FinancesI AM CEO PODCAST

IAM1771 – Entrepreneur Helps Companies Resolve Financial Issues

Podcast Interview with Joseph Meuse

Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”:

In this episode of the I AM CEO podcast, host Gresham Harkless interviews Joseph Meuse, a serial entrepreneur and founder of Business GPS, a company that helps struggling businesses resolve financial issues. With years of experience in financial services, investment banking, accounting and finance, IT, business consulting, and legal services, Joseph shares his insights on best business practices and how they can be effectively transferred across different categories.

Joseph discusses the unique business model of Business GPS, which helps businesses get government loans, decrease their commercial rental payments, and negotiate their loans to better terms – all on contingency. He emphasizes the importance of providing effective solutions to real problems that businesses experience and helping business owners navigate the new, more challenging business era.

Joseph shares his CEO hacks and nuggets, which include simplifying things to stick to your vision and not making decisions out of emotions. He defines being a CEO as someone in service.

Overall, the episode provides valuable insights into the importance of financial management for businesses and the benefits of seeking professional help from companies like Business GPS. Joseph's experience and expertise in the field make this episode a must-listen for anyone interested in improving their financial processes and resolving financial issues.

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Transcription:

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Joseph Meuse Teaser 00:00

CEO serves the people, serves everybody else, serve the customers, the vendors, and most importantly, they serve the staff in their company.

Intro 00:10

Are you ready to hear business stories and learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and level up your business from awesome CEOs, entrepreneurs and founders, without listening to a long, long, long interview?

If so, you've come to the right place. Gresh values your time and is ready to share with you the valuable info you're in search of.

This is the I AM CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:37

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast and I appreciate you listening to this episode. If you've been listening this year, you know that we hit 1600 episodes at the beginning of this year. We're doing something a little bit different where we're repurposing our favorite episodes around certain categories, topics, or as I like to call them business pillars that we think are going to be extremely impactful for CEOs, entrepreneurs, and business owners. Or what I like to call the CB Nation architects, those that are looking to level up their organizations.

This month we are focusing on knowing thy numbers. I could hear. The phrases from Mr. Wonderful on Shark Tank, and if you understand or don't understand exactly what numbers is, think finance, economics, accounting, capital, investment, funding, bootstrapping, anything that's around numbers. So, We have to understand how important it is to know your numbers and how important that is for you to forecast, make decisions, and to be able to truly strategize around your business and do that successfully.

Things are gonna be a little bit different obviously, this month. So look for CEO hacks and CEO nuggets and interviews that focus around this. But more than everything else, make sure that you know your numbers because they're extremely important to the life of your business.

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Joseph Meuse of Business GPS. Joseph, it's awesome to have you on the show?

Joseph Meuse 02:02

Hey, thank you for having me, A pleasure. Certainly, we live in an interesting time.

Gresham Harkless 02:06

Yeah, absolutely. It's definitely an interesting and unexpected time, but I appreciate you for taking some time out to hop with us on the show. Before we jump in, I want to read a little bit more about Joseph so you can hear about all the awesome things that he's doing.

After years on Wall Street, Joseph created business GPS because he was looking to use his experience in business acumen to help struggling businesses entering COVID 19. His company is helping hundreds of businesses get government loans, decrease their commercial rent payments, and negotiate their loans to better terms on all on contingency.

It's a unique business model where business GPS gets paid on the end of the process and he's a serial entrepreneur. Over the last 30 years, Joseph has started and built over a dozen successful businesses in the process and has also helped thousands of other companies, US companies execute on their business plans. Sectors of experience span across financial services and investment banking, accounting and finance, IT, business consulting, legal services, giving Joe a broad perspective on best practices and how they can be most effective transferred across different categories.

Joseph, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

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Joseph Meuse 03:04

Sounds good. Let's go.

[restrict paid=”true”]

Gresham Harkless 03:05

Let's do it then. So to kick everything off, I wanted to hear a little bit more on how you got started. Could you take us through what is your CEO story and what let you get to start your business?

Joseph Meuse 03:11

Sure. Happy to. I don't know how interesting it is, but I'm 50. I started my first business when I was 18 and just worked my way, learned my way through things. When I got to the great recession of 08, 09, I'd had a nice, by that time, 20-year run, so to speak, in business, different businesses, learned a lot. However, when the great recession came, my business was cut in half in terms of revenue. We had a really good growth rate. I was looking around, and I'm thinking, oh my gosh, what do I do?

I realized at the time that I had limited options. I knew what I was told or knew supposedly what to do. Call my attorney and say, Hey, I'm in trouble, I owe people money, my business owes people money. They're gonna sue me, et cetera. I knew to call my accountant and talked to my accountant, Hey, what do I do. What they offered were very limited solutions. My attorney said, Hey if they sue you, let me know. I'll represent you in court. But again, I ultimately owe the money. There's not a whole lot he can do. I went to my accountant and my accountant said, Hey, cut your expenses. So what I ended up doing was working through it myself.

I communicated with my vendors, the people who wanted to sue me. I figured out where I needed to cut costs and I worked through it. With a different skill set than I had used. Once I got through it, or during the process, I realized I'm struggling with this. I'm a serial entrepreneur. I've been doing it for 20 years, got some knowledge. If I'm struggling with this, what's the guy down the street with only two years of experience or five years of experience making it, or is going to make it in the same situation. The other thing that I realized is in talking to my attorney and talking to my accountant, I did talk to a couple of what I'll call turnaround experts. Everybody had their hand out looking for money.

What I was looking for at the time was I wish I knew somebody who was a friend of mine who had experience in this community to come into my office, help me out, and say Joe, once we get through the other side of this, I'll see you. At that point is when the seeds got planted that there's a need in the market for helping people, helping companies get out of struggling situations. That was roughly 2008, 2009. I got back up on my feet again, strong by 2012 and I said, let's launch business GPS, help those companies that are struggling. So anyway, that's how it all came.

Gresham Harkless 05:45

Yeah, I absolutely appreciate that story. I feel like it just shows those seeds of the entrepreneurial spirit and understanding it and sometimes scratching your own itch and then seeing that there's so many other people that are really potentially going through this and seeing how you can create something and build something that can serve them.

Probably you could speak to this where you're going through a difficult time, you're going through a frustrating time, and as you said, people were not helping or if they are helping, it's like at expense to everything that you don't already maybe have. And it becomes very frustrating if you don't have somebody you can turn to for that expertise and of course for the help to get out of that.

Joseph Meuse 06:15

Yeah, absolutely. We're taught not in this business school, we go online how to build a business, how to make sales, how to grow, how to hire, things that are positive for the business, how to build the business. There's so much information out there. But where's the book or where's the guide on what to do when things fall apart? Very limited. So, that's the space that we built and we do it the way when I started 2012, I went back to when I had hoped for, which is I wish I had a friend who could come in and help me out because I also knew when I was going through it, I was scared. I was nervous.

So talking to a turnaround firm, I didn't wanna hire them because I didn't know if I trusted them. Are they just trying to get more from me? There's a lot of emotion flowing through. So fast forward to 2012, when I launched it I thought, okay, how do I build it around? I'm the friend. I'm the guy who's gonna come in and say don't worry about it. Take care of me later. That's where we came up with the unique contingency model which nobody else has, don't think anybody else has done where we get paid based on performance at the end of the process.

If it wins for the business and the business is stronger long term, then we get paid. If that's not the case, then I'm not really helping. No, we're not better off at the end of the process. So it's a unique business model.

Gresham Harkless 07:36

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Yeah, absolutely. I think that sometimes when those opportunities come about is because no one else is doing it, but you see a gap in the market and in the economy, you create that solution. I know when I read your bio, I touched on it a little bit and you did as well too, could you take us through a little bit more on how business GPS works and how you become that friend for the people in business?

Joseph Meuse 07:53

Sure. So, we help businesses improve their cash flow. I try to keep our message simple and our story simple, because CEOs are overloaded with content engines every day. It's almost like the analogy I give people is, you've got too many screens up on your computer and your computer's running a little slow. It's the same thing. Ultimately, what we're doing is we're improving your cash flow. Now, every business is different, so the secret sauce or the prescription to get to improve cash flow varies from business to business.

Some of the common themes are reducing debt. Some companies are choking on debt payments every month, your bank payments, your vendor payments, your payments, rent payments, et cetera. So sometimes it's restructuring the debt. Sometimes, as you were mentioning earlier, getting the SBA money, getting healthy working capital which isn't as easy as it should be defined. So the PPP, EIDL lines of credit, et cetera.  Sometimes we're doing that.

Sometimes we're doing some restructuring inside of the CFO office. Sometimes it's just really business coaching and life, trying to get the business back on. But ultimately it's about improving cash flow. That's what it is we're trying to do. That's the gas that runs the car.

Gresham Harkless 09:07

Nice. I definitely appreciate that. And as you said, so well before, a lot of times you're not taught this in school. That's not in the book that you read about how to start a business on how to figure out those things. I think being able to understand, and I guess as you said, get to it in a very simplistic way on what you're trying to do, but understand and have the fluidity to understand that each business is unique and different, it might need certain things, it is so huge.

Joseph Meuse 09:27

Yeah, really there's definitely not a one size fits all, not just the business, but also with the person you're dealing with. Because ultimately, no matter what business, you're in the people. So I'm trying to gauge Randy or Susie on the other side of the phone and try, okay, what are their goals? What are they like? What are their strengths? What are their weaknesses? And I'm trying to tailor a program to them.

So, at one point in time, I scaled up. I had probably 30 or 35 employees and I thought, what is gonna be a really scalable business? What I realized is that it's not because every business is unique. Every business takes a very hands-on approach because we're on contingency even more. So I talk to clients at 10 o'clock at night. I talk to clients on weekends because their success is my success. So, we're now down to maybe 13 or 14. We kind of screen clients a little bit differently in terms of cases that we take.

But the point of all that, is it's a very hands-on unique business model where it's almost like a partnership for six months, you know? Maybe a different analogy is to say, I'm your personal trainer, I'm gonna spend time with you every day. We're gonna work out every day and make sure you write, however, that analogy goes. And then in six months, you'll be on your own. You'll be so, and hopefully there are some lessons.

Gresham Harkless 10:43

Yeah, absolutely. It sounds like getting that opportunity to be empowered so that you can learn the lessons as you can and of course, get the success to be able to run from there.

Would you consider that to be, I know you mentioned this or might've mentioned this a little bit, your secret sauce is it that ability to understand and have so much business knowledge and acumen to be able to understand that one size doesn't fit all and be able to help people to get to that success.

Joseph Meuse 11:05

Absolutely. That's an important piece. Having gone through it myself in the great recession, or having hit these same challenges along the way in my spent 32 years of running my own business, all that helps a lot. But some days I feel like it's the people skills that matter even more because I've got, especially in COVID times, it used to be we travel five days a week visiting clients, sitting down face to face, getting to know them. Really doing a deep dive into their business, and that was great. It wasn't always fun to get up at four in the morning to catch a flight, but it was great because I was really able to get into it.

Now that everything's zoom or done over the phone, I really got to make sure that for those 20 minutes, I'm talking to that client today, I provide the right message. So when I hang up with them, the other 23 and a half hours that I'm not with them, that message sticks and resonates. So again, going back to the personal training analogy, Hey, we're gonna have a healthy meal, but hey, I'm not gonna be there in four hours. Don't go eat a big mouth. So the communication skill and getting the emotion here as a business owner helps lot.

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So it's coming back around to your question, I think it's probably 50% business experience, my business experience and understanding the people and how to make sure that I deliver the right message that's gonna stick.

Gresham Harkless 12:34

Absolutely appreciate that. I wanted to switch gears a little bit, and ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an app, a book or a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

Joseph Meuse 12:44

For me it is downtime. So going back to my comment earlier about having too many windows open on your computer, as a CEO, you're pulled in so many different directions. Sometimes you're the CFO and sometimes you're the HR guy, and sometimes you're the sales guy and sometimes you're this, sometimes you're that. It gets very complicated every day.

We feel like we're being productive because we're checking stuff on our list. But what we lose is the vision. What we lose is the roadmap. We have to simplify things. We have to get back to moments of clarity and listen to our inner voice about what direction we should go in. So I don't know if it's a hack, but what I try to do periodically throughout the day is I walk that side.

Gresham Harkless 13:27

That is absolutely huge. And so, I want to ask you now for what I call a CEO nugget. This could be a word of wisdom or a piece of advice. It might be something you would tell a client or if you hop into a time machine, you might tell your younger business self.

Joseph Meuse 13:38

I think the one thing that has come up time and time again for me and for the people that I talk to is making decisions with emotion are typically the wrong decisions. A lot of the decisions I made out of fear in my life, whether it's in my personal life or in my business life, were the wrong decisions.

Gresham Harkless 14:01

Absolutely. And so I wanted to ask you now my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. We're hoping now different quote and quote CEOs on this show.

So Joseph, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Joseph Meuse 14:10

It's somebody who serves. Being in my business and in businesses that I see are successful, CEO serves the people, serves everybody else, serve the customers, serve vendors, and most importantly they serve the staff of their company. My job is to make everybody around me successful. I serve.

Gresham Harkless 14:33

Absolutely. Joe, truly appreciate that definition and I appreciate your time even more. What I want to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you can let our readers and listeners know, and of course, how best they can get ahold of you and find out about all the awesome things that you're working on.

Joseph Meuse 14:47

So thank you. I think what I would add, it's a difficult time for businesses out there. They're under more stress than ever, and we see it in the demand for FBA loans that are out there, demand for our services. I hate to say it, business has been very good for us than last time. So many people are struggling.

What I would say to them is when I went through it myself, I didn't realize what was possible. I really thought that all I could do was either close my business and file bankruptcy or not. And it was probably even more importantly outside of my control. That's what gave me a lot to begin with.

So what I would say to people is that almost anything is possible, and there's almost always a solution, not only just keeping you in business, but finding a path that gets your business onto a stronger financial, stronger foundation. So there's hope out there. Certainly, you can do it. Just need to try to free yourself of some of the noise and fear that you have.

Gresham Harkless 15:52

Awesome. Yeah, I definitely appreciate that Joseph. And for people that wanna get ahold of you, what's the best way for them to do that?

Joseph Meuse 15:58

Sure, absolutely. Go visit our website businessgpsllc.com. You can send us a message straight through our website, give us a call, or whatever. As I mentioned earlier, because we are contingency work pretty much 24/7.

So if you're struggling, have questions, we're certainly here to help. Even if we don't work with you, we're certainly here to help and try to get you pointed in the right direction.

Gresham Harkless 16:18

Awesome, awesome, awesome. We will have the links and information and the show notes and have a great rest of the day.

Outro 16:22

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO podcast, powered by CB Nation and Blue 16 media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co. I AM CEO is not just a phrase. It's a community.

Get your driven CEO gear at ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless, Jr. Thank you for listening.

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Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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