Garren Katz on How to Get Started Investing in Small Business Ideas

In Chapter 15 of 15 in his 2012 Capture Your Flag interview, business and personal coach Garren Katz answers "How Are You Learning to Make Better Investment Decisions?"  Katz notes it is as much or more related to the growing abilities of those he invests in as it is his own skills.  He learns from experiences investing in others and benefits from the relationships he builds over time by investing in others' ideas.  He mentions the importance of approachability in investing, i.e. it does not take much money to help someone move an idea toward actualization.  Katz finds joy learning about others' ideas and offering to fund those investments.  He notes many ideas take a relatively small amount of money to support an idea and turn it into a business.  Katz sets an intention to tangibly support what others do while also looking for monetary gain. 

Garren Katz is a business and personal coach based in State College, PA and advises his national client base on small business management, entrepreneurship, relationships, and personal finances.  He is also an active angel investor in several business ventures.  He earned his BA from Western Michigan University. 


Erik Michielsen: How are you learning to make better investment decisions?

Garren Katz: I don’t necessarily know that I’m getting better in my investment decisions, I would say that the folks I invest in are getting better at executing on what they’re taking on. My investment decisions are working out more often than not but I wouldn’t say that’s directly related to my process, I’d say it’s more very fortunate to know folks that are up to some really, really neat things. An example would be investing in—I love to invest in ideas and they’re sitting all around us all the time, and so I actually had dinner with a friend of mine a couple of weeks ago and he was—he’s got what I think is a fantastic idea, I think it fits his personality perfectly, and I simply asked him. I said, boy, I said, I think you have a fantastic idea, I’d love to—if the opportunity presents itself, I would love to invest.

And it doesn’t have to be on a significant level, I think so many folks have this idea that if you’re going to invest, you have to have a tremendous amount of money. Well, there’s a lot of smaller projects out there. There’s a lot of little ideas that have the potential to be big, so a relatively small amount of money can get you into a place where you’re supporting that idea and I think that’s important to think about is what is your intention with an investment? You know, my intention—sure, on the backend, it’d be neat if it makes me some money, but my intention is truly to tangibly support what that person is up to. And I set that intention inside of myself at this point with any investment that I make, and that’s not a feeling I get when I buy a stock or something like that. I can only—At least for me, I’ve only been able to find that or have that feeling that my intention is support when I’m supporting a person or a small organization and what they’re up to.