John Chionchio on Adding Value and Supporting Entrepreneurs

Hosted By
Alana Muller
Alana Muller

CEO & Founder
Coffee Lunch Coffee

Podcast Guest
John Chionchio headshot
John Chionchio

Partner
WealthPoint Business Advisory Services

Episode Summary

John Chionchio, Partner of WealthPoint Business Advisory Services, puts human connection first when building his professional network. Once a relationship is established, John and his team use their talents to support entrepreneurs through their business transition.

“We work with each other in a very open, honest, transparent way, to bring all of our best talents to the table to do the best we can for the client and bring that value every day.”

 
Transcript

Alana Muller  00:09
Welcome to Enterprise.ing, a podcast from Enterprise Bank and Trust that's empowering business leaders one conversation at a time. We'll hear from different business leaders about how they found success and cultivating their professional networks and keeping them healthy and strong. I'm your host Alana Muller, an entrepreneurial executive leader whose primary focus is to connect inspire and empower community. We at Enterprise Bank and Trust thank you for tuning in to another episode.

Alana Muller  00:43
Hello, listeners! Welcome to Enterprise.ing podcast. So great to have you with us and delighted to have John Chionchio. John is a partner with WealthPoint Business Advisory Services, where his focus is on delivering better outcomes to business owners by providing true succession and exit planning solutions and execution. John, welcome to Enterprise.ing.

John Chionchio  01:03
Hey, I'm happy to be here. I appreciate the invitation.

Alana Muller  01:06
Well, great to have you. I understand that you're a serial entrepreneur who joined WealthPoint Business Advisory Services several years ago. Talk a little bit about what drove you to join the firm and how you help your clients.

John Chionchio  01:18
I think that what drove all of us partners at WealthPoint to do what we do is we're all serial entrepreneurs with a background like mine, where we have started and built and monetized or passed along numerous businesses. And we all just got to the point in our careers where we just didn't want to do the next one. But we've done it enough and, you know, done a few things right enough to be successful. And we did a whole bunch of stuff wrong enough to want to be better at it. And we realized how hard it is how difficult and complex it is to get it right in the end and get everything you really want, need and truly deserve from your operating business. And we got to the point where we just wanted to help other people get that right. So WealthPoint is world-class at that. And we were all working at it. 

John Chionchio  02:08
Well speaking for myself, I was working at it through other means. And, uh, because in the same industry I met Tim Young, and the other partners at WealthPoint, and it was just a great match. Because just a wonderful group of people with our hearts in the right place, and motivated by the right things and values. And, uh, with tools and a process and a back office that was amazing. And so it was just a wonderful fit. And we were mutually interested in doing more of what we were doing apart, together. And that's the name of that story.

Alana Muller  02:44
Love it. I love - I mean, what a cool history and how amazing that you actually found partners that you like, you have a respect and admiration for one another and have really created a great company. I know that doing that it requires a level of effort, not just with your partners. I'd love to hear a little bit more about the relationship you have with your partners, but also with business owners. 

Alana Muller  03:04
So, you had been consulting with business owners for many years to support them in creating value, managing operations, monetizing products and services. And I suspect that that requires a particular level of trust that you don't just get that you have to earn that. What's been the key to your success in that area? And how do you ensure that those relationships are mutually beneficial both with your clients and with your your business partners?

John Chionchio  03:26
I believe that business is mostly about trust and value, bringing value to other people. And that's certainly what we try to establish with our clients. The relationship we have with them is probably the most important thing. Because as we help them get their businesses ready so that they can support the outcomes they want in life. That's really hard stuff to do together. And it takes a certain kind of person and relationship to be effective at it. And truly, internally to the company, it's very challenging work, very multidisciplinary, lots and lots of soft skills to get the people stuff right. And we need to work with each other that same way in a very open, honest, transparent way, to bring all of our best talents to the table to do the best we can for the client and bring that value every day. 

John Chionchio  04:19
And so whether it's internal or external, we look for those relationships in those people that really share our common values, where we can have mutual ownership of the relationship toward the purpose we're all there for, and work through hard things together and get quantifiable results. So, it's just nature of what we do and the requirements to be successful at it consistently.

Alana Muller  04:43
So, with that as the backdrop, if if somebody were to come to you for advice on how to grow their own relationship base, how to cultivate their own relationships, what would you tell them?

John Chionchio  04:53
Oh, man, that's a pretty deep topic. But in the end, I think it gets pretty simple. Because, I don't know, maybe it's just because I'm older with more gray hair and forehead than I used to have, but it's about who you work with and who you hang out with, and the impact you can create with the talents you've been blessed with. So for me, it's all about the relationship, it's all about the people stuff, because it's the big enabler, to be able to do anything else. Right? And so for me, aligning with the right people that share your cause and that sort of thing is the most important. And so when we do networking, and things like that, we're really looking for that human connection, where we can align around helping the client at a very high level as our top priority and the reason for being there. And then if, if we can do that together and provide enough value for everybody involved, then it's worth putting some time into.

Alana Muller  05:51
I think that's really nice. So, when you talk about the people you hang out with, and kind of what you talk about how you interact. Has there been one person or maybe multiple people, but can you share a story of one interaction that you had that resulted in a breakthrough for you, either personally, or professionally?

John Chionchio  06:09
I think we all probably have a couple of those in our lives, if we're lucky. And it was a long time ago, for me. I was, you know, a hyperly motivated, freshly out of the parents nest, 19 year old, going to college and trying to prepare myself to conquer the world and all the things we do at that point in our lives. And a friend of mine introduced me to Zig Ziglar. Back then when he was still alive, and I, that was a big thing for me. His teachings, and his philosophies just struck me in the heart. And the core of it is that if you help enough other people to get what they want in life, you'll get more than enough of what you want. And so I read all his books, I got all his tapes, cassette tapes back in the day...

Alana Muller  06:55
Right? I remember. They came in that cool plastic packaging, right?

John Chionchio  07:00
That's right. There was a red set and a blue set with about a dozen tapes. 

Alana Muller  07:04
Yep.

John Chionchio  07:05
And so I just listened to those things over and over again, because it made so much sense to me. And that was a big thing. I've lived those principles ever since. And I think that's one of the biggest things that has helped me to take, you know, the talents I have that can benefit others and put them to good use.

Alana Muller  07:23
That's a great story. Did you ever get to meet him?

John Chionchio  07:25
No, I didn't. I watched the videos when there were some, but I never did get a chance to meet him.

Alana Muller  07:32
Yeah, I feel like there's you know, all those sort of a certain genre, like Stephen Covey's and Zig Ziglar, where they used to do these tours. And I remember, I saw Covey in person. I never saw Zig Ziglar. But you're right, there was sort of like, I don't know, there were certain like the mastermind group. It was interesting, kind of that was all the rage. So I love that you have all the cassette tapes, it's very cool.

John Chionchio  07:54
I still have them, I just can't find a cassette player anymore.

Alana Muller  07:59
I don't even know where...I don't even know where to send you. Well, one of the things that you had shared with me before our interview is that you are involved in a lot of hobbies. You have a lot of very cool hobbies. And I know that you are a lover of the great outdoors and that you spend time -- a good portion of your time -- doing things like mountain biking and hiking and camping and kayaking, paddleboarding, snowboarding, not to mention that you have had a decade's long love of motorcycles, and even I think raced competitively. And that you're a golfer. How do you manage all these activities in your busy schedule? And, in what ways does relationship building really play a role in in driving your interest in these various endeavors?

John Chionchio  08:43
You're just full of great questions, Alana. You know, as far as having all these interests. I've always had varied interests in probably too much stuff as a personal fault as I grew up, and my parents tried to help me create more focus instead of being spread so thin, packed too much into my day. And I've had to work at that sort of stuff. But, it really doesn't matter about the outdoors part. My wife and I both love to be outside. So it doesn't matter if we're hiking or biking or paddling or whatever. Whatever we're doing, camping. That's all good. Whatever makes sense at the moment, whatever the schedule can squeeze in. A couple of weekends ago, we just woke up and said, "We need to go on a hike today." And we got on Google and did hikes near us, found a wonderful hike and did that and stuff and then we're home for dinner and so stuff like that. The golf -- I live on a golf course, so golf is kind of a passion of mine. Most days, some days, it drives me completely nuts as golf can do...

Alana Muller  09:38
It's supposed to do that.

John Chionchio  09:39
Yeah, I think so too. There's probably an acronym we just don't know it yet. Or something evil. I don't know. 

John Chionchio  09:45
Anyway, I've always loved golf, I think because it's the ultimate challenge. It mimics life. There's no mastering it. There never will be it doesn't matter who you are in the planet - Tiger or anybody. You're never going to master it. You just have to show up every day, have the focus and the concentration and the intent to do your very best every swing and take what you get, at least for now. And that's the way life is. And I've always liked that challenge. Not that I've conquered it that well, some days are better than others. But I think I love golf for that reason forever. My brother, he loves golf and it was a thing growing up with us kids. So that's the golf thing and the motorcycle thing I don't...I don't know how to explain it really. It's just one of those things that ever since I was a kid, riding my neighbor's mini bikes and things around the neighborhood and all the things kids do, it just grabbed me. 

John Chionchio  10:36
And from the time I was 15, and about to get a driver's license, I've had a motorcycle, registered, insured, full of gas and ready to go. And I think honestly, um, I did race competitively super bikes all over the country from Daytona to Willow Springs and lots of places in between. And as I look back on that, that's really an interesting self-analysis. Because at that point in time, I was building my businesses, and working unbelievable hours sleeping very little, and did the math out of perverse curiosity, after we sold our businesses to Westinghouse. And I had been on 6,000 flight legs in 15 years. So do that, you know, I was on a plane almost every day, weekday. And so it was really tough to get balanced in life back then. I did very little for myself, the only thing I did for myself was pay my bills with the checkbook on an airplane, mail in whatever city I was landing in. But I paid other people to mow my grass and clean my house and buy my groceries and you name it, if I could hire it out, I did. Because if I did it all myself, I would have run out of free time long before it was all done. And I would have gone completely nuts. You know how entrepreneurs are sometimes our business takes over our life instead of serving our lives the way we intended originally. And I was certainly living that for a while. 

John Chionchio  12:00
So, I think the motorcycle racing not only as a passion, but it was a balance in life for me, or I could do something for a short amount of time on a weekend with total immersion. And if I wasn't there 110% with any shred of other thought in my brain, you just can't do it, you have to get off the track. So it was that release for me, you know what they say "work hard, play hard." And it was that "play hard" that gave me the balance in the amount of time I had to create it. And I loved it too, which helps. But I think that was a big part of what was going on there. And I still now I am married now. So for 21 years. And so over those 21 years, I've gone from having quite a few motorcycles to not so many in my life. But anyway, I don't even ride on the street anymore, I have one track bike and I do track days a couple times a month in the cooler months of the year just to go out there and burn up tires and have fun without having to prove anything to anybody. And it's just one of those things I love to do. And fortunately, we have couple of tracks around here close by right where don't have to travel to do it and just can't seem to get it out of my system.

Alana Muller  13:10
I like how you talked about it being the balance. It was sort of the outlet for you that I don't know, allows you to enjoy your work while also enjoying your life. So I think that's really great. And you know, with entrepreneurship, I've always thought it's these are sort of the children that never grow up, they're always being cultivated, always being tended to, and so that you were able to do something so different with the the racing, I'm sure that that was sort of a great outlet. And, it probably gave you a separate community that you really could lean on and enjoy time with.

John Chionchio  13:40
True. And for now, I mean, now, I don't know, work doesn't seem that much like work to me at all, really, because I work with an amazing group of people. And we're so aligned with what we're trying to do for others and help business owners get it right. After all their hard work and investment. We just, it doesn't seem like work. Lots of times, I'll have time on a weekend and now choose to spend a few hours doing some things for work just because you know, I want to do a good job at it for these people and help them as much as I can. And so, you know, it's not like it's a burden. It's not like, "oh, geez, I have some work to do." It's, yeah, it's not like that. So it's, I feel extremely fortunate that I get to do something I love and actually get paid for it.

Alana Muller  14:25
Yeah, exactly. I totally -- believe me, I can totally relate to that. You know that, whoever that old saying is accredited to, I don't know, but "if you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life." So, I think that's really cool. 

Alana Muller  14:37
So, I have a couple of fun questions for you. The first one is if you could meet one person, go grab a cup of coffee with somebody living, not living, fictional, nonfictional, who would it be and why?

John Chionchio  14:48
Oh, boy. I don't have to think too long about that one. I grew up in Wisconsin, so there's some Green Bay Packers something or other in the DNA of every kid who grows up wanting the Packers on Sunday and throwing the football around in the snow with your siblings at halftime that just takes over. I don't know how it works, but I would meet Vince Lombardi. 

Alana Muller  15:10
Of course you would. 

John Chionchio  15:12
He was the master of motivating other people to collaborate with each other, and achieve amazing things, excellence together. I mean, not many people know that story. But before he came around, the Packers were the worst team in the Football League. I don't think the team the year before he showed up, they didn't win a single game or something really horrible like that. Within a couple years, he was winning Super Bowl after Super Bowl. And the most amazing thing about it is not one person on that team changed. It was the same roster, he was the only different person. And so, I think that's just a testament to the power of human potential. And if you can create that alignment, and that motivation to get the most out of others and get other people to work effectively together, how incredible it can be. And I've been a believer for a long time that human nature is the most powerful force on earth. It's realizing it, that's the big trick. And he was the master of doing that. 

John Chionchio  16:14
You know, I work with a lot of very successful entrepreneurs, and help them do something that's really difficult. You know, after decades of dedication, and risk and investment, the statistics around getting it right at the end are really awful. And that's what drives us all to do what we do. And if I could have a conversation with Lombardi, I think it would help me become even better at helping myself and my partners to do what we do at a higher level. So I struggle personally with this perfection thing and being an engineer doesn't help. So he had a saying that said, "Perfection is unattainable. But if we chase it, we can catch excellence." That's always resonated with me because he he had a way of doing that with people. Anytime I could spend with him directly would be a would be a fun day. So...

Alana Muller  17:04
Very, very cool. I love that answer. Well, it has been a privilege to talk to you and to learn from you. Tell our listeners where they can go to learn more about you and about WealthPoint Business Advisory Services. 

John Chionchio  17:17
My best number, like most of the world these days, is a cell phone. And that number is 541-450-5060. And my email is just "johnc," J-O-H-N-C. No spaces or anything, at wealthpoint.net, with no spaces or anything. And, or you can go to the website, just www.wealthpoint.net. And we're all cut of the same cloth around there, so any partner you meet and get to work with will be just as beneficial is working with me. So that's how it goes. We just create better outcomes for owners as they transition out of their business. And two of our values are passion with purpose and pursuit of excellence. So right in line with with what I believe in.

Alana Muller  18:10
Fabulous. John Chionchio, thank you so much for being on Enterprise.ing podcast.

John Chionchio  18:15
My pleasure. Thanks for the invitation. Keep doing the great work you guys are doing.

Alana Muller  18:21
Thanks for joining us this week on Enterprise.ing. Be sure to visit our website enterprisebank.com/podcast to subscribe so you'll never miss an episode. If you found value in today's program, please consider leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or telling a friend about us. 

Alana Muller  18:37
Enterprise.ing, powering business leaders one conversation at a time. The views expressed by Enterprise.ing presenters or guests are those of the presenter or guests and not necessarily of Enterprise Bank and Trust or its affiliates. All content of this podcast and any related materials are for informational purposes only. Enterprise Bank and Trust does not make any warranty, expressed or implied, including warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose, and specifically disclaims any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any information presented. Enterprise Bank and Trust is not under any obligation to update or correct any information provided in this podcast. All statements and opinions are subject to change without notice.