Mitch Grant – Granite Capital Management

Mitch Grant - Granite Capital Management on the Thriving Solopreneur Podcast with Janine Bolon

Janine Bolon: Hello, this is Janine Bolon with the Thriving Solopreneur show, and with me today, I have Mitch Grant. And Mitch and I have known each other for so many years and it’s such a pleasure to be able to have them on the show today. Mitch formed the Granite Capital Management Group in 2018 and he’s actually been a registered representative with Lincoln Financial Advisors since 1989. So this guy has been in financial management almost same length of time I’ve been in radio so that should tell you something. It’s been decades, people. The focus of his practice is investment management and retirement income planning for affluent families, individuals, and here you go- small business owners. So that would be you.

Mitch graduated in 1976 from Upper Arlington High School and received his BA from the Ohio State University, “O-H” say it to me, in 1980. He also is a graduate of Dale Carnegie Sales Leadership course, qualifying as an assistant instructor. Mitch is a member of the 2001 Class of leadership Columbus and served on the board of Dublin Chamber of Commerce from 1998 to 2001. And let me just say, his bio continues to go on and if you want to learn more about Mitch, go to his website at Okay, Mitch, thanks so much for joining us today.

Mitch Grant: Thank you very much Janine for having me. I’ve been looking forward to this.

Janine: Yeah. It’s a lot of fun when I finally can grab an investment person who actually knows what they’re talking about. Many do but unfortunately, because of so many of the regulations, they’re not able to just go onto podcasting but lucky for you, we were able to have you on so I just want to say number one, thank you for that.

Number two. We were talking about look small business owners and investing almost an oxymoron for some people like they’re just struggling to get by and one of the things I teach folks in my classes is how it’s important that as soon as you have money rolling into the business that you start investing that in some sort of retirement plan or something, but you were telling me look these are these are some of the questions that people ask me all the time. So if you don’t mind let’s let’s hear those questions that you’re asked frequently and often?

Mitch: When I’m asked about how do I set money aside? How can I best plan for that as a small business owner? It’s tough because you’ve got to have a capital ready to invest back in your business. You’ve got payroll. You’ve got to a wide range things establishing a 401(k) can be daunting for a small business, but there’s also ways you can do it that are more simplified. A simplified IRA, there’s a solo 401(k), there’s a wide range of things you can setup. I recommend all of my small business owner clients if they don’t have a real good relationship with an accountant, get one. I know you work with an outstanding accountant, Janine, Mike Kirkland. I know he has a great job and I think that makes a big difference.

You’ll find somebody like myself a trusted investment advisor. Sometimes that’s difficult to do. I think usually word of mouth is fast but online you can find out some information. You can also find out there if there’s any complaints. Consumer-wise, the websites of financial advisors have more ways to check up on them. So you do a little shopping there but I think word of mouth is best for an accountant and a good investment advisor and plan out your cash flow using a good accountant. Try to pay yourself first. Look at all the different kinds of IRA style vehicles that are at your disposal. Some require matching contributions, a few don’t based upon your size and what your needs are.

A lot of my clients this year have been qualified for the payroll protection plan and that’s been a very big help to allow clients that own businesses to keep their payroll to what not lay people off and even if they do they could still get partial forgiveness for their payroll protection plan money. And now for a smaller business owners with the employees less than 20, there’s a whole new program that’s available now, so you’d have to have a good relationship with an accountant or specifically a bank. I recommend a Community Bank for this purpose and that can also be a big help.

So there’s money out there for small businesses that have really been impacted by covid-19. To get the new payroll protection claim roll out, you have to have proven that you had a revenue loss of at least one quarter in the calendar year 2020 compared to calendar year 2019. So I think most small businesses can qualify. The big businesses are out of this deal. Okay. So it’s a 20 employees or less only. So for those small businesses, there is some help out there as well too and that can help seed some simplified employee pension contributions and things of that nature as well too. So I hope that’s helpful.

Janine: No, it’s totally helpful. And one of the things that I wanted to share with people is that Mitch is straight-up. He’s very direct and one of the things that I enjoyed working most when I was out in Ohio and working with Mitch, was the fact he’s very educationally oriented. It behooves him. It’s in his best interest that you understand exactly what he’s saying and so speaking to a lot of the female entrepreneurs out there, you know how a lot of times you’d go into a financial planner’s office and they would speak to only your husband or your male partner and you never got eye contact with the guy, one of the things I wanted to share with you is that find that financial planner that treats you as the person that you are. A person who is desperately trying to learn what it means to be investing.

So let’s talk about some of those very successful entrepreneurs out there that we hear about such as Gary Vaynerchuk and others who talk about how they totally blew it out of the water as far as they paid themselves first like their business, they made sure they didn’t go into debt for their business. That was rule number one. Rule number two was they paid into their retirement accounts first before they did anything else and then the rest of the money was left for the business. And I thought that was kind of a novel approach. So talk to us about how you recommend people not going into debt for their business and how would you like start learning to invest? I mean what our first steps not all of us were trained in this.

Mitch: I think there’s a lot of good tools on the internet. Too many to really name here, but you could start there, word-of-mouth of your friends have a good relationship with somebody that does what I do and get started. Pay yourself first. It’s a how do you dig potatoes out of the ground. Start digging. How do you eat an elephant one bite at a time? You know, all these things I remember from my early days. It’s very true. It’s a process but you have to start and you can start with some online education. You could start with could be Motley Fool. It could be a wide range things. I don’t really subscribe to getting these newsletters and gurus. I think it’s more fundamental allocation between stocks and bonds. I think stocks for the long-term are definitely the way to go.

Have a diversification between different types of industries even some overseas investing and that is for the long-term. Pay yourself first on a before-tax basis, but also consider things like Roth IRAs and all these things make a big difference. If you start young, you’re going to have a lot more money down the road, and then it with your business, you plan for it and planned for you net expenditures after you’ve paid yourself first I think is prudent. And they can find that good accountant. I think that’s very important and there’s a lot of other aspects out there as well too for small business owners.

And in debt, it is important that interest rates are low, but it’s also very tempting to really leverage too much thinking that the money is free and it’s not you have to have rainy day bunny as well too. There’s a lot of things to balance but paying yourself first in a small way is easy. Having those cash reserves is a bit more difficult. Borrowing a lot of money right now is a lot easier than it was but you just have to be careful.

Janine: Right, because I end up then getting them as clients because we start working on the into this debt-free lifestyle for a while and then I can hand them off to people like yourself. So the joke in the entrepreneurial community is the very first person you hire after you started businesses is of course your bookkeeper or your CPA, right? That’s first one. It’s like people want to get rid of having to do the receipts, putting receipts into QuickBooks or whatever but-

Mitch: Very time-consuming.

Janine: Right. And that way you have more time opened up for you to do what you do best. And then the second person that you hire is usually the attorney because you have some sort of contracts or something like that you’re trying to work out and then I always recommend to people. And then when you get ready to start digging those potatoes and you have money rolling in and you know you have taxes you have to pay but you have to pay yourself get yourself on a paycheck as what I tell folks. Even if it’s something as crazy as $25 a week. I’m like just something to get yourself into that income stream so that you can start moving with the next account. So you were talking. Yeah. Those are like basics because sometimes people forget the basics. They think we have to talk really highfalutin.

So for starters though with you when you’re talking to people and you’re talking about leveraging your cash and that sort of thing, where do you recommend for people to go? You were mentioning Motley Fool and others, but I remember when I walked out of your office, you handed me a book and I remember that book was very helpful in helping me to understand how to even invest because I came from a family that was paycheck to paycheck and you basically help me invest. So do you have a reading list or something or books that you think are very appropriate for people like me who are total noobs when we walked into your office?

Mitch: The old ones are out of print now but it is classic, it is The Billionaire Next Door and that was my favorite years ago though it might be considered a bit out of date right now, but it can still be found on Amazon. I think that’s a fabulous book. They talk about paying yourself first and talk about Stocks for the Long Term. That’s another good one by Jeremy Siegel, Stocks for the Long Term and that’s a great book. Consumer-oriented. And there’s so many out there but those are two classics that I like and they really get into paying yourself first. They get into also long lifestyles, living below your knees, and that debt-free lifestyle, Janine, that you talked about which I have as well too. And I think that’s a smart way to do it. It relieves a great deal of pressure also allows you to make more long-term decisions to

Janine: One of the fun things I like to share with people is that you build the life you want and then you fit your business into the cracks because if you do it that way then it’s amazing how your business will thrive in the cracks just like you see trees growing along sides of buildings and stuff like that. I like to use that metaphor because some people think they have to do it the other way around. They have to work really, really hard for 10 years in order to have the life they want and they delay that and it’s like know if you’re not happy living the life you currently are, then you’ve got something really backward with your business model and I think more and more people are coming into alignment with that. So what do you recommend for people who are like, “okay, I know what lifestyle I want.” What are some really good first steps for them to start launching out into that?

Mitch: I think you have to do an assessment of yourself in an assessment of what your passions are, what energizes you, if you don’t bring energy to your job in your career, in your business, it’s going to suffer. You will suffer in getting to where you want to go. And I think your customers, your clients will recognize that as well. You have to bring energy in a belief to what you’re doing. And I see this in my career. You re-energized sometimes and a lot of that educating yourself more. Getting into some sort of a business community, a peer group, and your study group. A networking group I think is very important. Share ideas that way and don’t act in isolation.

I’ve also found a lot of strong motivation in my church. I’m in a men’s group. That’s just fantastic a lot of entrepreneurial hard-charging guys, but we can sit down and put things in perspective. You mentioned it before you can fit your business in your lifestyle, but it’s sort of like there’s some Parables from the New Testament about the seeds planted in coarse soil with its thorns and on the rich soil. If it the seeds are planted in the rich soil, things are going to grow and that rich soil are your passions, your beliefs, your family life. You can strike a balance and your business to a bit maybe a greater degree than you’re thinking and plant those seeds and richer soil bring energy to it and things will grow.

Janine: And a lot of people get wrapped up in a lot of the tech or the way or that how am I supposed to do this or what way is best and a lot of times it’s like well what works for you, right? People forget that this is all about you and the life you’re trying to create for yourself. This isn’t about what will work best for other people and I think that is where some entrepreneurs get away from that. So before we get too esoteric that I want to call upon some of your experiences that you’ve had in your own business because you worked for other people quite some time and then you struck out on your own as well and one of the things
I really loved about when you struck out on your own was you really pulled in your ancestry. And you made that very much your branding. It’s like when you go to your website, there is no doubt about where you came from and what you believe in from that and that is important, especially in the financial community. So do you want to talk a little bit about how you made that shift from working for other people to really striking it out on your own?

Mitch: Gee, I really appreciate you bringing that up. I think that’s a good observation and I sat down for a long time and thought about what kind of corporate identity I wanted to practice identity and the funniest came out what you’re describing is what’s my background, what’s important to me? What can the clients relate to it? It really became pretty, simple pretty direct. An immigrant story. My great grandfather immigrated from Scotland. He was a stonemason of quarry. He got working various stone quarries and ended up supervising two of them and I drew from that pretty soon. It’s pretty straightforward, all of a sudden, wow. This is pretty obvious. They cut these big stones, foundational stones for major buildings, including the Washington Monument. Big public building. So if these were cornerstones, these are foundational stones, so we’re putting together a foundation of financial independence.

So I think that’s something people can relate to and I have some pixelated archival family pictures that go back well over a hundred years in the hallways of my office and for new clients coming in, I show a little bit about that background. Here’s my grandfather. He was my great uncle. Hear them. You’ll hundred years ago and hardworking cutting these stones and building these structures. So that’s what we want to do for you is help you build a strong foundation and brighter future. That’s my slogan. So it came pretty easy but it wasn’t it first because if you start thinking what is the Brand X doing? What are these guys across the hall doing or down the road? Ask what are you doing in the what’s important to you? So people understand that and they appreciate your family background personalizing things. You’re talking about your background.

People want to get to know you. If they want to make a big commitment for a relationship that I think has to be committed relationship for something long-term like your personal finances and investments that create financial independence and they actually generate retirement income, that relationship is important. The better that they get to know you and your background, the stronger that relationships going to be.

Janine: I just remember when you and I were sitting across the table and you were like here it is and you handed me your folder and I’m opening it up and I’m looking at all those pictures upon pictures of what your ancestry was like and the immigrant story because I had something that was similar and that’s one of the things that I wanted to share with people is that you really want your clients or your customers to super connect with you and very deep and meaningful ways, especially because you are doing this business out of a passion of wanting to help others. And so in order to do that, you really do have to share a quite a bit of yourself, even if you’re a little embarrassed by it.

Some people would not think it was a good thing to talk about their Irish background or because we had to come over because of the potato famine or whatever like that. And so it was interesting to be able to see somebody have that presented out there in the way that you did. So thank you for sharing. Because it’s on the website, you guys can take a picture at some of those pictures on the website…

Mitch: That the quarry my great-grandfather run for decades in my background is right behind me. These mountains or hills right over the mountain, right behind my head on my screen saver. But I’ve also seen this kind of thing in real successful family restaurants where there’s family archival photos going back years and years and either the restaurant or an immigrant story things like that, I’ve seen that a lot of successful businesses and also your father’s son or daughter accounting firm or car dealership, you see this kind of, I think you can really play on family and that’s what it’s all about because we’re trying to help families and that’s what we want to talk about.

Janine: So that’s sort of the fun things about really honing in on your branding. I know there’s a lot of marketing people and all that but I have to say Mitch is very good at what he does. And these are the successes I’ve seen and I’ve been enjoying watching him as he moves through his branding and shares more and more about what makes a successful mindset for people. So do you have any closing thoughts you’d like to share with us regarding people’s personal finance and investing?

Mitch: Well, I think you have to surround yourself with enthusiastic positive people that are your employees, that are your peers, trying to interface a network and relate with them as much as you can. You have to do a deep dive into what’s important to you and express that in your business every day and people will take to that. When people that don’t know me or introduced to me, see my business card or hear the name of my firm, they think maybe it’s a play on my name, but then when they come into the office, oh, no, there’s a real… Look at my brochures and go on the website. There’s a real story behind it. It wasn’t something just made up and I think people really take to authentic leadership.

So build that authentic leadership by getting to know what’s important to you. Surround yourself with like-minded people and those important aspects of your life will come out as a passion for what you do as a business and people are going to take to that.

Janine: I couldn’t agree more. Thank you very much Mitch Grant with us today from Granite Capital Management. If you would be so kind as how should people get a hold of you if they want to learn more about you?

Mitch: Well, they certainly cannot go on the website at… You know that…

Janine: Oh. The

Mitch: Yes, go on the website. I think that’s a great way to start and that all my contact information is there. Appointments can be booked over actually as well too. So it’s very easy to do. Yes.

Janine: Thank you so much for your time today. I really appreciate having you on the show.

Mitch: Very much so. So thank you Janine very much. I enjoyed it.

Janine: Have a great day today as you move through your business as a thriving solopreneur remember to keep your feet firmly on the ground as you reach for those stars.

Mitch: Absolutely. You got it. Thanks, Janine.