textLIVING is company that is bringing loyalty punch-cards into the 21st century. They provide an iPad kiosk to small businesses, that is mounted in the space in front of that cash register. The kiosk allows customers to check in every time they make a purchase with just their cellphone. textLIVING then text messages the customer’s cellphone for verification, and then on a schedule set by the business sends rewards, coupons and reminders to come back and vist.
Their digital loyalty product is available on a month-to-month agreement and starts at $49.
I recently spoke with the the Co-Founder and CEO Joe F. Brannon III.
My questions are below in bold. Enjoy!
Where did the idea for textLIVING come from?
I’ve owned several companies that helped businesses, but none of them could prove that my service was helping to drive revenue. We started textLIVING to simplify the way consumers earn rewards and redeem offers. We also started textLIVING to help merchants drive more quantifiable revenue through tools such as our trigger based SMS auto-responders.
How did you bring it to life?
Simply by hard work. From the beginning we were determined to build the world’s simplest digital rewards program. It takes less than 20 seconds for a consumer to sign-up for one of our programs. We hired some great people in the beginning that were instrumental in helping us get to where we are today.
Where do you see textLIVING in five years?
We see our company as an international media company helping tens of thousands of merchants engage their customers more efficiently and drive in more revenue.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I wouldn’t change a thing. We’ve made many errors, but we’ve learned great lessons from these errors. You grow more as a person and a company through challenges and failures, not through successes and prosperity. We are always telling our team to take risks, fail fast, don’t make the same mistake, and move on.
What does your typical day look like?
I always start my day by feeding my brain some positive reading. I’m a big fan of Napoleon Hill, John C. Maxwell, Peter Drucker, and many others. I carry around an Evernote printout of my top personal and quarterly priorities. I typically keep these priorities to no more than 6 items. I also have a top priority list and a low priority list. The top priority list directly correlates with reaching my quarterly goals and low priorities list is hundreds of items that could be anything from software ideas, to leadership ideas or random thoughts. I also use a CRM to manage all my relationships. On any given day I could have 40-80 tasks in my CRM. My main goal each day is to make sure I continue to become the best servant leader I can be.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
The trend that excites me most is that consumers are not adopting all these new technologies like one might believe. Many new platforms are too complicated and ask the consumer to do too much. For instance, a recent ComScore study showed 65% of consumers do not download a mobile app each month.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I’ve never had a bad job. I’ve had bad days at every job, but I always had a sense of who I was and where I was going, so I looked at every job as an opportunity to grow.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do, too?
Read, read, read…. I read an average of 1 book every two weeks. I’ve been doing that since I was in my early twenties. Some of my best ideas have come while reading a book.
What is one failure you’ve had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I had a very successful company back in 2008 that was crippled by the banking crisis. We tried to keep it alive, but in early 2009 had to shut the doors. I was definitely depressed for a short a period of time (about a month to be exact), but after my pity party for myself and with the help of my wife’s support, I got my ass back to work and began dreaming about my next business.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Build a subscription based business that offers your customers value month after month. It’s much easier to manage your nerves and your cash-flow.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
Our education system could use a good revamping. I think schools and business leaders need to partner together to create more curriculum that teaches the value of money, how to earn money, and how to be a benefit to society. I would absolutely teach some of Napoleon Hill’s principals from an early age. I would also focus a great amount of time on communication. I believe communication is one of the top ingredients to success.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
- Ted Talks. There are a lot of great thinkers trying to change the world and the videos are very inspiring.
- Zoho. This is the CRM we use and it really helps me serve our staff because it enables us to get an active pulse on our business.
- Twitter. I use twitter to follow a lot of the business news from the Wall Street Journal, Mashable, and others. Once or twice a day I look through the tweets and save stories for later reading.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Such a hard question because there are so many great reads out there. If I had to pick one I’d pick Law of Success from Napoleon Hill. While many of the principles are common sense, for me it never gets old reading and trying to continue to implement them.
Who are three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
- @WSJ – Wall Street Journal because they have tremendous writers.
- @Mashable. I started following them for the tech news, but they’ve really grown into an outlet for tech, entertainment, and much more.
- @Inc & @Forbes is a tossup for third place. They both do a lot of business profile stories that really inspire me to keep pushing to reach my goals.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
I laugh out loud daily. Just this morning, one of our employees put a cat sticker with a funny comment on the coffee maker and I busted out laughing. I think she did it because I was teasing her about being a cat lady.
Who is your hero?
I don’t have one hero, but I try to find things around me every day that continue to inspire me to be and do better.
Do you (or did you ever) have a mentor?
When I was a young business person I was always befriending business people that where 30, 40, 50 years my senior. Almost all of those people have had an impact in the way I lead and do business.
Tell us a secret.
textLIVING is going to be worth a billion dollars someday. Shhh… don’t tell our competitors.
What’s your website where people can find out more about textLIVING?
Where can people find textLIVING on social media?