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Stephanie Scheller Disrupts Businesses to Help Them Grow

Stephanie Scheller understands the power of disrupting the traditional ways we do business. In fact, she named her company after the term. Grow Disrupt’s mission is exactly as its name suggests: “to disrupt the way the world goes into business.”

In July 2018, Stephanie Scheller turned Scheller Enterprises into Grow Disrupt as part of their rebranding efforts. This change also marked the dramatic shift of the company’s vision and ethos since its founding in 2014. Now, the company has devoted its efforts to training small business owners to start disrupting the traditional ways small businesses used to do business.

With Grow Disrupt, Stephanie Scheller and her team trains and educates small and medium size business owners on diverse business concepts from “sales to marketing to customer service to management and fulfillment.” These trainings help the owners realize the essential roles that each concept plays to achieve lasting and sustainable success for their businesses.

Stephanie Scheller and Grow Disrupt offer several types of training sessions. If you want to team up with them, you can avail of their in-house trainings, where they will visit your company themselves. Grow Disrupt also offers public sessions covering specific topics, selling tickets to businesses that want to attend. Finally, they also offer online programs that enable small business all over the United States to receive training at lower costs, and without needing to leave their houses or offices.

Aside from her work at Grow Disrupt, Stephanie Scheller is also an in-demand keynote speaker. For her engagements, she speaks on a variety of topics addressed to several groups, from “churches, students, entrepreneurs, and Fortune 100 companies.”

Stephanie Scheller has also written a bestselling book called “Friend Power: How the Friends You Choose Can Change the Course of Your Life.”

Check out more in-depth interviews with industry pioneers here.

 

Jerome Knyszewski: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Stephanie Scheller: I am obsessed with psychology. I am constantly looking for what small changes we can make that will increase our effectivity. There are a million people out there hawking support for small business owners. But if everyone lived up to their promises, we’d have a lot more successful small business owners! Part of the issue is that everything a small business owner learns has to infiltrate their brain far enough and simply enough to be implemented and integrated into the business and not every support agent understands that. For years, I’ve been obsessed with psychology and how to make what we do easier for the small business owners to understand and integrate and allow them to operate at their peak. .

My sandbox is our events! There are a ton of events for small business owners out there. But at our events, I am constantly analyzing and adjusting how the event is set up to maximize each attendee’s ability to absorb the content. Every time we do an event, we find a few more things we can do that no one will overtly notice, but that make the whole experience easier on their brain to process, which means that they are able to be more alert, internalize the content they are learning, and it’s a breeze to implement when they get back to their office!

Now that we’ve been doing events as our primary focus for six years, we’ve built a huge toolbelt of things to do that make our events really stand out. A few examples:

  1. Our pricing structure: we price at $3000 or $8500 for an event….not $2997 or $8497 because their brain doesn’t have to work to process “$3000” and they can focus more on the other aspects of the event to consider. Additionally, our clients aren’t looking for discounts. They are looking for quality and are smart enough to recognize the games people play with $8497 and are actually turned off by it.
  2. We only hire professional speakers, who are also active in whatever role they are going to teach about. If they are teaching us how to get PR for our business, they are actively getting PR currently so they know what is working, and how to break it down to make it easy to do the same.
  3. Our agendas are always designed so the energy flows throughout the day so no one hits hype-overload or cortisol fatigue and can’t process mentally. We plan longer breaks than most events and organize, what appears to be, small touches that allow our audience to connect more intimately with other attendees. That allows them to give the side of their brain that is internalizing information a break from information overload and recovery to prepare for the next speaker.
  4. We also set up extremely intentional seating at our events to facilitate more conversation — at the Grow Retreat, we use round tables of 6 instead of rounds of 10 so no one has their back to the stage and everyone has the ability to spread out a bit.
  5. We put the snacks and drinks on the tables so people don’t have to get up and go through a big long line to get a drink at break.

The list continues!

Jerome Knyszewski: Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Stephanie Scheller: It’s critical that, as an entrepreneur, you take time for yourself and you show yourself how much you appreciate all the work you’re putting in. That may sound strange, but I’ve learned that entrepreneurs are fantastic at really pushing ourselves and ascribe to the “Living today like no one else will so you can live tomorrow like no one else can.” So we cut our paychecks to be able to afford our team, we work longer hours, etc. And the problem is that we end up with an identity of this entrepreneur who half kills him/herself and doesn’t value him/herself so even when we’ve made it, we can’t see it!

It sounds overly simplistic, but start prioritizing paying yourself AND giving yourself profit distributions — or start working on fixing your margins and costs so you CAN. And give yourself permission to take time off, to NOT work tonight…to leave work early or to take the weekend off!

Your head will go CRAZY when you try this if you’re anything like I’ve been! There’s SO much to get done, and if you leave your team working, you may feel guilty about taking time off when they are working like crazy. Do it anyhow!

Remember that the key to self-care is that it’s at least a little bit selfish! But unless you take time to take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else. So especially when you’re feeling like there’s no freaking way you can take time away, that’s your biggest cue that you’re probably pushing yourself too hard.

Take some time and go do that thing you really want to do.

Celebrate the small wins.

You’re an amazing person. Give yourself permission to recognize that.

Jerome Knyszewski: None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Stephanie Scheller: There have been a couple of people who really impacted me, my now husband, at the time boyfriend, and my Mom. Over the six years I’ve been in business for myself, Matt (husband) has been unbelievably supportive. He’s believed in me and reminded me to be kind to myself, and that I can do this.

My Mom is the reason I got started on this road!

Back in 2013, the company I was working for was falling apart at the seams. They’d had a few people come in to work for them that really took advantage of them, and (on top of being an industry that is really struggling: newspaper) they were really hard up for cash. At the time, I was the head of the retention department for digital sales and when they’d courted me to take over the department the previous year, the only way I’d agreed to do it was if they designed a commission structure for the department since I didn’t want to leave my sales commission to take over a department with 8% retention and try to turn it around for a relatively small base salary. Towards the end of 2013, they started really hurting for cash and made the decision that the commissions for the retention team had to be cut. I spent the next 7 months fighting tooth and nail for my department, and my own commission and they kept promising a new commission structure to roll out, then finding an excuse to not pay on it.

I remember one day in particular, I’d come out to meet with an upset client and try to retain his business for the company and while I was sitting in his office, I got a text from my boss letting me know that there wouldn’t be a commission for this month either. Fortunately, the client had to step away to deal with an emergency in his office so I excused myself, went out to the parking lot and just fell apart. I ended up calling my Mom in tears, at my wits end and with no idea of what to do next.

What I love about my Mom is that she could have sat there and commiserated with me and called the company all kinds of names and told me I was better than that, etc.

Instead, she purchased a second plane ticket for me to fly to California with her the next month before we got off the phone so I could attend an event with her on how to start a sales training business.

That was the start of a whirlwind! As mentioned before, I started my business in May 2014 and by the end of August I had made more money part time than full time and walked away to run my sales training practice full time. But that moment taught me that sitting around being miserably and complaining doesn’t help, doesn’t do anything! If you are unhappy, it’s up to you to take the reins & change what is hurting you.

Jerome Knyszewski: Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. Delegating effectively is a challenge for many leaders. Let’s put first things first. Can you help articulate to our readers a few reasons why delegating is such an important skill for a leader or a business owner to develop?

Stephanie Scheller: Absolutely! To start, I want to admit that I’m a recovering do-it-yourself-er. It took me years to really trust my team with anything important to the business. I operated with a skeleton team and gave them only minimal tasks, usually something that was redundant or supportive to what I was working on. I was fully trained and capable of taking over any task in the company at the drop of a hat and could usually do every part of it better than anyone else. I didn’t realize it, but hiring people who were less competent then me was my way of staying in control of the business and avoiding dealing with the identity crisis I ended up having to work my way through eventually.

It wasn’t until I worked through some of the mindset, communication and identity crisis issues I was dealing with that I started actually trusting my team. Until I did that, we were experiencing growth, but not at the spectacular level I wanted.

When I finally started trusting my team and building up a real team, assigning work (and empowering them to make decisions on their own, I had two major breakthroughs:

  1. Life was a LOT better! I wasn’t so stressed, I wasn’t freaking out over a million details and less stuff was slipping through the cracks
  2. We were able to make that exponential growth happen because I was freed up to focus on my energy genius (the things I am GREAT at, like sales & marketing) while letting my team truly own and run the parts of the business they were in charge of.

Our events took a MASSIVE leap forward in quality. Our revenue doubled. Our profit doubled and cashflow and recurring billing stabilized. It was really remarkable that I was so much happier (which came first!) and then the business stabilized so quickly in response to learning to delegate & trust!

Jerome Knyszewski: Can you help articulate a few of the reasons why delegating is such a challenge for so many people?

Stephanie Scheller: I think a lot of leaders struggle with an identity crisis. On the one hand, we have new work to do now that we’ve moved into the leadership phase that is pulling on our attention. On the other hand, a lot of the identity we’ve built over the past period of time revolves around being great at the role we just left! And as humans, we really like feeling competent and capable and dislike the inherent slow learning period of becoming capable at a new task or set of tasks. So when I work with small business owners, I often find themselves blaming their team for being impossible or unskilled when the owner is stepping back in and taking things over, or unconsciously providing conflicting information or not enough information so they can step in and be the hero while still doing the job they are best at. This often leads to a business owner who will “delegate” a simple step in an overall project, but refuses to delegate actual decision making power. So they are creating a self-fulfilling prophecy that no one can do this as well as they can because their team is constantly having to come to them for decisions throughout the process, because the business owner is constantly undermining the decisions the employees make in order to retain their identity as the hero in that arena. It’s complex and layered!

The other issue that I think comes into play to make delegation so challenging revolves around communication. When we are having a team member take over a task that we are competent at, especially if it’s a task that we have been doing for a long time and are extremely competent at, it’s easy for us to skip a step while trying to tell them what to do.

For example, most of us have peeled carrots or potatoes or some variety of vegetable in our life. If you needed to tell someone else to do it who had never done that before, the instructions would probably align with “Grab the peeler and peel the potatoes!” Accompanied by a quick point to the peeler and the potatoes. In that sentence, there’s minimal instructions about what the peeler looks like, how to hold it best, how to hold on to the potatoes so they don’t pop out of your hands, oh and the warning that peeled potatoes are slippery! In the best case scenario, we grab the peeler and quickly peel half a potato and then hand it back to them.

So of course the individual who is taking over peeling the potatoes is substantially slower at it than we are and may peel five potatoes in the time it takes us to peel ten.

In a fast-paced work environment, this can be frustrating to the leader who planned for you to spend 10 minutes peeling, but it’s taking 20 and messing with their timeline.

Now, that’s a pretty simple example. But the same concept can be applied to pretty much anything: making calls, designing graphics, running a sales call, taking care of a customer, etc. There are a million things that we’ve learned to do inherently that make the task easier, but even when we communicate all that to the team member, the team member is often able to only retain a few of those tips at once! We’ve been “peeling the potato” so long that it’s second nature and we don’t even recognize how much skill goes into doing it well and quickly.

So then we get frustrated and tend to just take it over and do it ourselves.

Jerome Knyszewski: In your opinion, what pivots need to be made, either in perspective or in work habits, to help alleviate some of the challenges you mentioned?

Stephanie Scheller: I highly recommend that the business owner who is struggling with delegation take some time to evaluate WHY they are struggling.

We all have a hundred excuses for why we are having trouble. But excuses are exceptionally misleading! They are usually how our brain handles dealing with something we don’t want to face. Maybe we’re a crappy manager & trainer and it’s easier to deal with the perspective that the team is incompetent. Maybe we’ve let employees get away with sup-bar performance for years and now need to call them on the carpet but are afraid it will ruin the friendship we’ve cultivated or turn ugly. Maybe we’re dealing with an identity crisis and we don’t recognize that our role is shifting and it’s scary because we’re used to having to be the fearless leader who is never scared.

When you’re struggling with delegation, I recommend starting with “The 5 Whys exercise”.

The 5 Whys Exercise: Whatever your challenge is, list it out, then your job is to ask yourself why that is happening five times. So if you feel like your team is incompetent. Ask yourself “Why?” and whatever answer you get, ask yourself why again until you’ve asked Why five times. You may find that you didn’t hire the right person. Or perhaps you hired the right person, but you didn’t support them very well.

A lot of times, it will take some work and some introspection to uncover the heart of the issue, but then you can start to address it!

I also highly encourage business owners to realize that when you delegate, part of your job description becomes managing the team! You need to delegate MORE off your plate than you think you do because you need to free up some time to manage and support your team properly. Too often I see a business owner who delegates and then doesn’t check back in until a month later when numbers aren’t being hit or something is being done wrong. By then, the employee has learned how to do it wrong and it’s become a habit. Or it’s been forgotten by the employee because they weren’t used to doing it and it slipped from their mind.

When you delegate, ask questions to ensure they understand, then check-in at predetermined times (This is the key! Let them know you’ll check in “On Monday” but to reach out if they have questions in the meantime and how far you expect them to get by Monday) to ensure that they are comfortable owning the task. When they try and push it back on you by asking you to make decisions pertaining to their task, ask them what they think they should do.

When you check in, ask specific questions about specific portions of the delegated task that you know they might have trouble with to solicit detailed answers rather than a generic “It’s going well!” which is usually code for “I have no idea what I’m doing…but I’m figuring it out rather than admit that I don’t know what questions to ask!”

It’s more work to delegate at first because it’s easier for the employee to put it back on you, or take it over & do it yourself than to ask questions to get your employee to own the task & the outcome, but when you start to train that portion of your brain, you empower you and your team to thrive!

Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?

Stephanie Scheller:

Facebook

LinkedIn

Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!

 

The post Stephanie Scheller Disrupts Businesses to Help Them Grow appeared first on Tekrati.

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