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Capitalist Sage: How Business Mentorship Empowers Entrepreneurs, with Erin Igleheart [Podcast]

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StartMeATL

Have you ever had a business idea, wondered what tools you needed, or wanted to know how to just start? Join Rico Figliolini and Karl Barham as they interview Erin Igleheart, program manager with the Start Me accelerator program. Erin has experience and answers to all of the questions you may have about starting a business.

Resources: StartMeATL.org
Social Media: @StartMe

Podcast transcript – generated from voice recognition software.

Karl: [1:11] 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 Corner Magazine. Hey Rico, how’re you doing?

Rico: [1:27] Good. Good, Karl.

Karl: [1:28] Excellent. Why don’t we talk about our sponsors for today.

Rico: [1:32] Sure. Let’s give a shout out first to Atlanta Tech Park located here in Tech Park Atlanta, like the name switch, in the city of Peachtree Corners. Robin Bienfait and her innovative team is curating this place. Allowing accelerator startups and small companies to be able to grow in it. Phenomenal organized environment here that allows for workshops, seminars, all sorts of supportive groups that can take a small company to its success. So one of the podcasts from here is located in that place, and it’s a good place to be.

Karl: [2:11] Absolutely you could always stop by, check out its website; AtlantaTechPark.com check out upcoming events. You know in November, I think November 14th, is a tech showcase going on here from North Atlanta. Lots of events and you happen to be on the path of the shuttle, the driverless shuttle.

Rico: [2:28] Curiosity Lab of Peachtree Corners and Ollie the Driverless Vehicle. We just saw that before driving up and down as we were coming in.

Karl: [2:36] Absolutely. It’s a free shuttle, you have to get a ticket, a virtual ticket online and you’re able to ride that. So just a lot of really cool things happening in Peachtree Corners in the Atlanta Tech Park Village area. Well today, I’d like to welcome our today’s guest; Erin Ingleheart, program manager with the Start Me accelerator program and affiliated with the Emory University business school. Which is an outstanding program that helps local entrepreneurs help grow their business, learn some critical business skills, and help skills that help them to grow their business. How’re you doing today Erin?

Erin: [3:18] I’m great. Thank you so much for having me.

Karl: [3:21] Well, we’re here to talk today about business mentorship and how it could impact the community and in entrepreneurs that are starting businesses. One of the things that is amazing when you get into small communities, especially communities that may have more economic disadvantage, entrepreneurs are thriving in those areas. But the success rate could be a challenge there because they don’t have access to some of the critical things that companies, if you’re in Silicon Valley, there’s plenty of capital. There’s plenty of expertise, there’s network, there’s mentors. But in other communities they may not have those same resources as readily available. And so creating an ecosystem where that can thrive is really one of the missions of the Start Me accelerator program. I’d love to talk about that some more. So why don’t we tell,
start off by telling us a little bit about yourself and how did you get started in this passion of yours?

Erin: [4:20] That’s a great question. So Prior to joining Emory, my background was really all in private sectors. So I started out in banking at Morgan Stanley. I did a grad-degree in Silicon Valley and sort of saw some of that, a little bit of that divide if you will, in the support for entrepreneurs operating in the tech space particularly in that area. And perhaps some of the other small businesses that were struggling a little bit more to get started. I worked actually right around here and kind of proximate to Peachtree Corners for a start-up consulting firm for a few years and then switched over to the Social Enterprise Center at Emory just over three years ago where I was really looking to, kind of marry those business skills with more of a community focus and community impact component.

Karl: [5:07] So tell us a little bit about this social enterprise at Emory. What is that for folks that may not be familiar with that?

Erin: [5:13] That’s a great question. So it’s a research center within Emory Business School and the overarching focus is on making markets work for more people in more places in more ways. And we do that through research that several of our faculty members are doing. We do that through student coursework so several classes around social Enterprise and nonprofit management. And then we do that through fieldwork. And so we run a couple of different field work programs. Start Me in particular is focused on the Atlanta Community and several sort of historically under-resourced to communities in Metro Atlanta. But we also run the entrepreneurship database program, which is a large research study of accelerators and incubators around the world really looking at what works and what doesn’t in acceleration and incubation. So it’s the largest longitudinal study of those types of programs globally and then we also run a program that’s called Grounds for Empowerment that supports female coffee growers in Central America.

Rico: [6:16] So can I ask you, since you were out in the west coast like that, how’d you find that? I mean being a woman in the midst of, I guess stereotypical of what the research shows right now, it’s mostly men being there. How’d you find that working in a field like that in that environment? Erin: [6:33] That’s a good question. So I was in grad school while I was out there, so you’re in a little bit of a bubble as it is. And I really loved living out there but I didn’t necessarily get the bug, if you will, to stick around. I felt like I answered, a lot of times, the question of like why I didn’t have an app or why I didn’t have my own Tech startup. Which I respect as a path for entrepreneurs, absolutely, it just wasn’t a path that I was on. A conversation I felt like I sort of had over and over again. But I think what you see is so much passion in and around tech that it creates the, almost this bubble of enthusiasm and excitement that I really respect and enjoy and I think that it’s nice to be able to replicate that in other places that frankly are maybe more accessible to local populations if you will. So, you know, I think one challenge that we’re faced
with in Atlanta or any major city that has wonderful young people and wonderful entrepreneurs with tech ideas, that we don’t want to lose everybody to Silicon Valley. We want to create that same vibrancy and keep people in communities and the same is true for other types of businesses. You want to see that enthusiasm for all of your makers and bakers and fixers and doers. We’re operating in community.

Rico: [7:48] Which from what I understand isn’t really the type of company Silicon Valley wants to fund. They do want to fund the apps and the tech. And they don’t understand maybe the baker’s the makers and all the…

Karl: [7:59] You can’t eat an app.

Rico: [8:01] No you can’t. And it’s not sexy and it doesn’t provide the return in the short term that they want. It’s a lot different, you know. So coming into an area like Metro Atlanta where most of the startups are not necessarily tech startups. They’re mainly business things that we would normally eat drink and be merry with. But real different than in Silicon Valley.

Karl: [8:24] Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I’ve looked at data and studies shows. It’s probably somewhere north of 95 percent of businesses are not tech businesses. Your Main Street businesses, your neighborhood pizza shop, the person that fixes your car. These are the businesses that drive our economy and they’re found in every neighborhood. And these business leaders also are really important in the community that they’re in, they’re typically community leaders. They’re making sure that resources are being applied to problems. Their sense on the pulse of that area in there. It’s a great foundation for leaders and community, which is interesting. When you think of the program Start Me probably, describe what it is and in particular, I’m going to put you on the spot because you know part of the Emory School You got to tell me; what is the problem that Start Me is trying to solve?

Erin: [9:19] Yeah, absolutely. So it actually ties back to your question about the work that we do at Social Enterprises, so the program kind of originally grew out of research and so a lot of our fieldwork programs are kind of tied to research in that way. But one of my colleagues, Professor Peter Roberts, was really looking at what some of the differences are between communities with higher concentrations of poverty and lower concentrations of poverty across the United States. So kind of zip code by zip code. And one of the things that he found was that there really isn’t a market difference in the number of big businesses per capita, but there’s on average about a 26 percent gap in the number of micro businesses per capita. And so those are your local Moms and Pops. It’s your auto body shops, it’s your catering companies, it’s your local hair salons and natural hair care providers. And if you’re not finding those in and around your community, you’re finding them elsewhere. They’re not necessarily creating jobs. They’re not necessarily offering a gathering space for people who live there and they’re not attracting outside resources into the community. And so, you know, twenty-six percent gap for kind of an average population neighborhood would translate to 125 to 150 local small businesses. And so the program really originally grew out of that as we were looking at other cities or other neighborhoods around
Metro Atlanta that maybe aren’t necessarily served by the wonderful services you can get at Atlanta Tech Village or ATDC because they’re not necessarily as tech focused.

Rico: [10:50] So did you find the economic issue as part of that? I mean was there a correlation there as far as poor neighborhoods had a bigger gap?

Erin: [10:59] Poorer neighborhoods have that gap and so that’s where if you’re looking at high poverty residential neighborhoods, residential urban neighborhoods versus low poverty residential urban neighborhoods. What you’ll see is about a 26 percent gap and so, you know, you’re not seeing that gap in Midtown or Buckhead but you’re seeing that and in some of the neighborhoods that we operate in and then and also in many other neighborhoods in and around Metro Atlanta, and frankly cities across the United States. So this is not an Atlanta specific thing, but we particularly operate in those communities that are historically under-served, really trying to foster and build the businesses that are growing there that have a tide of those communities and that feed into that local economic and social vitality.

Rico: [11:45] So what can you do? What does the organization do that’s actionable that’s ground, that’s on the ground that you know… I mean, yeah, that’s on the ground accessory that you can say you can do this and within weeks or months, you’ll be at a better place.

Erin: [11:59] Yeah, and we try to do everything physically on the ground in the communities that we operate in. So we, Start Me as a 14 Session placed base accelerator program for small businesses. So we’re really focused on those micro businesses. Typically that’s one to five employees, including the founders, less than fifty thousand dollars in start-up capital. Oftentimes far less than fifty thousand dollars in start-up capital and you know, we’ve worked with everything from farmers to freight truckers to beer brewers to natural hair care providers. So it really runs the gambit of what you find in and around your neighborhood or what you might be looking for. If you’re a resident or an employee of a particular neighborhood. We run in three Metro Atlanta communities. We originally started in the Clarkston Community serving entrepreneurs and that economic corridor that also is kind of inclusive of Tucker and Stone Mountain. We also operate in the Economic Corridor of Edgewood Kirkwood and Eastlake and then the southside of Atlanta, which is a really large geography, south of I-20 ITP. But really try to support the entrepreneurs who live there, who work there, who provide valuable products and services to those communities. We deliver sessions in community. So we’re meeting at local schools from meeting at local community centers, and we’re really trying to bring an injection of business know-how, what do you need in order to effectively operate an early stage small business. Networks are really frankly that probably the most important piece of that and that’s peer entrepreneurs who are operating different businesses. But also going through a very similar entrepreneurial journey, all the ups and downs and kind of empowerment and challenges that that entails and having a network to draw upon there. And then we bring in with each cohort of 15 to 18 businesses, we bring in 20 to 25 volunteer business mentors from all walks of life, but with a lot of collective expertise and collective passion for small business who really work hand in hand with those entrepreneurs to build and grow businesses. And then each
Community has a peer selected capital component as well. So we have ten thousand dollars in grant funds for each community and the entrepreneurs and mentors peer select and allocate that capital over the course of the program.

Karl: [14:16] So one thing that you mentioned in each one, what is a typical session feel like? Give us a sense of.. what if I’m an entrepreneur and I show up in one of these what can I expect?

Erin: [14:27] That’s a good question. So, I mean it is an accelerator. It’s not a class and so we don’t want it ever to feel like, I read at people for three hours from a book or any of my colleagues do either. We open every session with dinner. It’s a great way to break bread with your neighbors, build connections with entrepreneurs and with mentors. We like to share some accelerated moments if you will and so that’s both the things that have gone really well in your business. That’s towards achieving major goals or milestones and then also the struggles. Things don’t always go well and sometimes it’s really hard to find a safe space to share that and we try to foster that safe space. We have a short curriculum component to every session and each one is a little different but you know, whether we’re introducing the key components of a business plan or walking through business financials, whatever that piece is, we try to keep that really short and then you spend the rest of the time applying it to the actual small businesses in the room. So entrepreneurs and mentors are working hand-in-hand to take those concepts and start to put that into place. So we want every business over the course of 14 sessions to exit of course with strong relationships and good networks, but also a short concise actionable business plan that they use and continue to build upon. We want them to have a good understanding of their financials. We want them to have really good comfort telling their business story to a wide variety of different stakeholders and to feel like coming out of an intensive and yet also very short 14 session roughly three month period of time that they kind of have that acceleration to their business and are kind of moving towards their strategic goals for where they want to take that business.

Rico: [16:09] This way they don’t feel alone out there on the prairie doing the work. And sometimes you feel alone. But yeah, just doing the work in a small business and sometimes you just gravitate to what you do best. I think you mentioned that. And you know to rejoin, you get stuck doing things maybe you shouldn’t be doing and other people should be doing and you have to grow that business.

Karl: [16:31] There’s a simple example of that that plays out. You take the financials and if you were to ask most small business owners, what’s your goal on profitability? And they’ll answer the question probably saying; make profit. But if they had to break that down and say well, where is that going to come from? How much? How much revenue do you need? What are the costs are going to have to do? They often don’t sit down and kind of put that on paper. But in a session where they’re putting that down on paper with peers, with other entrepreneurs as well as mentors, they start realizing; maybe I’m not charging enough to cover my costs. Now imagine not doing that math on paper before you actually go out there and start implementing it. By the
time you find out that you’re not, that the math isn’t working. You’re already in debt. You’re already struggling, you’re already frustrated. So you could avoid a lot of those things just by getting some of those ideas and said well, you know, maybe I can increase the price but can I lower the cost? Or my portion is this. If a simple caterer may do a delicious meal but you look at the portion that it can serve four people and most people aren’t going to eat four people’s worth of food. And so there’s a cost savings of maybe they only serve for two people. So that’s some of the exciting things that in the session you see people actually the light bulb going off and clicking and it’s just wonderful to see that.

Erin: [17:58] I think it also helps, again, to realize that you’re not alone. I would say the biggest fear that folks, and this is broad strokes, but that we see kind of coming into it as most folks are either afraid of standing up and talking about their business or they’re afraid of that financial session. You start to see people even been with well, I might be sick that week. You’re probably not sick that week, that’s in two months. And you know part of that is saying, is making it clear to them that they’re not by themselves. They’re not the only person who’s been kicking that can down the road and you do definitely get people who are like; so I’ve finally crunched the numbers and I’ve realized I’m losing X number of dollars on every single thing I sell, what do I do? And then you at least have something to act on and you can start to think about what the right lever is that you can tweak. But otherwise you’re just doing what you love and you don’t realize that it’s not necessarily working for you.

Rico: [18:54] Right, until it’s too late. The mentors that you bring out do they stay consistent with it? Do they sort of hook up with the individual entrepreneurs or startups? You know, are they in relation with them for a period of time? Or does it vary?

Erin: [19:09] So it’s a bit of both. So we work with the cohorts of about 15 to 18 businesses. 22-25 mentors and we have people rotate around for the first several weeks. And that’s so that everybody kind of gets a feel for the different businesses in the room, the different skill sets in the room, and trying to find a little bit of that art, if you will, of who clicks. And around week 4 we assign dedicated teams, and typically that’s about two businesses and about three mentors. And we try to really match people with those that they’ve clicked with. So you know, kind of expressed a particular interest in continuing to work with. But then also mentors that have a variety of different skill sets and so perhaps they have particular industry expertise that’s related to the businesses at their table. But otherwise trying to make sure that you know, we’re putting together folks who have experience with operations and marketing and communications and finance at the same table so that collectively they have that expertise that really serves the needs of the small businesses.

Karl: [20:08] And I would say it also extends beyond the room. It’s been about a couple of hours, 2 to 3 hours working on it, but then the phone calls after, midweek where, here’s my second iteration on my plan. Can you take a look at it? Or it could be an introduction to someone. Here is a retailer that might carry the product that I’m doing. They mentored me, have networks or people that they make those introduction they may bring them to events. So the role of the
mentor plays, is expands beyond just a session and years later, you will see the mentors. And even if you don’t directly work with them during the session, through the social events that happened you might connect with someone else that’s in another business and you might help them along a path as well.

Rico: [21:00] It’s all about networking.

Karl: [21:02] Yeah, it’s a critical component. I see it in a lot of successful businesses. You would think, you know, you have a better product and you execute, but the relationships you build, the people that could open doors. I heard the term the other day; the rich uncle. And most successful businesses, I thought it was a beautiful way of describing it, you might have someone that, I know a guy. You need printing material done in particular way, I know a guy. and when you’re a struggling entrepreneur and some of these communities you may not know that person that knows how to do that thing. And if you can get connected that can help you, you know, get over a hurdle that like.

Rico: [21:42] That’s funny, in New York we used to call it, it would be the rabbi. I had the rabbi. My rabbi tells me this, even though I’m a Catholic, doesn’t matter. Everyone has a rabbi.

Karl: [21:51] Everyone has someone that’s able to do that. So if someone was starting a business, you know early on, so your experience of working with all these entrepreneurs. Any tips and advice you’d give to someone that’s either thinking about starting a business or in that early stage of starting it? Any advice you’d give to those folks?

Erin: [22:12] That’s a great question, you know, we’re actually in the midst of the application cycle now, and so I’m meeting with lots of entrepreneurs who are thinking about starting businesses. Are currently operating businesses and looking for additional support that have been operating for a long time. So I’ve been having similar discussions and you know, I tailor it a little bit around what they want to do and where they are, but with a lot of folks it’s encouraging people to just start. Sometimes they’re waiting for the perfect moment, that exact perfect confluence of events. If you will, they want the perfect program the perfect partner, the perfect market conditions. And if you wait it might never happen. And if you know that you’re passionate about it, you just start and that way you at least can start doing it on your own time on your own terms and you can figure out what you’re looking for. Sometimes what you figure out is; you didn’t really need any of those things that you were waiting for in the first place. You know, there are tons of different resources out there both online and then in person. Lots of workshops to get people started, regardless of where they are, if they’re a serial entrepreneur and they’ve done this a bunch of times or this is the first time and they’re thinking about starting out on their own. There are so many different support programs out there and kind of resources that they can access.

Rico: [23:28] So you don’t have to feel alone.

Erin: [23:30] Exactly. You’re not alone.

Rico: [23:32] Right. You always ask about the bookkeeping or the money. I have this idea for an app or I have this idea for a clothing company. How do I get that process going? That could be scary. I mean, I love talking shop, but that could be scary to a young person not knowing what they’re doing.

Erin: [23:49] Yeah, and actually what’s interesting, you know, we run a program with High school students in the summertime and the younger people are less fearful in some ways. Like they come up with an idea and they’re like, I love it, I’m doing it, and I’m going to make this work. And I think sometimes there’s a little bit of that fear as you maybe get a little further on in your career. Or maybe even a little more afraid to put that idea out there with the risk that someone will say they don’t get it or they don’t like it. And maybe that person’s probably not your target audience.

Rico: [24:17] And that person could also be paying the bills and because they’re too far along in life, maybe. Where they’re thinking, I’ve just got to pay the bills.

Karl: [24:27] You even find very often, a lot of people that work for large corporations get trained on having all of the data. And having you know, a business plan that’s 40 pages with with all of that. And I’ve seen people that will write all of that stuff for years and they never start doing anything. So this concept of agile, being quick, fast fail. A business plan could be drafted on a piece of paper. There’s a couple of key questions you’ve got to answer. It doesn’t have to be complex, but it’s enough for you to examine the business model on what you’re trying to do and who your customers are and how you’re going to make money and how you’re going to find your customers to get you started and guess what’s going to happen. Even if you did a 40 page business plan, three months in guess what? The world changes, you’ve got to pivot, got to change. So it’s more dynamic.

Rico: [25:19] But doesn’t that, isn’t that a little different from how, I mean the world is funny. That’s my rent yet the bank wants to see a business plan. But then venture capitalists really want to see the passion, they don’t are about the business plan. They just want to see what you’re doing and they want to see proof of concept maybe. Or if it’s way before that, they just want to know that you’re really so into it that you can bleed it before you leave. Yeah, I mean so different ways.

Karl: [25:46] It is. But I’ll also say the the 40 page business plan can be a way to hide that you don’t know what’s important. If someone’s asking to invest money, whether it’s a bank lending you money. The people that do better can explain what their business is. They could explain who their customers are, they could explain how they’re going to make money out of it and what’s critical to success. And whether they do it on one page or a five minute pitch or they do it on a half hour or an hour long presentation and 40 pages. The essence of that, you gotta still answer those questions in there. And so for small businesses, if we’re talking micro-businesses,
you don’t need a 40 page business plan. You know to get started you need to, you need to think through some things, but it’s about taking action and being prepared to put yourself out there. There’s no illusion, every entrepreneur I think would tell you it’s a lot of hard work at the beginning but the passion carries them through a support network around them. A little bit of knowledge will carry them a pretty long way.

Erin: [26:55] And I think it’s okay to be comfortable with the fact that it’s not going to be perfect the first time. The first time you outline or draft your business plan. You’re going to get a bunch of things wrong, but you’ve got to make smart assumptions and figure out what you don’t yet know and then revisit it. And it’s a living document that will grow and change over time or you hope it grows and changes over time. But I think taking that first leap and putting some words down on paper goes a long way and then doubling back a little bit to what we were talking about before. You know, find a network, find people who have gone through a similar experience, who are micro business owners and in different industries or the same industry. And find mentors who can coach you and support you and are really just excited to see you thrive. And there are different ways that you can do that, whether you’re an extroverted person and you love to go to networking oriented events, or there are a lot of ways that you can do that work for more introverted individuals as well. But I think finding those people who are good sounding boards who don’t have as much of the emotional investment that you have and maybe can see past some of the flaws can be invaluable in helping you cultivate that early stage business idea.

Karl: [28:08] So I’m curious. This sounds, this is a great program and it’s out there for folks. But what if you’re in the business community and you know, you want to get involved. What are the ways that they can help their communities and/or get involved with this program?

Erin: [28:25] That’s a good question and there’s a couple of different ways that we sort of broadly engage different people. So one is in investing in local community programs. So that’s you know in supporting programs like ours that are free and support local small businesses in Metro Atlanta. But there are also other organizations and programs out there that are doing really important work. And in order to do that, you need financial resources in order to make that continue to work. You can also invest your time. I mean a big part of the value of what we bring together is bringing together networks of excited and engaged passionate people who are really passionate about supporting the entrepreneurs in the room. And so, so much of what we need is really good business skills, really good passion and you know, kind of that passion for helping others and asking the right questions. And you know, kind of supporting the growth and interests of others who are starting small businesses. And then the last thing is, you know, being a good community member yourself. You know, some of that is captured in small business Saturday, you know one day a year. But that is supporting your local businesses. That’s sourcing locally. That’s you know, finding local providers if you’re looking for a website or you’re looking for a wine shop or whatever it might be. And that doesn’t mean that everything you buy needs to be local, but you can find a lot of wonderful local businesses through business owners associations, by looking at the shops around you, by figuring out what the kinds of businesses that your neighbors are operating formally or informally out of their homes and supporting that.

Karl: [30:04] And you think about the holiday season is coming up and I know lots of people are going to be doing gifts for various reasons. Not only is it around Thanksgiving, the season for giving, there’s a lot of gifts that are being given. Supporting your local small business in these communities is a great way. If they wanted to learn, where they can find some of these businesses out there where they can purchase things and support in that way how do they find that?

Erin: [30:31] So we, on our own website keep a kind of a Shopping Guide if you will of our local small businesses. So we worked with about 200 businesses across Metro Atlanta and you know, they do everything. If you think about it, so, you know, some are offering the kinds of products and services that you might typically see around the holidays, so lots of different caterers. You know for after the holidays, we’ve got lots of folks that are focused on health and wellness and physical fitness. You know, we have folks who are doing lawn care and repair and help people get their homes ready with spring cleaning, you know for small business owners. We have those who work in, you know, digital media and build beautiful websites. So they kind of run the gambit. But you know, those are two hundred businesses that collectively are doing wonderful things in Atlanta, but you can also find lots of great businesses right around you, wherever you are. I mean looking around Peachtree Corner, there are corners, excuse me. There are so many right here that you’d be able to draw upon and that’s you know, walking into a local shop and asking. That’s you know, when something pops up in a social media news feed that’s a local business that’s checking it out. There are great festivals and events and Becraft experience is always a really fun one if you’re interested in makers and you know, kind of handmade and vintage products.

Rico: [31:54] And Johns Creek Festival just had, I think it was this past week. Lots of local makers there.

Erin: [32:01] Yeah Refuge Market over at Refuge coffee. And in Clarkston is a wonderful one and that’s a lot of new Americans and refugees that are building and selling beautiful products and a lot of times those are really fun things to pick out for others. I’m not necessarily much of a shopper myself, but I love shopping for other people and I think it’s really fun to find something that looks like it would be really special to a parent or significant other or a child. And feel like I put a lot of thought and energy into selecting something for them.

Rico: [32:32] It’s always nice to find something different rather than going for the same product at the same three stores that’s mass produced.

Karl: [32:38] And there’s often a story behind it. When you see a lot of these products, where it was made, how it was made, the traditions or culture that’s built into it is also a great way to get. And what if somebody wanted to be a mentor, how do they get involved in that process?

Erin: [32:53] That’s a great question. So we do engage a lot of mentors. We have about 80 volunteer mentors across our three programs. Our programs largely run from January through the very beginning of April. And so what we really have mentors do is they’re there week in and week out meeting and working with entrepreneurs. So it’s a very much a Hands-On role. And then throughout the rest of the year we do other programming. You had mentioned some of the social activities. We do also mentor office hours for mentors continue to kind of plug-in. So we do try to continue to foster that network. Folks can really find a lot of that information on our website. So we’re at StartMeATL.org there is a mentor tab for under a kind of get involved and you know who we’re working with but you know, we work with business professionals from across Metro Atlanta with a wide variety of different skill sets. Entrepreneurs often times make fantastic mentors, they get what it’s like to work on a business and in a business and balancing wearing all of the hats with also everything else going on in and around their lives.

Rico: [33:54] And if people aren’t ready yet they can go to Facebook or Instagram for Start Me ATL.

Erin: [33:59] Exactly, yeah. We’re all over our social media as well. That’s where you can certainly also find out about local small businesses to shop. But we can all, you can also find out about ways to continue to engage and I think it’s a fun way to put your business skills to work in supporting other individuals. And you know, I find it to be really rewarding to be there week in and week out. But it’s really fascinating to see how much ground you can cover in a small business and how much excitement people have coming out of a 14 session accelerator for you know what the months and years after that hold.

Karl: [34:37] So the website is StartMeATL.org. If you want to find out more information about the Start Me program fine, and I know there’s a deadline coming up soon for entrepreneurs people that are looking. When are applications due Erin?

Erin: [34:54] They’re due this weekend. So it’s an exciting stretch for us. Yeah, we’re approaching the very end of our application cycle for entrepreneurs interested in going through the program come January. So we’re open through October 20th, and then all applications go through a detailed paper review. We do a selection night and from all the applications were selecting 15 to 18 businesses per cohort and then we’re running also all those cohorts in parallel. So we’ve got, we’re in Eastlake on Tuesdays, Clarkston on Wednesdays and the Southside on Thursdays working with entrepreneurs, you know, kind of night after night after night to build those businesses.

Rico: [35:30] If they miss the 20th and the sessions start in January is there another set of sessions later in the year next year?

Erin: [35:38] That’s our next set of sessions for kind of accelerator for this particular program. We do also keep a really detailed resources page. So we think, not only is it important to support entrepreneurs through our program but really important to connect people to other
resources in and around Metro Atlanta and then also online. So we keep a running calendar of upcoming events that we think are really helpful to small businesses. And then we have links to the different organizations that are doing really important work in these different communities. Whether it’s for those who are just trying to decide if entrepreneurship is a good fit, to those who are operating really established businesses and just looking for that support system as they’re kind of taking the next step in scaling or expanding or even thinking about selling.

Karl: [36:25] Well, I want to thank you so much Erin for joining us today. Erin Is programmatically with Start Me and works at Emory University business school. You shared a lot of information, a lot of insight for people. And I don’t know if people realize how much is going out there in the community. And just being aware that there’s resources available for people to be entrepreneurs. And it’s not always have to be a big tech idea. It could be as simple as a micro business that is being grown and there’s support there for that. We’d also like to thank Atlanta Tech Park for hosting The Capitalist Sage podcast. We’re here every month and get to talk with folks and have a great conversation about business. Great place to work, great environment to follow your entrepreneurial pursuits as they come through. Rico, what do we have coming up?

Rico: [37:28] There’s so much going on. I just don’t know where to start sometimes. But so let me hold this up. The Peachtree Corners magazine, yes, this is one of the jobs that I do, I own this magazine. It’s a great magazine I think, I’m hoping everyone enjoys it. It comes out six times a year. The next issue is December/January. If you have someone under 20 that you want to nominate to our first 20 under 20 issue list, that would be great. It has to live in Peachtree Corners Middle School to High School, college. Someone that has had either an impact on the community or success with their own within their own lives. Whether it’s sports or writing, performing, sciences. That’s who we’re looking for. Someone, an individual young person that would inspire others is essentially what we want. So that’ll be the next issue. Deadline for that is October 31st. Visit our Facebook page, Instagram, or come to LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com and you’ll find the page with information there. Aside from that I also do social media marketing, I do other things I’m in the middle of a product video I’m doing for a client. And the first time I’m ever doing stop-motion animation in my garage. I’ve set up the studio and it’s a learning experience, but it’s cool because you get, even at my age, you get to learn a lot of stuff that you haven’t done before.

Karl: [38:52] Oh, fabulous. Well, I’m Karl Barham with TransWorld business advisors of Atlanta Peachtree. We help entrepreneurs at any stage, whether they’re looking to find a business, to acquisition, where they’re looking to exit their business and sell their business. We help them with that but where our passion is around, is really supporting the entrepreneurial, the small business community here in the Metro Atlanta area. You could find out more about our process and what we do at www.TWorld.com/Atlantapeachtree and just reach out if you’re thinking of becoming an entrepreneur, I’d love to have a conversation with you and help you start planning for it. And if you’re been in business for a while and you’re looking for your next adventure, there’s plenty, it’s a good time to find the next leader of your business and we can help you with
that as well. Again, thank you Erin for joining us today. And we want to thank everybody out there for listening to this podcast and following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube.

Rico: [40:01] You can listen to the YouTube Video from this which is well, when I post it. Or you can get the podcast on iHeart, Spotify, Boxcasts, SoundCloud, anywhere, iTunes. Anyway, you can find it.

Karl: [40:14] And LivingInPeachtreeCorners as well.

Rico: [40:16] LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com.

Karl: [40:18] .com. Absolutely. Well, thank you everybody. Have a great day.

Rico: [40:21] Thank you.

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Business

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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