Stay on the high road, it’s a lonely place but the only place. Don’t get caught up in the small things. When you step up and into position as CEO it can feel lonely at times, but don’t let that deter you. Your board of directors or executive team will help with decision making and support but there comes a point where some situations or decisions must come from you. Don’t be afraid to use your unique set of skills and experiences that set you apart from the rest to make the right decisions.
As part of my series about the leadership lessons of accomplished business leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jared Weitz. Jared has been in the financial services industry for over 12 years. Due to his extensive work experience and deep network of close financial relationships, he handles a multitude of different finance options for his clients and contacts. Over the years, he has held positions in some of the largest business financing companies in the U.S. Some of his roles have been: Underwriter, Director of Business Development, Managing Partner and currently, CEO of United Capital Source, LLC. Jared’s specialties include: leasing, equipment financing, small-to-mid-sized business financing, large cap finance, merchant services, mortgages (both commercial and residential), underwriting, contract negotiation, along with financial analysis and projection. Jared is a member of the Forbes Finance Council, Young Entrepreneur Council & Small Business Finance Association.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I went to college thinking I would become a teacher. But every single job I had in college wound up being something where sales were present. Whether I was a bartender or an athletic director, I was always selling something, and I really enjoyed it. It didn’t take me too long to realize I was naturally drawn to marketing, sales, and finance.
I was offered a job as a union plumber while attending school and began installing air, medical and gas lines in hospitals or office buildings. I quickly grew in the job and found myself reading blueprints for buildings and bidding for jobs. The ceiling for opportunities with this job was low, and I wanted to push myself more.
As fate would have it, a close friend of mine had been hired at Bizfi (formerly Merchant Cash and Capital) and they were in need of underwriters. I took a leap and applied to work for MCC. Only a few weeks into the job I knew for certain that this was the career path and industry I wanted to be a part of.
Can you share your story of Grit and Success? First can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?
I was the second of six siblings and when it came time to attend college my oldest sister and I had to pay our own way. Later on, my father was able to support my younger siblings, but I was determined to not let money stop me from having an education and an opportunity to be a success. I began selling cell phones, parked cars at night after class — I did everything I could think of to make money and get an education. I began life as a young adult grinding it out for something valuable, and this determination/grit is something I carry with me to this day.
Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
Whenever you are faced with a difficult time it is important to have a purpose. I built this business with the intention of helping others succeed. When you can walk into a tough situation and know you are doing it for something bigger than yourself, it becomes easy to push through and work hard for the cause.
So, how are things going today? How did Grit lead to your eventual success?
Starting a business on your own is never easy, but if you can stay the course and not lose your sense of determination, success is possible. Because of the struggles and lessons I experienced earlier in life, I was prepared for the entrepreneurial grind and now can now look back fondly on the journey so far.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Honestly, I can’t think of a funny mistake, I can think of many other mistakes I’ve made along the way that weren’t very funny (to me at least!) …have a few hours to discuss?!
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
We hold a high sense of integrity within the industry. We don’t take advantage of our merchants by obtaining excessive funding that a customer can’t afford to pay or raise rates to dangerous levels. It is about doing right by small businesses and creating relationships with longevity in mind.
I have found that by holding the business to a higher sense of integrity, my employees also carry themselves well in all areas of their life. It is really an incredible thing to hire on a new employee and watch them grow both personally and professionally. I was so excited the day one of our earliest employees bought their first house. Seeing their deserved success is invaluable.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Cut out mandatory time for yourself. I always tell my team, if your personal life is not in balance your professional life can’t succeed, and vice-versa.
Find something outside of work that you connect with and commit to doing it daily or weekly. For me, it is swimming laps in the morning before work. Even if it is only for 30 minutes, getting into the pool and swimming helps me stay active and find a sense of release. The best part is when I get out of the pool and head into work I am more focused and productive.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Sometimes the most impactful people or statements come from the smallest moment. When I was in college working at the union, a coworker who had been on the job for 30 years reminded me that wages would only raise so high and that no matter how high you could climb it would take its toll. This small conversation sparked thoughts that lead me to follow my passion and enter the finance world.
There is great value in having inspiration from other people. I’d say a person who is a big idol for me is Marcus Lemonis. I think he’s an amazing businessman but also a humanitarian that helps to lift his partners and employees up. When you find someone like this to learn about it helps build the image of what you want your success to look like.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my company” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Make sure you have a good lawyer reviewing all your transaction documents
You want to have good legal support before you ever think you need it. Lawyers are a valuable commodity within almost every aspect of the business. Sure, you need a lawyer in times of lawsuits, but you will need them to overlook all trademarks, zoning compliance and incorporation documents. All of this legal jargon and documentation can become stressful and overwhelming. Get set up with a strong legal team or advisor to ensure you don’t end up in a legal battle that could have easily been avoided from the start.
2. Stay on the high road, it’s a lonely place but the only place. Don’t get caught up in the small things
When you step up and into position as CEO it can feel lonely at times, but don’t let that deter you. Your board of directors or executive team will help with decision making and support but there comes a point where some situations or decisions must come from you. Don’t be afraid to use your unique set of skills and experiences that set you apart from the rest to make the right decisions.
3. Keep constant motion forward, do not stay stagnant.
In business there is no such thing as standing still, it is a constant state of movement up or down. If you want to stay relevant, let alone get ahead, you need to be very aware of where your business is living. Use any forward movement as an opportunity for growth, not to sit back and take a break. You personally will need to take a break from time to time, but the business never should.
4. Manage your business by your cash flow not your P&L
Just as the age-old idea “calories in equals calories out” has been debunked, your financial health must be looked at as more than profit in and money lost.
Do not rely solely on your P&L report to understand the financial health of your business. While the P&L will outline what your business has earned and spent, cash flow takes into account many more aspects of the business that reveal a clearer picture. You need to consider accounts payable/ receivable, debt, inventory and major capital expenditures — all of which are included in cash flow.
5. Keep your top people happy
A leader is only as strong as his team. If you want to create a successful team you need to retain top talent. When you invest in your employees, they will invest in you and commit to staying for the long haul. Give them something worth staying for. Whether that is opportunities for growth, a valuable company culture or a competitive compensation package, understand from the very start what each employee needs and do what you need to give it to them. When your top employees feel valued, innovation is boosted, productivity rises, and everyone is happy.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Do what you really want to do. I want to help people find their passion or purpose and pursue it fully. Many people today live in a state of fear that they cannot step outside of their box and create the dream, or business that they envision.
This is one of the reasons United Capital Source exists, we want to help enable small and midsize businesses to reach their goals and pursue the success they envision.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Twitter Company: @ucsource
Twitter Personal: @jaredweitz
Linkedin Personal: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jared-weitz-bb1bb06/
LinkedIn Company: https://www.linkedin.com/company/united-capital-source/
Business website: https://www.unitedcapitalsource.com/
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!