Stephen understands the dreams, challenges, and goals of business owners because he comes from a family of entrepreneurs. His grandfather (Pop) immigrated to the United States from Greece in the early 1920s. He worked as a dishwasher in a small Canton, Ohio restaurant until he had saved enough money to open his own place.
He named his first restaurant “The Ideal.” Pop’s business savvy and discipline would make any corporate executive envious. Pop’s determination and grit were what helped him keep his restaurant afloat during the Great Depression. He sold a soup and sandwich combo for a nickel. How’s that for a value menu? Pop’s business plan was simple, “No matter how bad the economy gets…just remember…everyone’s got to eat.”
Stephen owes a debt of gratitude to his mother, Evie, who owned a successful bakery for 14 years (making the most elegant cakes) and showed him the meaning of hard work and dedication first hand. Also, to his Aunt Elaine and Uncle Bill, where, at 10, he worked cutting strawberries for pies and watching the parking lot for violators. Quite an adventure for a young lad! Then, at 11, Stephen worked for his other Uncle Bill and Aunt Chris, beginning his illustrious dishwashing career. He started out making .25 an hour and got a raise to 1.25…he felt like Donald Trump in those days!
Ten days after he graduated from high school Stephen left all of his family and friends behind and headed to Air Force basic training. What he didn’t realize is that he would learn lessons that forever changed him as person and helped shape Predictive ROI to this day. It is there that he re-learned the meaning of entrepreneurial grit. When his drill instructors would stand over his head, look into his eyes, and shout, “Airman Woessner…you are required to perform 25 repetitions of this exercise. However, you ARE encouraged to do more.” Rest assured, he never did 25 – it was made abundantly clear that the minimum requirement was not an acceptable standard.
He would be remiss if he left out the part of his story where he has made costly mistakes along the way. Stephen built one of his previous companies up to a valuation of $10 million, only to lose millions when the dot com bubble imploded. This very expensive lesson is where he became passionate about measurable ROI! Stephen went on to write two bestselling books based on all of his research and also to share what he has learned through workshops, training seminars and keynote presentations. He is happiest at his whiteboard and flip-charts, empowering others to do digital themselves!
For a number of years he served as the business education coordinator and a business counselor at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Small Business Development Center. He had the privilege of teaching many training sessions throughout the University of Wisconsin System, including the prestigious UW-Madison School of business.
In 2011 he launched Predictive ROI LLC because he wanted to devote himself fulltime to sharing what he has learned and to strip away the mystery of digital marketing. They work with clients, using Stephen’s patent pending ROI process, so that they can dramatically increase their sales immediately. It is their passion and they never give just the minimum! One of their core values is “One More. Hustle.”
One of the many blessings that has blossomed out of the conception of Predictive ROI is that Stephen has been able to realize his commitment to paying it forward through education; because he believes that is the greatest equalizer. What he did not mention above is that Pop accomplished all he did with only a third grade education. Pop had to drop out of school to care for his family when his father was tragically killed in an accident. It has been Stephen’s greatest honor to provide scholarships to children in need.
When he is not analyzing streams of data, working with his valued clients, or speaking with amazing business leaders, you can find Stephen enjoying his wonderful wife, Christine, and daughter, Caitlyn. They find great joy in bike rides, hikes, football games (Go Broncos and Buckeyes), and all things Disney.