Step back and ask yourself if what you are doing is the right thing. Constantly find ways to challenge your assumptions and challenge what you are doing. Don’t waste time doing the wrong thing.

 

Rory Crawford is the co-founder and CEO of BevSpot, which provides a back-office all in one food and beverage (F&B) management software that helps over 1,000 restaurants in the US not only survive, but succeed. Prior to co-founding BevSpot, Rory spent four years in San Francisco doing technology banking and investing at J.P. Morgan and General Atlantic, respectively. Rory graduated from Tufts University and lasted one year at Harvard Business School before taking a leave in 2014 to pursue BevSpot full time.

Where did the idea for your company come from?

BevSpot’s origins actually started in 2012 when I was creating another business – mobile wine club app. It was then that I realized that there was no software to help me run the business. The wine business was run on paper, pencil and clipboards. I was stunned there was no software to serve my needs so I literally started walking into restaurants in San Francisco asking them if this was how they were managing their businesses? The universal answer was yes.

Thus, the inspiration for BevSpot. After one year at Harvard Business School working part-time on BevSpot, I dropped out to work full-time on developing a mobile software that allows food and beverage operators to start managing their businesses online via their phones, and in doing so provide them valuable data that would make them more successful.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I wake up between 4-5:00 am and head into the office and get work done before distractions. As people start arriving in the office, I head to the gym to exercise then dive into meetings and make calls for the rest of the day. I catch the train home and spend a couple hours with my twin daughters putting them down for the night. Then some time with my wife Erin, then some reading and sleep hopefully by 10 pm. Controlling my schedule and making time for everything I have determined is critical that day is how I try to be productive.

How do you bring ideas to life?

At first, it’s really about turning the idea over in my own mind and testing if it aligns with our strategic focus. This is key to avoiding distractions. Once I feel I have fleshed out the idea I start seeking input from colleagues who can build upon the idea and start helping build out an implementation plan. Through this process, we refine the idea, build consensus amongst the team, and determine the implementation plan including individual accountability.

What’s one trend that excites you?

The constant transition of industries and daily human activity – consumer or business – from off-line to online. While an immense amount of this has already occurred, there is still so much of life that remains to be transitioned online.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Time management. As an entrepreneur, there are nowhere near enough hours in the day for your job, let alone your entire life. If you can’t effectively manage your time you can quickly become overwhelmed and start to fail in key areas of importance both personal and professional.

It’s incredibly difficult to find time/life balance as a CEO. The reality is that running the business is a 23 or 24 hour a day job since you really can’t turn your brain off the business.

I find it’s most important to make sure to prioritize what is most important in your life, manage your schedule to ensure you are making time for those things, and then when you are focused on those outside activities try to be 100% present in them.

For me, these two important focuses are my family my wife and twin 2-year olds, exercise, and sleep. I proactively manage my calendar to create time for all three and then I try not to multi-task when doing any one of them. If I am with my family, I am 100% focused on giving them my attention. When at the gym I am 100% focused on that. When at work I am 100% focused on being as productive as possible there. Trying to multi-task or being reactive to your schedule just doesn’t work because the company will consume all of your attention and time if you let it.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Surround yourself with people more experienced than you that you like working with. Learning from other people’s experiences can be incredibly helpful in accelerating your own learning.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

There are absolutely no excuses in life. You have control over everything in your life even if it’s just how you handle situations that are out of your control.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Step back and ask yourself if what you are doing is the right thing. Constantly find ways to challenge your assumptions and challenge what you are doing. Don’t waste time doing the wrong thing.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Decouple yourself from any potential inhibitors to growth and make sure that you control your own results. Don’t bank on other people, companies, partners, or potential clients driving your growth as you will more than likely be disappointed.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Pre-scaling and over hiring prematurely as a business. This led to wasted time, wasted capital, and distractions. Furthermore, I failed to ensure we were hiring people that aligned with the culture and stage of the company. This isn’t good for either the company or the employee. We overcame this the hard as a team through very difficult restructuring. Some lessons and failures are only learned and overcome the hard way.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Providing accessible and affordable high-quality private psychology services to families with kids who need these services, particularly in public school districts with limited resources. My wife is a school psychologist in a public school and she has taught me a lot about the current gap in affordable and accessible private services and as a parent, I can’t think of anything more important than these services when you need them.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Five hours of babysitting time for my wife and I to go out on a date. Our lives are very busy right now with work and twin two-year-olds, so spending money for just the two of us to spend time together is always the best possible investment.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

Slack. It provides constant communication with team members in a structured and productive way.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. I think it provides a very thought-provoking perspective on the importance and benefit of mindfulness that can help everybody. Especially in today’s climate of external pressures dictating personal happiness and satisfaction, I think the book provides a very powerful perspective and forces the reader to look at their life and their happiness in a different way.

What is your favorite quote?

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Key Learnings:

  • Surround yourself with good people who share the same values as you
  • Never delay making hard decisions, the worst part is the anticipation. Get it done and move on
  • Try to find ways to have fun every day at work or you will burn out, there is too much un-fun stuff to deal with on a daily basis
  • Never give up. If you do at any point you will not make it to your goal
  • Manage your time and make sure you are finding time for things outside of work that are important to you

Connect:

www.bevspot.com

RoryCrawford3
@BevSpot
www.linkedin.com/in/rory-crawford
https://www.facebook.com/BevSpot/