TVC073 Founder Vitality Stephen Woessner
I welcome Founder of Predictive ROI, legacy maker and data guru Stephen Woessner on the show, to share his insights and story on passion, purpose and the importance of people in building a brand and a business.
Part of my Influencer Series Stephens direct, energetic and engaging story will have you inspired and taking action to lead in business and in life. Founder and self confessed “data-geek” Stephen Woessner is guru of all things about predictive ROI: SEO, online marketing and how to take that special online real estate of yours, which is your website if you’re owning a business, from average to remarkable.
Stephen’s career spans both public sector, being in academia six years, the private sector and owning five businesses.
Take away some top tips on building your emotional energy bank, dealing with stress, creating a game plan for your people and staying healthy on the road.
I asked Stephen what his approach is to blending health, wealth and wisdom throughout his career:
The three pillars, keeping together the energy, the mental fortitude, of having the right people around you and being able to fail forward and pick yourself up.
Here’s our 7 Founder Vitality Tips to stay engaged, energised and create a culture from within:
Founder Vitality #1: Legacy
Billie Jean King said “A sense of purpose is a privilege.”
Running a business and being responsible from an early age for Stephen has been about following the family hard work mentality and out of admiration and respect for his Grandfather.
This might be kinda out of left field for some of your listeners, but I think I owe it to my family. Specifically to my grandfather, Peter. He was born in Istanbul, Turkey, in 1902. He grew up in Istanbul as a young Greek male, at a time when it wasn’t awesome to be a young Greek male in Turkey, where there was public executions of Greek men. There was a lot of ethnic cleansing and my grandfather grew up in that.
And when he was at the ripe old age of eight, he became the man of the house, because my great-grandfather didn’t come home one day, because that’s what the times were like. And my grandfather grew up in that.
Stephen’s grandfather came to the US in 1920, he had $10 in his pocket, couldn’t speak the language, and had no friends. He didn’t have a robust LinkedIn account or a lot of friends on Facebook, or he couldn’t create a Kickstarter campaign.
He had this dream that he wanted to have a restaurant some day. But he had no path to do that. He started cutting vegetables and cleaning lettuce and washing dishes at a downtown Canton, Ohio, restaurant.
After coming to the country with nothing, six years later he had saved enough money to own his own restaurant, and that was just two years before the Great Depression. He gave away more soup than he ever sold, married an amazing woman and had four incredible kids along the way, was a man of extreme generosity.
Through all of that, Stephen remembers the fact that his grandfather focused on how to smile and took care of his customers.
“So when I’m sitting at my desk late at night I have this photo on my wall in my office, and it’s a photo of my grandfather Peter, standing behind the lunch counter in his first restaurant with four customers sitting there at bar stools, eating fresh soup and sandwich he had made earlier that day”.
Founder Vitality #2: Keep Perspective
When Stephen thinks of the struggle and the sacrifice in everything that his grandfather did in order to get to the US, he reminds himself, “Yeah, I think I can send that last email.”
He attributes his grit and tenacity and persistence to not being afraid.
“I’m afraid of a lot of things in business, and there’s a lot of things that give me trepidation. But I look at my grandfather and think, if he could risk everything, then yeah I think I can work a little bit harder”.
That perspective and connection to bigger struggles and what someone else has paved the way for removes short term roadblocks and creates a strong will to succeed.
Dreams don’t work unless you do.
Founder Vitality #3: Don’t Label Generations – Build Your Own Culture
Often founders or senior executives reflect it’s hard to communicate with different younger generations. Stephen’s approach is it comes down to who you hire, how you lead and authentic recognition of skills and what they value the most. Know your staff don’t assume and label them due to their age or generation.
I think there’s always been the fly by night, the short-cutters, the people who are looking to scrimp or scrape or hack, or shorten it. But the reality of it is, there is no such thing as an overnight success. It takes decades. I’m running a company now that is packed full of millennials, I’m the only one who isn’t a millennial. We’ve got a team of 14, and you know what, I think the culture is what you create.
- If you have a team full of millennials who don’t put in the work, or you have a team full of baby boomers who don’t put in the work, you can take that culture and point it right back to the founder.
- If you have a sloppy business, it’s because the founder is sloppy. If you have an unorganised business, it’s because the owner is unorganised…..
“I think the millennial generation for the most part, are getting character assassinated. The millennials I know are very hardworking, very dedicated, very committed to purpose and mission, so I think that’s largely oversold and probably trying to cover up a fault of the founder.”
Don’t label your staff and connections without getting to know what really motivates them and embrace a rich culture of diversity and intellect at all levels. Keep learning and providing a mentoring role within your organisation to ensure you’re leading by example and others.
Founder Vitality #4: Get Your Own Values Right First
Quite often founders or companies try to ‘get’ their values based on a marketing plan or industry strategy, and they forget that everything comes down from the founder or CEO values.
So as a founder, however big your business, whether you’re listening to this and you’re starting from home or you’re leading a large organisation every single thing you touch is a reflection of your values.
- Figure out what your core values are
- Why you’re doing this business
- What’s important to you, and the way in which you want to act as a person, but also commercially, because those things are interlinked.
You absolutely cannot separate your personal values from your business values, as a blend.
Empower your team with your why, with the information on what your motivation and drive is on a deeper level. Allow them to get to know you.
“If you expect people to follow you, then you need to tell them why you’re doing what you’re doing. You need to give them insight to your personal drive, think that doesn’t have to be hidden away”. Nikki
So chances are, Stephen shared his grandfathers story with the people at work. Legacy, purpose and perspective. He has shared the story at work, with those he works with and also with his podcast listeners at Onboard Nation. It is a part of who he is. Whether he’s talking about the members of his team, or listeners, but it is real.
- Time and time again wouldn’t you rather create a culture around who you are as a person that other people can then buy into and subscribe to, and say, “Yeah, I believe in that too,” as opposed to trying to create a culture that will appeal to everybody. Because then you lose. That’s a recipe for disaster, as opposed to being authentic, true to who you are.
Founder Vitality #5: Take Time To Work on the Above and Apply it Daily – Do the WORK
Figure out what your authentic who you are is, what your culture is, what are your three values that are pinnacle pillars for you and your business.
Do the work to take the time to figure that out. You can’t just brush past that. It needs the same amount of time as doing other parts of running a business. Budgeting, marketing, you need to understand yourself too.
So as a founder if you’re listening to this, think about what your story is. If you don’t know what that looks like. Please take the time for yourself and your business, and your teams, to figure that out. I think it’s number one.
Founder Vitality #6: Plan Personal Energy and Wellbeing Daily – It’s part of success
When you are passionate about your business and it’s a core part of your DNA you need to run your body and personal life with the same approach and planning as you do everything else. It must BLEND into your week.
- Staying on top of the game and working some of those 22-hour days means planning ahead and being practical. Your health is your wealth.
- And secondly, what about your tactical ways to keep your energy and your personal well-being alive during this incredible career of yours, Stephen? Give us some little insights as to your magic tips for staying on top of the game and working some of those 22-hour days, at times.
Stephen: Yeah. And as you well know, there definitely are those periods of time that are like that. And I wish that I had some great secrets, and there probably are some. I can only say that this is what I do. I like to spend time with friends and family. For me, family comes first. So I’ve been able to create a business that enables that, both for myself and for our team.
- Keep balanced in body and mind
- Dip into your emotional bank account when stressful situations occur and lean on experience and facts/stats
- Encourage your staff to think into the future and create a clear road map for them to work with as well
- Be authentic and upfront when you need your teams to pull extra hours and give them the why
- Value family and your staff as a family
- Be prepared with good food, travel well and run your body like your business.
There’s 86,400 seconds in a day, and they can choose to spend that with somebody else. It is a gift and a blessing that they chose to spend that with you. It is your responsibility to make that the best 86,400 seconds, the best decision they could have ever made. It’s on you to make that happen, not them.
On a parting note from Stephen, “Fear and procrastination are the enemies of success.”
Our main message for you is, if anything in this conversation has ignited something deep within, then go take action.
Until next time, guys, I’m wishing you a fantastic, productive, winning week. And remember: stay healthy, wealthy and wise we are all leaders in life.
PS: Stephen, as much as I, would love a review on iTunes. So hop over there, leave us a comment, any questions, we’d love to hear from you.
Yours in Vitality
Mojo Maker Retreat and Coaching Package – last places available
Email me direct for information firstname.lastname@example.org
Or complete the form below and me or my team will get back to you.
Fitpreneur the book is available through Amazon, it’s also on Kindle and Apple, iBooks.
About my guest
A background in digital marketing, Stephen is an entrepreneur, a global speaker and educator and a best-selling author of two books: “The Small Business Owner’s Handbook to Search Engine Optimization” and “Increase Online Sales Through Viral Social Networking”.
You can tune into more about Stephen on his show Onward Nation and hop online to www.predictiveroi.com, to identify Eight Money-Draining Mistakes and Money Making Tips Online.