Meet Host, Mary Grothe
Mary Grothe is a former #1 MidMarket B2B Sales Rep who after selling millions and breaking multiple records, formed House of Revenue®, a Denver-based firm of fractional Revenue Leaders who currently lead the marketing, sales, customer success, and RevOps departments for 10 companies nationwide. In the past year, they've helped multiple 2nd stage growth companies between $5M - $20M, on average, double their MRR within 10 months, resulting in an average ROI of 1,454% and an average annual revenue growth eclipsing $3.2 million.
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Mary Grothe: Hey everyone, this is Mary Grothe - Founder and CEO - and you're listening to the Revenue Radio® podcast brought to you by House of Revenue®. Each week, we'll talk about common revenue challenges and how to get past them, share real-world experiences, and get a glimpse into my life as a CEO scaling my own business. If you're a struggling entrepreneur, or just an entrepreneur looking to be inspired, this podcast is for you. I'll give you honest, unfiltered, and practical insights into growing your business and getting past your revenue plateau.
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Vintage values is present for me today. I'm excited to talk to you about it. There's a thought that when you move physically, let's just start with this, you're packing up your house, you're moving, you have to decide what you take with you and what you leave behind. Sometimes, once you get into the new house, you are either so thankful that you left something behind or regret it. You tell yourself, "I wish we didn't get rid of that. I wish we had packed it brought it with us." You never know until you get to the new place and live there for a while.
They say hindsight is 2020. But in the time, you have to make a decision. I think about this scenario from a CEO standpoint when you're scaling your company. When you go through your startup phase, you have very important values. You also have a clunkiness, and lack of infrastructure. There are things when you move into the next stage. I don't think we are as CEOs as conscious about evaluating the values of what we're bringing and what we're purposefully leaving behind. When you're moving, you have to decide, you're looking at everything right in front of you, and you're choosing what gets packed and what goes away.
It's not that simple when you're moving in your business and moving to the next stage. Sometimes you can call out that this is the old way we did it and are not doing that anymore. You fix the process, and you enhance that. Often, it's not until we are in a moment of crisis, dealing with a challenge, or something simply isn't going the way we pause, reflect, and identify. If we forgot to bring something with us that really worked well for us in the past. We're sad that we didn't hold on to that vintage value, that we let it go away with a history of that part of our story, in that phase of our business.
Recently, we went through some adversity in our company. My old sales manager used to say adversity reveals character. Character isn't made in crisis; it's revealed. When you get pressed and go through that pressure, what is release getting squeezed out of you? Well, look at the values that you bring forth, what you're willing to hold on to, and continue to stay true to even as you grow in scale. That can be the make or break for your culture - attracting new talent, employee retention, getting great results with your client.
Last week, we talked about internal values versus external rewards. Today, we're talking about the vintage values that we may have forgotten about. We forgot to put them in a box and pack it with us when we moved to the next stage of our business. When we were in the startup phase, just from my perspective, as a CEO, I knew everything about every person that worked for me. They were very important to me. I cared about them as humans, their lives, their significant others, and their families. There was an investment that I felt I was making in them by simply just showing up and caring.
I felt like we were in a very chaotic startup phase, with no infrastructure, and we were all over the place. I was so busy; I had my own clients I was serving. I think at one point, I had six or seven of them. That right there was more than a full-time job. Not to mention, I was running a small team of five or six people and running the company doing all the business development, managing payroll and accounting, and all those pieces. It was seven days a week, pushing 100 hours a week job, including travel. Even with all of those distractions, I would have been there if anyone on the team had asked or needed anything.
From day one, my strongest value is that I want this to be the best journey for the employees. I just said this last week, as we had two new hires start. I'm not a fool. I know not everyone sitting in that room will be with us a year from now, two years, three years, five years. I hope they are. The markets are hot right now - with careers, so much opportunity out there, amazing compensation plans are things we eventually can't compete with. I can't worry about tomorrow. I need to focus on today. Today, I can control sticking to my values and ensuring that this is the best experience they're ever going to have while these people are here.
I make mistakes. I don't get it right. Some days I show up stressed. I can be hot. I can get frustrated. I have very high standards. I hold people to those standards. I can be critical of work. Maybe that, in a way. At the moment, people don't love it. Humans crave to be held accountable and have the structure and know-how to succeed and win. There's a way to build that culture while also caring about people back in our startup days. I knew that that was my North Star and something I cared so much about.
Suppose people are going to agree to work for this company. In that case, I'm committed to them in creating a great experience while they're here. Well, that value got hard to maintain, as we doubled in size this year. We started with 12 employees at our peak, and we got to 27 or 28 team members in September. So within nine months, doubling, one of the biggest stressors and panic was not knowing how to commit to that value that was so important to me. It was just impossible, not enough hours in the day to get to know everybody coming on board understand who they were.
That was a value that I felt I didn't bring with me from the prior state. To that future state, we moved in our company. It was a value that I didn't know how to hang on to. I was so busy that I couldn't figure it out. I let it go. That's a problem. What values have you let go that were important to you in the startup phase that you got through it? You let it go? Do those values stay in the history of when you are in that phase or that size? Take a moment and think about what did you love about that past and that history? And how can you continue to bring it forward? Well, that's something that the awareness came back around for me to say this is my most important value.
Let me tell you how I solved or I'm beginning to solve the challenge. One, make time. Ableton, an executive team, and they're remarkable. Over the last few months, we've been very intentional in training them up and transferring duties. Finally, entering into a new era as a CEO, where my workload has lessened. There is actually free time people can book on my calendar, or I can just intentionally use that time to sit down and talk to people. It's incredible.
Last Wednesday, I was able to be in the office. That's the day when all of us come in together. I got there after dropping off my son. Traffic was in my favor, very light. I had some extra time. I just sat at one of the community tables where four of my team members were sitting on newer ones. I really haven't built a very strong relationship. We're just getting to know each other. For 30 uninterrupted minutes, we could just be in a community with each other and talk to each other. Be there be present, no agenda, no structured meeting, just be there with each other. It brought me so much joy.
The other thing that I love now is that I can randomly call people on my team during the day to check in and ask how they're doing. I follow many of them on social media, and I can see what's going on in their lives. I can send them a text, a Slack message, a DM, ask how they are asked how fun the event was. Over the weekend that I got to see some pictures of what they did. It's meaningful because I genuinely care. It is so exciting to be in this new era where I couldn't make time for this vintage value because I didn't know what I had until it was gone. When we scaled and doubled that element, I felt so disconnected from people on our team when I lost that element. That's not the CEO I want to be that doesn't sound fun to me.
Let me tell you, it wasn't fun. I lived the life of it. I was losing excitement. I was losing the passion for one of the biggest reasons I love doing this in my role. Oh, it felt amazing. To have that with my team. One of my favorite vintage values is genuinely knowing who these people are and how I can make their lives better. Even in the tiniest of ways, sometimes it's just acknowledging their work. Sometimes it's showing a sincere interest in what they do outside of work. Sometimes it's giving them the space to just share and talk and be heard. There are so many ways somebody can feel valued as a human, and it is so life-giving.
As a CEO, I asked you to reflect on the vintage values that fell to the wayside as you've grown and gotten bigger? Ask yourself, write it down and then see what excuses you come up with immediately. "Yeah, but I can't do that anymore because that was this way. Now we do it this way." I challenge you to figure it out and let's just say every option on the table. Suppose you asked me five months ago, "Mary, you could have this if you cut your work week and have your workload in half." I would have laughed in your face and potentially said something that followed like, "You've got to be kidding me. That's not possible." But it is possible. It's so important that it's a priority, which means it has to take precedence over the other work, and we have figured it out.
Now, I get to start on this journey again of embracing this vintage value. That gives me so much joy. When a CEO is filled with joy, that's our fuel for the tough days for the challenges. When we are pressed, you have to press those olives to think about how olive oil is made. There's so much rich goodness, and healing power inside of those olives. Olive oil is so good for you. When you think of its purity, how olives are pressed, goodness comes out when you're pressed what comes out of you. When dealing with adversity, what part of your characters are revealed when dealing with a crisis? What kind of character do people experience coming from you. You can't give what you don't have.
Sometimes when we're under a mediocre state of stress, just normal work, we can fake it. So we can consciously be present to say even though I might be exhausted. I don't really want to be pleasant to this person. I am in a place where I can consciously acknowledge their awareness that I need to put on a happy face, put a smile on, slow down, and act calmer. On the inside, it's this raging fuel-fueled fire of how you really want to behave at that moment.
You have this good conscience because you're only stressed at a mediocre level. You can still hang on to some good values. As soon as that mediocre stress turns into a high stress, you get pressed. The mask just falls to the wayside. When you get pressed, what really comes out is inside of you. Do you have a hardened heart? Do you have frustration consistent frustration with your employees? Do you value humans, or do you just get frustrated and taken down by their flaws? Do you focus on the positive? Who could they be for you in their element and their prime when they're in the flow and passion of their work? Do you just focus on every single thing that they do wrong every single day, and you just wait for them to make a mistake?
Maybe you're not a CEO. Perhaps you're listening to this. You're a manager, you're a colleague, you're a teammate, you're a co-worker of someone else. How do you treat the people around you when you're under pressure and under stress? Do you honor and value the people that you show up to work with every single day? How? Or do you just immediately get frustrated by their flaws? Do you find yourself talking to another co-worker or a friend or family member and just venting over how this person consistently frustrates you? If you could channel some of that energy into identifying how you could creatively solve the problem.
Take some time to just breathe, get centered, find some peace, and get the courage to talk to that person directly in a very loving way. Let them know how you get triggered sometimes with how they do work, how they communicate or treat a client or treat you, or maybe something they said to him over a Slack message or in an email. Maybe they walked past you in the office and didn't give you eye contact, and you took it the wrong way. Whatever it is, man, if we can only be brave enough to have bold conversations.
Be present with the people we surround ourselves with, and build these relationships where people know what's truly in our hearts. If we build a foundation, when we get pressed, when we are consistently good on the inside, the more good comes out even in adversity. Your character is revealed in moments of crisis, challenge, and adversity. What comes out of you, you're in control of that. You can renew your mind. You can replenish your heart.
Yes, being a CEO is hard. Being a VP, a boss, or whatever you are, it's hard. I get it. You have a choice. When you think about the vintage values, you think about being olive and being pressed. What do you need to go back and pull forward with you even if you think it's super hard? Impossible. I have no idea how I would do that. You don't understand my circumstance or situation. Listen to the excuses you're telling yourself. Give yourself optimism that potentially anything is possible. Write it out and see the fruit of your decision.
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Thanks for listening to today's episode. If you're interested in being on our show or want to learn more about how we can help you scale your company, connect with us at houseofrevenue.com or with me Mary Grothe spelled G-R-O-T-H-E on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram.
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