The Capitalist Investor - Episode 123

Seeing the economy from a different perspective is essential. Investors need to be able to find a balance to what they know and what business owners see and experience out in the world. This week, Derek and Luke bring a new perspective to the table and speak with Matt Guse –– President and owner of MRS Machining, a small business machining company based in Wisconsin. The guys have discussed inflation, labor shortages, and supply chain crises as they take place, but what does that look like from a small business owner’s point of view? Episode #123 of “The Capitalist Investor,” delivers a new angle on real life ups and downs small business owners have experienced over the last two years and what they predict is in store.

Outline of this Episode:

  • [3:40] Bringing new perspectives, meet Matt Guse
  • [5:45] Getting a small business off the ground
  • [8:45] 35 years of owning a company and what comes with it
  • [12:50] The warnings that Guse pays attention to
  • [21:45] How does a small business owner feel about the future?

Owning a small business and Guse’s story 

Matt Guse got into the machining business by accident, he said. A machinist by trade, Guse’s father started MRS Machining in the late 1980s and for 35 years, Matt’s learned the ins and outs of being a small business owner –– the backbone of America’s economy. 

Although Guse didn’t have the expertise to own a business at first, he had no fear. The business started with Guse and his dad out of their garage. Since then, Matt has expanded MRS and the company currently has 48 employees. 

Oftentimes, running a small business can be a week by week process, Guse said. Sometimes he wasn’t always certain it was going to survive, especially in the beginning as he and his dad were looking for machining jobs to put their name on the map. But after calling and contacting companies that needed parts machined, MRS turned into a full-scale company. 

But like many other small businesses across the country, MRS has had its own difficulties navigating through a pandemic, supply chain crisis, and inflation. 

The past year through a small business owner’s eyes

During the last couple years, small businesses got hit hard –– much harder than any large corporation out there. 

Machining is a process of taking a hunk of metal and creating it into something –– it’s like an art, Matt explained. MRS is a contract manufacturer that machines parts for almost every type of industry. They pride themselves on short runs with quick delivery. But this past year has made it quite difficult for the small Wisconsin company. 

As the supply chain crisis took off, it became difficult for more and more companies within any sort of industry to get parts. And similarly, it was difficult for Guse and MRS to get the materials they needed to machine the parts. The whole system was affected. 

The company lost potential business opportunities –– it either wasn’t possible to get all the material in quick enough or there weren’t enough employees to get it done. It’s an experience that sounds so similar to many others out there. 

After 35 years of working and owning a small business, Guse has learned what signs to look out for in the face of a slowing economy or recession. And the grim signs showed him there will most likely be a recession coming. 

What does the future look like for Guse and MRS Machining?

For over thirty years, Guse has learned about the business of owning and running a business. He’s endured the Great Recession, a pandemic, and a supply chain plight. 

But in the manufacturing sector, people are leaving and capacity is decreasing. Many of the workers in the industry are now retiring and there simply aren’t enough people entering it quick enough. 

But if this last year proved anything, there is a large need for machinery and manufacturing. Guse said that for the future’s sake, there needs to be some action to bring more people into the industry. In hopes to introduce young minds to machining, Guse is extremely active with local high school students and creates opportunities for students to work in a shop with real equipment.  

He doesn’t think that the manufacturing industry will feel much of anything from a future potential recession. The industry is going to come back and come back strong. 

Recession or no recession, Matt believes that people have to stop working against each other, and have to improve the way they work with each other. There’s a lot of negativity surfacing in the country right now, but America can find its way out and hold its ground, he said. And we couldn’t agree more. 

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