Success After 40 Under 40
With nominations now open for the 2016 class, these three alumni continue to be great examples of local leadership.
I checked in with Steven Krauza, owner of Krauza Family Chiropractic; Honey Stempka, CEO & founder of Undo Undone; and Scott Quezada, owner of SQuare Trade Design, three of Erie's 40 Under 40 alumni. Read the Q&A below to see what they've been up to: renaming businesses, eliminating carbon footprints, and showing people that they are capable of anything.
Brianna Lyle: How has your business evolved since you were on Erie's 40 Under 40 list?
Steven Krauza: The 40 Under 40 list introduced me to a new audience. I am reaching a new and different demographic now. Being featured in 40 Under 40 has been a great experience!
Honey Stempka: The business has been renamed and rebranded to Undo Undone (previously Sustainable Lifestyle Group) with a focus on revolutionizing the workplace through customized training, team building, and strategy experiences that help reengage and refocus employees … We are expanding beyond the region working with new industries in other geographic areas. The rename and rebrand has also involved a new website, new business cards, new social media sites, etc.
Scott Quezada: Since my induction, I've continued business as usual. Although, my client base is expanding and I'm projected to have my most profitable year.
BL: Erieites often complain about the lack of small and/or diverse businesses in the area, but there is opportunity to begin and foster business here. What are your thoughts on the state of small business in Erie?
SK: Small business is the future of the Erie community. The writing is on the wall in terms of large industries remaining in Erie. In order for this community to survive job cuts and companies moving to other states, we need to create our future. This is a great time for people to contemplate starting a small business.
HS: Interestingly, there are more small businesses in our community than "big" businesses. I think there is work that could be done making those small businesses visible in the community, taking their contribution seriously – particularly when it comes to women-owned businesses or those owned by underrepresented populations – connecting them with one another for collaborative opportunities as well as connecting them with the big businesses in the region, to be a part of their supply chain, whether it is for a widget or a service.
SQ: Small business is a fundamental part of any society. Unfortunately, we as a whole live in an over-saturated global market. So for small business to thrive, we all need to make a conscious decision to support our young business owners.
BL: Any advice for someone looking to start a new business?
SK: Many new entrepreneurs envision a well-established, finely-tuned business in their head. As a result, many take on too much debt load … which makes it difficult to keep their head above water in the early years.
I strongly recommend new business owners start lean, take on as little debt as possible, and then allow the business to evolve. As the awareness of the new business grows, customer base develops, and cash flow increases, then [you can] start upgrading in a disciplined manner. The well-established businesses new entrepreneurs envision at the start take time to develop.
Today's business climate requires businesses of different and similar industries to collaborate instead of competing. An example of this is the local craft beer industry. These business owners don't necessarily compete against one another. They know if they work together, they will all benefit. In the health care industry, I collaborate with other wellness-minded businesses and individuals. If we work to build one another up, we all win. Symbiosis in business is a wonderful thing in today's economy.
HS: Start, don't sit on the idea waiting for it to be perfect. Perfection is an illusion. Get it out there and adjust as you get feedback from the market.
SQ: Do the prep work! Business plans are essential for starting any new business. Making yourself an expert in your profession translates to your patrons that they are spending their dollars wisely.
BL: How do you go from an idea to a business? Maybe you can help readers understand some of the process from initial idea to fruition.
SK: Business owners need to develop their "why:" why they want to be in business for themselves. The "why" must be their driving force and compass. There are a lot of less stressful ways to earn a living than owning your own business. The purpose [of the business] should be bigger than you, letting the passion of the "why" flow through the "what" of your business.
HS: It takes a lot of time, more time than you think, more time than people tell you it will take. I could say, "Do this, then this, then this," etc.; but depending on the business and the person, the process would be different for everyone. It begins with vision, a vision so big it's scary and from there establishing goals and an action plan to make it happen.
When I began, I didn't have a big enough vision, I was playing it safe. I am currently working through the visioning process again and expanding on the vision exponentially, which will expand the company exponentially in the future.
SQ: For me, it started with interest, experience, and continually feeling under-appreciated in my vocation while working for others, creating a catalyst for change. I realized that I needed independence in my work-space. From there, it's still an uphill struggle with a plethora of daily responsibilities. Validation and inspiration will be all the rewards needed to continue your journey.
BL: Why do you do what you do?
SK: We are all capable of more than we give ourselves credit for. Many people live in fear … fear of pain, fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of success, fear of being their true selves … I believe in people; in showing them they are capable of anything they choose to do. They just need to believe in themselves.
HS: It all comes down to making a positive difference in people's lives. Trying to be a kick-ass role model for my sons.
SQ: Taking things apart and putting them back together has been a long-running fixation of mine. Now I get to disassemble people's houses and create healthier, more efficient spaces in design and use.
BL: What's your favorite book?
SK: The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.
HS: There are many. I am developing a list of books that I read every year because the information within is so valuable to the way that I execute the day-to-day or to my mindset. One of those books is The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. For the last three years, this is the first book that I read at the beginning of the year. Also on this list are The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey and Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, so far.
SQ: Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Krauza Family Chiropractic aims to create a consciousness for each practice member to actively participate in their expression of life so they can effectively create wellness in all three dimensions of life without interference to the body's master control system. (from krauzachiro.com) 898.2346 or krauzachiro.com
SQuare Trade Design offers full service sustainable design and construction. Utilizing Building Sciences – the study of how houses function – allows the company to use fewer, safer, and longer lasting materials. In turn, this minimizes clients' and its own carbon footprint, which is the company's loftiest goal. 490.3514 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Undo Undone delivers memorable, customized experiences that revolutionize today's workplaces. They work with independent teams and departments of all sizes through training, team building, and strategy to create healthier and more productive employees that love what they do and for whom they work. (from undoundone.com) 969.5402 or Honey@undoundone.com
Brianna Lyle can be contacted at bLyle@ErieReader.com.