Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Matt Wilhelmi, Owner of Strategic Voyages Business Consultants, located in Geneva, IL, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

My business is Strategic Voyages Business Consultants. We're an outsourced CFO Team for business without a full-time CFO. We bridge the gap between the advice business owners get from the CPA, bookkeeper, and banker. Oftentimes, the CPA is only interested in reducing taxable income, bookkeepers aren't fluent enough to give solid advice outside of specific expenditures relative to their niche knowledge, and bankers tend to be only interested in lending and not in supporting a company. We've found that business owners WANT to be advised by someone with a diverse background (like we have) and supported with various projects that take their business to the next level.

Tell us about yourself

I started banking and lending at 18. I got my first job at Chase Bank and spent about five years between Chase and USBank writing loans for business owners. What I noticed is that the big banks (and later found out that smaller banks are no different) don't give actual business advice. When a business owner is struggling with making sense of their financial reports, maybe their staff is not engaged, or maybe their monthly breakeven is too high. Bankers don't want to roll up their sleeves and help solve the root causes. That's why I got into consulting to be able to meet business owners where they are and provide real, practical solutions for their business. As an outsourced CFO for dozens of companies, my team and I have worked through many different situations, and we realize the emotionality that often accompanies financial strains.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Seeing families freed from enormous debt obligations. When my team is able to reduce a company's debt service, it gives emotional breathing room that can only be experienced if you've gone through it. Essentially, the business owner (and usually their family) is slowly choking financially. When we lower their monthly debt service, they experience new life. What comes after that is usually awe-inspiring!

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Staying the course of your business model when distractions arise.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Keep your personal expenses as low as possible.
  2. Get an accountability partner or business mentor.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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