Steve is the Co-Founder and CRO of leading international broker DNE Resources and was previously an entrepreneur in the mortgage industry. Steve leads the sales and marketing departments, and together they establish, communicate and implement all sales and marketing strategies. Steve is a Harvard Entrepreneurial Strategy Certificate holder and active EO Member.
Where did the idea for DNE Resources come from?
We started DNE Resources in 2009 because we believed that there was a better way to help customers take charge of their energy. Since then, DNE has grown to become one of the largest energy management firms with more than $408M of energy spending under management. And we’re just getting started.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day starts at 6 am. Before getting to work, I go to the gym to get into the right mood for the day. Then, I work for about 9 hours, leaving a big chunk of time in the evenings for family.
To make my days productive, I plan them in advance: all my work days are planned the Friday before, and I try to block at least 50% of my time for focus work. I try working on high-priority items first and then move down the list as the week goes on.
At DNE, every team member has a “rock” — a major project with smart goals — they work on throughout the quarter, so I work for about 5 hours on my “rock” every week.
Of course, there’s no way to avoid emergencies, so I leave about one hour daily to handle them.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I follow a five-step process:
1. Run the idea by my trusted advisors to check if it makes sense and is worth exploring in more detail;
2. Prepare an action plan with accountability owners and deliverable dates;
3. Deploy the pilot to run a test;
4. Monitor the pilot over a set period of time;
5. If it’s successful, scale up!
What’s one trend that excites you?
Energy sustainability and carbon neutrality goals. These goals are ambitious and sometimes hard to achieve, but it’s exciting and inspiring to see that more and more individuals and companies take action to support the environment.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
It’s very simple and yet hard to achieve: leading a healthy lifestyle. I wake up early, go to the gym daily, and maintain a healthy diet because I see the results — I have more energy to lead a happy, well-balanced life where I have room to come up with new ideas and enjoy quality time with my loved ones.
What advice would you give your younger self?
People you talk to and engage with matter a lot. I’d say “surround yourself with a network of individuals who share your values, have similar mindsets, and want to succeed.”
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
No matter how good you are, you are replaceable.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Working on managing and controlling emotions. I believe that training and developing how you react to certain events or situations is crucial. Learning how to stay calm when handling minor problems and responding properly from the perspective of emotions involved in each case is a never-ending process, but it’s worth it, and I can recommend it to everyone.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Working with people who are smarter than me and have more skills in the areas I’m not involved in daily. My job is to ensure that the company stays profitable, so I’m monitoring the sales team closely, but when it comes to accounting or operations, I want to be sure that the team who handles it knows a lot more than I do.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
It’s related to the previous question: one failure I had was not hiring smarter, more competent people earlier in the process. But I’ve learned my lesson.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Do not try to reinvent the wheel, especially if it’s your first business. Create a business model that’s low-cost to enter, such as brokering a product or service you’re passionate about.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Therapy. Working with a professional psychologist is the best investment if you want to become a happier, more resilient human. My psychologist helps me focus on both personal and professional areas of my life that I need support with, and I see the results of this work daily.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Salesforce is the tool that helps me and our sales team stay productive because it gives us the data we need and allows for efficient pipeline management.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Extreme Ownership” by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. It teaches you how to own your responsibilities across the organization no matter the outcomes.
What is your favorite quote?
“Expectation is the thief of joy.”
- Structure and prioritize tasks and time management in your life.
- Surround yourself with the right teams and networks.
- Continuous self-development is crucial for success.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.