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Capitalist Sage: Business Leadership in Your Community [Podcast]

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Summary

On this episode, Karl Barham and Rico Figliolini sit down with Lisa Proctor and Brad Kluesner, leaders within the Peachtree Corners Business Association. We discuss the benefits of joining the PCBA, how it can turn the city into a home and community, and how businesses can get involved and give back to their communities.

Resources:

Peachtree Corners Business Association: https://www.peachtreecornersba.com/

“And all I can say to people is, plug in. There are some things that I would not have known, that there’s business opportunities in the future that maybe didn’t give me that immediate sale. Or that – you know, I always say to people because I work nationally and locally, or internationally, I may not give a direct sale because I went to a meeting. But the relationships that I built were invaluable.”

Lisa Proctor, President, PCBA

ABOUT LISA PROCTOR, President, PCBA

Lisa Proctor is the President and CEO of Sanford Rose Associates – Lake Lanier Islands providing executive search and consulting services in the placement of mid to senior level executives, C-Level Management, and high-level individual contributors across multiple industries including Financial Services, Banking, Insurance, Technology, Business Services and Professional Services on a national level.

Lisa is an Executive  Founding Member of the Peachtree Corners Business Association.  She served two years as the Membership Chairman and now serves as the President of the PCBA.  Her primary focus for the PCBA includes Member Engagement, Business Networking and Growth, and continued support and growth of Community Outreach.

Lisa and her husband Jay have lived in Peachtree Corners for over 25 years.  When they are not volunteering or working on JP’s fishing jigs, they enjoy spending time at Lake Lanier boating, fishing and relaxing. 

ABOUT BRAD KLUESNER, Chair of Community Outreach. PCBA

Brad Kluesner is a Financial Advisor here in Peachtree Corners with an office in the Forum.  He and his wife Amy moved to the area from Indiana when she was recruited to an Atlanta law firm.  Brad’s career focus has been financial services and education in different states around the country.  After running schools for the past seven years, he became excited for the opportunity to return to finance and run his own business.  He attended the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN  and graduated with bachelor’s degree in philosophy and earned two master degrees from the University of Notre Dame in education. 

Brad has been active this past year in the Peachtree Corners Business Association, the Friends of the Gwinnett County Public Library, Inc. and the Rotary Club of Peachtree Corners.  He also volunteers through the Catholic Charities Leadership Class 2017, St. Pius X Advancement Committee, and different ministries at St. Brigid’s and Mary our Queen Church.

Podcast Transcript:

Karl [00:00 ]: Welcome to the Capitalist Sage Podcast. We’re here to bring you advice and tips from seasoned pros and experts to help you improve your business. I’m Karl Barham with Transworld Business Advisors, and my cohost is Rico Figliolini with Mighty Rockets digital marketing and the publisher of the Peachtree Corner Magazine. Rico, how are you doing today?

Rico [00:17 ]: I’m doing just great.

Karl [00:19 ]: Why don’t you tell folks about our sponsors?

Rico [00:22 ]: Absolutely. We – they just opened this week. Gwinnett Medical Center’s primary care and specialty center here at Peachtree Corners. So they just opened on the – just Tuesday, I think it was. So they’re joining this community. They’re going to be providing premier services, and they are a sponsor of the pod – of this family of podcasts – Capitalist Sage, Peachtree Corners life. So we want to welcome them as part of the one. Atlanta Tech Park of course. This is the place that we’re doing this podcast out of. This is a great place. I mean – I – it’s just phenomenal. The activity that’s here, the amount of workshops and – there’s something that’s actually going to be staged tonight that’s here also.

Karl [01:05 ]: Yeah. They’ve got events here all the time. I think it’s one of their cyber events. Fintech – and I think they have coming up – Women in AI – is coming up. And in a couple of months we’re gonna have cryptocurrency workshops here. And if you’re really interested there are even a little bit of improv professional free workshops offered every month.

Rico [01:28 ]: Really? There you go. So this is a really hopping place and a great place to do these podcasts, which we do twice a month here. And as well – the third sponsor – well, it’s more of a media sponsorship for us because we are a media sponsor for Smart City Expo Atlanta. That’s coming in September. It’s the first North American expo and offshoot of the Barcelona World Congress Expo that happens. And Curiosity Lab, Prototype Prime, will have for the first time here, an offsite demo of the 1.5 mile stretch that’s going to be the autonomous vehicle lab. So we’re proud to be a sponsor of the Smart City Expo Atlanta, and you can find more information just by googling that or go to SmartCityExpoAtlanta.com and that’ll take you there.

Karl [02:21 ]: For folks who don’t realize what Smart City – if you think about what information and data do cameras and so on is able to do in a city – improve service, helps us direct traffic if there’s an accident and so on. The companies that are leading in developing the technology for the next generation of cities are coming into Atlanta and we’re being featured here at Peachtree Corners for that, which is fun and great to know.

Rico [02:45 ]: Yeah. And that stretch of land, well at least up until City Hall, will be completed to a degree, so there will be a lot of things going on on the day – on the first day of the expo here.

Karl [02:55 ]: Fabulous. And that’s in September, right?

Rico [02:58 ]: September 10th – well actually 11th through the 13th.

Karl [03:02 ]: Okay, that looks good. Well, today’s guest is Lisa Proctor and Brad Kluesner from Peachtree Corners Business Association. They’re here to talk to us a little bit about what these associations due to help local communities – business communities – the community overall. And let’s start off by just having you guys introduce yourselves and maybe some of the roles you play in the organization. Lisa?

Lisa [03:27 ]: Sure. My name is Lisa Proctor, and I’m the president of the PCBA. I started with the organization as a founding member when the organization was created in 2012, and made the – volunteered to be the membership chair and did that for a couple of years and then stepped into the role as president. So I’ve been doing the president role now for a couple of years and always love to continue to build and grow the town and the organization.

Karl [03:56 ]: Fabulous. Brad, how about you?

Brad [03:58 ]: Yes – a couple years ago I joined the Peachtree Corners Business Association and I just said to myself, “I want to meet people who live and work and play here.” And the best way to do that is, I’m just going to go to every meeting every month. And I didn’t know anybody and eventually, I knew one, and another person, and a year later, Lisa asked me to volunteer to be the chair of the community outreach. So this is my first year on the board connecting businesses to the community.

Rico [ 04:24 ]: Wow. You mentioned something about volunteering. The organization – how is that structured around the members?

Lisa [04:30] : The organization is all 100% volunteer. Which creates its own little challenges because trying to coordinate everybody’s schedules and everything, but the great things about Peachtree Corners and the greater metro Atlanta area is – we actually recruit volunteers, and we say to people, “You don’t have to recruit or be part of the organization 100% every day, every month, every – tell us what you can do, but what you commit to, please do what you commit to. And if you can only do it for one month, if you can – if you want to be on a committee – if you want to just help check people into an event. Tell us that’s what you want to do, we’d love to have your help.” But that way, I think it’s a great way for engagement. The reason I volunteered to do the membership is – I have lived in Peachtree Corners for over 25 years, and because I work nationally and internationally with my day job, what happened is, I discovered I didn’t have children in school, I didn’t know people, so it was a great way for me to get to know the community. So just sitting at the membership, checking people, seeing those faces together, getting to know people – kind of like Brad – is saying, I’m going to the meetings, I’m learning who these people are, and I discovered I got to make some great friends and some great business associates just by putting myself out there and doing some simple things. So I think that’s the best way to do it.

Karl [05:54 ]: I know for folks that worked in large corporation and corporate environments, you build a social network within your company and you can always tell it by LinkedIn – you’ll see how many people they’re connected within their same company. But if you’re a small business owner, you don’t have that advantage of all these people to be connected to. So I could see how being a part of a business association that gives you connection with other business owners that are like yourself is a good way to build your network around that – around that.

Lisa [06:24 ]: It is. Not only is it – what you find is, you don’t have to have the answers to everything, you don’t have to have all the solutions. You will meet people or you will get to know people that say – “You know what, I have somebody you should meet.” So it’s not necessarily who you meet at the event, it’s taking the time to get to know people who feel comfortable enough referring you to people that you need to know. And I think those are the best relationships.

Brad [06:50 ]: Yeah, I would say, you know for me, good business starts with relationships where you trust somebody and you know them. And then they can help you or you can help them, and it just becomes a community of givers, really. And that’s what I’ve seen.

Karl [07:05 ]: So your great example of when you started this, of started joining and being a member of the organization. Were there specific things that you saw helped you personally as you started venturing into your own businesses?

Brad [07:21 ]: Well for me, I was a little bit of the opposite of Lisa. I just moved here just a couple of years ago. A lot of people are moving to this Peachtree Corners area. And you get here, and you didn’t grow up here, and you don’t know anybody. And so, you want to know leaders in the community. You come to these events, and you just start with a conversation. And for me, it became a home. You know, I lived here first, I had a house. But then the Peachtree Corners Business Association made it a home and a community for me. And for a guy from a small town, that’s important.

Rico [07:52 ]: Where’d you come from?

Brad [07:54 ]: I came from – I grew up in a little town called Jasper, Indiana, but I moved here from Indianapolis.

Rico [08:00 ]: Small town, right? Not too big. You know what I like about Peachtree Corners Business Associations and some of the other, you know, associations and chambers around the city is that, if you really want to, like you did, be involved – it’s one thing being a member of an organization, so you feel like you’re there and you show up at some events and stuff, you’re fine sort of doing your thing. But it’s always better to be part of – part of the group and it does consume some time, but it becomes fun I think, and it also provides better connection to the group – to the leadership.

Lisa [08:39 ]: Absolutely. Well in fact, one of the biggest things is, when people are saying “what organization should I join, and how do I decide?” My first question to them always is, “What do you want to get out of it? Why do you want to join it? Because if you just want to take in – pay a check, we’ll take your money. Happy to do it. But you’re not gonna – next year, when it’s renewal time, you might not renew because you didn’t get anything.” So come to things, get engaged in things. We try to do events different times of days, different kinds of things, just to say, we’re not going to solve everybody’s schedule – we’re not gonna do that. But we want you to feel comfortable engaging on that works for you.

Rico [09:18 ]: You know what I find that – since we started the magazine, and this used to happen before, too. But now with the magazine, we’re pro-businesses – new businesses – and some of the same questions – “What do you think we should do to get more involved in the community?” You would think they would know. But, you know, so you encourage them. So the first thing is the PCBA, you have the Southwest Gwinnett Chamber – those are certain places you should join, and then they will help you get out into the community because giving into the community is always the best way to reach the community.

Lisa [09:53 ]: Well, and I think you hit it also when you said, with small businesses, one of the things that was really important to me when I started my business was – part of our mission statement is to be very philanthropic in the communities. And we make donations in our clients’ communities, but what we found was that the outreach committee and having that part of the organization – that’s why we built it – was a way for all the businesses to have a meaningful impact in the community. Because as a small business, I can’t write a check to sponsor every single thing – the parade, the festival, the run for the corners or light up the corners – all these things and here comes the high school and here – but the great thing is, with the business association, we’ve donated over $75,000 back into the community since we created the committee in 2013, is when we created it. So, you know, and you’ve seen it. With being able to do scholarships and things like that, as you look at that, what have you seen?

Brad [10:53 ]: Well, every recipient has been so moved because the need is so great and nonprofits are such tight budgets that they just say, “Anything you can do to help us, we’ll appreciate it.” And so we give them a voice in the community, we give them recognition by coming to the events and sharing their stories, sharing some of the causes that we’re working with to the whole business community. And if you don’t know what’s going on, nobody’s gonna be able to help you. And so that has been very impactful for them.

Karl [11:27 ]: I talk to business owners – they’re always asking about ways to improve their business. And one of the top things is always the top line and revenue and how can I get more revenue. And I always explain to them – what are they doing to get more known, build awareness? And a lot of businesses have figured out how to use community involvement, charity – whether or you’re sponsoring a high school team – to help generate awareness for the product and services that they provide. What I like about these business groups and organizations – it gives you multiple ways to get in front of different – but they’re also helping you vet the organizations that actually make more impact with each dollar that you donate or each service that you do, so you don’t have to go and be a researcher and figure out, “should I provide money to this cause or that cause?” These groups have been there for years, they know the organizations and the types, and you can talk to them and consult and say, “this is the type of impact – it’s education. Here are four ways you can give back to education.”

Lisa [12:29 ]: Right, well, it’s so funny that you say that because one of the things I continue to find is I find that there are so many great charities in Peachtree Corners or the greater Peachtree Corner area that support our community. And I didn’t even know about them. I don’t know if you did, but we started looking at the list, and I said – “We’re gonna have to categorize them because they’re getting so long on our website that all of a sudden you’re like, I’m getting lost in the weeds.” There are so many – by the time you look at the schools and you look at the assistance league – most people didn’t know when they opened and we did the ribbon cutting for the Assistance League. They’ve been in existence in the greater metro Atlanta area for years – I didn’t even know what they were. And so it allowed me to say, “oh my gosh, they do so many things.” And really help them and they’re all volunteers as well. But it’s just something to learn.

Brad [13:21 ]: And what I love about the Peachtree Corners Business Associations is you get to meet the leaders of these local charities and nonprofits – they’re a lot of causes nationally, and you always send in money, and you know you’re helping a great cause. But at this, here in our community, the leaders come to their events and you know them and you know their character and you know their story and they’re helping your neighbors, and that’s very powerful. That’s what I like.

Karl [13:45 ]: I always like introducing the concept of, every small business owner should have a board of directors. But the trick is – people that could advise them on business – I have one area of expertise and Rico has another – and if you want to talk about marketing strategy, you want to talk about financial strategy or legal tactics, you want someone that you could have a conversation with, and most often you have to pick up a phone or google or pay a fee. But part of these organizations will allow you to build your own personal board of directors. There are people that have done what you’re doing – they’re five years, ten years ahead of you – there’s people with different subject matter expertise. And you can start forming those relationships where you and pick up the phone and say, “Hey Brad, I’ve got a question about X.” Or “I’ve got a question about Y.” And you can have a conversation and see if you need further help and they can help guide you with that. Is there any other advice that each of you can give to a person of something that they can benefit when they join organizations like this?

Lisa [14:44 ]: Go ahead.

Brad [14:45 ]: I was gonna say – you have to have that relationship so you can pick up that phone. You know, I met Karl at one of these events when I was on a tour, and now I’m on the podcast, and that starts with that relationship. And now, you feel comfortable calling me, I feel comfortable calling you. But if you call me and I don’t know, I might know someone in the Peachtree Corners Business Association that I’ve met and had lunch with them too, and I think that is the real value of the association.

Lisa [15:09 ]: And what I find is, if all you’re gonna do is go to the event and do what I call the drive by – the business cards and you’re handing them all out and you never follow up or you never do those things, and it’s getting to have those conversations that are the casual things – understanding what people do. It’s amazing to me how many things that I don’t even realize the number and depth of the connections I have, and somebody will say, “I’m about to start this” and I – there’s a staffing firm, and I won’t tell you who, but she was saying to me, “Lisa, I’m about to go after this in the market.” And I said, “well let me just share my experience. I did the same thing, and if you do this better than me, let me know how that works for you, but I wasted a lot of time and got a masters degree on the street doing the wrong things.” And I was happy to share that because I could tell she was excited about what she was doing and she was just ready to do it. And I – she was going after the financial surface industry and I was like, “that’s very regulated, and if you’re not that familiar with it, you need to know.” So I think you’re spot on with – you know, people who are willing to give back to others – um, my natural tendency is, I’m happy to give back because, you know what? Somebody did that for me. I didn’t learn all these things because I’m brilliant. I learned the hard way. But I had some great mentors and great leaders that helped me along the way.

Rico [16:34 ]: That’s great. I feel like – I mean, I love talking shop. I love talking about business, about start ups, it’s just – I feel – when I see other people – especially younger people – getting into business and launching something, I feel like I wanna help them. It’s just like – it’s cool, it’s exciting. I’ve been there before, I’ve done different things, so that’s what I find also – that network of business people – to be able to just talk shop sometimes and share what you know.

Lisa [17:02 ]: Well, what I’ve also found is how much I can learn from them. Because when they tell me what they’re going to do, what I’ve learned is, I’ll say, “Tell me why you’re gonna do that.” And it’s interesting to find out that I’m not always the expert, I don’t always know anything. And sometimes when they tell me, I say, “Hmm, that’s an interesting way.” And so, it’s caused me to be more open thinking the other way, and not just assuming that I am that person who knows and can do that. And it’s been pretty humbling, especially when it comes to technologies and all the things. Cause I’ll say, you know, let me run this by you. I’m about to put this piece together for marketing, and they’ll look at it and go, “Hmm.” And I’m like, “You don’t think so?” And they’re like, “Well, it’s probably wonderful, but I wouldn’t use it or I wouldn’t read it or I wouldn’t do – ” And so I think that’s the part that I love is – having more of that ability to collaborate in a safe environment. And you don’t always have to feel like you’re the know it all of everything. You can actually ask other people very safely, even in your role as you’re listening to them – I’ve probably learned as much from listening and hearing what they’re talking about, saying, “What makes you think about that?” Or just asking those questions and going, “You know, I was so busy doing all this, I didn’t think about that.” And that’s a good wake up call.

Karl [18:20 ]: You’re tapping into something when you think about just personal development. Most owners of business or anybody in small business – the thirst for development can make their – they don’t have peers that they can have conversations with. Most people report to them, no one’s gonna be frank with feedback on ideas. They’re gonna tend to want to agree. You’re both in leadership roles within the organization. How is that helping you develop personally, getting involved in leadership?

Brad [18:50 ]: Well, for me, I like learning from the mission driven leaders of organizations. And so, you know, we’ll give a $500 check to a nonprofit, and then I’ll kind of follow up and go on a tour and see what the operations are like and see how the executive director is managing the people, sharing the story and the vision in the community, and I think to myself, “What am I doing to make the community a better place? What is my personal mission? How can I help more people and how can I collaborate with more people around me like that person’s been doing?” So I’m always trying to learn from others who are successful. And that’s been one thing that I’ve gotten out of it.

Lisa [19:36 ]: And what I find is, it’s helped me broaden and learn more from people where – what happens when you’re in your little focus and your head’s down and you’re running business, you surround yourself with people that think like you do. Cause it makes it fast, and what I’m finding is, it challenges me to think more out of the box and step back from things before I just go ahead and do the ready, fire, aim. It makes me say, “Wait a minute, let me – it’s okay to take a step back. It’s okay to do.” And just as you were saying is, so many times, you forget to invest in yourself. And realize the cobbler’s kid has no shoes. And the thing I’ve learned is it gives me that of – “You know what, I need to step back. I need to learn that technology. I need to listen. I need to – it’s okay to take time to do this class, or, you know, go to this launch or go to this thing.” And for me, I have a bad habit of not giving myself permission to make the time.

Rico [20:33 ]: Do you find that because, I mean you’re a small business. How many people?

Lisa [20:39 ]: I have basically a staff of three. And then I have some contractors who work with me for about another four. And what helps me a little bit is, I also happen to be part of the Sanford-Rose franchise. So we have a hundred offices and I have two hundred people that are there to back me up, but at the end of the day, it’s still my P and L, what I’ve gotta do – I’ve gotta deliver. And so, at the end of the day, yes you’re big over here, but yeah you’re pretty small over here.

Rico [21:11 ]: And that’s why I think – you know, if you have your head down when you’re working, and because you’re a small business, you have to really work at taking that step back for a minute and say, “you know what, you’re right. Let’s go to that dinner or let’s do this thing” and not just working all the time.

Lisa [21:28 ]: Exactly. Well, and I think that that’s what we find when we tell people you need that engagement, you need to give that time. I think with entrepreneurs, you end up wearing so many hats that sometimes, you forget, “Wait a minute, I am supposed to be the leader. I am supposed to basically replenish my mindset and what I’m learning, and I can’t do that if I can’t get my head out of my computer, off my phone or, you know, getting out and talking to people.” And so it really, for me, that’s when people say, “It’s so much work.” And I go, “Well it is.” But I’ve rarely had anybody get me to do something that I didn’t choose to do. So for me, it’s a choice. It’s not a duty, or I don’t feel like it’s something I have to do. I choose to do it because I see the value, and I do think it’s helped me learn so much more. Look at how the city has grown in the last seven years and all that’s going on. And I don’t know if I would have been as aware of this stuff if I hadn’t been really in touch with it. And all I can say to people is, plug in. There are some things that I would not have known, that there’s business opportunities in the future that maybe didn’t give me that immediate sale. Or that – you know, I always say to people because I work nationally and locally, or internationally, I may not give a direct sale because I went to a meeting. But the relationships that I built were invaluable.

Karl [22:55 ]: It’s interesting, and if you think kind of individually about it, I’ve noticed we’re – at the state of the city – the mayor – a lot of people there are learning, listening about the city. How does these business organizations like Peachtree Corner Business Association help influence policy, help give input from a collective voice to the leaders in the political sphere but within the city? Because Peachtree Corners is going through a transformation, and it’s growing and there’s a lot of interesting things. What role can PCBA have in that?

Lisa [23:33 ]: I think that’s an awesome question. That’s actually one of our founding principles of why we created the PCBA. Is because it was unbelievable to me- 80% of the people who work in Peachtree Corners do not live in Peachtree Corners. So they can’t vote in Peachtree Corners. So if they don’t take advantage of the business association – we as an association don’t always agree on every policy, but what we can provide you is you have those opportunities – those city council – those mayors – we bring in speakers – we bring in in a very casual, business after-hour speaker type thing where you get to know those people. And you can actually talk to them and tell them what’s important to you, and if you didn’t have that forum, I don’t know if you would ever really do it. It’s amazing, like, when you mentioned the city – state of the city – I’m not sure how many people in that room were business people versus community people. I was there, and I went, but that’s been always one of our challenges is saying to the business people, “Plug in and know what’s going on. They do listen and there’s some real things” –  in fact at the Lazy Dog ribbon cutting yesterday, one of the challenges that Lazy Dog had is that they cannot serve food to the dogs, which is part of their business plan, because of a Guinnett County health code issue.

Rico [24:59 ]: It might be a Georgia state – 

Lisa [25:00 ]: It maybe also Georgia. I don’t know how much. But as they were talking, the city council were there, they were actually talking to them, saying, “Help us. We understand that it’s not just the city, but who do you know?” And something that basic and that easy – when people are in the community getting to know each other, that’s where they can have it. Now, whether that will change or not, you don’t know. But those things don’t happen if people don’t start those relationships.

Karl [25:28 ]: It’s funny, I think maybe all of us were at the State of the City. And you learn a lto of stuff that’s going in, but I think you had a good point – the mix of business folks to folks that might just be more living in Peachtree Corners was nice to see the mix there. And some of the vision of the city really impacts and is centered around business. Is there an area that you’re seeing in Peachtree Corners – we got local – where we could do better when it comes to supporting the business community?

Lisa [25:58 ]: I was gonna say – that’s a great question. I think it continues to be the way that we try and communicate to the business community. The thing that I’ve run into and maybe you’ve seen it as well – there’s so many ways that people can communicate. But it doesn’t mean they’re actually engaged. So what I have found has been a big help to us has been the Peachtree Corners Magazine, or doing podcasts, or doing different ways, cause people learn differently, people communicate differently. And I think being open to whatever those ways are provide the platform. So I think trying to figure out how we provide that – I think the town center – some of that central communication has helped. But we’ve got a long way to go. 

Brad [26:48 ]: And I would say that, as a leader in the business community, take initiative. You know these causes are here, and take initiative and make a donation or volunteer. Don’t just wait for someone to ask you and then the event goes by and you say, “Well nobody asked me.” You’re leaders, you’re entrepreneurs. Take initiative and jump in.

Karl [27:08 ]: Well, I wonder what you got going on. I know there’s lots of events that are happening there, and maybe just tease up a few events that people should be aware, how they could find out more about the events with the Peachtree Corner Business Association.

Lisa [27:23 ]: Absolutely. Our website is PeachtreeCornersBA.com and all our events are listed out there. Probably a couple of the events that are nearest and dearest to our hearts is August 22nd, we have our annual charity event, and we are going to be doing Island Castaway beach party, Gilligan’s island style. And so their registration event is there. You can register for the event, find out the details. On September 26th, we’re gonna do business after hours at Anderby Brewing, which is our new brewpub in Peachtree Corners. And we’re super excited. And on October 24th, for those business people who need to build their personal brand, they get to come here, who is the LinkedIn guy – if you don’t know who he is, don’t miss out because he can help you build your personal brand as well as your business brand. And we also have our coffees – the second Tuesday of every month. Don’t – just very casual, very easy conversations like this, and you don’t have to be a member to come. And then stay tuned for some more of our upcoming business lunches. So we’ve got a lot of ways to do.

Karl [28:37 ]: Fabulous – so if you’re a business owner in Peachtree Corners, there’s so many ways to get plugged in. And starting out with a small business step – go to one of these events. Meet Brad, meet Lisa, talk to them about it, meet some of your neighbors, and you know, step up and be a leader in the community and get out there and get involved. So really appreciate – I want to thank both of you – Lisa and Brad – for your time today and just helping, kind of exploring, the different options around joining groups, being involved in the community and how collective action in the business group can really impact the community. We’d also like to think Atlanta Tech Park for hosting the Capitalist Sage Podcast. We enjoy our time here – beautiful facility to visit and take around. I thank Brad for introducing me to Atlanta Tech Park a while ago, one on the many ways that connection to these groups have helped me personally and to develop the business. Rico, anything we got coming up?

Rico [29:41 ]: Um, I mean, should – the last issue that just came out. Let me just put that up here. Peachtree Corners Magazine just covered this city’s big video and film industry in the surrounding areas, which is, you know, a three-part article, so it was kind of neat to cover that. Plus we covered a few other things like Anderby Brewery that just opened, which they have a dozen square-foot event space also.

Lisa [30:11 ]: It does – that’s where we’re gonna do it.

Rico [30:13 ]: There you go. So there’s that, and then the Peachtree Corners swim team – first time champions from Peachtree Corners for Guinnett Swim that happened just recently. So there’s a bunch of things in here – Fipe high school, high school kids that are doing it big out there in the world. One of them works for Space X right now. So I kind of made a lot of articles in here especially about Smart City Expo that’s happening in Atlanta. So there’s that. 

Karl [30:39] : And if you wanted to check out some of these things digitally, where would I find that?

Rico [30:44 ]: Sure. You would go to LivinginPeachtreeCorners.com. And if you go there, you’ll find the digital edition of the magazine, you’ll find – we post there every week, sometimes every other day, different articles on there. And you’ll find all the podcasts there. So back history of these podcasts with Capitalist Sage, Peachtree Corners Live and the stuff I do with Brian Johnson, City Manager, which is that once a month Prime Lunchtime with the city manager.

Karl [31:10 ]: So you can listen, you can read, you can go online, you can find out what’s going on here. I’m Karl Barham with Transworld Business Advisor with Atlanta Peachtree. We help people, advise people on the best way to understand the value of their business. And when they’re looking to make a transition with their business, we help them with that, finding both buyers and helping sellers with that. And Rico – Mighty Rockets –

Rico [31:34 ]: MightyRockets.com. I do a lot of creative services, so anything that deals with social media marketing, online content, videography – I’ve been doing a lot of product videos lately for our companies in Charleston and Kentucky, so that’s been fun. And, so, a bit of that, we do a lot of creative services, of course the magazine also takes up a lot of time now, too. But it’s been fun, and these podcasts are – you’re the heavy lifter on the Capitalist Sage, so it’s been cool doing these podcasts.

Karl [32:05 ]: Oh, absolutely. It’s great to have great guests come in, local. You could find folks in the community – say hi to them in Sprouts or Engels when they’re out and about, set up a coffee and find ways to grow and improve your business. It’s the Capitalist Sage Podcast. We look forward to chatting with you some more on some future episodes. Have a nice day everyone.

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Capitalist Sage: Building a Brick n Mortar Retail Business Based on Healthy Living [Podcast]

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Press Blend Squeeze

You may not think much of eating your fruits and vegetables, but Matt Scott, CEO of Press, Blend, Squeeze and our guest on this episode of the Capitalist Sage has something to say about eating healthy. After prolonging his father’s life through diet and nutrition, he went on to open up his health food business to keep his community healthy too. Join Karl, Rico, and Matt
as they discuss just exactly how he has worked his way into the health food business.

Social Media:
http://instagram.com/pressblendsqueeze
https://twitter.com/PBSjuice
Website: https://www.pressblendsqueeze.com/
Email: Info@PressBlendSqueeze.com

“As much as people know or don’t know you could really change the way that you feel, not only physically, emotionally. And so we changed his diet and instead of the five month diagnosis we had him for over five years through food. So literally from that, I felt a calling to put together a strategic business plan on how can we change and save lives through food. So that’s literally our mission at Press, Blend, Squeeze, that’s to save lives through food.”

Matthew Scott

Podcast Transcript:

Karl: [00:00:30] Welcome to the Capitalist Sage Podcast. We’re here to bring you advice and tips from seasoned pros and experts to help you improve your business. I’m Karl Barham with Transworld Business Advisors, and my cohost is Rico Figliolini with Mighty Rockets Digital Marketing, and the publisher of the Peachtree Corners Magazine. Hey Rico, how’re you doing today?

Rico: [00:00:48] Good. Good.

Karl: [00:00:49] Any sponsors today for the podcast?

Rico: [00:00:53] Well, Atlanta Tech Park is a major sponsor. We’re in their podcast studio, so Atlanta Tech Park here in the city of Peachtree Corners in Tech Park. It’s an accelerator just down the block from and right on the road of Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners. So this is one and a half mile autonomous vehicle track. For those that don’t know, it’s the only one of its kind in the Southeast and to some degree, the only open live living at lab, if you will, in North America or other States in the United States. So lots of things going on, and I’m looking forward to doing this episode.

Karl: [00:01:30] Absolutely. One of the other nice things is it is powered by 5g, Sprint’s 5g system here, so that if you have a company that wants to be on that higher speed internet mobility, internet system, you can work out of Atlanta at their park or others. Do test here. Run that. So just a great hub of technology right here in Peachtree Corners. Today we’d like to introduce our guest Matthew Scott, founder and CEO of Press, Blend, Squeeze Cafe and Juice Bar. I guess it’s a, it’s a local juice cafe, juice bar that opened up in the forum. There’s a couple of them here in the Metro Atlanta area, and we’re going to talk about starting and building a retail business focused on the healthy food movement. We know that everyone has been trying to get healthy and we see folks trying different types of diets, trying different types of alternative to the traditional fast food. And we found really interesting your approach and taking a look at this market and being an entrepreneur and trying to build one. So we want to talk a little bit about your journey in doing that. Matt, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Matt: [00:02:50] No, absolutely. And guys, thanks very much for having me. I really appreciate it. You know, before two years ago, I was not in this business. So I was in corporate America for about 15 years, both from significant leadership roles in fortune 500 companies down to startup companies and taking them public all in high growth areas. And I saw an opportunity here and you know, it’s kinda like how most people get brought to changing their diets. It’s when you get punched in the face. And so myself, my dad looked at me and he was given five months to live. From the doctor told me that he had stage four esophageal cancer. And he was my best friend. And I’m sure like I did, like the rest of us would do and say, well, what can we do about that? What, what, you know what, what options do we have? And, you know, so diet is an extremely. Strong portion of influence into everyone’s life. As much as people know or don’t know you could really change the way that you feel, not only physically, emotionally and so we changed his diet and instead of the five month diagnosis we had him for over five years through food. So

literally from that, I felt a calling to put together a strategic business plan on how can we change and save lives through food. So that’s literally our mission at Press, Blend, Squeeze, that’s to save lives through food. And we do that multiple ways and we could get into that a little bit on, on, on that as we go forward. But that’s what we’re trying to do. We had the opportunity, I’m glad that you noted that, It’s just starting out here, down here in Atlanta. We had the opportunity, we were living in Chicago when we started this business, and we could have put this anywhere in the United States that we wanted to put it. Because we moved back to Atlanta to put it here. We saw a significant void in the Atlanta market in comparison to other areas of the country from a quick service, healthy restaurant and juice bar. If you’re driving around Peachtree Corners, there’s not that many options that you’re going to be able to get to. And people thank me each day for opening up and we’re truly seeing the snowball going downhill right now. From people, you know, grabbing on, we actually took over an old juice bar there, but people, it was out and closed for I think almost a year. And so we took it over. And so people are just beginning to realize that we’re back in there and, and they’re very thankful for it.

Karl: [00:05:52] So I can ask the question around you know, your background. Did you have a food background when you started thinking about nutrition background? Tell me a little bit about your background and, and how it helped you, you know, come up with the concept.

Matt: [00:06:07] Yeah, sure. So food background and if you call it this when I was putting myself in high school through college, I had the privilege of going to work for a quick service restaurant. That was the first location of then soon to be broadly franchised restaurant. So I was a hard worker. They brought me in and they allowed me to be one of their lead trainers and opener of new locations. So I got some good experience on how to take a model and replicate it and open it you know in, in a new location and to train the staff. In addition from a food customer service aspect, I worked in restaurants going through college to make Money. So I, I dealt with customers, delivered customer service, was able to take orders attentively and, and give that customer level of customer service in the food industry. But as far as you know being knowledgeable in the space, I was I consider myself a relatively healthy eater. I was always an active in sports physical working out and exercise. And, and so I would eat healthy, but my knowledge increased via doing my due diligence over the web and talking to industry professionals, doctors, nutritionists, et cetera. Once I started looking into it for my dad.

Karl: [00:07:46] So what, what, what most people don’t really understand about the food choices they make and how are you able to, to help modify your dad’s diet. What were some of the changes that you saw really have an impact?

Matt: [00:08:00] Sure. So after my father passed the, I, I was a little bit anxious. I said, doc, you know, my dad was 67. I got two young kids like this, you know, help me out here. And he said, you know, your father’s cancer was not genetic. It was not hereditary. Because there’s three things proven to fight cancer, and that’s eating clean, eating green, and exercise. So, you know, reality is, is that a majority of Americans, I would voucher to say that the majority of people in the world don’t eat enough green vegetables. Green vegetables that basic biology, it has

chlorophyll and photosynthesis, and that’s what gives your cells energy. It also allows your cells to reproduce, gives them the strength to reproduce at a high level. And so cancer feeds on deficient cells. So if you’re in, and this is, this is part of what extent am I, my dad’s life is by having cells that are strong and can defend themselves. Cancer got nowhere to live. I’m sure we’ve all heard stories of people being able to overcome cancer and become cancer free. And some of that’s through killing, you know, radiation and killing all those cancer cells. But that kills all the good with the bad. So if you do some research people have become cancer free through diets. And so greens are that prominent thing.

Karl: [00:09:42] And you know one question along that. Why don’t people eat more green? It’s here, here in the U.S., here in Georgia. What’s, what’s holding us back?

Matt: [00:09:49] Okay. So let’s be real. It is accessibility. It is convenience. Our lives are not going to get any slower. Our lives are not gonna get any less busy. and the food that we have at our disposal. Is a convenience factor. And it’s gotten to the place where the food industry is a business rather than a need. So you know, when we were all, go back 200 years in the United States and we’re farmers and gatherers and everything we ate to survive. Now, people, the food is a business. They’re trying to make it. What do you do in a business? If you’re not going to grow from a volume standpoint, you’re going to try to make it less expensive. And so the majority of food choices at our disposal are from large businesses that are trying to make food cost-effectively.

Karl: [00:10:56] So is this part of the movement that makes like Whole Foods, Sprouts, these types of places? Cause you know, on one hand you see these, these places that are popping up everywhere. So the, there is, for those that they can access it. They’re still not making the choice whether the, you are, you’re in a supermarket, they’re not building diets around fruits and vegetables and increasing the amount of greens in there.

Matt: [00:11:23] Well I would, I would be careful because the fastest growing segment of the supermarket is organic vegetables. If you’re looking at all the areas.

Rico: [00:11:33] I mean, I can see when I go to H Mark, for example, and you go to an Asian supermarket, you will see a big area of vegetables. When you go to a Walmart, only recently have they increased it a little bit and only in those areas where they’re competing with an H Mart or something along those lines. So Americans still are not consuming. You’ll find South Americans use farm communities that are first generation, maybe American. They’re still consuming that. But as they get further away from that generation they’re going back to the processed stuff, they’re going back to the easy stuff.

Karl: [00:12:09] I mean, when you think about it and growing up in New York, how many fruit stands you would go to fresh if you’re in Brooklyn picking avenues. And the city…

Rico: [00:12:23] Tomato, tomato is the big one over there.

Karl: [00:12:23] All of these places that, that had that. And so yeah, accessibility made it easier for people to get fresh, good quality, healthy, healthy food choices. And, and so as part of that, the shifted in parts of the country where, where that tradition wasn’t there and it was more based on supermarkets, they were, where they can control. What people are selecting is, is impacting that.

Matt: [00:12:51] Yeah, I agree. It’s so, it’s accessibility. It’s knowledge. So you know, people say, Oh yeah, I like to eat healthy, but they don’t necessarily know what that means. So like it’s, it’s being able to, to truly understand, you know, even my father, you know, he would even joke to me and be like, Oh, I’m eating an organic banana. And I’m like, well, you don’t have to eat an organic banana. The skin on the banana protects the banana, like so, so like it’s the knowledge of you know how to do it. But it’s also, there is so much of an emotional, psychological, it’s almost reactive because we’re so busy. So all of a sudden instead of it, you know, you being conscious about what you’re eating, your brain goes, Oh, I’m hungry. And. The reality is, is studies show that sugar is eight times more addictive than cocaine. And what you can find is in majority of that quick service food that you have an emotional reaction that says, I’ve waited so long, I’m starving. Now I need to go get something to eat. Let me pull over into this drive through. I’m almost certain than almost any option that you choose there has sugar in it, high fructose corn syrup in it. And, and, and so your body reacts. And there’s, there’s a, an emotional receptiveness that goes off in your brain, that says that.

Rico: [00:14:18] You brought something up that really, and I haven’t seen this, and then it doesn’t make sense to me now that you’re talking about this, is that you have Starbucks, you have Dunkin donuts. The majority of what they sell is true through that drive through. You’ll never see a Starbucks without, without a drive through. But there was one that I remember, there was located somewhere and they asked and they got a rezoning, so then they were able to have a drive through through that one because that was the only way to save that store. And I have yet to see it think a drive through juicing bar. And it doesn’t take long to, to create it. It’s just as long to critical lotta. I think in a, in a Dunkin, not sure. So I haven’t seen that and that we talk about how easy, if that was easy, if I could drive through that, I probably would get that over something else.

Matt: [00:15:06] I’m sure. People ask for it all the time. It’s, it’s absolutely on the radar as far as like convenience. Now what I would say is that it because a lot of times you’re making it to order. It’s not going to be necessarily the speed of others. But you know.

Rico: [00:15:28] I’d wait there for a minute. I mean, it doesn’t take long for, depends on the process.

Matt: [00:15:33] Yeah, no, it’s, it’s absolutely on the radar. We’ve, we’ve discussed it. We’ve looked at locations. We’re not there yet as far as, you know, but it is on the radar. And I’ve had a lot of people bring up the convenience factor. So it goes back to three things. It goes back to

convenience. It goes back to knowledge, and it goes back to emotional, kind of reactions and, and, and addictions to sugar. And, and I even go to people, the, the, the misunderstanding that healthy can’t taste good. So a lot of people kind of coined. I used to have people come into our Dunwoody location and the, the wife and the kids would order something and the husband was there and I said, Hey, you know, can I get you something? He goes, I don’t eat healthy. And I said, well, hold on. Like, what? What, what does that mean? I was like I was like, you don’t like guacamole? No, no. I like guacamole. And I go, well, hold on. Can we get you some, a Turkey wrap with some, some hummus and some roasted peppers and some, you know balsamic glaze on it, man, it sounds really good. And then, you know, I’d say, well how about PB and J smoothie tastes like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich but doesn’t have any sugar in it, but it’s really good. Oh, I like PB and Js. Avocado toast, soup. Like they’re like, Oh man. And then they eat it and then they go, man, this is really good. I go, I guess you eat healthy. Like, so it’s that coined a misconception of it’s true, healthy can taste good.

Rico: [00:17:14] And you also have food though, right?

Matt: [00:17:15] Oh, we do. Yeah.

Rico: [00:17:16] See now that didn’t, and I know that vaguely you have food there, I haven’t been into the store yet. But I would not realize that. I think if I was passing by would think juice point. I wouldn’t think food just that. But you do have a menu though?

Matt: [00:17:30] Absolutely. We do about 50% of our business in food, we do a ton of catering. One of our biggest growth pillars is in corporate catering. You know, when I was in corporate America eating the same, we would cater probably three to four times a week for lunch. And it was kind of from a rotation. And, you know, I’d get a pizza. I could tell you I’m probably going to get pizza. I can tell you, I might get a fried chicken sandwich for breakfast. And you know, I might get Mexican or some type of Southwestern and majority of those after I ate them I was ready for my couch. And corporations are realizing this and, and they’re actually like. You know, some of the large corporations and the reasons why we chose these locations are strategically positioned to align with those corporations. So like Newell Rubbermaid further snack attack on a quarterly basis caters 600 as eyeballs from us IHG regularly for their executives. I’m actually in February, I’m going down and meeting with the CEO’s executive assistant, and she has 14 people that report up to her, that schedule for hundreds of people, but we’re giving them a tasting of our lunch. I mean, so we have these large corporations that are not only providing lunch for their employees, but they’re being more conscious of what they’re providing because it’s actually leading to productivity. Like they, they, you know, they’re, they’re going back and not trying to, you know, relax at their desk.

Karl: [00:19:19] No, I was going to say, I remember doing meetings and corporate training around the world for, for years, and we’d have four or five days of, you know, catered and meals and so on. And we would always, I would actually ask for certain menus on certain days because what happens right after lunch and they come back in and that energy drop.

So we would actually specifically pick activities and exercise right after lunch, which had movement. Kind of wake people up because those heavy lunches, they’d come in with pasta and folks would be ready to go to snooze town and, but, but even having options that gave energy boost you. The afternoon snack break would have muffins and donuts and cakes and cookies. And we started shifting to nuts and try and start a team that shift. But that was my two choices there. There wasn’t a menu of stuff that people could do on that break time. that helps boost that productivity that, that you were mentioning. So, so, so I think that’s, that’s, that’s something that’s seeing, that’s happening in the market.

Rico: [00:20:27] Also, we were talking a little bit before the show before you showed up, and we were talking about how it’s Amazon proof almost. You can’t ship, you can’t ship certain things. You still gotta eat, you still can’t go out that way. But how, how do you find the challenge of doing, you opened a brick and mortar store? You didn’t have to build it, obviously it was built out and you’re there.

Matt: [00:20:49] We build out our last one, our first one. Yeah.

Rico: [00:20:51] So how do you find that? How do you in a world where people are shifting away to Amazon ordering, like I said, over Amazon proof. Or Uber, Ubereats, Dash, Door Dash and stuff like that. How do you find that? How did you find it opening up a place like that? That’s not a franchise essentially.

Karl: [00:21:12] You chose brick and mortar and retail location to deliver this concept. What were you thinking? How do you, how do you, how do you make that decision?

Matt: [00:21:22] So when I experienced the benefits of what we provided, like, and I would encourage anybody that listens to this podcast, I’d encourage you guys go in and grab a juice, go grab a roots and fruits, which is a juice that has some beets in it and has a little bit of orange and ginger. Tell me how you feel in 30 minutes. Dynamically different than anything that you’ve ever eaten or drinking or drank from any other place. So, you know, the reason or how I did that is said, man, this is amazing, you know?

Rico: [00:22:07] But, but how did you find, how did you develop the idea into a business? I mean, how you, you had to open a brick and mortar. What did you fit. You know, buying equipment, the ingredients. How, what’s the actionable side of that?

Karl: [00:22:22] The rest of their business. Often the products, the product and the need is clear and you’re matching those two up, but you’re running a business, right. And it takes, it takes a bunch of things coming together.

Rico: [00:22:33] And this is the second location, right? That you have. So you’re working towards either a chain of them or franchising at some point? How is that working? Doing that?

Matt: [00:22:41] So, so again, I go back to my experience. I was part of a startup. When, when, when we’re, when I was at a startup, we wear many hats. I got recruited actually I should say when I was part of Rubbermaid and my initial job was for a division that started around 30 million. And I got put into at a young age, I’m blessed. And, and believed in by a president and a mentor that gave me significant responsibility to take that 30 million of vision, gave me a significant amount of budget. The ability to strategically put the Strat plan together and grow that business within four years to 150 million globally. I got tapped out of Rubbermaid and recruited out of Rubbermaid to go be part of the largest office products company in the world. And then they brought me in with a pipeline funnel of zero, and they said, we brought you in here because your skillset is different and in the need of nothing that we have internally. And they tap me. And within two years we had a sales funnel of over 150 million in the pipeline. And I had a team of eight, you know, rolling up to me. And so I wrote those trap plans. I built those trap lines. So the way that I did this was I treated this, I said, Hey, there’s an opportunity. Let me, let me develop this business as I would develop any other business. So I went and sourced out partners. I went and did my research on how other competitors were running. I identified machinery that we needed. I put together the menu. I oversaw all the marketing. And I mean, like we, we’ve had wildly success in two years. That, that I like feel so good about, I mean, and blessed honestly, we get like almost 9,000 unique people that have come into our store and given us their telephone number and said, Hey, we are okay with you contacting us, here’s our telephone number. We want to be part of your membership program. Like, I don’t see businesses that are like national brands even, you know, doing that in, in single locations and stuff. So, so we’ve been putting the right strategy around the business to, to have a performance or whether I have experience or not, I treated it like any other business or any other product line and I was about to grow and, and put the…

Rico: [00:25:26] Any challenges that you’d like to share that you’ve overcome?

Matt: [00:25:28] Yeah, I mean, we all got challenges. But I would say, you folks that are entrepreneurs is, be careful of your blind spots. We all have, we all, we all have things that we overlook. You know, one of the biggest hurdles is going from one to two. So as an entrepreneur, you’re at that location. You’re there, you’re, you’re, you’re a part of that location. Yeah, you can’t cut yourself in half. So you know, I would say you know, put the process in place, you know, and just because, you know, the process, operational efficiency and, and that’s something that we had to build out. And, and it’s, you know, a continuous work in progress.

Karl: [00:26:29] So I, I would, I think, I think what you’re describing though is. You know, a theme across big corporations or small business, and it’s the question of scaling. I’m doing it once. It could have been lucky. Right time, right place. Stars align. A thousand reasons why you’re able to achieve success. And sometimes it’s brilliance and hard work. But to replicate it in another location. What are some of the things that would, you know, knowing what you know now, you would, you would advise someone going, thinking of doing, you know, multiple, like what would be things they can put in place that would ease that transition, right? To grow?

Matt: [00:27:13] I probably, we say to people to create a network, right? Because we’re all good at something and we’re all not good at everything. So by having a network of, a sounding board or afforded a trusted board of advisors, it allows you to be stronger in areas that you’re weak. So it allows individuals that might be able to be stronger in certain areas to help you strengthen, sharpen, or have a visible blind spot.

Karl: [00:27:54] I think, I think you’re hitting on something. If you’ve seen many successful people and they talk about this success, there’s usually a network of advisors they have. Even if you look at a large corporation, they’ve got a board of directors, nonprofit governing boards. There are these folks that serve multiple functions. One is to hold a mirror up to you and say, Hey, you know, I know what you’re saying and seeing, but here’s what I’m seeing and here’s things you may not notice. May, may help with the blind spot. They have wisdom and advice to give in the area that you may have the expertise to be able to do that. Third, they can help hold you accountable if you said you were going to do something, if you’re the boss who’s gonna, who’s gonna challenge you, if you decide, ah, we’ll do that next month. But, but, but if you have that advisory group, they, they can be in a position to hold, hold you accountable for them. And the last one is some of the networks that that affords you. they know people that might help you be more successful. And it’s one of the things we often see entrepreneurs struggling with. They eventually build it. We were talking earlier about these groups that do that. But they may have got 15 years of pain in before they realize, man, if I only knew someone that knew about payroll and what can happen if I mess that up.

Rico: [00:29:15] It’s like anything else in life. If you’re a writer or you’re a sports person. Everyone thinks you’re an overnight success, but it took you those years of pain to be able to get there. And most people don’t want that. They want to be able to see success. And maybe you get that advice from that successful person or that team of people to help you get there.

Karl: [00:29:35] Absolutely.

Matt: [00:29:35] Yeah. I’ve been, I’ve been really fortunate and blessed for the people in that have come into my life and, and you know what? A lot of times people have the desire to help people, you know? Sometimes you just have to ask for it. Other times you just, you have to go look for it. But, but people want to help people. And, and so you know, entrepreneurs often like to think they have to do everything themselves. And, and that’s something that an additional piece of advice I would give to entrepreneurs is, you’re no good to anyone if you’re burnt out. So give yourself some space and give your team some trust.

Karl: [00:30:24] No, I agree. I said, the one thing you can’t manufacture and create more is time. And so there’s only so much time that an individual has, and as you grow a business, it actually requires more time very often. And if you don’t build a team to support, it supports you to be able to do that. It makes that a, a challenge. So tell me a little bit about what you got going on next. What’s next for the company and for you?

Matt: [00:30:50] So for a, happy new year to you guys, 2020, it’s going to be a great year. We are gangbusters into new year’s cleanse programs. So it is the best way to reset your palate, control your addiction to sugar, get you jump started into your nutritional needs. It’s amazing the results that we see. We’ve been doing this for over two years. People come back re-energized, they sleep better, their skin’s better. And this is in three days. They, last time I did a cleanse, I lost eight pounds. I hear that over and over again. But you’re refreshed, you’re rejuvenated, and then crazy enough you might think, Oh yeah, I’m you know, after three days I’ll be ready to eat a cheeseburger. You know what? You’re not like, you’re ready to go down the road of, you know having that healthy palate, that healthy diet, and it’s, it’s crazy what it does for you. So that’s, that’s number one. Number two, I would ask any business within this kind of Metro Atlanta area to give us a chance at catering. Everybody has a need one time or another, probably in the next couple of weeks. I’m sure every single business has one lunch that they’re going to be looking to serve to multiple people. Give us a chance, put us in there. And, and, and I think you’re going to love it. I think you’re gonna enjoy it. And I want to be talking to you about your second order. So give us a catering opportunity because it’s a, it’s, it’s totally an awesome experience. And we got resoundingly reviews and feedback from it. So we’d love to work with people.

Karl: [00:32:34] Awesome. I’m glad. Well, located in the Forum your first location is where…

Matt: [00:32:41] It’s in Dunwoody Village. So where the Fresh Market is, or if you know where Village Burger is, or if you know where the post office is down there, so it’s in Dunwoody village, which is getting rejuvenated as well. So that’s kind of exciting.

Karl: [00:32:55] How can folks reach, you learn more online. social media.

Matt: [00:32:59] So we got thousands of followers on Instagram and which is @PressBlendSqueeze. The location here has Press, Blend, Squeeze at Peachtree Corners. Facebook Press, Blend Squeeze. If anybody wants to shoot me an email, if they have questions about a cleanse Info@PressBlendSqueeze.com comes directly to me. I see them all. I’d love to do a group cleanse. We’re doing it with a lot of gyms. So we had, last week, we had like 70 days of cleanses go out. And, and so this next week we’re partnering with another gym here in this area. And, and we have a couple more on the radars. So it’s, it’s time. Do it for yourself. Do it for your family. Do it for your energy, but do it to feel better. So it’s, it’s pretty cool.

Karl: [00:33:56] Well, I want to thank you very much for being our guest today. Our guest, Matt Scott, CEO of Press, Blend, Squeeze, for your time today and sharing part of your journey and, and inspiring others that may be thinking about making a change in their career and their life. And finding ways to do it in a way that’s aligned to something that you’re passionate about. Being healthy and how to, how to solve this problem where folks can’t find it as convenient to get nutritional greens into their, into their bodies that they can. So we really appreciate your joining us for that. We also wanna thank Atlanta Tech Park for hosting us every time we have one of our episodes here to Capitalist Sage Podcast. If you’re starting a business and looking

for a great environment to come and work and be around people that are going on this entrepreneurial journey along the way with you, it’s a great way to build network. Entrepreneurs sometimes can be a very lonely endeavor. So having other founders and makers and, and business leaders to collaborate with is, is really, is really powerful. I’m Karl Barham with Transworld Business Advisors of Atlanta Peachtree. Our business advisors are available to consult on your business, whether you’re looking to improve or grow the business, or you’re looking to exit or start a business. You can contact any one of our agents to be able to help you with that are available at ​www.TransworldBusinessAdvisors.com/AtlantaPeachtree​. And Rico, why don’t you tell us a little bit about what you’ve got going on and going to the next couple of weeks.

Rico: [00:35:32] Sure, so I run Mighty Rockets. We’re a social media online company. We provide content branding and whether it’s on LinkedIn or Instagram and soon to be Tick-Tock, cause there is a market out there and believe it or not, in the United States, it’s like 24 million users and tick tock and 40% of them are between 18 and 24. So that age. Voter age, if they felt maybe so, I do that. That’s MightyRockets.com. But I also published Peachtree Corners Magazine and you could find, you could go to LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com and find our website. We talked about what’s going on in the city. We’re doing several podcasts upcoming in with Peter Coin, his life with some interesting guests. Also Prime Lunchtime with the City Manager is coming up Thursday. After the fourth Tuesday, we’ll be discussing what’s going on in the city of this month and let’s what the city is planning over the next few months. A lot of new stuff happening out there and we’re working on the next issue of Peachtree Corners Magazine and the cover story, I believe that comes the story we’re working on right now, and it should be, the cover is innovative and innovative companies and organizations in Peachtree Corners. I will be doing some podcasts as well for that to complement that. So this is just a lot of stuff going on. So if you’re looking for any either trends to reach the audience here on Peachtree Corners through the family podcast, or you need someone to work with you online or branding, that’s what I do.

Karl: [00:37:03] Oh, fabulous. Well, you know, I really look forward to the next edition of the magazine and folks, if you go around and take a look and read through it, just knowing what’s going on here in the local community, whether it’s business, whether it’s what’s happening in the political team, what’s happening with, with, with various organizations. It’s just a good way to keep up with events and activities and in the area. So one of the thank you for that. That’s all we have for today. Look forward to talking to you some more and having some more great guests like Matt Scott that came to visit us today. Thank you everyone.

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Best Business Tools and Tips Gathered from 12 Capitalist Sage Episodes [Podcast]

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Capitalist Sage

Summary:
2019 is over and 2020 is coming fast! Join Rico Figliolini and Karl Barham as they sum up all of the greatest hits from this last year of the Capitalist Sage Podcast. Gather all of the tools you need to make 2020 the best year in business.

“If there’s one thing that we tried to do in 2019 with the Capitalist Sage was bringing you people that are in the trenches doing this every day. We learned from people’s failures. We’ve learned from people’s success. But our goal is to share this information with as many people as we can and just get you thinking there’s plenty of people out there that can help you with your business.”

Karl Barham

Time Stamp:

Lines are linked to the individual episodes

[00:00:30] Intro
[00:04:21] Social Media Branding for Lead Generation with Bonnie Mauldin
[00:07:29] Wendy Kinney talking shop on effective networking
[00:10:53] What Comes After Becoming a Franchise Owner, with guest Gary Birnberg
[00:14:20] How Business Mentorship Empowers Entrepreneurs, with Erin Igleheart
[00:17:49] Cliff Bramble on How to Thrive in the Restaurant Business
[00:20:38] Top Three Mistakes People Make When Starting Their Business
[00:24:13] Going into 2020
[00:26:38] The Legal Pitfalls of Buying and Selling a Business
[00:27:28] Preparing Your Business for Exit
[00:29:26] Entrepreneurs Creating Mobile Food Events
[00:29:53] The Business Of Organic Farming
[00:30:40] Laron Walker Scaling iOT Technology from Education to Commercial
[00:31:22] Beth B Moore discussing entertainment law, emerging trends, the film and music industry

Podcast Transcript

Karl [00:00:30]: Welcome to the Capitalist Sage Podcast. We’re here to bring you advice and tips from seasoned pros and experts to help you improve your business. I’m Karl Barham with Transworld Business Advisors. My co-host is Rico Figliolini with Mighty Rockets Digital Marketing and the publisher of the Peachtree Corners Magazine. Hey Rico, how’re you doing today?

Rico [00:00:47]: Good Karl.

Karl [00:00:49]: Well today, we’re having a bonus episode where we’re getting to talk about some of the sage advice we learned over the 20, 26 plus episodes in 2019. All the guests that came by and shared some of their knowledge that’s helping business owners. So we just wanted to give, just discuss some of those that we thought were particularly impactful and talk a little bit about how they impacted our businesses and how they can impact your business in 2020. Before we get started, why don’t we talk about our sponsors for today.

Rico [00:01:29]: Right. We are here at Atlanta Tech Park in the City of Peachtree Corners. It’s an accelerator. It’s a huge place. It’s where you, because where you start off at after you’re at an incubator. Small businesses, think we-work-share hits Silicon Valley. It’s that type of atmosphere where you can meet Venture capitalists, learn from others, network, the variety of things going on here. And we’re on this road in Technology Park that’s called Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners, which is the autonomous vehicle track, the only one of its kind really in the United States. That I can say to us about where you can come as a company. That’s either an IOT or the does anything with autonomous vehicles that need to 5G with Sprint 5G is in this whole area of technology park, right? So anything that you want to test out on the mobile track or within the environment of Curiosity Lab so it doesn’t have to be necessary in a vehicle to be on a light post to be on someone walking to be a bicycle riding can do anything where technology needs to talk to each other to everything. It’s an atmosphere where the city of History Corners is providing it essentially free to companies that meet certain requirements to be able to come here and do business and check out there to work their real projects.

Karl [00:02:55]: It’s one of the great things about the Investments that are being made in Gwinnett County. In Peachtree Corners in particular and the whole general Southwest Gwinnett that’s bringing companies, technologies, to make this vibrant environment where businesses can thrive. And that’s a little bit why we thought it’d be great to talk about some of the guests at help shared some of their expertise and insight and experiences on how they created small businesses and how they help support small businesses being successful. So Rico and l will talk about a couple of episodes and what we learned about them and share that with you and you can of course go and check out any of these episodes on any one of our streaming platforms.

Rico [00:03:43]: Whether it’s iTunes or iHeart Radio, just look up Capitalist Sage on any of those and you should be able to find us.

Karl [00:3:49]: And if you want to keep up with some of the great episodes we’re going to do in 2020, definitely follow them, subscribe to them and please leave a comment and then we’d love to hear back from what people are thinking and give us an idea of the future guests.

Rico [00:04:03]: And if you want to watch the Facebook live stream or tell your friends, you could just like our Peachtree Corners Life page and it will be notified when we go live. In this year, one of the goals is to be able to put us on to do some limited LinkedIn live feeds and also to be on YouTube live as well.

Karl [00:04:21]: Fabulous. So we’re going to start off, when we started one of our first guests we had was Bonnie Mauldin from The Mauldin Group who talked to us about how small business owners can use social media marketing as part of their overall marketing and sales strategy in their in their business. And she shared a lot of great tips. One in particular that I know that I found interesting was the different platforms whether you’re on LinkedIn or Facebook or YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest and others all serve different functions. They target a different audience and they have different features about them and knowing and understanding the right platform for your business is one of the key things.

Rico [00:05:10]: If you’re doing business to business, obviously at that one of her things were was LinkedIn with was the place to be. And if you doing consumer, Facebook, Instagram. I think we talked a little bit even about, maybe not Tick Tock, but some of the other software online social platforms out there. But every business has a demographic and market.

Karl [00:05:34]: Absolutely. And the other thing we took away from it where in the past you might have think it was an option for your small business. It’s no longer an option. If you know of anyone that has a mobile device, they’re probably communicating and getting information from their social media platform. And so it becomes really important to have really compelling stories being told through those platforms. So instead of advertising and promoting a product, we talked a lot about storytelling on information you’re sharing about problems or things that your customers want to know that would lead them to your site. They’re going to know it’s you when they come and visit it but really telling them about the problems and the choices they’re making and being more educational and teaching them is a key attribute of really good successful social media strategies.

Rico [00:06:30]: Right. Whether you’re using it as a behind-the-scenes tool where you showing what’s going on in your office or something. Or whether you’re giving tips on how to use a certain product, those were the things.

Karl [00:06:43]: Absolutely. And the last thing to note on that is definitely include a call to action. Once you get those people looking at your site and following you and you’re sharing information. They want to know what to do next. How to get more information. How to reach you, even how to make a purchase. So including a call to action on all your social media. Now some of you may be able to do this yourselves if you have the time, but if you don’t its really important that
you have a discussion with someone and seek out professionals that can help you with your social media strategy in your business and it’s really imperative for people that are looking to grow their business in 2020 to develop some strategy and invested social media,

Rico [00:07:23]: And be consistent in it and make sure you’re there. because if you’re not there your competition will be there.

Karl: [00:07:28] Absolutely.

Rico: [00:07:29] The next one in line was Wendy Kinney she talked about how referrals are different from sales.

Karl [00:07:36]: Absolutely. Effective networking, many people probably have the experience, I know I have, of going to networking meeting. It could be a local chamber. It could be a non-profit group, an industry group and passing out a lot of business cards in wondering why you’re not getting more business and referrals from them. And what was really great that Wendy was able to share, she’s a relationship marketing expert, she told us about the differences between a sales approach and how referrals are generated. And one of those differences is started with the timelines between the two being different. A sale is typically between someone selling and someone buying and it’s a direct line of communication and pretty often the impact of that is immediate either; Yes, they’re going to buy what you’re selling or no, they’re not. Referrals have a different timeline. They happen through a third person. So the sale that typically happen doesn’t happen until first a connection is made between the person that’s selling and the person that’s referring and you do that’s built around credibility that’s established getting to know the person and trusting with the person and really understanding what they’re doing. But that second person, the person that’s making referral, then is approaching their contact base. And when they give a referral to how you can help them by you educating that individual on what you do and how you do it and how you’re doing it differently. They have the ability to identify that need in other people and therefore pass on a referral that’s extremely credible because they know you and therefore would lead back to business for the originator.

Rico [00:09:21]: You know know what I liked out of that conversation was really clear to me that you don’t have to be going to BNI necessarily or any of the other networking groups, but you should be going to somewhere. To some organization whether it’s a Business Association, a chamber, a professional association. The whole idea is we go back to consistency like social media you have to be consistent same thing with that right, you have to be at those meetings on a regular basis.

Karl [00:09:48]: We recommend three types of associations. There’s over 21 different from anywhere from alumni groups from your colleges. It could be team sport. But in any one of the things that’s being consistent and establishing and getting to learn about the people that you’re referring so that you can refer them with confidence and understand what it is that they do that can help your clients. And the last thing that she mentioned that I thought was extremely
insightful that changes the way you think about it, is the first one that speaks about price wins. In most traditional sales approaches, you’re taught to talk about value first and price later. But in referral It’s important that the person the intermediary the person that’s, that you’re talking to that’s generating referral. We call them gate openers that they have to understand what your cost structure is. They have to understand the price so they could set the expectation with the client. So lots of great, great insights from Wendy and talking about effective relationship marketing through networking.

Rico [00:10:52]: Excellent Episode.

Karl [00:10:53]: The third one was Gary Birnberg and Gary had an interesting journey in this career from working in Corporate America to franchise ownership, so he told us a little bit about how he got into franchising and was able to develop that.

Rico [00:11:10]: He went to, he originally thought well while he was in college, he thought he could do this right. He thought he went to Subway has he thought that was great. It was great franchise. He needed an investment. He and everyone told him you were going to college. What are you going to do? And he thought no, no I can handle it. Don’t worry about it, but Subways was what he thought he wanted to do essentially a franchise of that nature systematic the process was what he was interested in. So then he ended up as he got older and did some other things he ended up going back to that idea.

Karl [00:11:44]: Absolutely. And later on he invested in another sandwich franchise Which Wich and what was interesting in his story is how he started with just one and he was able to build and acquire up to seven of them at a time. And most of that time he was actually working.

Rico [00:12:01] Actually eight stores.

Karl [00:12:02] Eight stores. He was actually working for the first four before he left Corporate America and went full time into that.

Rico [00:12:11]: Right so working, he was actually working in Corporate America for, till they got the fourth store because that was the agreement he made with his wife who was his partner also I understand. Because they want to make sure that health insurance and what they’re also be risk averse. Yeah, so imagine working for corporate America and owning four of these stores now by the time we got to that fourth one, he was like I think we’re ready.

Karl [00:12:37]: Yep and be able to jump off and he followed the full journey till it’s, till its end where he successfully was able to exit all eight of the stores.

Rico [00:12:48]: Yeah, and he ended up actually when he when they got to the end of the fourth store, they opened the other four stores within seven to nine months after.

Karl [00:13:00]: And we learned when you’re looking into any business especially ones that are franchise, driving processes was really the key of the way he was able to scale so quickly so quickly. Learning how to acquire stores, learning how to run stores, learning how to manage personnel, staff, budgets, payroll. He learned all of that, that help them be very successful.

Rico [00:13:21]: Yeah, and the process allowed him a cash flow and he expanded those extra four stores at the Talon out of the eight through cash flow.

Karl [00:13:28]: Yeah he did not have to take additional loans to do that.

Rico [00:13:31]: Now and he paid off his loans also as he went because the other ones were spare loans for those stores and it was a process.

Karl [00:13:37]: Absolutely. So it shows that it can be done with a really good plan and being able to drive and follow a process. If you’re going down that path of Entrepreneurship, you don’t have to start from scratch. There’s franchises out there that can help people be their own boss, but have a support of a network. Of the business model that it’s already been proven to work.

Rico [00:14:02]: The fun part for me was when I first met him was with his first store at The Forum here in Peachtree Corners. It was the only store he had and his plan was to open one a year until he had like 10 almost and he worked his plan. I mean that was he was systematic and he worked it.

Karl [00:14:20]: Absolutely. We also had the pleasure to talk to some folks that work in the nonprofit sector over the past year. And one of our guests that we’re so thankful for was Erin Igleheart who is a program manager with the Start Me Program Atlanta associated with Emory University and several other partners whose goal and focus was bringing entrepreneurship to underserved areas of Metro Atlanta. And the being associated with the university, they had some very smart people investigating what are some of the challenges a small micro business has faced to start and be successful. And they summed it into three main components of their finding which they’ve addressed through a startup bootcamp that the program does. The first one is access to Capital. That may seem obvious, getting Capital to start a business is really important but being prepared to get that Capital whether it’s through developing a sound business plan, which they also address through delivering knowledge to these entrepreneurs. Helping them with the business plan, who to talk to, how to understand the financials of their business, is a key knowledge area that they found was a challenge. But the thing that I thought that might have been under appreciated for a lot of small business owners was the aspect of networking. The mentors that they bring to bear with the entrepreneurs creates this powerful networks. It’s not only each cohort that comes through the program. They’ve had over 200 entrepreneurs launch through the program. They’ve established a huge network between them and the mentors that continually help them grow and improve their business over time. They can boast over 75% success rate with businesses that have gone through the program, which is much higher than the average for most small businesses.

Rico [00:16:27 ]: Oh my god yeah, most small businesses failed during the first three, four years and then the majority of them do that.

Karl [00:16:34]: And when you look back as to why they probably didn’t get the right mentorship. They didn’t have people that have gone down the path and made the mistakes that they’re making to help advise them. But also those mentors help hold them accountable if they say they’re going to do something, having a sit-down with somebody who has your best interest at heart and check in on you is a powerful tool that they use as part of this Start Me Program.

Rico [00:16:58]: And you know what I like, before we got on we were reviewing what we were going to be discussing and I remembered you saying it was a bit like Shark Tank. Right because you have networking available as well. You know, and in Shark Tank, you know, all of them had money it wasn’t the money. It was really the network, the people they had, the contacts.

Karl [00:17:19]: The knowledge and the connections that they could make to the community. So a really good reminder of finding mentors that you can work with that help guide you when you’re starting up and growing your business.

Rico [00:17:34]: I say shark tank, but it really is a much more friendlier route.

Karl [00:17:40]: Yeah, absolutely and we were blessed to have some of those entrepreneurs on other episodes as well. So that was great.

Rico [00:17:49]: So the next one that we had, a guest from the restaurant industry, food industry Cliff Bramble owner of Noble Fin and Hungry Hospitality. Which is a consulting company for restaurants. And I don’t know, to me you know, there were several things. I learned quite a few things actually. Cliff is very much into the food industry, but he always he through the conversations we had over that hour we discussed how it is a business regardless. Forget about the food part of it, business is a business is a business. And what drives business what’s the biggest thing in business is labor. Is those surprises that you get so labor was a big part that he discussed on how we handle the front and the back of the house.

Karl [00:18:37]: Understanding the numbers in the business, understanding sales and marketing and how that integrates to build your Revenue stream for the business is extremely important. But a lot of people want to go into the restaurant business it’s probably the number one request that we see from buyers. They want to do restaurant. But really it’s a tough business tough industry. You can be wildly successful, but you have to be able to run it like a business know your numbers know your input costs and really know how to Market, figure out who your customer is and how to how to do a good job satisfying them.

Rico [00:19:16]: Right and he even talked about like down to the nitty-gritty, the weeds of if you’re going to buy a restaurant. You know, what’s the important part? Well to him the important
part was the amount of covers how many people actually come in. Not necessarily the sales but how much turnover of those tables. That and also discussed a little bit about retention. How do you retain employees in that environment?

Karl [00:19:39]: Absolutely. High turnover industry, but driving a culture and training and having really good systems in place to train and develop people is one of the success factors that he identify for anybody out there that’s in the restaurant or thinking of being in the restaurant industry.

Rico [00:19:55]: And even more than when it comes to you know, if you’re a manufacturer of product if the products bad you can return it right? Food, if food is bad, you can’t quite return it the same way. You either get sick maybe. And so, you know, we discussed a little bit about the romaine lettuce callbacks ever happened through all of last year.

Karl [00:20:14]: And how do you react and how do you adapt to that to the menu items and really understand your supply base to support your business?

Rico [00:20:22]: And then the last thing I think also was for competition. Different from other places because restaurants, you would think it would be other restaurants competing into somebody. But he was also saying No, no, no, I compete against also Netflix, people want to stay home.

Karl [00:20:38]: You know gaming anything that draws entertainment time away and disposable income is a competitor to you know, a restaurant especially in the fine dining space. Our next guest or episode we wanted to talk about was the Small Business Development Center SBDC associated with University of Georgia and Glenn Kruse who came by and was sharing a valuable resource to the business community that exists here. The Small Business Development Center has offices all over Georgia. They’re affiliated with the university. So Georgia State University of Georgia, Kennesaw University and many others and they provide guidance and coaching to people looking to start business inclusive of developing a plan it. So really quickly some of the lessons that we shared, the first one being around having a plan. And the number one thing that he found that people that struggled with being successful in business was a failure to plan. They did not take the time to develop one a business plan that’s inclusive of a financial plan, a sales plan. And you would think why do I need this piece of paper what I’m going out there to run a business, but it’s really the process of planning that helps you identify some of the gaps. When are you going to need cash? How much cash are you going to need to be able to run the business successfully. Also there’s a lot that goes into understanding your competitors and the SBDC has tools available to them to help you understand your demographics of an area, the market, the competition so you can build a robust plan for not only the lenders that you might need to start your business, but also potential investors.

Rico [00:22:30]: Or even involving the idea that you had because now with those armed with that information I realized wow, maybe this isn’t quite where I need to be you may be able to adjust.

Karl [00:22:40]: Absolutely. Pivoting and knowing when to pivot in your business is another critical factor of success. But if you’re not constantly scanning the environment and understanding the threats, you may miss the opportunity to make a change before it’s too late for your business. But the last point that he mentioned was all about people. Hiring the right people onboarding them and developing them. Many businesses struggle and fail when they’re not able to find and keep and retain really good, especially if you’re in a service business, if you don’t understand if you’re in a service business, it’s about the people that you probably can’t be successful in it. And really exploring in your plans how are you going to attract and retain people from a compensation standpoint, from recruiting the right people, how do you identify what those people are? But all of those things are things that anybody in business start thinking about starting a business can get help with with the SBDC that’s located. You can go online and look up the Small Business Development Center in your area and schedule a time with any one of the Consultants. The number one thing you should know about them free service for people here. It’s paid by your tax dollars and the SBA grants from the SBA the Small Business Association for a part of the US government to help provide this to drive economic developments in communities. So free service to reach out to them and get that Consulting help if you need it.

Rico [00:24:13]: So where we’re at, close to the end of our time together, but I think we wanted to hit on certainly going into 2020 what we’ve learned.

Karl [00:24:23]: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Rico [00:24:25]: So I know what I’ve learned, but do you want to start?

Karl [00:24:28]: Sure thing. One of the things that I know that I took from last year was this emergence of social media and social media marketing and incorporating into your business. And I work in a traditional industry that helps business owners exit their business and a lot of the traditional marketing methods were, you know, meeting people face-to-face and people marketing and so on. But integrating Social media into that, posting on the right platform, forming relationships with your clients and prospects. I found to be really really effective way and I can say that throughout the year seen really great success and return on that investment in time and money into building out a social media strategy. For anyone that’s thinking about dabbling in it. You can absolutely do it yourself. You could get courses on it and learn and educate yourself, but if you don’t feel you have time to do that reach out to some of the many experts in that, that’s out there including Rico who can help many people with that and just have a conversation about how they could be more effective in bringing social media into their marketing mix.

Rico [00:25:44]: So even I’ve learned a bit from our guests because you always pick up these tidbits about social media, but because I’m in that business, I’d rather skew to something else I learned that I really, you know, I sort of knew but, you know getting to know Karl better, through the show, through this past year and doing these shows and offline. I learned a little bit more about what you want to do with your business? And that everyone, you know, you start a business is you’re passionate about you want to do it. Where are you going to go with it? How you going to expand it? Those are all good things to think about but then no one really thinks about the end result. Let’s not call it the end. But where do you want to take it at some point? What’s your exit plan? Do you want to retire? Do you want to get out of it do you want to downsize a little bit from what you’re doing? And I learned from Karl quite a bit about what I should be thinking about ahead of time and also from a recent guest that we had on as well. We had Corrie Thrasher that taught us a bit about the pitfalls of selling and buying a business. So what I learned from that was pretty much, you know positioning your company because different companies that do handle differently, right? And if you’re a small business like own a family restaurant or you have a small business of consulting and you’re the person that’s running it. It’s a different value and that value extend further when you sell it if you have a magazine like I do that magazine has it that with this an asset that but if you’re doing freelance work, which is also what I do. How’s that freelance work, that gig economy if you will, how is that value as a business? If I’m gone does that mean that business goes? So I Learned a lot between you and Corrie and a few other guests.

Karl [00:27:28]: Absolutely. David Wood came in and talked about financing and how to get your financial statements in there. And if there’s one thing going into 2020 that everyone should treat themselves to is to just think about their, take a step back, get an advisor or coach or someone that’s not working for you ideally, because you want someone that can give you honest feedback. And take a critical look at your business. Look at the financials see what other people would think about. Get evaluation done for your business and find out those gaps and weaknesses sooner than later when you are planning to exit the business or when you have time to do something and make those corrections and fixes sooner on.

Rico [00:28:14]: Like anything else in life, if you don’t plan ahead you’re going to get hurt later. So selling a business does not come, oh I want to sell it in a month. It doesn’t work that way. You need to plan this out a year or two years ahead to make sure that what your business is showing. And the way it’s budgeted and all that increases the value of your business. And that’s the value I find in when I speak to Karl about things like this. He points things out that I haven’t thought about now because my mind’s not there and certainly I may not have thought about even if my mind ended up there. But you do need to clean these things out and it’s more than a month or two. We really need to look at it forever.

Karl [00:28:52]: If there’s one thing that we tried to do in 2019 with the Capitalist Sage was bringing you people that are in the trenches doing this every day. We learned from people’s failures. We’ve learned from people’s success. But our goal is to share this information with as many people as we can and just get you thinking there’s plenty of people out there that can help
you with your business. But we want to make sure you at least get some information to help you think differently about your business so you can drive those improvements in 2020.

Rico [00:29:26]: You know, and you should also look at go back to our episodes and look forward to 2020 because we have really interesting guests that we didn’t cover here necessarily. Like Lentz Pean of Food Trucks Unlimited, just talking to him and just knowing about how other businesses operate to me is exciting because you sort of pick up little things that might help you in your business. And Micole and Musa, organic farming.

Karl [00:29:53]: The organic farming, zero chemical organic farming right here in the Metro, Atlanta. How scientists, two science educated individuals built the business using proven techniques to produce higher yields of organic vegetables using non, without using chemicals or any additives to their foods and they’re building a business for the family from that.

Rico [00:30:23]: So you think of organic farming but we were able to get into the weeds, so to speak, and to the Entomology and bug aspect of it and learned quite a bit about it. Which you know, I think went beyond just knowing about organic farming also understanding people’s passions in business.

Karl [00:30:40]: And how they were able to merge that. We’ve seen that in quite a few people, Laron Walker and technology and stem education, merging that with building IOT Technologies and teaching the high schooler’s how to code and program this stuff to fill the pipeline of technical talent we’re going to need over the next 20-30 years to do this. And so many great talented people here in the community that we were able to talk to. But in 2020 we’re going to continue our journey and we’re going to continue to find and bring you more great guests that come in and talk. One of the areas that I know I’m excited to get more into is the entertainment business. We had Beth Moore an entertainment attorney attorney that came and talked to us about protecting your creative content that you create. Whether it’s music, it could be stuff that you do on YouTube, even those crazy cat videos is content that you can have copyrighted and you can get paid if you join the right association with that. And as Georgia continues to explode with film, music, even advertising industry is becoming really large here. Lots of opportunity for business people, creative people to become smarter business people and build a business around it.

Rico [00:32:02]: All the peripheral businesses that come I mean, that’s why Walking Dead that’s when we became the Hollywood East of the industry. Because you have electricians, woodworkers, prop makers.

Karl [00:32:15]: Costume designers, artists that are there. But it’s really important to figure out how to protect your content so that you can you can monetize it. So 2020 one of the things that I want to explore more and going to find more business owners that are in this entertainment. I hear I know gaming is on my list of finding some folks that are in Esport businesses that are
growing in popularity. Everything from artistic, music, creative producers. All of these businesses are just absolutely fascinating to understand the business side of that industry.

Rico [00:32:54]: So that’s one and that’s a big part of a thing I’m interested totally in that and learning a bit more about the entertainment industry. But also I think we’re going to be looking at makers as well. That’s a word phrase that’s being used for people that create, Artisans that create product within their own backyard if you will or garage or basement as it might be. And they’re creating products that are being sold on places like Etsy, online e-commerce sites, Amazon, a variety of places. It’s taking the gig economy on Acceleration because you could be making quite a bit of money and being a neighborhood that no one’s even aware that you’re there.

Karl [00:33:36]: Absolutely. I love how things come full circle from mass production assembly line and things are now becoming popular where people are building and using their talents to build things as home based businesses, but with the immersion of e-commerce and shipping and logistics, someone could make a business from their home and be quite profitable and successful. It’s one of the most popular businesses we get requests for people looking to buy business are home base e-commerce businesses. And if your maker and you’re able to make things, find creative ways to make things extremely great industry to be in and in the future. So we’re going to look to talk to some more people that are doing that as well.

Rico [00:34:21]: And if you have any suggestions, you know, feel free to first off if you’re listening to this on iTunes or any of the podcast sites, leave a review give us whatever that review might be two stars, five stars any review is a good review because this way people will be more easily find out. But feel free to suggest topics or companies or individuals that might be interesting that we could get good sage advice and be able to share that with our listeners and viewers.

Karl [00:34:53]: So as 2020 is starting off this year. We just want to thank all of our guests that have joined us on this journey and shared their wisdom. There’s more to come in 2020. We’re really excited to be able to host a podcast here at Atlanta Tech Park, a great location for not only just podcasting but just interacting with the economic engine for this part of the county Peachtree Corners from technology, to Beauty, to food all of these different types of businesses is what form this community. And so we’re just blessed to have the support of the local business Community here. All the Chamber of the Southwest Chamber of Commerce the Peachtree Corners Business Association and many others have been great partners and guests on our podcast. And we want to make sure that we are responsive to the business Community that’s here and that they have information that’s targeted for them and that can help them improve their business. So with that I’m Karl Barham with TransWorld Business Advisors of Atlanta Peachtree. Our business advisors are available to consult with you on your business, help you figure out strategies to grow, increase the value of the business. And at this time of year when you start making goals and so on, it’s a great time to chat with someone about what your plan is for your business, your exit plan, how you want to increase the value. We consult with our
business owners in the community and help them with that and if they’re ready to sell the business or ready to buy we can help them with that as well. So I can be reached at www.TWorld.com/AtlantaPeachtree or you can email me at KBarham@T world.com if we could ever help.

Rico [00:36:49]: And my name is Rico Figliolini, I do several things. I’m the publisher of Peachtree Corners magazine. Feel free to find that publication in print anywhere in the City and if you live in the city you should be getting it in your mailbox. We hit every household. Otherwise, feel free to go online at LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com and you can find our digital Edition there along with weekly postings, daily postings of things going on in this city. You’ll also find our podcast listings there, both for Capitalist Sage, Peachtree Corners Life and Prime Lunchtime with the City Manager, along with the Ed Hour which is an educational podcast that we do. And you can go MightyRockets.com, I do video projects, social media content work, anything along the digital and online area that needs to be done in a consistent fashion. I can help you there.

Karl [00:37:43]: Okay, well, I just want to thank everybody again and have a Happy New Year for everybody and thank you for joining us on this bonus episode. Thank you, of the Capitalist Sage.

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Brightree Opens Doors to New Headquarters in Peachtree Corners [Photos]

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Brightree Opening

Brightree, a cloud-based health care company, celebrated the opening of its new 60,500 square-foot headquarters in Peachtree Corners’ Technology Park Atlanta.

The 1970s-era three-story office building, formerly occupied by Honeywell, Inc., was completely renovated and now features open-layout work areas, gathering spaces and outdoor amenity space for its 160-employee workforce and guests.

L to r, Matt Mellott, CEO of Brightree, Mayor Mike Mason, councilmembers Phil Sadd, Weare Gratwick, Lorri Christopher and House Representative Beth Moore, District 95

“When considering a new location for our headquarters, we were won over by the vibrant technology community of Peachtree Corners,” said Matt Mellott, CEO of Brightree. “The recently opened Curiosity Lab, in particular, has generated a powerful synergy that speaks to the collaborative values of the companies and people here. We are thrilled to be part of the Peachtree Corners business community and believe this will play a significant role in our next chapter of growth and innovation.”

The newly opened Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners, an autonomous vehicle and smart-city laboratory, was created as an economic development initiative and designed to further develop Technology Park Atlanta into a technology-focused hub.

“The decision to build Curiosity Lab is already paying dividends,” said City Manager Brian Johnson. “Brightree’s choice to be near Curiosity Lab further confirms that the city’s efforts in creating this living laboratory has been successful.

Brightree
Brightree

“Curiosity Lab has already had an impact by attracting a company that brought 160 new jobs to our city. Another company, ASHRA, will bring over 120 jobs when it relocates in the fall. ASHRAE’s decision to move into Technology Park was also influenced by Curiosity Lab. We are expecting more business to follow suit,’ said Johnson.

The city’s newest initiative, Curiosity Lab is part of the efforts to re-imagine Technology Park Atlanta into an innovation hub that incorporates collaborative spaces, multi-use trails, startup and accelerator incubators, nearby housing opportunities for the millennial-age workforce, pocket parks and other community gathering spaces.

“We are happy to welcome Brightree,” said Mayor Mason during the ribbon-cutting event at which over 200 attended. “Technology Park Atlanta has become a thriving center that attracts technology-based businesses. Brightree’s relocation here is further proof that Technology Park is becoming the innovative hub we imagined just five years ago.”

Brightree’s grand opening capped off a year that has brought in a number of new businesses that have purchased or leased space in Peachtree Corners’ 500-acre Technology Park Atlanta.

This post updated 12/27/19

The opening and ribbon cutting was held last week with messages from CEO Matt Mellott and city Mayor Mike Mason, followed by a tour of the facility.

Photography by George Hunter / Images-by-George

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