Anil Grandhi was working his way up the corporate ladder at a Fortune 100 company when he realized that large corporations are offered far more support and opportunities than small businesses. This notable differentiation was amplified by the fact that Grandhi grew up surrounded by small businesses. His father ran multiple and managed all of the financial challenges that come with ownership.
Grandhi realized that he could marry his passion with his skill set in corporate finance by helping small business owners. Taxes and financial management are both daunting and time-consuming tasks that small business owners rarely have the resources to outsource. Grandhi remembered the challenges his father faced trying to juggle all of the rules, regulations and requirements of business finance.
He decided to stop his pursuit of the corporate ladder and help small businesses instead, becoming an entrepreneur with the intention of helping other entrepreneurs.
Now, Grandhi is the CEO of AG FinTax, a company that offers small businesses a way to outsource their financial management without the high cost it usually requires. He drew from what he knew of his family’s experiences as entrepreneurs and built a business around helping people.
We spoke with Grandhi about how he was inspired to leave the corporate world for entrepreneurship, and the costs and rewards of that choice.
What are the most rewarding parts of working with small business owners versus working in that corporate-driven environment?
This is always a challenging environment and every business has a different challenge. He is happy to help those who haven’t been able to get the expertise they need. Many people told him that they were working with a CPA for 10 years, but they didn’t get this type of service and expertise before they started working with AG FinTax. When the client is happy, it is very rewarding for him. “Looking for claps” – wants the client to be happy they talked to them and give them the type of help they haven’t gotten before. That’s what is rewarding to him – bringing a change they weren’t even expecting or planning for.
You were driven by your desire to help the small business community when founding AG FinTax. How do you stay engaged with the community outside of the services you offer?
I have been a part of the community as a leader, as part of the business owners’ community. I work to stay locally focused, helping small businesses in my own community make sure that they are getting the best tax strategy possible. I talk to owners of local businesses regularly, and they all face the same financial issues that I watched my father struggle with growing up. I come in and show them how to save on their taxes, best practices in their specific market or industry, and overall, the best strategies in the world of business finance.
My business is strongly tied to the community. I learn from these small business owners by listening to their struggles and frustrations and coming up with solutions that help them succeed in business finance and stay afloat.
How were you able to help small businesses during the pandemic, especially when the government was providing financial relief?
During the pandemic, I started hearing a lot of bad stories about small businesses. My clients and other local business owners reached out to say that their business was affected by shutdowns. They knew the government was offering financial relief for businesses in light of all of the economic issues, but they weren’t certain how to make sure they got the benefits of what was being offered. Navigating these unique loans, incentives and grants was time-consuming and challenging for them, especially if they were already struggling to stay afloat financially.
I took this as an opportunity to help the small business owners and we were able to get around $150 million in loans.
But even though we were able to help businesses considerably during the pandemic, there is still a lot of economic recovery needed in the months to come. That’s why we are continuing to provide services to many small businesses who still want to understand how tax incentives, grants, credit and loans can be planned to benefit them financially as they recover from months of economic issues. It’s challenging because regulations change across all 50 states in the U.S., and some incentives are offered places where they aren’t offered elsewhere. We are working with each business to make sure that they get all the benefits available to them, wherever they are, at both the state and federal levels.
One really key thing, and perhaps the most challenging aspect of managing taxes, is making sure that everyone is abiding by the rules, regulations, and therefore, the law. I help these small business owners understand and interpret the law, the provisions made for small businesses, and how they can legally get the most amount of money. We have honed our focus on maximizing benefits, especially during and after the pandemic, so that business owners can come out of this year and thrive. There are so many resources available, but so many businesses do not know how to access them. We are very proud to be able to say that 100% of the businesses we helped were able to survive the pandemic. None of them shut down.
And I think that proves the importance of a service like what we offer. Understanding taxes and financial planning can empower business owners and really gives people the ability to thrive within the systems already in place.