Sponsored by Business RadioX ® Main Street Warriors
Kenneth Burke is the VP of Marketing for Text Request, a business messaging platform.
He’s written over 1,000 articles on business growth for dozens of outlets, and he’s helped all types of companies from pre-launch startups to billion-dollar businesses achieve their goals.
Kenneth is also a champion for Chattanooga, and is always open to a new book recommendation.
Connect with Kenneth on LinkedIn.
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s time for High Velocity Radio.
Stone Payton: Welcome to the High Velocity radio show where we celebrate top performers producing better results in less time. Stone Payton here with you this afternoon, and today’s episode is brought to you in part by our Community Partner program, the Business RadioX Main Street Warriors. Defending capitalism, promoting small business and supporting our local community. For more information, go to Mainstreet warriors.org and a special note of thanks to our title sponsor for the Cherokee chapter of Main Street Warriors Diesel David Inc. Please go check them out at diesel. David.com. You guys are in for a real treat this afternoon. Please join me in welcoming to the broadcast with Text Request, Mr. Kenneth Burke. How are you man?
Kenneth Burke: I’m doing great. Thanks for having me on.
Stone Payton: Oh, it is my pleasure. What a delight to have you in studio. You made the trek from Chattanooga, Tennessee. I’m so glad that you did. We do have some extracurricular plans at the Business RadioX field office after this interview, but have really been looking forward to this conversation. I got a thousand questions, Kenneth, and I know we probably won’t get to them all, but I think maybe a great place to start would be if you could articulate for our listeners and for me, mission purpose. What are you and your team really out there trying to do for folks? Man Yeah.
Kenneth Burke: So mission statement is or our main goal is to help businesses better connect with their customers. And a great way to do that these days happens to be through text messaging. And so text request is a business text messaging software and basically what that means or for most of the people we work with, we take your your office phone number, your landline number or your Internet number, and we add a bunch of text messaging tools to it. It doesn’t affect your voice services, but then you can text from the same number that you used to calling. And so then we’ve added a bunch of bells and whistles for that, added a bunch of, you know, team friendly features. And so. You know, our clients or our customers will will text with customers for scheduling services, for promotions, for getting Google reviews, collecting payments, you know, anything from just to way back and forth, customer service conversations to mass promotions and everything in between.
Stone Payton: So what are some examples, maybe 1 or 2 examples of, I don’t know what you would call it, a use case or businesses that are using it kind of kind of map that out for us. Yeah.
Kenneth Burke: So our two biggest buckets of, of clients are home services. So your, your Hvac repair, your plumbing services and our and then professional services. So lawyers, accountants, insurance agents, both of those would use this use case, which is just scheduling services or scheduling appointments. So rather than doing a bunch of back and forth and calling in to say, hey, I need to, it’s time for us to meet, when’s good? Let me check my calendar. Okay, You check your calendar. Okay, let’s figure it out. Um, usually they’ll they’ll just send a text and say, hey, you know, here’s. Here’s a link to a time or a link to a calendar. Take your pick or, you know, we can be there. Or earliest availability is, say, tomorrow morning at 830. Does that work? That’s a common use case. Another one, let’s say, after the fact. Hey, please leave us a Google review because Google reviews are the number one way people find your business for most businesses. Yeah. And so, you know, a text is going to get about five times the engagement that an email is and not that email is bad, but text is just more so.
Stone Payton: Why is.
Kenneth Burke: That? I think it’s I think it’s a combo of things, you know from. I don’t know, kind of decades. The way the communications have gone, you know, email is most people use their email as kind of a catch all for a lot of things. So you’ve got your work email, which is, you know, work specific and you try to keep personal things out of it. And then you’ve got a personal email that you’ll give to the Hvac repair person or to your accountant, but you’ll also give it to the, you know, the boutique down the street and the whatever rewards program that you’re signing up for. And then emails get linked. So you get a ton of spam in there, right? So you get 100 emails a day and you probably read 4 or 5 of them.
Stone Payton: Well, and, and I scan through them tonight or tomorrow morning first thing. But now that I just ask the question, but now that I think about it and you’re describing it, if I get a text, I’m going to go and check it out because it might be a client or whatever. I check it out quick. If I get an email, I may not even look at it till tomorrow morning. That’s kind of my discipline. All right. I interrupted you. Go ahead. So we were talking about use cases.
Kenneth Burke: No, that’s that’s exactly it. And so, I mean, it comes down to you can get somebody’s attention better through text most of the time. And and then what do you want to use that attention for? You know, are you a mortgage broker? And you need somebody to finish filling out an application? Are you an insurance agent and you need somebody to sign their, their payments? I, I work with State Farm. Okay. And just earlier this week, I had an overdue payment. They sent me an email. I totally missed it. That’s my fault. But I missed it. But they sent me a text and said, Hey, your payment is due. Don’t let your insurance expire. You know, follow this link to pay online. And that’s exactly what I did.
Stone Payton: So you’ve been at this a while. What are you finding the most rewarding about the work? What’s the most fun about it for you?
Kenneth Burke: I mean, we’re going to get a little cliched here, but it’s about the process. It’s about the journey. I mean, it’s text messaging software. It can be exciting, but, you know, it’s a business software. Nobody nobody grew up feeling passionate about that, you know, for getting able to to work on something day in and day out. I mean, I’ve been at this eight and a half years now, you know, with text requests specifically. So growing, trying to grow the company. Trying to help the employees that we have. Grow in their careers and, you know, in their own skills. Helping our customers actually better communicate with their customers. Better connect with them that. That all has an impact. That’s what gets me up in the morning. I mean, I think something that’s really incredible, especially because we work primarily with small businesses, you know, a few percentage points difference in revenue can be the or profit margin can be the difference between them being able to go to a kid’s basketball games or being able to, you know, have enough money to take the time, whatever, you know, take the time for themselves, for their family to spend time together. Um. And as the son of a small business owner, things like that are near and dear to my heart. So, you know, if we can help you be more efficient in your communications, which leads to better sales, better marketing, better, etcetera. I feel like I’ve done some good.
Stone Payton: So tell me a little bit more about the about your back story. How did you arrive at and find yourself doing this? Because my experience has been with most guests who and many of whom are very accomplished. Like yourself, It’s rarely a straight line, right? Tell us. Yeah. How did you get here, man? Yeah.
Kenneth Burke: Serendipity is how I got here. So I was in so my undergrad was in psychology and I love that. But I didn’t want to go to school for another five years to be able to do something with that degree. And so I went into sales. Because sales is where you can make a lot of money and you’re the driver behind how much you make. That was the idea at least. After a couple of years, didn’t really enjoy it. I was trying to get away out. There was a good friend of mine who was part of the founding team for Tex Request, and he’s kind of your perpetual hype man. Like he’ll get you excited about anything. And he got me excited about this and I said, That sounds great. Can I come join? And he said, Yeah, come on. So I did. I showed up one Monday and first thing I was supposed to do was cold call local businesses to say, Hey, here’s the software that we’ve got. You want to buy it? And after a few months of that, it’s like this. This is not working. Can I try marketing? You know something with that? Nobody else was doing marketing at the company at the time. And they let me. You know, for whatever reason, they gave me plenty of room to to fail, but also plenty of room to to learn and grow and put a lot of work in on the outside too, outside of business hours to make that happen. We got more things right than we got wrong, and here we are.
Stone Payton: So I am operating under the impression that marketing for you probably has an education component to it, just so that that smaller and mid sized businesses even understand A that it’s available, but also when and where and how they can apply it. Is that an important component of the way that you go to market communicating those those applications for the for the technology?
Kenneth Burke: It definitely is. I think some I think there’s two main things that make it that way. One is just for me as a person, I enjoy the educational aspect. I like sharing what I know. We don’t have to dive into the why that’s the case, but that is the case. So there’s that. And then part two is whenever we started, there wasn’t a market for business text messaging. I mean, everybody was texting each other, but texting with the business wasn’t a thing. And so we had to spend a few years educating the market. Here’s what’s happening. Here’s why it matters. Here’s how you can take advantage of it. And over time, we were actually able to carve out a little niche, a bit of a brand identity out of it. So it really fed into our positioning and now it’s a part of our ethos.
Stone Payton: I bet. And you probably have captured and are distributing, I don’t know what best practices like some thought leadership around, you know, here’s some disciplines, everything from etiquette to, you know, what works and maybe some places that, you know, hey, don’t necessarily use it for this or this way you’re going to get a lot more results if you use it this way. And and you’re giving some access to people, your customers, to tap into that community of practice or that knowledge base.
Kenneth Burke: Yeah, absolutely. Something that’s nice is, you know, we’ve worked with so many tens of thousands of businesses now that we’ve collected a lot of information, right? So we’ve seen a lot of use cases and we want all of our customers to succeed. And another thing that helps us stand out is, you know, our our support and sales and success teams are always available. So, you know, within reason, you know, not when there’s sleeping, but if you need help or you want advice or just to brainstorm or whatever, you know, we’re always happy to help. So you can always talk to somebody about that. And so kind of the combination of those things, you know, comes together and we spent a lot of time saying, Hey, here’s what we recommend, you know, but also let us know what’s working for you. Any time. This was a big part in the early days is we knew texting was a thing that businesses should be doing, but we didn’t know exactly how or what the nuance would be. And so we said, Hey, here’s this tool, here’s our software, go use it. Here’s a few recommendations we have. And then people would come back and say, actually, we’re using it in this way or for this reason. And that was really exciting, too, to go through.
Stone Payton: That’s a marvelous idea. How about let’s learn something from our customer base? How about that? All right. So you’re headquartered in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Yeah. Tell me about the business climate and the I don’t know, what’s what’s the community like up there in Chattanooga? Are you finding it an embracing business community and community in general? Is it a is it a fun place to be? Tell me about Chattanooga, man.
Kenneth Burke: Well, obviously, it’s great. Otherwise, we wouldn’t still be here. But and I’m a little biased in all of it, But yes, I mean, one thing that is unique to Chattanooga, especially compared to a lot of other cities, is everybody’s always willing to to help or to make an intro. And so if you if you’re an entrepreneur or you’re a small business owner or you are an entry level sales rep or, you know, pick a position, you’re in between jobs and you say, hey, here’s what I’m trying to do. Can I talk to you about it? Can is there anybody you would recommend that I should talk to or any resources I should look into? And 98% of the people in Chattanooga are going to. Talk to you and point you in the right direction. And that’s that’s pretty unique.
Stone Payton: So you guys have accomplished something that so many of our listeners and I guess I would say Lee and I too, we run the Business RadioX network, hope to accomplish in terms of scale and and impact. And I’d like to I’d like to think some of that is a product of the culture that you’ve built within the organization. So I’m interested to get your perspective on recruiting, developing and continuing to nurture the people in your culture. You’ve probably learned some lessons. Maybe you’ve even skinned your knee a couple of times, but have you come out of that with a with with some some sort of framework for this is how we recruit, develop, retain our our people?
Kenneth Burke: Yeah. There’s a lot that goes into it for us early on and I don’t remember when exactly, but early on we kind of had this collective epiphany that a company culture is the one thing you build without ever writing a line of code. It’s going to be created whether you’re intentional about it or not. And so it’s best to be intentional about it. And once we thought about that, we started putting more structure around how we do things. I mean, we’re always a fairly laissez faire group of people. Like if you needed to get in at 930 instead of 830 and wanted to work later instead of going home a little sooner, that’s fine. If you needed to leave for a doctor’s appointment or to pick up a kid, totally fine, you know? The most important thing was that the work gets done and that we’re working together to hit a common goal. But once we kind of had that realization, we started to put some more structure in place for other people so that they could they could thrive and started to work through more questions about what happens in this situation or that.
Kenneth Burke: And then started to more, I guess, systematize how how to treat others. And we a lot of times just go by the golden rule of treat others how you want to be treated. But sometimes people want to be treated differently than how you want to be treated. So, you know, put some structure in place, kind of made sure we. I don’t know what the right phrasing is, but try to make sure we weren’t putting people into a box that they wouldn’t enjoy being in. If that makes sense. And then, you know, flexibility, feedback. We were a small company, especially at the time. So every time we added a new person that fed into the culture. And so it was kind of how do you want what direction do you want this to go in? Now we’re about 40 people, so it’s a little more said it’s a little more difficult for any one person to influence it. But still, it’s the culture becomes an amalgamation of the leaders and the people they lead. So.
Stone Payton: No, that’s well said. How do you and I’m sure there’s no Pat answer to this, but it’s one thing for, you know, that founding team, that early start up group, they’re all, you know, just breathing, eating, living the business and where they’re headed. And then as you grow up, I guess, as I say, how do you get the results you need and want with the voluntary effort and cooperation of other people? And maybe perhaps even more importantly or maybe this is the secret sauce. How do you translate that vision, that mission, without an excessive dilution? That just seems like we haven’t been faced with that yet at Business RadioX. So I’m asking genuinely, you know, what are some do’s and don’ts or some things to think about if you if you want to try to to because those are the those are the those folks are on the front line man. You want them living into that same mission and vision right.
Kenneth Burke: Yeah and especially for the people who are really on the front line, like your customer service personnel. Yeah, that’s that’s much more of a grind a lot of times than being in management, you know, or higher. A. One thing I would say is that you probably can’t get them to want to treat it the exact same way. So I’m I’m not one of the original founders or primary owners. They are going to have a much more vested interest in the growth and success and health of the business than I am because it’s much more their baby than mine. I still care a lot. I still feed from them. I still have my own investment in it, but there’s going to be a little bit lost there. And I think what you want to look for and there’s going to be a little bit lost kind of at each at each management layer as you keep going down. Okay. But the thing is to make sure that it’s. It’s not lost because people don’t care. I guess there’s a lot of ways to or they don’t feel like they they matter to the vision. So if you’re able to to set a vision, set a trajectory, say, hey, this is where we’re trying to go. This is your piece in it. I want to help you. You know, I want to help you help us, basically. And then I also understand that, you know, for you coming in as this is an entry level position, we don’t really expect you to be here for your entire life and we’re not going to act like we do. And so how can we treat you and develop you in such a way that you feel like you’re getting the most out of this experience? Um, so that you can go wherever you want to go. And, you know, ironically, not ironically, but kind of. Counterintuitively, if you are treating people that way, then they do become more invested in the business because you are more personally invested in them and they want to stay and they want to keep contributing.
Stone Payton: Well, and I suppose it’s also quite possible that their expression of their investment in the organization and the vision just may look different than than what your frame of reference is. Right? They may just be approaching in a very different way. And if you can at least not let try to try to set it up so that so that their value system doesn’t clash, you know, you might even you might even get a new way to demonstrate and live in the vision and mission that that that that you guys hadn’t expressed yet.
Kenneth Burke: Well, and that’s a great, great point, too, because whenever you’re hiring something we learned something I learned at least was. Basically interview based on skills, hire based on values, and so interview based on skills. So you’re getting 100 applications of people applying for whatever job who looks the best on paper, you know, who are the top five, let’s say. Great, bring those in. Now, whenever you’re interviewing those top five, assume they all have within a margin of error the same skill set. Now whose values most closely aligned to your values, to your company’s values, because those are the people where you’re going to be able to. For lack of a better term, go to war with day in and day out. When you have to go through the grinder, you have to do what’s extra. Those are the people who are going to come together as a team and actually do it as opposed to somebody who says, well, you know, I got my 40 hours this week, so I’m going to go home now.
Stone Payton: Right. All right. If you’re up for it, I would love to actually dive into the work and maybe walk through a potential use case. And you have complete license to say, yeah, that’s not a good use case. And if you are a prospective client for this, I would just tell you that. But and we’re going to it’s my show, so we’re going to do it about me guys. Listen, if you want a lot of really good, solid, free consulting, get yourself a radio show. Because once you get them in the room and you hook them up to the mic, you can ask them almost anything you want to. So you heard me at the top of the show. I did a live read for our community Partner program, the Main Street Warriors. Just to give you a little bit of quick context and many of my listeners know this, the core business model at Business RadioX, we’re in 58 markets in some way, but we have 19 of these physical studios like you’re sitting in right now. And typically someone who’s already an entrepreneur and almost always in the professional services, B2B business will run that studio. They will utilize the studio to help them serve the community and help them grow their own business. But there is a very lucrative business in the Business RadioX business.
Stone Payton: And so me and the other 18 people who run these community studios, we all have a half a dozen to a dozen clients who are professional services, B2B, CPA, lawyer, it managed services, folks like that, marketing agencies. And we kind of we we counsel them in most cases. Look, let’s yes, let’s do a custom show, but let’s don’t do the I’m a smart CPA show. Let’s really think through who you want to serve, where they’re hanging out, what they’re excited about, what they’re scared of. And then let’s build a show that will put you in a position to genuinely serve that ecosystem and as a result, build real relationships real fast with that group. So that’s our core business model. It works. It always works. Kenneth had never done work. I mean, it just really and I know, you know, I’m biased, but that’s the case. And fast forward to me doing that for 18 years or I guess it would have been 17 at the time. Then I moved to Woodstock, Georgia, and I meet a lot of people who are like solopreneurs and start ups or, you know, just really small organizations. Maybe it’s a two person law practice. It’s not a 28 person law firm, and I don’t care how good my thing works.
Stone Payton: My our our fee schedule is is just out of reach for those folks. Right. And so but at the same time, you know, I got the local radio thing, so I’m becoming social mayor. I’m meeting all the small businesses and I’m trying to figure out a way to help these smaller businesses. And I just love the sense of community. So with a little bit of help from from a couple of folks here locally, namely Sharon Cline, who’s a voice over artist, and David Samiyah, who runs Diesel. David Ink, We we built this thing called the Main Street Warriors. And the idea is that we could we could build a community partner version of this where smaller businesses could afford it at a much lower fee schedule. And they don’t they don’t get their own custom weekly show and all that. But we let them sponsor shows and we let them do special episodes. And when and when we write a check to a local nonprofit, it’s the it’s not stone, it’s the main street warriors. Okay. So that’s a little background context. So we’re getting that thing off the ground. It’s got some legs, but now I’ve got now I’ve got now it’s just successful enough to be dangerous, right? So now I’m building this community.
Stone Payton: I’m kind of trying to fan the flames a little bit. And and in building the community, I want to continue to communicate with the folks who enroll and become members of this thing of ours. Is that a potential use case? Because as you’re talking, I’m thinking, well, maybe even on the marketing side, but let’s just say let’s say they went ahead and they enrolled like I would love to, to get some communication out to these people on a consistent basis in a way they could respond. For example, we’re going to do a retail raid. One of the things that we do is we get the main street warriors together. We all hop in the car or the golf carts, and we go to a local, you know, a restaurant or the dress shop or whatever. And, you know, you drop 1000 bucks on a local retail shop. You’ve made a real impact. And so wouldn’t it be cool? Maybe, I don’t know, almost Shut up in a minute. If we if we got the word out. Hey, guys. Next retail raid is at, you know, the manual down on Main Street. I’m on a hush now Is there anything there for your for your technology.
Kenneth Burke: Yeah yeah there’s there’s there’s a lot of options there. Right. So it’s a communication channel like. You might use for email or a social media post or something, right? It’s just texting is going to usually get people’s attention faster. So a few a few quick use cases from from that context. One is you could use it, let’s say, just for content marketing. So you’ve got new pieces of content or a new radio show or an episode, you know, and you want to give it share it with your subscribers. So you can text it out to them and you can do a handful of things to to bring in new subscribers like you would for anything else, you know, forms, you know, hey, a CTA or a call to action on the show, you know, hey, subscribe. I’m doing X, Y, Z. You send it out. And let’s say for your CPA client, it says, hey, you know, today we’re talking about how to handle, I don’t know, pick a tax topic. Here’s an episode all about it. If you have any questions, just respond to this message and we’ll talk through it. And we’ve seen tons of companies. Use that approach to to get new clients to upsell existing ones, to spread their brand in general.
Kenneth Burke: Because even if I’m not interested in buying anything or talking to you about it, I’ll consume the content. I’ll at least see what it is. Somebody I know probably comes to mind. I’ll send it over to them, etcetera. Yeah, so there’s one use case, another is just the Yeah, kind of an SMS promotion or SMS marketing for, Hey, we’re going to be meeting up at this retail store this week and there may even be a discount that you can share to say, hey, as part of this group, you know, you get 10% off of everything, we’re going to show up. It’s going to be a great time. Here’s an image or a flier, you know, to help jazz it up a little bit. So there’s a couple. I mean, I think about radio shows in particular. We’ve had a lot of radio stations coming in to us and they’ll recently especially and they’ve they’re primarily using it for a text request. So not necessarily the brand name, but the action of requesting a song or a topic to cover or asking a question for people who are on air.
Stone Payton: So we could have done that today. If I were all set up with that, I could have sent out a text yesterday or earlier in the week and said or even we could even do it while we were on air and text out. Text us to this number. Questions for Kenneth. Absolutely. Oh, I love it.
Kenneth Burke: So there’s a few I can keep going with use cases all day, but.
Stone Payton: You’re really good at this. So all of those make perfect sense to me. You briefly mentioned marketing. Is it okay to use this technology to go to someone that you’ve never spoken to? And if so, are there some kind of there may even be some legal stuff, but are there just some best practices like, look, if you’re going to do this elegantly and you’re going to hit someone cold with the Main Street Warrior program in Cherokee County that you don’t know, you know, do this, don’t do that kind of thing. Yeah.
Kenneth Burke: So first of all, I’m not a lawyer. This is not legal advice.
Speaker4: Okay. Fair enough.
Kenneth Burke: Point one, don’t text anybody you’ve never had a prior relationship with. Okay. So salespeople ask about this a lot for prospecting. You know, should we or what should we say whenever we cold outreach somebody through text to really protect yourself. Don’t do it at all. Now, if you have a quote unquote, prior business relationship with somebody so they have purchased from you before or they’ve gotten on to your marketing list, somehow they’ve given you their contact information basically in one way or another, then more or less fair game. You need to be able to manage opt ins and opt outs. And so if somebody says, Hey, please stop texting me or something more colorful that you can take them off the list. But other than that, you know, if they’ve let’s say I mean, anyone who’s interacted with your Main Street Warriors program, if they’ve given you contact information. Yeah, hit them up.
Stone Payton: Okay. All right. Well, and that’s really more our ethos anyway. We would never try to spam somebody into buying some little thing anyway, but yeah, I really. Okay. I really like this idea. Fantastic. I’m going to shift gears on you for a minute and ask you about passions outside the scope of your work. My listeners know I like to hunt, fish and travel so they know that about me. Anything in particular, you have a tendency to nerd out about that just a separate and apart from from this effort.
Kenneth Burke: I can nerd out about most things, to be honest. Not that I’m like an expert in any of them, but I just. I find those rabbit trails fascinating. I love reading. You know, right now I’m reading a book on the Man Who Ran Washington, which is about the life and times of James Baker, the third who was kind of ran Washington for 30 years or something. Yeah. Uh, let’s see. Anyway, I love reading love music big into guitar. Used to play piano and violin, but have since rusted out on those. So anything there, anything with live music is is near and dear to my heart. And then I I’ve done a lot with the the Young Professionals group in Chattanooga so a lot of helping to recruit, develop and retain talent in Chattanooga. And I love Chattanooga anyway. So just everything around that is is a passion of mine.
Stone Payton: It’s interesting that you I wonder, they’re probably not connected, but we have a group here right here in town, and it’s the Young Professionals of Woodstock. And believe it or not, Kenneth, they let me in. I don’t know why. And now it’s my responsibility. I’m on like a committee, and I’m defined, like once a month, maybe twice a month, what we call a local leader. And they may own a business, but often it’s people that are with the city or the government or the sheriff’s department, you know, first responders. But it can be a business owner and maybe they’re, you know, heavily invested in a in a nonprofit. But it is such I love being a part of that, a part of that group. And, of course, now you got my wheels turning. We have a like a YPO chat, YPO, Young Professionals of Woodstock. And so we do communicate there through the chat. But how how cool would it be if we had like this, this texting thing to go back and forth?
Kenneth Burke: Well, and then, yeah, I mean, great for for your committee, but also, you know, for getting the VIPs to come back month after month, you know. So I mean we’ve we’ve done events. We pretty much have a monthly educational event and then a monthly just meetup. So the meetup is, you know, we pick a bar, a restaurant, and we say, Hey, everybody show up at 530. We’ll be here until about seven, you know, hang out, have a good time. And then for the educational, it’s pretty much pick a different professional development topic. So how do you turn a side hustle into a full time business or how do you navigate work life boundaries or how do you we’ve done how do you handle your own taxes? We keep coming back to accounting. But anyway, so that’s always been good. And just getting the word out. As a quick reminder, especially, I don’t know if Woodstock is this way, but Chattanooga’s kind of a last minute town. So whether it’s for sports or events, you know, or something else, those day of texts to say, Hey, don’t forget this is happening, come on out, bring a friend, make a big impact.
Stone Payton: But you thoroughly enjoy working with that group. You probably get first look at some marvelous talent. Yeah.
Kenneth Burke: And there are definitely a few perks. I mean, there’s nothing that’s, you know, I can’t. Come in and lay claim to to anything or to any one person and say, hey, you should come work for us or something. But yeah, I mean, it helps me see some great people. And I think that’s that’s a lesson we can all take away in most of these situations is there’s a lot of great people out and about. One, everybody has a good story or an interesting and unique story. And then two, there’s just a lot of valuable people who are interesting or interested in what you’re trying to accomplish. Do what you can to get out and get in front of them.
Stone Payton: So do you find yourself filling, whether informally or formally, kind of a mentor role with any of these folks?
Kenneth Burke: Mentor may be a strong word, but maybe moments of help. So it’s it’s been fairly common where somebody recently out of college has somehow or another gotten connected to me and has said. Has asked the question or something to the effect of. I want to find something I’m passionate in, something where I can make an impact in. And I you know, so basically they feel like what they’re the work they’re currently doing doesn’t matter in the big picture of the universe and they want something to matter. Uh, so there’s a lot of moments where that comes up. And my response is typically, you know, passions are developed, not found. So if you’ve got a couple of good things going for you, a boss who cares decent, pay some flexibility then. You know, do your best work where you can. Be good to people and other opportunities will come from that.
Stone Payton: And this is not something that Kenneth just read in a in a book. You guys have actually been named like one of the best places to work in the Chattanooga market, haven’t you?
Kenneth Burke: Yeah. So for Chattanooga, we won. We we want a recognition for best places to work three years in a row. Wow. And I think we would have had four, but they stopped doing the award. The local one. And so nobody got it fourth year, but we got a three peat. We’ve been a certified Best Places to Work, which is a trademarked title, apparently. Yeah. Yeah. Um, and then we’ve also I mean, just recently earlier this week, we were named to the Inc 5000 fastest growing companies for the third year in a row. And I really think those two are related, right? Like if you, if you take care of your people, they’ll take care of of your customers. But it also just makes them more enjoyable work environment.
Stone Payton: So what do you think it is? Are there a couple of things you feel like you can point to and say, Well, this is why we were at least in the running and maybe why we won? Because we’re really good about this, or we certainly put a lot of attention toward that. And are we? Whatever we do, we never, ever do that.
Kenneth Burke: It’s hard to say, honestly. I mean, there are so many things I would like to say. It’s because, you know, we. We chose a good market, built a better product, and then our good people. So we recruit good people and, you know, are good to them. It’s definitely an oversimplified response for it. But I think a lot of it does come down to just those basics.
Stone Payton: So what’s next for you guys? Where is text request headed? Anything in particular? You’re going to be focusing your energy and your effort on in the coming year, 18 months?
Kenneth Burke: Yeah, well, there’s there’s two things. One is probably really boring to a lot of people. It’s just some more things on on the security side of messaging and how that fits in with compliance and the telecom partners and all of this stuff that I could nerd out about. But that won’t make sense to most people. So that’s one thing. Everybody will get value from it. That’s that’s what’s important. But then also, it’s kind of an exciting time for us these next few months. One of our largest competitors historically who launched about the same time we did, we’ve kind of gone toe to toe with feature for feature with they’re shutting down at the end of November and they’ve actually been referring their customers to us. And so one love that. And then two, you know, we just especially on the marketing side, just need to make sure we do everything we can to to funnel those people in our direction and make sure they all have a good onboarding experience. That’s that’s pretty good moment for us.
Stone Payton: Yeah. Well, it’s an exciting time for you, man. All right. Let’s leave our listeners, if we could, with a couple. I call them Pro tips, right? Just a couple of dos don’ts, things to think about, maybe something they could be reading and, you know, pick pick a domain, whether it’s what you learn from from kind of the start up getting this thing to where it scaled, maybe what you learned for bringing technology to the market or maybe continue this conversation, what you learned about recruiting, developing and nurturing good talent and and getting everybody rolling in the same direction. Let’s let’s leave them with a couple of tips or thoughts.
Kenneth Burke: Yeah, I wouldn’t say this is anything too groundbreaking, but this applies to all of the options you mentioned. And it’s it’s just do the small things really well and really consistently. And when we look at what marketing efforts have worked for us long term, when we look at what has enabled our customers to succeed long term, and when we look at what’s enabled us to recruit and retain good talent, it’s been doing the small things well and consistently. And so it’s, you know, if it’s marketing, it’s creating content that answers a question in a helpful way and getting it in front of the right people and doing that 400,000 times. And if it’s recruiting, it’s saying, hey, it’s defining what the job function is and, you know, getting it out into the world and then asking the right kind of interview questions to bring people on. If it’s developing people ongoing, it’s something similar to just that, but just checking in and saying, hey, how are you doing? Or, Hey, you seem a little tired today. Can I help? How is your workload? Just those little questions. And I’ll be honest, I felt pretty awkward doing a lot of that stuff whenever I first started. I just. Something told me or probably somebody told me more likely that I needed to do that. And so I just started doing it. And it’s paid off, but it’s paid off across the board.
Stone Payton: All right. What’s the best way for our listeners to to learn more? Maybe have a more substantive conversation with you or someone on your team. A good way for them to tap into your work. And I just I want to make sure that they can connect with with you guys and tap into what you’re doing. Whatever you feel like is appropriate, whether it’s email, LinkedIn, website. Let’s just let’s make it easy to connect, man. Yeah.
Kenneth Burke: So if you want to talk to me directly, LinkedIn is the easiest way. Just look me up. Kenneth Burke I work for tax request. There’s only one of one of me, so go with that. If you want to learn more about the company or talk to anybody or me even about that, you can go to text request.com. It’s really easy to contact us five different ways from there. And our phone number is (423) 218-0111. If you want to call or text.
Speaker4: Us and if.
Stone Payton: They start that journey they may get a text haven’t they. They might.
Stone Payton: Can. It has been an absolute delight having you on the show, man. Thank you for your insight, your perspective. You guys are doing important and productive work and we really appreciate you, man.
Speaker4: Hey, thank.
Kenneth Burke: You so much.
Stone Payton: It is my pleasure. All right. Until next time, This is Stone Payton for our guest today, Kenneth Burke with text request. And everyone here at the Business RadioX family saying we’ll see you in the fast lane.