The Traveling Roadtrip Continues

Happy Sunday everyone!

And the flights and travel continue!

As I mentioned in previous blog posts, I visited Seattle and Portland over Memorial Day weekend with my family.

2 days later I flew with a colleague to Atlanta to visit the Southern Region Team and meet reps who I hadn’t met in person yet.

2 days later I then flew with a colleague BACK to Atlanta for a training session in North Carolina.

My flight was originally supposed to leave around 10:30 am Sunday morning, June 5th. The airline canceled it and rebooked me but the layover via Minnesota would have put me into Atlanta late.

So I took the 5:30 AM flight direct to Atlanta, grabbed my luggage and rental car and grabbed a hotel for a few hours, napped, and picked up my colleague coming from Michigan and we drove 140 miles north to our destination.

Nisah Tahara, my head of Training, Learning, and Development, and I did a training session with a client over 2 days I had never met her before but we had spoken countless times via phone and Zoom, and wonderful to meet her.

We drove back to the airport, dropped off the rental car, and parted ways. I enjoyed my time with her as well as the client doing live training. First time since the pandemic. Other sessions had been strictly remote.

3 trips down 1 more to go. I head to Indianapolis, IN tomorrow morning!

I’m Ray Ruecker with Connect 5000.

(Pictured is Nisah and I at breakfast!)

The Southern Region Team of Connect 5000

Happy Saturday everyone!

As I mentioned in my previous post, I recently did a family vacation to Seattle and Portland and flew back.

2 days later, Tiffany Miller, my Director of Operations, and I flew to Atlanta to see some Southern Region team members we’d never met in person.

We had planned to back in February but with sickness and Coronavirus Omicron variant raging, we decided to postpone it until June.

So we flew in Thursday night, had a lovely dinner with the team at a great Italian restaurant called Venucci, and then went out for drinks later that evening with our team’s spouses and significant others.

The next day we had a quick manager’s meeting and another pleasant lunch with the team at Taste of Lemon.

Thank you Casey for your excellent, southern hospitality and shuttling us around those 2 days.

Pictured are several members of the Southern Region team who live in the great state of Georgia.

Happy Summer Everyone!

I’m Ray Ruecker with Connect 5000.

Pictured here from left to right: Ray, Rachael, Jessica, Frankie, Casey and Tiffany.

 

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Hey everyone!

I hope you had a great Memorial Day holiday!

My wife and I have a 12 year and 9 year old and their last day of school got moved up from May 24th to May 19th.

We had planned a West Coast trip back in February and all of the sudden, it came upon us.

So we left for Seattle, spent a few days there and visited the Space Needle, Seattle Aquarium, and had a wonderful dinner with my best friend and his family on our last night there.

One of my Connect 5000 reps lives in the Seattle metro and we were able to grab breakfast Saturday morning and had a wonderful time chatting in person. She’s an excellent rep and was hired during the pandemic and we had never met face to face until then.

On Sunday, May 29th, we took the train from Seattle to Portland and spent a few days with my wife’s brother and his family and toured the Nike HQ which was a good experience. Then we flew back on May 31st.

All in all, a wonderful family vacation to see friends, family, and one of my reps for the first time.

What vacations do you have planned so far? Where are you going?

I’m Ray Ruecker with Connect 5000.

 

Happy May Day!

Happy May 1st everyone!

4 months down in 2022! 8 left to go! Time sure travels by quickly.

Some members of the Kansas City Connect 5000 team got together recently at Chicken N Pickle.

Chicken N Pickle is a unique venue with a wood-clad, chicken-centric joint with a patio, rooftop bar & pickleball courts.

We sat outside, ate, drank and enjoyed the great spring weather and didn’t talk about work.

We socialized, caught up on our personal lives and enjoyed the Friday afternoon. With team members working remote and feeling isolated at times, it’s good to be intentional and gather in person from time to time and stay connected on a human level.

I’m Ray Ruecker and wish you a happy May!

PS: Pictured here: me, Brandi Williams, Mike Tracy (AKA Mike Rowe), and Tiffany Miller.

Happy Spring Everyone!

Hey everyone!

It’s been since December since I posted anything. My apologies! Not that anyone requested more content from me!

I was in Chicago recently for the annual AA-ISP conference and tradeshow. It was my first time ever for this particular association.

Around 600 folks arrived worldwide and it was interesting and surreal. Some people weren’t sure how to act around others in real life!

Nice to meet people in person I’ve interacted with only via phone, email, or Zoom and get back to the “new” normal.

2 hot button topics were:

  1. How to find and hire good candidates.
  2. How to keep the existing quality team from leaving.

Lots of great conversation and sharing ideas in this very tight and limited labor market.

What trade shows and conferences are you attending lately?

I’m Ray Ruecker with Connect 5000. Spring is around the corner!

(Photo credit: https://pixabay.com/users/pexels-2286921/)

 

Post Election Results

So to get straight to the point: I lost the election handily. I lost approximately 70% to 30%.

It was a fair race and as far as I know, my opponent kept it clean and professional and he ran a good race.

In fact, my neighbor brought me 3 pieces of direct mail she received from him in the last month of the campaign.

I’m glad I ran, it was a good experience, and I met some wonderful people.

With that being said, I’m retiring from politics with a perfect record of 0-1.

I knocked on about 30-40 doors while campaigning and realized while doing it, I didn’t like it and wasn’t energized or passionate about it. Ironically, I’m a high extrovert who really enjoys meeting new folks. Not in politics.

So I lost the sales contest but kept my values and character intact.

You can’t complain but sit on the sidelines. Politics is not for the faint of heart.

I’m Ray Ruecker with Connect 5000. Happy Thanksgiving!

PS: Photo by Depositphotos (<a href=”https://depositphotos.com/category/holidays-events.html”>Neon Concept of winner and loser Vector Illustration. Glowing neon sign – depositphotos.com</a>)

 

Vacationing and Unplugging As Entreprenuers

Happy Sunday everyone!

Over Memorial Day weekend, my family and I flew to Sanibel Island in Florida and enjoyed our first family vacation in over a year and a half.

We were gone from the Saturday before the holiday to the following Thursday.

Other than keeping an eye on email and Slack and handling invoices and payroll, I was able to disconnect, spend time with the family at the beach, sightsee, enjoy dining out at various local places, and getting out of the normal day-to-day flow. I even ran into a fellow small business owner from Kansas City who was on vacation as well with her family, 5 miles away. We were able to get the families together for the first time and dine out.

I had let my staff know in advance that I was going off the grid and that unless it was an emergency, don’t contact me. That they should contact the two other managers in charge. I’m all about delegating!

As small business owners and entrepreneurs, it’s tough and at times feels impossible to disconnect, unplug, and get away. Our companies are our “babies” and we have the mentality that our firm can’t function without us. For solopreneurs, that may be true.

Yet it’s critical to step away, unplug, rest, and come back with fresh eyes and ideas. I encourage you to get away when possible.

At Connect 5000, we have had some solid growth and have probably doubled the number of reps since last year.

With growth comes challenges and growing pains and the culture kind of takes a life on its own. More personalities and problems to manage and get out ahead of. But such is the life of small business ownership and entrepreneurship!

Happy Summer everyone!

I’m Ray Ruecker with Connect 5000.

(Photo courtesy of Elizeu Dias.)

 

Continual Training and Professional Development

Happy Friday everyone!

A few weeks ago, my firm finally joined the correct century and moved from IMAP email to Google Workspace.

Christy Rogers of Training Umbrella did some remote training with my team and was excellent! Continual education and professional learning are musts in this current remote age of working. I highly recommend her training and company.

(Not all of the staff are pictured here.)

When your team is working remotely, they may feel isolated and disengaged!

Have some friendly lunch and learn sessions and let them expense their meals to the company.

If you don’t have any topics to come up with, have your staff go around, share interesting facts and stories about themselves that others may not know about, and it’s a wonderful way to teambuild.

I’m Ray Ruecker with Connect 5000.

Podcast Interview with Real Media

Happy March everyone!

February was very frigid here in Kansas City and I believe we had 7 to 10 straight days of the temperature no warming up past 10 degrees.

Don’t get me wrong! It gets very cold here but I don’t recall it that many consecutive days. Such is life.

I was recently interviewed by Brad Burrow of Real Media here in the metro of a book I published last fall titled, “How to Score From First Base! (In Sales!).

You can listen to the podcast here and welcome to purchase the book if you wish.

Happy listening!

I’m Ray Ruecker with Connect 5000.

(Photo courtesy of Jukka Aalho.)

Happy Holidays!

Happy mid-December everyone!

Seems like yesterday was the beginning of the pandemic in mid-March and now 2021 is right around the corner.

Where did the past 9 months go? Please tell me!

It’s been quite a year for almost all of us.

Thanksgiving came and went. Now, Christmas is almost upon us.

Cheers and blessings to you and your loved ones!

Ray Ruecker with Connect 5000

PS: Thank you, Greg Rohm, for the new logo design! Thank you Chuttersnap for the holiday pic!