendation to restaurateurs is act now. Think about everything in your building. Are your doors only swing outwards? Do you have to double hinge doors so people can use their foot to open and close doors on the way out? They’re not touching handles as opposed to having an employee wipe it down every few minutes, which still might not be effective.

Rom Krupp:

What are you doing about your POS stations between employee usage? How are you going to handle credit cards? How are you going to handle menus? How are you going to handle silverware? Are employees going to wear gloves? Do you have a source for those gloss? What’s the routine around changing the gloves? What about face masks? What do you do with face mask as far as service?

Rom Krupp:

You know what, I saw this great innovation came out of … I think it was a mother, daughter that they realized that people that rely on lip reading can’t lip read because of masks. So, they cut a piece away and put a plastic …

Shama Hyder:

Yeah, there’s a transparent … Yeah, so you can actually see. That’s right.

Rom Krupp:

Right. But he also sees the smile. We’re going to the hospitality industry. You want to have people smiling at us. It’s going to be very creepy if everybody serves us like it’s a hospital cafeteria for a while. So, there’s a psychological [crosstalk 00:15:16].

Shama Hyder:

I saw the doctors and nurses, they’re printing the pictures, like their photo ID and posting … On there, just a regular printer and putting it on their clothes so people know who’s behind the mask, so patients feel comfortable with whoever is treating them, which makes a lot of sense.

Shama Hyder:

So, I think anytime you’re giving any type of care, whether it’s hospitality or even healthcare, it’s the same concept, right? People want to connect with a face. They want to feel like they can …

Shama Hyder:

It’s funny because if you look at digital trends and things like that, the use of emojis, right? Use of emojis or even they’ve done studies where even just showing a person’s picture next to their Slack profile, whatever, it increases empathy, It increases how we talk. We don’t see them as robots. We see them as actual human beings and it changes the tone and the timber of our conversations.

Shama Hyder:

Rom, I know it’s what I’ve been telling brands and businesses across the board is that this is a great time for you to prepare. You were caught off guard perhaps by this, but this is your chance not to be caught off guard because if you really sit down and you do this exercise and you say, “What do we know is going to change in our business?”

Shama Hyder:

Even in businesses that … Look at hotels and lobbies. How do you restructure your lobby so the chairs aren’t next to each other? You and I have talked about airplanes. [crosstalk 00:16:38].

Rom Krupp:

Elevators.

Shama Hyder:

Yeah. And you made a great point about airplanes. When is the next time you’re going to be comfortable sitting shoulder to shoulder to a stranger? Probably not anytime soon. And of course, airlines have made a lot of money by putting people, squeezing them in sardines as many as possible, and I feel like that’s going to change.

Rom Krupp:

I read an article. I don’t mean to cut you off, but I read an article right before this. One of the airlines that I won’t mention actually said that their research showed that people actually won’t even get closer. People want even smaller seats and more tight. I’m like, “Really?” I fly 100,000 miles a year sometimes and I’ll tell you, never in my life I thought about, “I need less space.”

Shama Hyder:

Yes. It’s amazing what skewed market research can … What you can get out of there.

Rom Krupp:

You ask only the CFO of the airline, I think. That was the only control number.

Shama Hyder:

Oh, man. Yeah. Yes, nobody ever. And you’re right, I think we’re going to think … The other thing that you’d mentioned when we were on our call and it really stuck with me is you said, “How many days does it take to change behavior to create a habit?” And we know through psychology and behavior studies that it takes 21 days. 21 days for something to be really ingrained in us.

Shama Hyder:

So, we’ve had more than 21 days. Going through this in the … So, it is going to change a lot of our habits, right? Do we lean in and do we shake hands with people? And so if you think about it from a hospitality but also broader business, how many people are going to want to venture out, wait in lobbies, in waiting rooms?

Shama Hyder:

So, even if you’re a healthcare practitioner, I know a lot of people who put off, of course, planned surgeries and planned procedures, because they don’t want to be in the … I understand. They don’t want to be in a place where you have other sick people perhaps with the virus or not. And so I think you have to … This is a great time in your business to think about all these things and say, “This is our moment.”

Shama Hyder:

See, I think really smart businesses aren’t just thinking about what do we need to do to mitigate. I think they’re thinking about what do we need to do to take full advantage, and not in a creepy way by far or not … This isn’t opportunistic, like selling sanitizer for 10X or something ridiculous and completely … I mean terrible.

Shama Hyder:

I’m talking more about, thinking about how can you be the first. How can you really own … So, I did this video recently and I talked about airlines. They’re going the opposite direction according to a study that you’re talking about, which is a terrible idea.

Shama Hyder:

The idea, the thought that I had was all these airlines are sending out these very, very bland vanilla emails saying, “We follow procedures. We keep things clean.” And it’s like, “Yes, this is what you were supposed to be doing this entire time.”

Shama Hyder:

That doesn’t help people any saying, “Oh, we spray down our menus with this.” You were supposed to be doing that anyways. There’s like a basic, sort of the ground floor that’s expected. I think this is the opportunity for the airline to say, “We are the most hygienic, cleanest airline in all of the skies. We are the safest.”

Shama Hyder:

This is a time for someone to really own that moment and to see that we are the first. I mean, look at OneDine. I know how hard everyone has been working on the team and the focus to say, “We’re offering a completely zero contact, full contactless solution.” That’s powerful. I know it’s just a matter of time before competitors jump on board and try to [crosstalk 00:20:23].

Rom Krupp:

That’s okay. There’s enough restaurants to serve everyone. I mean, I’m for one encourage competition. It drives innovation and we alone cannot solve the problems for every restaurant in the country. There’s a lot of restaurants, a lot of businesses, and I could spend a lifetime and not get to a market share that’s big enough. So, [crosstalk 00:20:43].

Shama Hyder:

And now you guys see why I love Rom so much and why I think he’s such an outstanding person. I think to your point, Rom, this is a time for people in the industry to really be leaders. And this is what I keep trying to explain to people and say, “This is your moment.”

Shama Hyder:

It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in. We’re talking hospitality, we’re talking restaurants. But really, at the end of the day, it is about what value are you bringing to your customers based on the things they care about now. They care about now.

Shama Hyder:

Rom, you shared a really interesting story with me before where a CEO of a chain I won’t name went in, gave their credit card and then said, “I don’t want the credit card back. I don’t want to touch it again.” So, I think we’re going to see some major changes in that regard for what we as consumers, all of us, consider acceptable.

Shama Hyder:

And I think the businesses, the brands that really win are the ones that can think about this. And this is your time. This is the time and space. Think about it, and to enact those things, because even if you say … For example, Zen Media, we’ve been remote for 11 plus years. This hasn’t changed much in terms of our infrastructure, how we deliver to clients.

Shama Hyder:

But I know so many people that were never dragged into this. They never wanted to work from home. They never allowed for remote working. So now, it’s a whole layer of other things to contend with. So, that caught you off guard. This situation, what’s coming, I feel like really shouldn’t catch us off guard, because we know. You can just look around and see how people are different, how your customer base is going to be different and then you have to cater to that.

Rom Krupp:

In general speaking, society sometimes is more aspirational than the technologies and tools that are given. And for the first time, I think in a long period of history I would say is where technology and innovation was more aspirational than when society wants to be.

Rom Krupp:

So, we had the means and tools to do amazing things before this and culturally, we then adopt it. What we’re doing right now, I’ve been using video conferencing softwares for 18 years. But at the same time, I can tell you to every sales rep probably that I’ve ever worked with, clients wants to see us. They want to see us face to face. It’s not going to be the same thing. We’re not going to close the deal on us. We fly 1,000 miles and go see them for 20 minutes.

Rom Krupp:

But the reality is, is the cost of that travel, the cost of the effort. It’s all baked into the final price we’re paying that they always want discounts on, right? So, it’s kind of an oxymoron. But at the same time, so technology has been way ahead of where society has contactless payments. Order ahead. This is nothing new. There’s no major breakthrough innovation.

Rom Krupp:

In all the technologies we’re using right now, nothing is really a breakthrough innovation in a long time, but just culturally, we needed disruptive events to actually adopt. And for me, I know it’s going to hurt some industries, but for me I think this is a positive change where we’re actually catching up to what’s available to us. Because to some respect, it was a ticking time bomb to a lot of things, right?

Rom Krupp:

From companies wanting very low margins, because they feeling like they’re forced to spend travel money and trade show money that … It’s like a pay to play at this point. If you don’t participate, it’s table stakes. We don’t participate, you’re just not going to have any reputation to now, can we be more virtual?

Rom Krupp:

There’s certain business models that have been broken and irrelevant for a long, long time, but they still survive because of the cultural part of it. But with every old things that are outdated and are going to phase out, there’s room for new innovation.

Rom Krupp:

So, the beautiful thing about being a technologist and always future thinking is we can get people to catch up to what we’ve had around for 20 years. Now, they’re going to be forced into catch up, which now will spark a brand new line of innovation back to the competition.

Rom Krupp:

You can monetize video conferencing, you can monetize these technologies, virtual trade shows and now it’s going to force people to innovate the next version and the next innovation as opposed to right now, we’re playing with, “Oh I’ve got better quality video. I have better quality audio, HD audio. Is there anything but HD audio? Am I tuning into AM for this conference call?”

Rom Krupp:

So, I think, again, this will drive innovation. I always look at 2008 and the financial crisis. Look at HDTVs. HDTVs have been around years prior to 2008, but there was nothing that drives to culture to go buy new TVs and adopt a new broadcasting system. So, it was hard. It was hard to sell it, and price of TVs were high. And then the crisis came out and the government sent us a bailout check. And I can’t remember the exact numbers, so I won’t quote it, but a significant number of people used that bailout check to buy flat screen TVs.

Shama Hyder:

I remember that, actually.

Rom Krupp:

Overnight, HD became the standard and now we’re pushing 8K a few years later. So, I just think that sometimes disruptive events … You got to be empathetic to the bad of them. Casualties are never something you want to consider, and nobody advocating that we should have negative events. Transformational events like this can be also positive, not just negative.

Rom Krupp:

So, I think businesses right now have to reevaluate. What technologies that they didn’t want to adopt, they should adopt? What business culture they should adopt? What’s available today and then drive companies that build technologies to now think about tomorrow. We’ve taken care of today and now let’s think about tomorrow. So, where’s restaurants in 2030?

Shama Hyder:

And I hope that everyone watching this will heed that, because I think you’ve said some really important things wrong. Innovation is often thrust upon us, right? And this is a time for people to embrace that to be able to think long game. Change is often painful. It just is. It’s the very nature of the old caterpillar into a butterfly thing.

Shama Hyder:

And I think sadly, given the changes brought forth by a pandemic, of course, there’s loss of life. People have lost loved ones. It’s not an easy time by any stretch of the imagination. But I think in terms of what you do, I guess, from a business perspective and how you’re able to use this lens to get sharper or better, stronger.

Shama Hyder:

I think all of these things are really valuable. So, thank you so much for joining us today, Rom. Hope you guys enjoyed this. Let’s take a moment with Shama. We’ll be back next week. And if you have questions, leave them in comments. I promise we will try to answer as many as possible. Thanks for watching guys.

Rom Krupp:

Thank you, Shama.