Interview with Mike Grantis, Sr. Director Business Development at

In Episode 13 of the Mad Profit Podcast, we interview Mike Grantis who is the Senior Director of Business Development at He explains the opportunity of leveraging the oldest form of trade to help businesses improve profitability in today’s marketplace.

Mike provides some great examples of businesses that have succeeded in offloading their stock or using excess capacity. Businesses of all sizes can leverage this community to help improve their bottom line


Laurent : Hey everybody Laurent Truc here from the mad profit podcast welcome back  today we have a special guest Mike Grantis from  this is a bit of a different interview than what I’ve done in the past  barter payday ca is a very interesting new community that’s being  created and it’s been around now for a couple of years that allows  members to barter with other members and I see a very unique opportunity for even  internet businesses to be able to put excess product or even use up excess  capacity if they have a service business and I think it’s a really  interesting way to continue to sell and even diversify  your sales. Mike is a terrific guy and it was a great interview so dive in and hopefully you’ll find value in it thank you.

 Intro : welcome to the mad profit podcast where  we interview active investors entrepreneurs and experts who left  corporate jobs to buy or start successful ventures  and live life on their own terms listen to their stories  learn from their experiences and heed their advice so you too can create  mad profits and the life you’ve always wanted and now here’s your host  Laurent Truc.

Laurent: welcome back everyone today we got a special guest with us his name is Mike Grantis from mike welcome to the show how are you.

Mike: thanks so much appreciate you having me yeah, I’m great

Laurent:  I’m glad you’re on you’re a bit of a different  guest than I’ve had in the past focused on  more of the online  business type entrepreneurs and  you’re obviously your business is that  but I think you provide services for many types of business so it’ll be  really interesting to kind of dive in and  get the lowdown of how you help everybody so of course can you give a little bit of  background about yourself.

Mike : sure so  my name is Mike Grantis  I’m the senior director for business development with  Barterpay Toronto community  and essentially what barter pay is we’re Canada’s largest and fastest growing  organized barter exchange so what that means is we help business owners  to pay for things that they need or accumulate the things that they need  using their own idle time capacity and services  as payment instead of cash right so it’s a way for  business owners to conserve some of their cash get the things that they need  increase their profit margins and grow their business. 

And the reason I say organized barter is because it’s very different than  traditional barter right traditional barter is  the oldest form of commerce and it’s how business was invented but it’s got some  big flaws and one of those is what we call the  coincidence of wants and so what that is when you need to find  somebody that has what you need needs what you have at the same time and  at the same value and you know that doesn’t happen very  often in business especially with the complexities of  kind of modern markets and so what we did with Barterpay is we created this  ecosystem where you no longer have to be tied into  one-to-one transactions all you have to do is provide your idle  time or your idle capacity or goods and services  to the network anybody within the Barterpay community can pay for those services using barter credits and each barter credit is equal in value to Canadian  dollars one to one for kind of accounting tax and valuation purposes .

Then you accumulate those barter credits and you can spend those barter  credits on whatever you need so instead of having to be locked into  these transactions now it’s a one-to-many barter system  where you can actually procure the things that will help you grow your  business and reduce crop and reduce costs so that’s what we’re  doing uh here yeah here in Toronto and it’s  great super exciting very interesting.

Laurent:  when did you guys launch?

Mike : We launched as Barterpay just about two and a half years ago and in that time we’ve amassed a network of about 4,000 businesses  across Canada and yeah seen some really lightning fast  growths had some great um signings with national partners like  restaurants Canada retail council of Canada um Ontario  chamber of commerce and many others to come but we’ve  really seen some great traction and I think it’s because we’re  providing this kind of alternative mechanism for business owners to really  get the most out of their business for them  to increase their capacity and work at closer to  the kind of full throttle excellent.

Laurent: So, can you give us kind of an understanding of the types of businesses that are in the ecosystem today

Mike: you know what it’s funny that you ask that  because they’re so wide-ranging we don’t necessarily focus on a certain  niche of business what we what we more focus on is the  mindset of the business owner right and so what we usually say is  barter can work for any business  but not every business owner makes it  work and so you need to have a mindset that’s you  know open to making deals open to trying new things  love  loves to network we love givers we love people that are you know socially conscious and thinking about their community so I mean what I would say is we have services we have  physical goods we have businesses from solopreneurs all the way up to  Gordon Foods who’s a 17 billion dollar company  and provides us their idle food inventory for  restaurants and retail consumers so the kind of wide-ranging  different types of businesses is pretty remarkable but  as we focus on these different industries and get these big  industry leaders as our partners they’re starting to kind of  you know trickle down the word and it really starts to grow organically  from the ground up so I can literally buy my groceries yeah I mean and the great thing is it’s that wholesale cost of  cost of goods right so Gordon food service is a is a  you know major food distributor in Canada but they sell to restaurants and  so when they have  you know when they’ve over produced some  inventory they’ll sell you know kilograms of mashed potatoes or  you know I think they would sell to restaurants I mean there’s  everything from you know kitchen equipment to food service product but you know it’s a great way to  supplement that grocery order for sure that’s great.

Laurent: do you do most businesses that are on the platform take the wholesale approach or does it really depend on what they’re offering?

Mike: well what we say is fairly price your  product so as you’re priced in the  marketplace price is the same way in barter credits  and that’s because you know with fair value of barter credit to  dollar it makes everything simple from  accounting to valuation to doing your taxes and you  don’t want to have a different price point in the  marketplace as opposed to barter that being said  what we always say is we will never we will never discount your product to sell  it on barter pay so one of our you know largest value propositions is  that we can sell product at full cost in barter credits as opposed to  discounting it in the cash world and having to you know maybe  take fifty percent for a you know close out sale  so we’ll price everything at full price we’ll get your full  your full retail value for it and make sure that you continue to hold all that buying power

Laurent: Can you give us an example or two of you know successes that have happened on the platform?

Mike : yeah I mean they’re so good they happen every day  and they’re so wide-ranging but  you know just actually literally  yesterday one of the one of the great examples we had is one  of our moving companies had  200 sorry 20 000  bottles of hand sanitizer that they wanted to sell on barter pay and they  wanted to liquidate it quickly and get some storage space out of their  warehouse so what we did was we put out a blast to our barter pay members  one of our members golf north ended up purchasing 7 200 bottles  within the first five minutes  and then another one of our members one of  our charity members purchased six  thousand bottles within the within the next 40 minutes and then we  as barter pay  are purchasing the rest and we’re  going to sell those to the barter pit community  so within the span of a day or even less than a day we sold through 20  bottles of hand sanitizer roughly  that they can now that was essentially  just taking up space in their warehouse that they can now spend on things that  they need to grow their business be it advertising be it SEO or printing or you know moving equipment renovations whatever  have you there’s so many different options within  the barter pay community that they can spend it really the  way that they want

Laurent : and the alternative would have been for them  to market that they’re selling this put a huge discount on it you know get  their whole team involved in trying to sell it now they  were able to do it to a very focused group with your  help as a marketing avenue to sell it quickly

Mike : absolutely  and you know maybe hand sanitizer isn’t the best example because  there’s probably a cash market for that as well let’s just say they had  all this inventory in their warehouse that just wasn’t selling in the cash  world I’ll give you another example we had Willowbrook Nurseries in last summer or sorry going into last winter they had about four hundred thousand dollars’ worth of flowers on their dump list that they just couldn’t sell in the cash  world so they couldn’t keep it through the winter they were going to dump it  now what we did through barter pay is we created some barter promos we blasted it  out to our network we got we sold almost a hundred thousand  dollars’ worth of flowers to our community that would have  been thrown in the garbage right now this is a hundred thousand dollar  barter credits and buying power  for this business owner  but what he chose to do was actually donate it to charity our charity called  barter pay it forward foundation that works with about 100 charities  across the country so now this is a hundred thousand  dollars’ worth of purchasing power that goes to charities they so they can  now drive their mission forward that would  have been thrown in the garbage and he gets a tax receipt he gets a full  tax receipt in return so he does good he  you know puts his product to good use  and also  you know shares the wealth with the  community so it’s really a win-win-win for  business owners everywhere across Canada

Laurent : that’s huge that’s very cool  I love the marketing aspect that you guys bring to the table right there is  probably you know first there in terms  of what’s available for them to buy with cash that they’ve accrued  through barter trade and you know service or products  being able to go to you and say hey I’ve got some open capacity really want  you guys to push it like how does that work how much marketing do you do on  behalf of a business owner

Mike : yeah great question what I would say  first of all is every business owner that signs up  gets assigned a barter coach so your barter coach  is kind of like your personal sales concierge or your  sales cons they’ll help you not only promote and advertise your  business but they’ll also help you to procure the things that you need  so they’re really your first point of contact with respect to barter  now when businesses sign up we really try and inculcate the fact that  you want to think barter first if you have if there’s something that you know  you want to buy instead of spending cash in the cash  world you might as well look at look in the barter network look  call your barter coach and see if there’s anything available that we can  find for you because it’s always better if you can  spend your barter credits as opposed to cash  with respect to marketing what we do is we have a  we have a barter blast that goes out twice a week once nationally  and then once to the local community  and it’s totally free for business owners within  the barter pay membership um you let us know when you have capacity or when you  want to be promoted we then our graphics design team will  build an advertisement for you we’ll put you up on our barter blasts  they get great open rates with respect to our barter pay community because  they’re always looking for things that they can barter with  and it’s just a great way to get some extra eyeballs  on your on your product or your service and create some new cash business  essentially down the road because you’re now building up this  network of like-minded business owners that can promote your product as well  we do that if you have a specific deal or a specific promotion that you want to  do we’ll even we’ll even build out a separate email  entirely for you called the barter promo and we’ll sell was for example when  Gordon foods came on board and they were starting their  inventory sales we built a barter promo for them  sent it out to the entire network let them know and we’ll even build out  full shopify stores for businesses if they have extra inventory that they  want to sell and barter pay so the extent of our marketing it  continues to grow but the value you know the value that  we’re adding to the marketplace continues to grow as well with it 

Laurent : that’s very cool that’s very cool you and I had a conversation before  around you know the varied types of services that are on the  platform some of them are b2b some of them are b2c I think you said  chiropractors massage therapists different things like that right  so you know from a tax perspective how does a business that maybe has  accrued quite a bit of  barter credits use  the barter credits for personal  consumption right so let’s say they do  want to get food or they do want to get a massage  you know you had recommended a way to kind of move those bar credits from  the business world to the personal world to the financial world can you kind of  cover it

Mike: sure I mean there’s a lot of creative  financing ways that you can use your barter credits as a business owner in the same way that you know if you’re incorporated  you can pull money out of your business you’d have to repay it back in some  form or fashion um but absolutely there’s nothing that says you only have  to spend your credits on um business expenses they can also be  used for cottages and vacations and rentals and timeshares um  so what I would recommend and what we actually had somebody too was  we’ve had somebody build almost an entire house personally  with barter credits and I’ll kind of explain the story and how that worked  he was a mattress manufacturer and the house  costed I think three hundred thousand dollars or four hundred thousand  dollars and he was able to um he was able to provide almost three  hundred thousand dollars’ worth of those services in barter  credits and what he did was he as he ran a mattress  manufacturer he put 300 000 worth of mattresses on barter pay and  over time not just to flood the network but um  generally he started to accrue these credits and build up this net worth in  his in his company of roughly 300 000 barter  credits now he used those  mind you  the cost of those mattresses to him was only a hundred thousand dollars so cost  of goods sold was about a hundred thousand  now what he did was he spent those three hundred thousand barter credits on  things to build the house carpentry plumbing electrical  and you know physical goods like with wood and all that stuff  and then I mean I’m not a carpenter but  and then what he did was he cut himself a check for a hundred thousand  for the cost of goods sold back into his business so now all  the cash that was  outlaid to build up those barter  credits is back in his business and he’s built a 300 000 or a 400 000  home for really the price of a hundred thousand dollars  so moving yeah moving credits in and out of your  you know personal account versus business account  there’s a lot of creative ways to do it but just in the same way that there’s  a lot of creative accounting methods and financing methods for  businesses as well

Laurent: and you guys have kept it easy a dollar per credit so and from a tax perspective CRA looks at it as you know you made a dollar it’s a dollar of revenue and so you’re paying um like it’s just another account is that how it works

Mike : absolutely so we actually have an  agreement with the candidate  with cra that says each of each  dollar is equal in value to a barter credit  and so that actually makes it really easy our  barter pay bank account you can call it can be added into QuickBooks can be  added into your general ledger just like any other bank account can be  and you know for accounting purposes whenever you make a sale it should go  under revenue and whenever you make a purchase it  should go under expenses and that just keeps everything really  tied together  what I would say as well  is us as barter coaches what we’re trying to do is act  more like um consultants for your business so we’re not going to let you  accrue 300  there’s something that you’re going to use those for  so we want to figure out okay what is the amount of barter credits that you’re  going to need to do a certain project let’s hypothetically turn on the sales  faucet get you some sales we’ll promote your  business we’ll market you we’ll get you some sales then we’ll turn  off that sales faucet when you have enough  to purchase what you need and then you can go out and spend those credits  so it’s kind of like credits in credits out and then there’s no tax liability  because with respect to you know HST you’re paying HST in barter credits and you’re receiving HST and barter credits and when you actualize for  the year it ends up being close to close to a wash

Laurent: that’s great yeah so, I think most of my listeners you know obviously we talk about buying and selling internet businesses so is there a heavy concentration of services like I’m thinking SEO AdWords like are those kinds of businesses readily available on the platform today

Mike: so definitely they are there’s lead  generation services there’s SEO web development you know those type  of things  what I would say is well we don’t  work directly with google or Facebook so you can’t pay for your ad spend through  barter credits unfortunately not yet yeah but  there definitely are  those b2b services that can help you  grow your business  with and I know you work directly  with e-commerce sites as well and what I would say is  e-comm sites tend to be the kind of best in class sellers on barter pay  because they have physical good products you know  exactly what you’re getting they’re easy to market we can put you in our Shopify multi-vendor marketplace and that’s a great place for business  owners to kind of see what’s available and  you know pick out what’s available so ecommerce sites  do tend to do really well but there is such a broad mix of  services professional services and um you know b2b or b2c that can really help  you grow your business or whatever you’d like to do in your  personal life

Laurent: perfect and you talk that you know even if your services are commission-based you guys have a way of making that work I think you said you had some real estate agents as examples

Mike: yeah absolutely so with respect to real  estate it’s a little bit more difficult because there’s lots of  stringent regulations with respect to brokerages and how money gets money gets  transferred but what we’ve done in the past was real  estate deals where after the closing of the of the house  and the commission gets paid out to the real estate agent or the real estate  brokerage we’ve created contracts before the  deal that say once this commission gets paid  out we’ll swap it with the consumer for barter credits  so this is our mechanism to say okay if you’re a real estate agent we can  find you buyers or sellers within the barter pay community  we’ll market your business we’ll get you those eyeballs we’ll get you that  exposure  but in return since you’re um  since we’re getting you that new business that you might not have had  otherwise we’ll do that transaction and  barter credits and we’ll give you that buying power  on the barter pay ecosystem as opposed to the cash bank dollars so  it’s tend to work it’s worked out really well we just did a real estate  closing I believe it just closed on august  for the commission was roughly  of that in barter so you know it  works really well from that perspective but  there’s a lot of creative uh creative ways that you can use it if  you’re somebody that’s interested in barter we  can figure out what makes the most sense for you and your business  to get you on networking and get your services available

Laurent: well I think it’s a no brainer it’s  businesses that are available  and quite frankly at a relatively cheap  marketing approach right you guys do it kind of all to help a  business really push their product whether they have a  spike or not there there’s an avenue there so I think it  makes a tremendous amount of sense  so where are you guys going what does  the next two years look like for you guys

Mike: well I would like to  continue that uh kind of hyperbolic  parabolic road  we’ve  seen some great growth trajectory and um  as we continue to bring on these new partners  these national partners we’re really starting to create that buzz  so what I would like to see us get to is roughly  maybe 15 000 businesses  nationwide and really start to see the name barter pay become resonant with um  you know a new a new means of transacting or  a better way forward where everybody can kind of work together to help each  other grow I think especially in times like we’re  in right now the importance of community the  importance of a network and actually working together  kind of takes precedent over everything else  and I think in order to get us all through this we’re going to have to work  together so I would love to see people start to adopt barter as this new  form of commerce that’s kind of an  inflation hedge and that’s  also just a way a great way to  connect with other business owners in your community  agree is there an international scope at some point  we and I don’t want to speak too much of this this is our founder  john porter that’s been working on a lot of this  the international expansion but we are in talks with  some businesses in the in the us to  expanding there as we’ve had a lot of  interest from other business owners in other countries  that want to start getting involved as well as of  right now we’re specifically focused on Canada  we want to make sure that we’re owning our sandbox here in Canada  and making sure that we’re kind of the primary source for barter here in Canada before we really start to move our efforts but it’s definitely in the works yeah that’s 

Laurent: awesome

Mike: the world barter alliance is in the works

Laurent: excellent Mike anything else you want to cover

Mike:  I mean not so much but I just wanted to say thank you so much for the for the time and for having me on the show and letting me kind of have a platform to speak about barter pay

Laurent:  sure

Mike: we really appreciate it

Laurent: yeah, we love new opportunities like this I mean I think it’s a lot of businesses can benefit from having that Canada to Canada direct selling ability yeah

Mike : One thing I would add actually before  you go and I know MadX Capital fantastic business model I love  what you’re doing but what I would say is for businesses that are  interested in selling their business I know you tend to  work on a revenue or a profit multiple to sell their business now if you  know you’re going to sell your business in  the future wouldn’t you want your profit or  wouldn’t you want your revenue numbers to be as high as possible right  and so barter pay can be a way to fill up some of that sell some of that  idle capacity increase that cash conversion cycle and  really grow that profit margin for the short term while you’re really  getting evaluated while you’re while you’re getting kind of audited  for price on your on your business so if you’re  looking to sell or if you’re looking to buy it’s something to look at  as a means of kind of I don’t want to say inflating the value  of your business but showing the true capacity of what your  business can bring

Laurent :  I agree I also think  one of the biggest factors in driving a multiple up is  how well diversified of businesses right so if they only have one avenue of  selling whether it’s amazon or shopify you add another avenue  like this then all of a sudden a potential buyer’s like okay there’s less  risk right i’m not completely platform  one platform  focused so and like you said there’s always  highs and lows in the business there’s going to be some capacity that’s not  fully utilized so being able to always maintain that  high level of sales by either going to  your regular marketplace or this one I think just gives you more options so  it’s a great point

Mike: absolutely

Laurent: Mike how do people get in touch with you

Mike: You can find me on LinkedIn. Mike Grantis on LinkedIn or you can email me at

Laurent: perfect I’ll put all that in the show notes and thanks for taking the time today this was great I really appreciate it

Mike: thank you very much appreciate the time

Laurent: all right we’ll talk soon take care

Mike: bye

Outro: Thank you for joining us on this episode of the mad prophet podcast we hope you enjoyed the show don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes, google play, or the listening platform of your choice.  also check us out at for more useful information and resources to help you achieve your investing entrepreneurial and business goals see you next week on the mad profit podcast.

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