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Soundtrack to Success | Dean Cherny | Episode 173

Top tips from Dean Cherny.

1. The best meeting agenda that I’ve ever used in a business is the Level 10 meeting.

100% I’m not saying this because you are an EOS implementer, but the best meeting agenda that I’ve ever used in a business is the level 10 meeting. It is fantastic, and it outstrips anything that we’ve ever used.

2.  Find your tribe.

I’m not sure it’s a tool, but my tip would be, find your tribe. You know, for me, it was, was EO. EO runs an accelerator program for businesses that are operating between, you know, 250 and, I think, a million dollars in turnover. It’s us. I wish I would have known about that before I joined EO, because I think that would have got me to where I am a lot quicker. So I think, you know, whether it’s EO or any other organization, I’m not trying to just plug AI, I’m just saying, find your tribe, whatever that is. You know, it’s incredible what you can learn, and the joy that you actually just get from connecting with like minded, like minded people.

3. Look after your mind and your time like time is valuable.

look after your mind and your time like time is valuable, and make sure that you give yourself the time that you need to be able to process and think strategically about what you’re looking to achieve, as opposed to always being, you know, in the weeds. So I suppose I haven’t expressed that overly well, but make sure you take time out of your business to. Work on the business, not always being in the business. So that tool of you know, going and doing a learning day, or taking half a day off, or a day off to go and think about strategy and do those kind of things is incredibly important, because often you just can’t see the forest from the trees and without being able to have a clear vision of where you’re trying to go, you know, you’re just sort of meandering along without any true north and often go off track accidentally. 


Business Action




business, store, eo, team, people, work, music, dj, years, queue, love, building, retailer, entrepreneurs, global domination, australia, lead, djing, grow, great

Debra Chantry-Taylor  00:00

Welcome to another episode of Better Business, Better Life. I’m your host. Debra Chantry Taylor, Taylor and I’m passionate about helping entrepreneurs lead their ideal lives by creating better businesses. I work with established business owners and leadership teams to help them live their ideal entrepreneur life using Eos, the Entrepreneurial Operating System. My guests come out of the show to authentically share the highs and the lows of creating a successful business and how they turn things around in their business, or they’re experts that can offer help with business or life.

Dean Cherny  00:40

Spotify is a non commercial music service, so it’s not supposed to be used in business. So that’s where businesses like us, that’s where we play in that space. But we’ve just tried to make it really easy for any retailer of any size to be able to do in store music within their premises.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  01:06

So today’s guest is one of Australia’s most accomplished DJs. He’s been the musical director of over 150 fashion shows at over 30 Fashion Weeks and festivals over his 13 years. And he pivoted his business during covid, which helped build a new business, but also reshaped the business overall. He’s also a proud husband and a father of two girls, and he’s going to share with you how to create work life balance while scaling a business profitably. Dean Cherny is the founder of storeplay Your in store, music, queue management system. Welcome to the show, Dean.

Dean Cherny  01:34

Thank you very much. Debra, it’s good to be here.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  01:37

Yeah, it’s great to have you here. As always, we had a little chat before we came on online. And of course, you’re a member of EO, which I have a lot of involvement in over in Melbourne, so I’m aware of here, but we’ve never had the chance to talk before. So tell me a little bit about your your story and how you got to where you are now.

Dean Cherny  01:54

Yeah. So I think I’ve sort of traveled a relatively unique path, which is, I think some people sort of find a little bit interesting. So I, you know, back when I was at university, I was I was DJing. I always had a love of of music, which sort of came from a combination of my my mum and my dad. My dad used to do these buying trips overseas, and was going to America a couple times a year. He had a shirt manufacturing company. And my mum has loved going to discos and having a having a boogie with her girlfriend. And so when dad was overseas, she always made dad bring back records. And so we built up this amazing collection of funk, soul and disco, because my dad didn’t know anything about music, but he just bought records with beautiful African American women on the front covers. So, you know, he’d come back, and then we’d sit around as a family, and that sort of stoked my my love of music. And you know, that sort of has been a thread that I’ve woven through my wife, my life, you know, first starting as a DJ and then taking that into marketing, melodies and store play. So, you know, I was at uni, I was studying marketing. I was DJing on the weekends. And from my final year assignment, we had to sort of present a business plan. And my business plan was combining, you know, my love of DJing with marketing, and set up an in store music company. And as part of that, we had to present to a retailer. So my lecturer sort of got a retailer in, so a real retailer in, and they got someone in from Portland’s. And so I sat there and I did a pitch to Portman’s. And, yeah, they liked it. And we literally walked out of my presentation and they sort of said, Hey, do you want to do our music? So I literally rolled out of university with my first client. I recently moved and found that assignment. And I will tell you, I only got a passport. You know, I use that as an example with my two kids that, you know, just because you don’t get a great result at something, it doesn’t mean you can’t succeed at that, or you can’t do well at that, because that business now has afforded me an incredible lifestyle and life. And, you know, it’s not a huge business, but it’s a great business, and it’s one that I’m still just as passionate about as as I was when I started it back in 1989.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  04:27

So that means you’ve, you’ve never actually had a job outside of your own business, is that? Right?

Dean Cherny  04:33

Not, not really. I mean, not really. I, like, I did a couple summers working at brashes and, yeah, but that was the only job I’ve ever had. So I’ve actually never really had a full time job working for anyone. I’ve only ever worked for myself. And, you know, look, that had its advantages and disadvantages. You know, I was, I think I was 20 years of age. I was running my own company. You know, most my friends. Were just finishing uni and either looking for jobs or starting jobs. And, you know, my company had gone quite well, and I was also DJing as well. So I was sort of getting over dual income, you know, and I was loving life like, you know, I’d be playing clubs on the weekend, and, you know, did a bit of touring as a DJ as well, and did really well. There it was long before DJs became the rock stars that they are today as well. But relatively speaking, for the time, it was a lot of fun. And yes, I was, like, the first of my friends to probably buy a house and do that all on their own, you know, without any support and and all of those kind of things. So it was, it was great. But, you know, interestingly, what I sort of felt after a small while was I sort of recognized how lonely it was. I spent the first, I think, 25 years of this business, running it all by myself. So I wasn’t just an entrepreneur. I was a solopreneur, and I spent all of that time running it from home as well. So back in, you know, 1989 1990 there weren’t co working spaces like there are now. So I just had a little office in my in my home. And you know, I’d spend pretty much all day, every day, just making mix tapes, which is what it was at the time, or mixed CDs, and it was fully legit, so I got all the licenses, so, you know, I’d done it all properly. But it was lonely, and I probably didn’t realize how lonely it was. And, you know, a big change happened for me was when I joined EO and Entrepreneurs Organization. But that was, you know, that was 10 years ago. So, you know, I spent 24 years literally just doing it all on my own. And it was then, when I found a community like EO, that I learned so much. I remember the first EO forum that I went to, and someone was talking about the concept of right people right seat, which is, I know something EOS is very strong about, and you know, they often use the, you know, the right people in the right seat on the bus. And someone talked about that concept, and I just remember sitting there going, well, I got no one on my bus, and how do I find the right people, and just the concept of of that and thinking about things differently, the business has grown hugely since I joined EO, and I recognize that a lot of that is is through the learnings that I got as part of the EO community. So I I can’t speak highly enough about it.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  07:41

It’s one  of my things. I sort of say, you know, you’ve got to have a and I this is my, my version of it. You have a coach or a mentor who kind of keeps you accountable. You’ve got to have a peer group and an operating system. Once you’ve got those three things, life is much easier. But I love the way that EO really challenges your thinking and encourages you to think about, you know, how you can do things differently. So you grew the business from being a one man solopreneur and suddenly started, you know, engaging with the right people in the right seats and building the business. What happened next,

Dean Cherny  08:09

You know? So that that all sort of happened around 2014 you know. So what did, what it just to sort of back up and go through the progression of the business just slightly. Is when I started, I was mixing records on to CAS in my bedroom, then I was making mixed CDs in my bedroom. And then I obviously bought a house, moved out, and just continuing to do mixed CDs and stuff. But then in 2012 that was probably a big inflection in the business, because that was sort of when iOS and apps all started to happen, and when that sort of started to happen, I had this idea that maybe I could build an app for in store music, and I thought the cost of building technology had come down, and felt like it had become something that I could do, because at that point, most of my competitors had very expensive hardware that they’d lock in retailers in. So it made it very hard for me to win customers, because everything was starting to be digital, and they had this expensive hardware, like retailers were paying crazy amounts of money, like, you know, some of these players might cost $1,000 per store for this proprietary hardware. And if you’re spending that kind of money, you know, you’re going to try and amortize that over 10 years. So it sort of meant, even though they might never had a long term contract, the hardware locked those retailers in. And I just thought, there must be a way for me to, you know, democratize that. So I went about building store play, which ended up by being the world’s first app for in store music on a iPod Touch. So I got all the licenses out of or from all the major record labels. You know, and out of the UK and London, and London is the UK and the US and all of those, those territories, but really only got it for Australia and New Zealand. I didn’t sort I wasn’t thinking of global domination at that point. That’s probably not my personality to think global domination. And, yeah, and then sort of went about, went about building it, and that that really just sort of changed everything for us. And just to give you an understanding of sort of how early that was is, we launched, I think three months after Spotify launched in Australia.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  10:38

Oh, wow. And it’s impressive, yeah, yeah.

Dean Cherny  10:42

So we’re really right at the cutting edge of that, and that really allowed the business to sort of grow quite a lot. So we, you know, we now look after about six and a half 1000, 7000 retail stores doing their in store music. We work with, you know, some of the biggest brands in Australia. We work with just in Telstra. We work with the just group. We work with accent group, work, Country Road Group. But we also, you know, like when I said I wanted to democratize it. We really wanted to allow retailers it might only have one or two stores to be able to have the access to the same kind of technology that large retailers would have so they could have the best in store experience. And so we essentially created a SaaS platform. So while we’re often going out and doing outbound sales to get large enterprise customers in any retailer, any mum or dad shop owner, can literally go onto our website, subscribe to a playlist that they want. They can do all of their public performance licensing that they need to do, and literally in in a matter of, you know, two minutes, they can be signed up and be completely compliant for their in store music. And a question we often get is, well, why wouldn’t use Spotify? And so, just so you understand, Spotify is a non commercial music service, so it’s not supposed to be used in business. And a lot of people

Debra Chantry-Taylor  12:15

Not, not even in co working spaces. I mean, when we run the co working space and Event Center, you couldn’t use it.

Dean Cherny  12:20

It can’t be be used in so that’s where businesses like us sort of, that’s where we play in that space. And so, you know, we’ve just tried to make it really easy for any retailer of any size to be able to, you know, do in store, music within, within their premises, you know. And so that sort of is where the business was going. We built some digital signage technology when we run one client, because they wanted us to take over their their digital signage. So we were then doing a bit of, you know, music, and that was under store play. Then I did the signage with another company, and that was in a partnership that was called store, play display, and that was going on and traveling beautifully. But, you know, as we sort of touched on, you know, in 2020 we sort of got hit with covid. And for a company that does retail technology that works in the bricks and mortar space, covid, it’s fair to say it was not good for business. I like to say that was the day the music died, and within a week, when Australia went into lockdown, we lost about 80% of our revenue. You know, we were lucky or fortunate enough that we were doing some businesses that were considered essential services, like the telcos. We had some pharmacy and things of the like, so that just kept the oil burning. And I still had a relatively small team at that point. I think I had two people in Australia, and I had one sort of remote admin that was sort of doing some back end stuff for us, and so we could still make it all work, but I sort of then used that time to reflect and think about what retail would look like on the other side. And then so we went about building another piece of technology, which was called Social cue at the time, and essentially that was just a queue management platform. We knew that well. We expected that there’d be density limits, you know, as retail reopened, and so if there were going to be limits going into store, we knew that there’d be queues. And so this was an idea that I’d had a few years earlier, and I’d sort of pitched it to Australia Post but it sort of didn’t get anywhere, because I used to hate going into the post office and having to wait in line for my carded item if I hadn’t been home when the post postman came to deliver. And so it was essentially trying to take that concept, and so we went about building it again. We were really fortunate vicinity group who owned Chadstone and. I think around 50 or 60 other shopping centers saw the benefit of it. They offered it for free for three months to all of their retailers that wanted to use it, because they recognized that if you have had 10 people waiting out in front of your store, and you had to be 1.5 meters apart, that’s a 15 meter cube, and no one’s shop front is 15 meters, which would have meant you just would have perpetually, just had queues snaking out the front, and they knew that that could potentially be or a risk on so many levels, you know, health and and safety and all of those kind of things. So in two weeks, we sort of picked up like 1000 stores, and then as part of that, we also picked up Kmart as well, who wanted us to help solve their click and collect issue, because they were operating as a dark store and people were coming, and they didn’t know when they were coming, and they weren’t Set up to fulfill curbside. So if you rocked up there, they’d look at your order, then they’d have to run inside, which might have been 100 meters away, then they’d have to find your item, and there were 1000s of items, and they’d have to run back. And so we we built essentially a queueing system to allow them to be able to sort of triage it in blocks. And then they knew who was coming in advance, because you’d book your time in. And then they would then bring anything that was going to be picked up in that next sort of 20 minute block curbside. So when you rocked up, it was literally just pull it out of the thing and hand it to you. And that was incredible, you know, and we still do probably about 100,000 click and collect bookings for Kmart every month.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  16:47

Okay, so that’s continued on after covid, yeah.

Dean Cherny  16:51

And we have other clients as well. And out of that, we picked up the Australian opens. We work with the Australian Open on their queue management. So if you’ve been to the Australian Open, you can have a ground pass, but that doesn’t allow you set seating in any of the arenas. And there’s one arena called John Kane arena, and that has it’s open to people with a ground pass. And when there’s a good game going, you know that 5000 seat arena feels up like that. So you can often find that people might be waiting in a queue for three or four hours to get in, especially if they got back to back good games, because people mightn’t leave. And if there’s a big player, like any curious that’s playing on there, and that’s actually his favorite court at Melbourne park, you know, the queues can blow out and the wait times can be even longer. So we essentially did the same piece of tech scan, a QR code. You know, towards your number, you are in the queue, and then you can go off enjoy the amenities of the Australian Open instead of having to stand in a queue and sort of just wait and not enjoy the day. And so, you know, we also know that about 33% of those people that were in that queue then went and spent money elsewhere, because we can send them offers and do those kind of things. So we’ve sort of supercharged it. So we’re doing a little bit of work in that space. The Australian Open successes led us to quite a well known tournament in London that we’re doing in tennis in in July. I’m not allowed to say who they are, but, you know, we can all guess. You should be able to work that out. So we’ve now sort of moved into a whole lot of different areas, and it’s sort of quite exciting, you know, all sort of areas of retail, tech, and that’s that sort of takes us to the end of last year, and you know, since then, we’ve sort of done a small rebrand and sort of tried to reposition ourselves a little bit. I feel like I’m not letting you actually ask any questions.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  18:58

It’s all good. You’re doing a great job. We’re going to turn the story with things really helpful. You really helpful. So another set for scene. So this has got you to where you are now, where you’ve done the pizzer, you’ve got some different technologies, you’re about able to solve a whole lot of issues. Tell me about this. You. I said right at the beginning, you’re a very proud husband and father of two almost teenage girls. How do you make that fit in with your work life?

Dean Cherny  19:20

Yeah, it’s a good question. I think it’s one that has always been a really important to me, that that balance I had kids when I was I was late, like late in life, so I didn’t get married till I was 40, and probably didn’t have kids till I was, I think 42 or 43 Yeah, 42 and so it was really important to me that I wanted to be a present father and husband. And so it’s just always been one of those things that I’ve really tried to make sure I set that time aside in my calendar and that I’m available. Them for them. And I just, I don’t even necessarily know how I make the business work around it, but I sort of will. Sometimes I’ve tried to make myself redundant in the business. So we spoke that at the start of covid, I had two staff and one remote team member. So three staff members. You know, we’re now at 13, so it’s been huge growth within the team since then, and I’m just trying to make myself less and less involved, like I am involved from a strategic level, and I’m in here every day, but I sort of think I’m I’ve made myself redundant, and I’ve really enjoyed that ability that I’ve found to be able to just hand stuff over and let people do their thing, and I get out of the way as best I can. And, you know, sometimes that’s a little bit challenging, because I think I might be able to do it a little bit better or whatever. But I think having my team and giving them the power to be able to make those mistakes continually helps them grow. If I’m constantly trying to get in there and fix things, you know, they’re never going to learn. So it’s sort of like a bit of a teacher man, to fish kind of philosophy. And, yeah, I don’t know, it just seems to be working well, like when I travel, I try not to hassle with the team, and I just let them do what they need to do. And, you know, there’s reporting that I get, and that lets me know whether things are on track and off track. And that’s probably one of the nice things about the EOS system, where you’ve got your to do’s and, you know, you’ve got your scorecard. So we still, we use level 10 at meeting agendas. We have, you know, rocks and to do’s and issues and all of those kind of things. And so I can log in if I’m away, and I can see what the issues are in the business, and I can see if something looks like might need my involvement. I can see how things are tracking, because I can see everyone’s KPIs, which essentially is their scorecard. Yeah. That just means I’ve got a great snap side of the business, wherever I am, whatever I’m doing and but I mean, obviously.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  22:20

Growing from what two to three people, 13 people, is quite significant growth. How did you make sure the wheels didn’t fall off?

Dean Cherny  22:25

I’m not sure. Some, some might say they have fallen off a couple of occasions. But no, look, I look, I think the the continually monitor like we’ve set a really high standard of what we want to achieve within the business, and we’re moving pretty fast, and everyone’s very focused on it. And we get that, we don’t get everything right and all the time, but everyone is so focused on we’re very, one of our core values is, you know, no passengers. And I’ve very under, under the stress of the interview. I’ve actually even forgotten one of my other ones. But you know, it’s obsessed with customer experience, no passengers, and always improving. Thank God I got that out. So you know that obsession with customer experience is what we lead with, and I think that continually elevates how we react to those issues, you know, and also you know that always improving and no passengers means that everyone sort of carries their own bags, and everyone knows that if something goes wrong, the teamwork that happens if there is something that potentially goes a mess, it’s probably one of the things that I’m most proud to see, because everyone just digs in, whether it’s in their department or not. And that’s the beauty of having, you know, a really good, connected team and a really good culture within the business. Most, most people are in here a minimum of three days a week. I’m in every day, unless I’m traveling. And you know, we’ve got a couple days a week where everyone is in on on those days, we can make sure that the whole team connects and and has the right conversations. We do a team lunch every Wednesday, just to sort of get everyone around the table. We do team activities. So the culture, I think, really helps us execute on the strategy, yeah.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  24:32

And I think, you know, having that kind of shared vision and those core values that you live and breathe by is fundamental to getting people to work together and do space results, right?

Dean Cherny  24:41

Yeah. And I think everyone does share the vision that we have, you know, we have a quarterly goal. You know, this quarter’s goal, which we’ve just said, is like ace the quarter, which has a little bit of a tennis team for our upcoming tournament. And, you know, I think it just sort of talks to everybody’s role that they’ve got to play. You know, if. Everyone aces the quarter in their particular area, whether that be the curation in the dev, you know, in the ox, whichever part that might be customer service, then we know we’re going to have a great quarter.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  25:14

And it’s interesting because you mentioned you’re making time for your family, and you weren’t quite sure how it sounds familiar, probably applying some kind of common business techniques as well, which is, like, if you don’t make time for the important stuff, then everything else will just fill the gaps right which swap rocks are all about. So if you kind of go, these are my rocks, and I’ve got to put them in the jar first, and everything else can go around it. I’m guessing that’s kind of what you do, both in business, but also in your personal life. And saying, this is, this is important to me. This needs to be in there, yeah.

Dean Cherny  25:39

Like, I use my diary to block out lots of things to give me the time to do the things that I want, like I have a standing block out every day in the morning so I can meditate and I can journal and do all of those kind of things. The team will often come in in the morning, I’ll be sitting at my desk, you know, meditating, because I’m generally the first one in and stuff. And, you know, I have time blocked out in my like my calendar, to do deep work and those kind of things. And we try and do that as a business. If anyone’s got headphones on in there in the office, you’re not allowed to talk to them. You can’t disturb them. That’s like their sign that they’re in the zone and they’re doing something. And so people respect that. And I sort of do that. You know, something comes up that’s important to me to do is for for the family that goes in my diary. And no one would would ever dare sort of try and put something over that. And I blocked the time in and out to make sure that I can do it. And I think I’m a pretty efficient worker. The fact that I could, you know, run my business for 25 years all on my own. You know, it means I’m, you know, when I’m when I’m focused and on something, I can get stuff done. So I also know that if I, if I have to take half a day out to spend that time with the family, I know I can make up that time, whether it be after hours or when the kids are in bed or something like that, and and I’m happy to do that, because for me, the most important thing is being there for the kids, being there to support, you know, my wife as well, you know, to make sure she has the time to do the things that she needs to do as well.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  27:18

I think that’s really important. I mean, I under the same my calendar is actually blocked out for the things that I need to do, which includes going to bed early, believe it or not, because I’m an early morning riser, and so I have it in my calendar. And it doesn’t mean that it’s absolutely set in stone. I mean, it mostly is, but if somebody you know makes a really great offer, you could choose not to do that. But in general, things, it’s there for me, and it’s a great reminder. It’s like, actually that’s important for me. I need to make sure that is actually adhered to. And the same happens with company rocks, right, too. And you’ve got all this stuff that is about taking the business forward, rather than the business as usual stuff. If you don’t make time for it, it’s probably never going to happen,

Dean Cherny  27:51

Yeah? And I think that’s, that’s why we’re so diligent about doing those, those quarterly sessions and annual planning. And, you know, we, we use a facilitator, because I think it just makes it easier. I think as the founder, I generally try and speak last, you know, because I don’t want to sort of shake people’s thoughts based on on mine. And so I think if I was conducting those sessions in some manner, I would probably, you know, put forward my thoughts, and people would be able to read what I’m thinking and would possibly agree with me more. But by having a facilitator in there or an implementer in there, what it means is, you know, they can draw out that conversation, and then I can then sort of speak at the end and and give any thoughts that I want. But at least we’ve been able to table everyone’s thoughts. And, you know, there’s been some great examples of that recently, you know. So I sort of started to touch on, we did a massive rebrand with the business in the last quarter of last of 24 and that really came about because some of the team, you know, really felt that we could add more to the business. And so, like I’ve I said we had store play, which did music, we had store play display, we had social queue, which was the queue management. I still had a DJ business from, you know, that did events and those kind of things, and that was under the name of DJ dimension, and I’ve been running that since, I think, probably 1987 funnily enough. And then we through one of these strategy days, we sort of realized that if we wanted to grow the business the way we wanted to grow, the best way to do it would be by, you know, cross selling a lot more. And the easiest way for us to cross sell was if they’re all under the same banner. So we decided we did a big branding session and all of that. And so we’ve made store play essentially like the parent banner, and we have now store play music, store play display. We’ve added scenting so we have store play. Sense. So we’ve moved into fragrance. We have store play IQ, which used to be social queues. IQ, standing for intelligent queuing. And then we’ve wrapped that in a retail media play. So all of that tech, we can now sort of do advertising and messaging across a digital signage in store, Audio Ads offers on the device if you’re in a queue. So we’ve now got store Play Media, and then we’ve taken DJ dimension and turned that into store play activate, which is activation. So now we’ve got six different sort of businesses under there that all operate under the one name, and so everything just comes under store play. So, you know a little we’re probably a little bit like a Google sort of operate with Google Maps and Google image and Google this and Google that. We haven’t quite got the same capex as them, but we’ve got the same idea. And what we’re trying to do is sort of emulate the fact that the colors and everything sort of fits together. And so we’ve sort of changed the business from sort of being very much about a music business, about being sensory retail experience, because we’re doing sight, sound, touch and and smell. And we then like to say that we do it all with taste. So, you know, that’s the way we’re sort of marketing it. And it’s, yeah, it’s been going incredibly well because all of those conversations, when you’re talking to a client about music, and then they see in the deck that you’ve also got scenting, or you’ve got signage, it just all fits together. And so we’re building one admin that will actually allow you to be able to control all of those. So if you think about, we’ve said, Easter different operating hours. So if you if you had four different systems for music, signage, scenting, queuing, you’ve got to update all of that with our system, you know. You just update the hours and everything changes, you know. So for an operations level at a business, it’s huge. It can save so much time and effort, and we’re adding a whole lot of different automation into it as well. So it’s a really exciting time, and the feedback from our clients has been really amazing, and it’s, you know, it’s leading to opportunities overseas. So you know that global domination might happen. After all,

Debra Chantry-Taylor  32:32

I hope you’ve secured all the rights of all the different things you need for global domination. We have good, good. Hey, look. I mean, it sounds like an amazing what is an amazing story? Obviously, covid had a big kind of impact on what was going on. What’s been the other kind of biggest challenge you think you’ve had as a business owner, in growing from being a solopreneur to being a, you know, a mid size, fast growing business.

Dean Cherny  32:56

Yeah, when I, when I spoke about the loneliness of of operating the business by myself. I suppose what it was is, firstly, every conversation only ever happened in my head. So I didn’t need to write down, you know, ops manuals or anything like that. So everything was really just all in my in, you know, in my mind, so taking that and being able to hand that over to a team, as I’ve grown a team, I found initially really challenging, and then also, one of the things that, you know, really impacted me early on as well, was I was looking at all of my friends who had taken roles with other companies or with companies in organizations, and they’re all being trained, and they had mentors, and they had all of those things within there that they were learning from. And I was literally just at home sitting by myself, and I didn’t have a mentor, I didn’t have a reference point, I didn’t lead a team, I didn’t do any of those kind of things. So as I was building the team, I found I sort of had like an imposter syndrome as I was doing that. And that was actually one of the really cool things about when I joined EO, is, you know, within ao, there’s a structure that you have a chapter for those that don’t know. And then within that chapter, you know, the members are broken up into forums, and a forum can have anywhere from maybe six to 10 people. They probably average around eight people. And then there’s a moderator that was in within there, and that moderator is essentially running that forum for the year, and it’s their agenda, and they set all the dates and everything that’s happening and all of those kind of things. And so when I joined EO, I was just a member of the forum, but I just had all of this excitement, like I just so wanted to be a part of it. I didn’t miss an event. I was just this awakening for me because. Was I’d been starved of this education and all of this learning for, you know, for 25 years. And so I was in everything I did, like the first year, I did not miss an event. I was just, it was like drinking from a fire hydrant. It was crazy. And so that got recognized by the chapter. I got the bo of the year in the first year. And then, yeah, thank you. My trophy is just over there. And then, you know someone who was joining the board. I joined in October, someone joining the board in in that next financial year decided that they weren’t going to so an opening came up, and I got asked if I wanted to join the board. So then I joined the board, which, again, was this whole new experience for me, which I’d never had. So I became part of a board. And then within my forum, I became Moderator. So then I got to lead, you know, the other seven entrepreneurs within there. And then from within the board, I got asked if I would be the chapter chair, and I became the chapter chair. So all of these things within AI gave me this opportunity to really build out my leadership skills, which I never had. So one was just a very small group. One was being part of a board, the other one was then leading a chapter and setting up the vision. And you know, when you’re on the board, you get to go over to the Global Leadership Conference and all of these other bits of learning and things like that. And so I use that to my benefit, and that’s the most amazing thing that you get out of something like EO, because all of that was was given to me, I was paid, not paid. Sorry, I wasn’t paid to go anywhere. It didn’t cost me to go any of these conferences. It was paid for by them, and I just got to develop the confidence of being a leader and understanding how to do it. But prior to that, that was the biggest challenge for me, because I just, I was just so immature in that in that leadership role, because it was something that had never even come I’d never even come across.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  37:10

No, it has been, it was transformational for me when I run the event space, and I’ve always enjoyed being involved in the whether it be as a sponsor and so strategic partner, as an actual member. I just think it, yeah, it’s absolutely essential for entrepreneurs to really scale up their business. And most importantly, it teaches you about both business and life. So there’s not a, you know, it’s not a complete focus just on business and and the hustle culture, but it’s actually about how do you look after yourself as a person, as well as your your business life, which I think is amazing. And like you said, those opportunities to go into the boards and things at various levels throughout the organizations, is phenomenal,

Dean Cherny  37:44

Yeah, and I didn’t go down that path, but you can go all the way to a regional role, you know, and then there’s global roles and things like that. And, you know, I don’t regret not going by I chose probably not to go because of my commitment to family, and I knew that if I took one of those roles, it would require a lot more travel, which I didn’t want to do. So therefore, I was happy to cap myself at that at that level. And again, that probably shows that commitment that I sort of make to my family, like I spent a lot of time just at that chapter level when I was chapter chair, because there were, you know, we probably ran 20 or 30 events that year, and so there was a lot of planning and things that go into it, and it took up quite a bit of my time. But I knew that once I’d done that, because you roll off the board, once you become the chapter chair, to give someone else that space to breathe, I was like, You know what? I was thankful that my family given me that time to do that, and then I could reinvest my time back in back into them.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  38:46

Hey, there is one more question I’d like to ask you, because I know that you know going from a solo entrepreneur to being a team of people, the whole concept of letting go. I mean, I heard you say that you know you had to work out how you got processes and systems and things, but even just the feeling of this was your baby, and you’ve built it up to be everything that it is. How did you manage to let go? I think

Dean Cherny  39:10

I probably had a bit of practice from that, from when I gave up DJing, because, you know, like, like, I was quite a well known DJ. Like, I don’t want to just but, you know, so people knew who I was. I was sort of recognized, at least in the areas where I used to hang out and all of those kind of things. And then I sort of walked away from that, and then, you know, that sort of all disappeared. So I was sort of used I’d had to once deal with that ego side of things and not getting too caught up in in that. Because I think at one point I was so intertwined with my DJ identity that, you know, it was hard. It took a bit of time to sort of like separate the two. And so I think that made it a little bit easier within the business and not. I’ve separated myself, but I just, I don’t know, I just, I actually find it now within the business, really easy to let go, like there’s areas that I know I’m really, really passionate about, which is the product and just the vision of what we’re trying to create, that problem solving piece for me is, is what I really love, and it’s probably what I’ve always loved. I did all the other parts of the business because I was a solopreneur, but they’re not really things that I necessarily love. Is a guy called Rich ruskov, who I’ve seen speak a few times, and he talks about your zone of genius. And I think my zone of genius is sort of puzzle solving and putting together that idea of where we’re we’re going to go, and being able to see issues that my cus, my clients are having, customers are having, and then being able to sort of integrate that into a bigger picture of what we do and and that’s me like. So I like to now just work in my zone of genius. And I hope that my head of sales, his zone of genius is sales. So why would I interfere in something that is his zone of genius. And, you know, my lead Dev, well, I hired him because that’s what he does, and that’s what he loves, and he spends his time tinkering and doing stuff on the weekend, because that’s where he’s passionate about. And so, you know, I think if you have the right people in the right seat, sort of going back to where we almost started, then it makes it sort of quite easy, you know. And so I’ve got four main probably leads in my business, and I think each of those are exceptional at what they do. And so I don’t know, I’m just trying to get out of the way, you know. I want them to be able to come and ask me questions, and if there’s I’ll have thoughts on things, but they know their stuff better than I do. Like the curation team, you know, the passion that they have for music is it just takes me back to when I first started DJing and all of those kind of things, and I don’t run at that level of passion anymore. You know, we’ve got a couple girls in their curation team that every weekend they’re, like, at three or four concerts, it’s unbelievable, you know, like, and they’re seeing bands that I’ve never even heard of, you know, and massive supporters of Australian music and all of these different things, and really involved in that, like I was when I was DJ. And so I kind of compete with that,

Debra Chantry-Taylor  42:44

And it makes sense, because if everybody’s working in their zone of genius, then that is the most value that the company could possibly have.

Dean Cherny  42:50

Yeah, I think it’s true. Perfect. Cool.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  42:53

Hey, we could probably talk for hours, but I’ve got to ask you to wrap up and just give us three top tips or talks. So as an entrepreneur who’s gone from a solopreneur to a team of many and has managed to build up a very good business while still maintaining a really strong family life. What are your three kind of top tips, or tools for business?

Dean Cherny  43:12

Top Tips on tools would be, and I 100% I’m not saying this because you are an EOS implementer, but the best meeting agenda that I’ve ever used in a business is the level 10 meeting. It is fantastic, and it outstrips anything that we’ve ever used. I’m not sure it’s a tool, but my tip would be, find your tribe. You know, for me, it was, was EO. EO runs an accelerator program for businesses that are operating between, you know, 250 and, I think, a million dollars in turnover. It’s us. I wish I would have known about that before I joined EO, because I think that would have got me to where I am a lot quicker. So I think, you know, whether it’s EO or any other organization, I’m not trying to just plug AI, I’m just saying, find your tribe, whatever that is. You know, it’s incredible what you can learn, and the joy that you actually just get from connecting with like minded, like minded people, and then finally is, yeah, get that Well, again, it’s not a tool, but, you know, look after your mind and your time like time is valuable, and make sure that you give yourself the time that you need to be able to process and think strategically about what you’re looking to achieve, as opposed to always being, you know, in the weeds. So I suppose I haven’t expressed that overly well, but make sure you take time out of your business to. Work on the business, not always being in the business. So that tool of you know, going and doing a learning day, or taking half a day off, or a day off to go and think about strategy and do those kind of things is incredibly important, because often you just can’t see the forest from the trees and without being able to have a clear vision of where you’re trying to go, you know, you’re just sort of meandering along without any true north And often go off track accidentally. 

Debra Chantry-Taylor  45:29

That’s really, really good tip set. Yeah, it does. So especially us entrepreneurs, right? We get a little bit distracted by things that’s important that we have that and we kick all the straight and narrow. I think you always made a really good point, everyone. Point. Everyone too, about, you know, having a facilitator. Of course, I I believe this is really important, but I’ve heard it from a couple of my clients, as well as that, it’s not just that, as the founder, you can lead your team inadvertently, because they want to appease you, but it’s also when you’re trying to facilitate, it’s really hard to participate really well as well. And so having a facilitator means you’re actually completely free to be a participant like anybody else in the business.

Dean Cherny  46:05

Yeah. I  agree completely. Yeah, so busy thinking about the agenda that you’re not actually involved in the problem solving.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  46:11

True. Hey, cool. Hey, Dave, thank you so much for your time. I really, really appreciate it. We’re going to put a link there, through to your website and your LinkedIn, so anybody who wants to get in contact with Dean can do that. Thank you so much for making the time for me. I really appreciate it.

Dean Cherny  46:24

Thanks. Debra, great.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  46:25

Thank you.












Debra Chantry-Taylor 

Certified EOS Implementer | Entrepreneurial Leadership & Business Coach | Business Owner

#betterbusinessbetterlife #entrepreneur #leadership #eosimplementer #professionaleosimplementer #entrepreneurialbusinesscoach

Certified EOS Implementer New Zealand

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