Wendy Kinney, Power Generator, giving her sage advice on networking with your hosts Karl Barham and Rico Figliolini. Recorded at Atlanta Tech Park in City of Peachtree Corners, Georgia
In this episode of the Capitalist Sage Podcast, Karl and Rico talk to Wendy Kinney – a referral marketing expert. Wendy shares knowledge and advice about how to find networking associations that are a good fit, common mistakes people often make in a referral market, and the importance of referral marketing in expanding your network.
How to contact Wendy: 404-816-3377
“So, someone once explained to me that the difference between a homeless person and Warren Buffet is timeline. The homeless person wonders what he’s going to eat tonight. Warren Buffet knows what his grandchildren are going to eat. So the homeless person is thinking, “Can I get 20 bucks. Can I go to burger king?” Warren Buffet is thinking, “Where am I gonna take my family on vacation three years from now?” And that timeline is crucial for referrals. Cold calling is – I’m gonna call you, I’m gonna interrupt what you’re doing, you’re either gonna say yes or not to me, and I’m gonna move on. Referrals has a timeline. And that’s the first thing that people miss. They want it to be instant.”Wendy Kinney
Audiences transform from groups of passive strangers to active, individual participants learning new skills together. People are meeting. New contacts are being made. Sparks fly.
Wendy Kinney created Ready… Set… Go Make Money! networking methodology from her 21 years of researching, experimenting and confirming what works for networking.
She opened the Atlanta office of PowerCore in 1995; since then PowerCore Teams in the metro Atlanta Area have connected more than 15,898 Members.
Wendy continues to guide Atlanta’s entrepreneurial community into the lucrative and exciting world of network and referral marketing. And she’s gone global, bringing her proven methods and innovative techniques for creating ah-ha’s and shocks of recognition to corporate events around the world.
Karl [00:01]: 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 Carl Barham.
Rico [00:08]: And I’m Rico Figliolini.
Karl [00:09]: I’m with Transworld Business Advisor, and Rico is with Mighty Rocket Digital Marketing and the publisher of the Peachtree Corner Magazine. Rico! How about telling us about our sponsors today?
Rico [00:22]: Sure. First thing is – I just want to let you know, we’re in the podcast studios at Atlanta Tech park in Tech Park Atlanta.
Karl [00:30]: That’s right.
Rico [00:31]: Love the name. It’s in the city of Peachtree Corners. So we’re in the middle of this accelerator here in Peachtree Corners. Now what is that – the incubator that’s at Prototype Prime just down the block. So this is a great hub for technology. So this is where we’re at doing this podcast.
Karl [00:49]: Part of Curiosity Lab of –
Rico [00:52]: Well, Curiosity Lab actually encompasses now Prototype Prime as long as a one and a half mile autonomous vehicle track, and I think it’s the Georgia Tech professional education services that’s being conducted out of there as well.
Karl [01:08]: Absolutely. A live lab in Peachtree Corners. Fabulous.
Rico [01:11]: So one – the only one I should, probably one of several, but the only one that made it in Atlanta. A live lab where people can actually put their autonomous vehicles and stuff into a real track. So that’s where we are here, just to give you an essence. Peachtree Corners magazine and the family of podcasts which includes Capitalist Sage is also a media sponsor for Smart City Expo Atlanta, which is an offshoot of the annual Barcelona event that’s done internationally. So this expo happens in September – it’s the first one in North America. Curiosity Lab in Peachtree Corners will have an offsite demo place in its racing place that the attendees of this expo can come to and check out the track and all the stuff that’s gonna go on there. Because they should hopefully be done in about 48 days – at least the PC portion of that to be able to share. The Smart City Expo is the first one of three years that are going to be here and the World Congress Center, and it’s right at smart cities and bringing it down to the people that would actually be using it on the boardway. So not just businesses. And, also want to welcome, for the first time, Gwinnett Medical Center. They’re a sponsor of our podcast as well. So they’re actually opening up a place – they’re entering Peachtree Corners. It’s called the GMC Primary Care and Specialty Center of Peachtree Corners, and they’re gonna have a lot of premier, first rate primary care services and specialty services. For those people that want to know where it is, if you’re familiar with the old Abuelita’s restaurant, which is the building that’s been completely gutted and renovated, just south of the QT of Peachtree Corners.
Karl [02:57]: That’s right. Right across from the farm. So if you can find the farm, you’ll be able to find this medical center.
Rico [03:01]: And if you find the QT or Climate Smoothie which is in that same place.
Karl [03:05]: That’s it. Good – thank you very much for introducing our sponsors. Today’s guest is Wendy Kinney. An entrepreneur, business owner, network and relationship marketing expert. Wendy opened the Atlanta office of Power Core back in 1995 and has connected over 15,000 members, helping people grow their business through network and referral marketing. Just want to thank you for joining us today, and why don’t you introduce yourself a little bit more to our audience?
Wendy [03:36]: Thank you, Karl, I’m honored, and Rico – I’m honored to be invited and participate in this. I think you’re doing good work, so, that’s good.
Karl [03:44]: Thank you. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about how you got into this space?
Wendy [03:49]: I visited my first Power Core team, and all Power Core meetings are at seven o’clock in the morning, in Melbourne, Florida at the Hyatt across from the airport. And it was two hours from where I lived. And the reason I agreed to go to a 7 AM meeting two hours from home, because you’re already doing the math on what time they had to leave and get up and all that, right? Was because I’m incredibly shy. I had a hard time getting to events that were close to home. I would very often get dressed, get in the car, drive in the event, circle the parking lot and get home. And I figured if it was two hours away, I would actually go in because if I embarrassed myself, I wouldn’t have to kill anyone. So that was my first experience in that situation.
Karl [04:33]: Oh wow, fabulous. So when you found Power Core – why don’t you describe what Power Core is for folks that don’t know?
Wendy [04:40]: So, it’s a business referral network, and there are 21 different types of networking associations. So think of them as languages. Think of them as Greek and French and Spanish and Portuguese. And if I prepared for a trip to Brazil by taking Spanish lessons, when I got there, I would be, best case, ineffective and, worst case, offensive because they speak Portuguese, right? And so, associations are like that too. Each association has its own purpose, has its own language. And Power Core is the type of association that is codified, close contact. And what that means is that there’s a group of people who meet once a week. These people are not in competition with each other. And their purpose is to build the credibility required to recognize and refer their clients to each other. So they know each other closely. And this – the reason that that very first meeting worked for me was because one of the presentations was being done by the CPA. And I sat there during his presentation taking notes and thinking to myself, “How come the guy I’m paying isn’t telling me this? Why isn’t my own CPA telling me this?” And it was so powerful to me to recognize, and I could see right there already, that if I had a question, I could ask the banker. Just right after the meeting, and he would have answered me. If I had a question, I could just ask the attorney, and he would just answer me. And I didn’t have another place in my life where that existed. And that was my motivation. I – I know that most people join because they want the referrals, right? But my motivation was – I need these people in my life. I had just come off a very bad business failure. Do you want to know what it was? I bought a restaurant.
Rico [06:25]: That’ll do it all.
Wendy [06:28]: Big mistake. Big mistake. And what I realized, sitting there, was – if I had had these people in my life, I would have not been a failure as a restauranteur.
Karl [06:40]: That’s fabulous – it’s interesting having advisors and people that you can go to to help you at – grow your business is really key. And having this group that, by structure, you’re getting to know them very well, I could see that building kind of, like, almost a board of directors, a kitchen cabinet, or small council – whatever you want to call them. But they’re these people that you can go to for those questions. And along the way, you happen to be able to help each other do business.
Wendy [07:10]: Yes. Yes. And when I first joined, I didn’t think anyone would have referrals for me. I was wrong, but I was clear. And what I learned and what I tell people now is – these people are cheering for your success more than any other people in your life. More than family, more than anyone. These people want you to be successful. They’re building you up, they’re holding you up, they’re introducing you to prospects. This is your cheerleader, right here.
Karl [07:38]: So what do you think people miss, when you see folks looking to grow? So I talk to business owners all the time. Pretty much most of them have a revenue problem. They don’t grow enough money. You ask them, “What do you spend on marketing, what do you do for marketing?” They say, “Referrals. I built my business on referrals.” What are they missing when they’re looking at their business and how they’re approaching it and how someone that really wants to really drive their business using referrals can do.
Wendy [08:05]: Yeah. Two things. The first thing that they’re missing is timeline. So, someone once explained to me that the difference between a homeless person and Warren Buffet is timeline. The homeless person wonders what he’s going to eat tonight. Warren Buffet knows what his grandchildren are going to eat. So the homeless person is thinking, “Can I get 20 bucks. Can I go to burger king?” Warren Buffet is thinking, “Where am I gonna take my family on vacation three years from now?” And that timeline is crucial for referrals. Cold calling is – I’m gonna call you, I’m gonna interrupt what you’re doing, you’re either gonna say yes or not to me, and I’m gonna move on. Referrals has a timeline. And that’s the first thing that people miss. They want it to be instant. Yeah.
Rico [08:48]: I’ve been – I didn’t do Power Core. I did another – I won’t name it – I did another networking group. And the other networking group was more like – wasn’t like this. I mean they had the –
Wendy [09:03]: I think you should name it. I really do. Just because it will be clearer.
Rico [09:07]: It’s been a long time, it’s BNI.
Wendy [09:10]: But I just think it’ll be clearer.
Rico [09:11]: Okay. So BNI is this Business Network International. It’s been around a long time. Same thing. 7 o’clock in the morning, we all did the one minute, two-minute elevator screens. We all had to share leads. It was almost mandatory – it was almost like you were shamed if you didn’t do it. And it was always typically the same type of business. An accountant, lawyer, it’s always the typical. And I just felt very – I just wasn’t feeling it. And I’m –
Wendy [09:45]: So here’s – here’s my response to that. I believe that associations are like blue jeans. Not every pair of jeans fits every butt. Can I say that? Do I need to rerecord? And as soon as you try it on, you know if it’s a fit for you or not. And if it’s not a fit for you, it’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with you and there’s nothing wrong with the jeans. So I have no illusions that anyone should belong to any one type of association. I think that’s part of the reason why there’s 21 different associations. I think we all need to belong to three different types, but it doesn’t matter which type we belong to. As long as we work each type according to its purpose, right? So. Finding out, and finding out quickly, that it’s not for you – I think that’s a good thing.
Rico [10:34]: Yeah, I don’t disagree, and it didn’t take me too long. I think it was about four or five weeks, which I thought was long, I thought I needed to do a little bit more. And I found my network and my referrals confirmed with different –
Wendy [10:46]: So I want to – I want to address how long is long enough. Just in the general referral marketing thing. So I told you that I belonged – I believe that we each need to belong to three different types of associations. I believe very firmly that we need to belong to an association where every member is a prospect. Now that would not be a close contact association. So if someone went to a close contact association, selling to the people at the table and the people at the people then buy with them, they would think they were unsuccessful. However, it would be because they were speaking the wrong language, right? So that’s really important. So there needs to be, in my marketing portfolio, one association where every member of that association is indeed a prospect for me. There needs to be a second association in my portfolio where every member is a gate opener for me. A gate opener is a person who will never do business with me personally, but is in a position to send me one referral a month like clockwork. And I need to belong to a third association with this broader cross-section of people as possible. And for most people, that’s what Power Core is. Where there’s this broader cross-section of people – so watch, I’ve got depth in the first two, I’ve got width in the second one. And that depth and width is what gives a marketing plan stability. And I believe that everyone needs to belong to those three things, and then – and so here we go. Here’s – I know that was a long answer to come back. Once my private clients make those three choices, it’s a three year decision. So now we’re coming back to the difference between the homeless person and Warren Buffett. So the important piece here is, five or six weeks isn’t long enough to know. It’s just not. And it’s long enough to know the jeans don’t fit or you don’t like the jeans, right? But once people make a decision, the difference between success and failure and referral marketing is being a member long enough for these people to know you. So the team I was at today – I was at Cumberland today. And David Arnold turned in a business slip from a guy who was a member of his team fourteen years ago. Fourteen years ago. And now he’s moving to Denver. Now. Fourteen years later! Of all the real estate agents in the greater metro area, this guy knows David the best. And that’s a long – that’s a Warren Buffet time frame, right? So when people use – there’s only three ways to get new clients. Advertising, cold-calling, referrals. When people use an advertising or cold-calling mindset in a referral marketing plan, you’re always gonna be ripping up these plans before the roots have had time to form.
Karl [13:25]: Yeah. It’s a good thing to know as I’ve ventured out and talked to a lot of the folks and participated in some of these different – getting to know people, part of it, if you think about it, it’s hard for me to refer to you, and we’ve known each other for a while now. And we’ve worked together, and I know what you do, little by little, many small conversations. I know details. But I now know how to listen for things. And I’ll say, “Hey Rico, there’s someone here that you need to talk to because of our conversation we had” that if we didn’t stick through this and meet every week and chat all the time, I wouldn’t have known that.
Rico [14:04]: You know what I find out – I find that I don’t know the two organizations you’re talking about – all have to be networking, quote networking? Because what I find is that, when I belong to an association, let’s say the America – the Atlantic Marketing Association, which is going to –
Wendy [14:21]: That’s a really good example of an industry specific association.
Rico [14:25]: Now, there I find that, because maybe because of what I do particularly –
Wendy [14:31]: No, I think these jeans just fit your personality.
Rico [14:35]: Maybe. Because I don’t like being necessarily a member in an organization as opposed to being a board member. I want to be an effective person that could bring value to that organization. And in doing so, expand the value of the organization. And bring – and when you do that, I think, when you get in, then you get it.
Wendy [14:55]: Yeah. So the key in this three-year trajectory is to be a visible, committee member or board member by the end of the first year. So everyone needs to be on a leadership track, a visibility track – just from the very beginning. Go find out where there’s a hole that fits me, right? Because I don’t want to volunteer for a board position that’s onerous for me, right? Find – always work in your area of strength. Always work in your area of strength.
Karl [15:24]: That leads me to one thing that does, when people get that involved, it starts building credibility. I know that’s one of the important elements of getting referrals. Help folks understand why credibility is so important and how people build that and build that.
Wendy [15:39]: Yeah, so I just came from a lunch conversation with someone who was referencing a person who we both know. And he cost himself any referrals from her or from me because he blew his credibility. And he blew his credibility in very specific ways. The easiest way to get credibility is to say, “I’ll call you at 10 o’clock tomorrow,” and then do it! Right? Because if I say I’ll call you at ten o’clock tomorrow, and at ten o’clock tomorrow I get your voicemail and I say, “Hey this is Wendy,” you’re gonna listen to that voicemail and go, “Ooh, she did what she said she was gonna do.” If you answer the phone, you’re gonna be, “Okay, she did what she said she was gonna do.” I can count on her – if I refer to her, my clients are going to experience the same thing. The easiest way to bust credibility is to not do what you said you were going to do. So whether that is not performing well as a leader, or not showing up for a lunch appointment, or not performing in some other way that I said I was going to, that’s referral death.
Karl [16:44]: So I’m wondering. As people start putting together a plan on building credibility, are there tools and strategies that they can use to start to pull some of this together to be more effective in getting referrals?
Wendy [16:59]: Yeah. So, so let’s start with the concept of meeting one-on-one for coffee. So those one-on-one meetings, as you just expressed to Rico – those meeting where people are just talking and beginning a friendship because referrals are always between friends. And beginning that friendship – those are really important. So I can strategically make a plan to have one coffee meeting in between every meeting with the association. So you like AMA meets monthly – in between every month’s meeting, you’re going to have lunch with some person from that association. Now watch what happens. Remember my three-year path. In month number one, you have lunch with Art. And when you go in month number two, Art’s gonna say – “Oh, hey! I want to introduce you to Scott, Tom and Jerry.” And in month number two, you’re going to have lunch with Betty. And when you go onto meeting number 3, Betty’a gonna say, “Oh I want to introduce you to Carla and Deborah and Sally.” And in month number four – are you getting it? And so what happens is – if you have lunch with one person in between every meeting, those people become your advocates and your champions at the next week’s meeting – or the next month’s meeting. And by the end of twelve months – twelve meetings, you’ve got a whole group who knows who you are and knows your name and recognizes you – I don’t know what you do yet. But they know who are, they know what you do, they know your name. And if you saw them Friday night at pizza, they’d come up to your table and say hi! When people don’t have a proactive strategy to do that, networking doesn’t work for them.
Karl [18:43]: That’s super key. I notice that another thing, as you start talking with folks, in the cold networking kind of groups, if you’re trying to sell to people, that’s speaking the wrong line.
Wendy [18:57]: It’s so speaking the wrong line.
Karl [18:59]: So if I’m trained in sales, and I know – I don’t know if you’re familiar with Challenger, Inside Be Sellings – some of those kinds of things. One of those key things is changing the way someone thinks introducing new information.
Wendy [19:12]: Right.
Karl [19:13]: If you’re not supposed to be selling to – to Rico – because he’s not supposed to, he’s not my customer, what should I be spending my time telling Rico?
Wendy [19:22]: Right. So, the book, The Secret Life of Pronouns is fabulous. The author is James Panabaker, he’s a University of Texas at Austin. And one of the things that he describes is how our use of pronouns affects how people react and respond to us. So the pronouns, “we” – this is what we do – and “you” – I can help you – are sales pronouns. And neuro linguistically they call them vertical. So these pronouns make people think – “I need this, I don’t need this. Yes, no, up, down, in, out. This is for me, this is not for me.” These pronouns – what an incredible power – stop referrals. Because when I’m speaking to Rico, and I say, “Well, Rico, what I can do for you is…” – Rico either thinks “Oh, I like that” or “No I don’t.” And then we’re done. He’s not thinking laterally, which is what neurolinguistics call the pronouns “I” and “they”. So when I’m speaking to Rico and I say – “What I did for them was…”, now Rico thinks what is like or what is not like what she’s talking about. So I was just talking with Heather, and she said, “I’m a good referral for your friends who have coffee table books of the places they’ve visited.” Well, immediately, when she said that, I thought – “Ooh, Kevin and Hal. They don’t have coffee table books from the places they’ve visited. They get some piece of art from every place they’ve been on vacation, and that’s their memento from the vacation.” Right? So that lateral thinking – it’s not a coffee table book – it’s a piece of art. That lateral thinking is how referral happen. And they happen with the pronouns, “This is what I did for them” – the person who’s not here. Not “This is what we can do for you,” the person who is here. And that’s key to referrals. Just key.
Rico [21:13]: You know, that’s funny. Because I’ve gotta believe that’s – as you were saying it – it’s almost like the case study.
Wendy [21:19]: Isn’t it?
Rico [21:20]: And everyone talks about – “I want to see the case study. I want to see what you did for someone else. Is that what you’re gonna do for me? Because we – you don’t even know me.”
Wendy [21:28]: Right! Right! And yet you’re pitching me? Yeah.
Rico [21:31]: Right. And I don’t do that. I hate doing that. I hate coming up with, I have a toolbox. I have a hammer and a screwdriver. I know you got nails and screws –
Wendy [21:40]: And now everything’s gonna be hammered.
Karl [21:43]: Even if you don’t need it, I’m gonna hit you.
Wendy [21:44]: Yeah, it’s what I got.
Rico [21:46]: So I need to know who you are first because you don’t even – you know, if at least I give you my case studies like that. What I did for them, then they might be able to step up and say and feel empathy. I understand.
Karl [21:56]: I just had an incident where what you just said happened, and now that I’m sensitized to it, I see it coming right at me. At a just a networking event or meeting some people, and someone selling, I think it was maybe employee benefits. And said – and she didn’t know anything about me. And she started saying, “Well, you know, I sell employee benefits and I can build us up, and if you have three to ninety-nine employees” and so on. And I said, “Wow.” She just went in and went from me to the next person and said the same thing to the next person and next person, next person. And I’m sitting there going, “why, I’d love to pull her aside for a moment and just have a short” –
Wendy [22:39]: Say, “Honey I can help you.”
Karl [22:41]: Which I am scheduling coffee with her, so we’re gonna have a conversation. But you see when folks do that a little bit different. There’s another thing –
Wendy [22:49]: I think that venturing to do that, thought, don’t you think? And they’ve just – what – and I remember the metaphor that I was taught was, you’re just picking up rocks and saying, “Is it you? Is it you? Is it you?” And it’s really uncomfortable to be one of those rocks.
Rico [23:01]: You know, when I was a stockbroker, it was like that. I got a stock, and I don’t care who you are, you’re gonna end up buying this stock from me, right? That’s the mentality of a lot of people have –
Wendy [23:11]: And we’re over it. We’re just over it.
Rico [23:13]: It doesn’t work that way.
Karl [23:15]: There’s this interesting thing that you introduced to me about the file cabinet and how to look at it. And I’ve used the ideas of it over the years – I didn’t realize – I used it in a different way, but it was a great way to organize your approach to it. But basically, offering insights. But when I have conversations with business owners – I’m not selling them a service. There’s information that I might have that could help them with their business. They may want to know evaluation, they may want to know how to increase marketing – whatever it is, I offer them insight to think differently about their business. That’s where I start. And then I can pivot from depending what they need, whether it’s a referral, what I can help them, whether they can help themselves. How do you use this filing cabinet now, do you help people organize that?
Wendy [24:04]: Right. So think of a four-drawer cabinet. You know, it’s about shoulder high, everybody has one, whether it’s in the garage or basement, they’ve got one, right? And the four drawers of the filing cabinet are the four things that people want when they come to us. So nobody wants peace of mind – they want car insurance or they want homeowners insurance, or they want umbrella insurance, or they want insurance on their motorcycle, right? They have something they want and it’s called insurance. Now, the name of the filing cabinet in this example is, “Insurance,” right? So if I’m an insurance agent and I go to a networking event, and I say, “I’m an insurance agent, so if you’ve got a home or a boat or a car I can help you.” People are either going to say, “Oh thanks I love my agent.” They’re not gonna talk to me because they feel pitched, right? Or they’re gonna say, and these are the only two options – or they’re gonna say, “Oh, I know a lot of insurance agents. Do you know Tommy Schlosser? Do you know – ” And they’re gonna start naming my competition. Well there’s no money for me if they’re talking about my competition. And there’s no money for me if they say, “Don’t need you.” And so naming the filing cabinet, starting the conversation by naming my filing cabinet, is automatic. It’s over, there’s no place to go. If instead, I name one of the drawers in my mind. Not out of my mouth, in my mind. So let’s just – in this example, let’s take homeowners. If in my mind, I say – I’m shaking hands with Rico – I say to myself, “I’m gonna play in homeowners.” And when he says, “Wendy, what do you do?” I open that homeowners drawer, and in that drawer, there’s thirty six different Pendaflex folders. There’s thirty-six different topics in that drawer that I can choose to talk about. Let’s say that I’m gonna talk about – let’s say we just had a hail storm. And I’m gonna talk about roof damage. Hail insurance for roof damage on a house. And I pull that topic out, and in that topic, there’s anywhere from six to eleven pieces of information that I could share. Let’s say that I decide to pull out the one file folder that has the information on the conversation to have with an insurance agent when there’s been hail damage, right? And I – Rico says to me, “What do you do?” And I say, “Well, yesterday I had a great conversation with a client who had hail damage to their rah-rah-rah, right?” Rico knows that – what the name of my filing cabinet is. And he knows what drawer we’re in, right? And he responds to me by saying, “Not interested in that, but what I wanted to know about is motorcycle because my 18-year-old just is looking at a motorcycle.” And I slam that homeowner’s drawer shut, I pull open the toys drawer, and now I’m talking to Rico about him in minute number two – I’m talking to Rico about him. He knows exactly what we do, and he thinks to me, “Ooh, that Wendy Kinney, she knows a lot. She knows more than my guys does. She’s telling me more than my guy has told me. I got people to send to her.”
Rico [27:03]: And it feels like that – that’s genuine. Because I think that people want – people are always asking questions about themselves. And if you’re coming in from the place where you’re selling to you, and they’re like, “I can pick a brand and I can share it – “
Wendy [27:18]: Yes – she’ll tell me!
Rico [27:20]: Yes, that’s a better way.
Wendy [27:22]: Now, this is why – you didn’t ask me this question. Ask me if there are words you shouldn’t use. So the word “depends” is an anti-referral word. We could do a whole cast on all the words not to use. The word “busy” is an anti-referral word, ask me about that later. Okay. But the word “depends” – so if someone says, “How much does that cost?” If I say, “Well, it depends…” they think I’m hiding something. And if I’m hiding something, I’m not credible. If I say, “it’s $137 for the customer who just bought it yesterday,” now, they’re like, “Ooh, I need that.” Or, they’re like, “I’m gonna have to save for that.” There’s never a value in me hiding the price. In sale – in referrals. In sales, what everybody who’s taken sales training is taught – first rule is, never address price until you’ve established value, right? Everything about referral marketing is the opposite. So in referral marketing, the first person to talk dollars wins. Every single time. And our fear is that they’ll think it’s too expensive. You know what? Thinking it’s too expensive – they were never gonna buy from us anyway!
Rico [28:27]: You know, you’re right. Because that’s not your client –
Wendy [28:30]: That’s not my client! That’s not my client! That’s not my best client!
Rico [28:34]: And you know, you qualified that too. You said, “Yesterday, for this client it was $137.” So that doesn’t mean it would be the same for me, so qualifying it –
Wendy [28:44]: And there – but you don’t have to qualify. There’s research on this. Let’s say that I say that it’s gonna be two thousand dollars, and you refer me to Carl, and for Carl it’s – and you say to Carl, “Hey, you need to talk to Wendy. It’s gonna be two grand.” And for Carl, it’s twenty-four hundred. Carl will think he’s special. He’ll think – “Oh, I’m better than the average bear.” Now, let’s say that for Carl, it’s 1700. Carl will think he got a deal because of you. Carl will think, “Ooh, that Rico – he did me good.” And he does all that himself. We don’t have to do it. So – there’s no downside to talking dollars if you’re doing referral marketing. No downside.
Karl [29:23]: I love that, and I started to adopt that because now I know attorneys and so on. And I start asking what they do – I wanna know fee. Give me a range.
Wendy [29:33]: Yeah, just tell me something!
Karl [29:34]: Because my conversation with someone – I’m not someone in legal services. They’re always gonna ask you about how much that’s gonna cost.
Wendy [29:43]: Right – what should I budget for that?
Karl [29:44]: And so I can establish the budget between two people, and that’s exactly what happened. I’ve gotta save for that, or now I gotta rethink the investment. But I can follow that out and say, “Well, let’s think about your situation. If you invest in this solution, three thousand or whatever it is, now, what is it saving you? What are the business benefits? Are you gonna get to take a vacation?” Whatever that benefit is, I’m talking in your language. I’ve almost pre-sold before I refer them to – they’re not – they’re gonna say, “well I know you’re gonna be in this range, and now it makes it easier for the person you’re doing, which accelerates referrals and business.
Wendy [30:22]: Yeah. There was another thing that you were addressing – I had a conversation with a woman who’s a state attorney and her basic – her basic – her bottom line is seven thousand. Now, I know another state attorney, whose average – not her lowest – her average is fifteen hundred, right? So the first woman is saying, “Oh, how am I gonna talk people into seven thousand?” You’re not gonna talk people into anything, right? You don’t gotta talk people into fifteen hundred or seven thousand. What’s gonna happen is, your best clients never think that seven thousand is out of line. Your best clients, and referral marketing is all about best clients – sometimes people say that they’re in a networking group for the low-hanging fruit. That is a mistake and it’s offensive. Your best clients will not be offended by your price. Which is the second reason to be clear with your price so that people can select in. Her best clients don’t want to pay fifteen hundred dollars. They want to buy a seven thousand dollar estate plan.
Rico [31:23]: Yeah the problem of that I think from the business side is, she shouldn’t want less than seven thousand. Because if you help to bring – if you’re pressed out to fifteen hundred, no one wins.
Wendy [31:33]: Nobody wins.
Rico [31:34]: That’s not your price range. It takes you –
Wendy [31:37]: She doesn’t want to take less than fifteen hundred. She wants to find out how to talk people who have fifteen hundred dollars into spending seven thousand. You can’t do it! Instead, go networking for the seven – for the people who want to spend seven thousand.
Karl [31:53]: Yeah. Perfectly, perfectly. Now, I know we could continue talking about it, and I think we’re – we’d love to have you back and just continue this conversation because I think you’ve shared a lot of good stuff. But I’m curious – what do you have going on? Or there’s, you know, how can people learn more about this stuff if they wanted to get in?
Wendy [32:15]: So the Power Core website is PowerCore.net as in networking. And at the top left, there’s a place where you can get the twenty-one types of associations. So if that is the first place that you’re thinking – what are my options? Is American Market Association an option for me? Go get that downloaded – the twenty-one types of associations. There are other places on the website where there is more information. And there’s also a list there for upcoming events. For example, in August, I’m doing a workshop on the filing cabinet. So that’s something that people can look at.
Karl [32:49]: And if somebody wanted to visit and just, you know, take a – take a look at someone, how many groups there are? How do they get connected and to explore the fit – this would be a fit for them?
Wendy [33:00]: Right. So the website is PowerCore.net. On the top left, there’s a little thing that says “New to Power Core” and they can put their information and find a team, and I’ll pick up the phone and call them. Or, my phone number is 404-816-3377. And the processes – everybody gets two visits. And that’s just to try on the jeans and say, do they fit? Are these for me?
Karl [33:21]: Oh, fabulous. I just want to thank you very much for coming out, sharing some of this knowledge. I think anyone that listens today can take something away from it and change their approach, tweak their approach, and see immediate benefit. If they want to learn more, there are a lot of resources out there. There is BNI, there is Power Core. But be intentional about how you use network and relational marketing to grow your business. And there’s just a lot of opportunity. So thank you today for sharing that advice with us today. We’d also like to thank Atlanta Tech Park for hosting the Capitalist Sage Podcast here in Peachtree Corners. Great space for people to come, meet other entrepreneurs, other business owners. It is the hub of business in Peachtree Corners in southwest Guinnett, the Southwest Gwinnett Chamber if Commerce is headquartered here as well. What about other sponsors?
Rico [34:17]: Yeah the sponsors include as we said before, Gwinnett Medical Center, which is entering Peachtree Corners. If you want to find more information, it’s GuinnettMedicalCenter.org/PTC. And they’re gonna provide first-rate primary care, specialty services. So that’s our main sponsor off there. And Smart City Expo Atlanta –
Karl [34:39]: Looking forward to that coming up soon.
Rico [34:41]: September 11th is its first day. It’s gonna be a great event. And if you’re into or want to know more about technology, ILT, Smart City – if you are smart, if you are a company that’s in sustainable or smart areas, technology – that’s the place to be.
Karl [34:57]: Absolutely. All those ILT companies out there. It’s definitely a place to be. I’m Karl Barham with Transworld Business Advisors. We help people find the right buyers for their business. We help them find the right businesses to invest in and just offer them general advice. Think of us as one of your – your board members that just helps advise you on decisions you make to help you with your business. And Rico –
Rico [35:25]: Sure – I do a few things. I wear a lot of different hats. So – I’m publisher of Peachtree Corners Magazine, which is a bi-monthly publication for the city of Peachtree Corners. Our next issue is gonna hit the post-office Friday. Its cover story is about the movie industry in and around Peachtree Corners, along with some other great stories. One is about the boyscouts, another one is about a local – one of the local, five – of five swim teams that just won the Gwinnett Championship. That’s fun. So there’s a bunch of things in there, so visit livinginpeachtreecorners.com or Peachtree Corners Life’s Facebook page and you’ll get more info there. And I have a company called Mighty Rockets. MightyRockets.com – you can find a little bit about what I do. I do a variety of things – product videos, social media, online content, and anything that’s in the creative realm. So –
Karl [36:18]: And you’re fabulous. If you haven’t seen the Peachtree Corner magazine – it’s been well received. It’s a beautiful publication. Keeps you up to date on what’s going on around the city. And just really interesting stories about people. People stop – they go on the internet for everything, and we have something you can pick up and read and talk to your neighbor about. So, thank you for that.
Rico [36:44]: And just one more thing – my daughter’s been behind the camera today. Thank you Kinsey.
Karl [36:50]: Thank you Kinsey for joining us. So that’s it from the Capitalist Sage Podcast. Stay tuned. We’ll have more interesting guests that come in and help you find ways to improve your business. Thank you. Karl Barham, signing off.
Capitalist Sage: Business Leadership in Your Community [Podcast]
On this episode, Karl Barham and Rico Figliolini sit down with Lisa Proctor and Brad Kluesner, leaders within the Peachtree Corners Business Association. We discuss the benefits of joining the PCBA, how it can turn the city into a home and community, and how businesses can get involved and give back to their communities.
Peachtree Corners Business Association: https://www.peachtreecornersba.com/
“And all I can say to people is, plug in. There are some things that I would not have known, that there’s business opportunities in the future that maybe didn’t give me that immediate sale. Or that – you know, I always say to people because I work nationally and locally, or internationally, I may not give a direct sale because I went to a meeting. But the relationships that I built were invaluable.”Lisa Proctor, President, PCBA
ABOUT LISA PROCTOR, President, PCBA
Lisa Proctor is the President and CEO of Sanford Rose Associates – Lake Lanier Islands providing executive search and consulting services in the placement of mid to senior level executives, C-Level Management, and high-level individual contributors across multiple industries including Financial Services, Banking, Insurance, Technology, Business Services and Professional Services on a national level.
Lisa is an Executive Founding Member of the Peachtree Corners Business Association. She served two years as the Membership Chairman and now serves as the President of the PCBA. Her primary focus for the PCBA includes Member Engagement, Business Networking and Growth, and continued support and growth of Community Outreach.
Lisa and her husband Jay have lived in Peachtree Corners for over 25 years. When they are not volunteering or working on JP’s fishing jigs, they enjoy spending time at Lake Lanier boating, fishing and relaxing.
ABOUT BRAD KLUESNER, Chair of Community Outreach. PCBA
Brad Kluesner is a Financial Advisor here in Peachtree Corners with an office in the Forum. He and his wife Amy moved to the area from Indiana when she was recruited to an Atlanta law firm. Brad’s career focus has been financial services and education in different states around the country. After running schools for the past seven years, he became excited for the opportunity to return to finance and run his own business. He attended the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN and graduated with bachelor’s degree in philosophy and earned two master degrees from the University of Notre Dame in education.
Brad has been active this past year in the Peachtree Corners Business Association, the Friends of the Gwinnett County Public Library, Inc. and the Rotary Club of Peachtree Corners. He also volunteers through the Catholic Charities Leadership Class 2017, St. Pius X Advancement Committee, and different ministries at St. Brigid’s and Mary our Queen Church.
Karl [00:00 ]: Welcome to the Capitalist Sage Podcast. We’re here to bring you advice and tips from seasoned pros and experts to help you improve your business. I’m Karl Barham with Transworld Business Advisors, and my cohost is Rico Figliolini with Mighty Rockets digital marketing and the publisher of the Peachtree Corner Magazine. Rico, how are you doing today?
Rico [00:17 ]: I’m doing just great.
Karl [00:19 ]: Why don’t you tell folks about our sponsors?
Rico [00:22 ]: Absolutely. We – they just opened this week. Gwinnett Medical Center’s primary care and specialty center here at Peachtree Corners. So they just opened on the – just Tuesday, I think it was. So they’re joining this community. They’re going to be providing premier services, and they are a sponsor of the pod – of this family of podcasts – Capitalist Sage, Peachtree Corners life. So we want to welcome them as part of the one. Atlanta Tech Park of course. This is the place that we’re doing this podcast out of. This is a great place. I mean – I – it’s just phenomenal. The activity that’s here, the amount of workshops and – there’s something that’s actually going to be staged tonight that’s here also.
Karl [01:05 ]: Yeah. They’ve got events here all the time. I think it’s one of their cyber events. Fintech – and I think they have coming up – Women in AI – is coming up. And in a couple of months we’re gonna have cryptocurrency workshops here. And if you’re really interested there are even a little bit of improv professional free workshops offered every month.
Rico [01:28 ]: Really? There you go. So this is a really hopping place and a great place to do these podcasts, which we do twice a month here. And as well – the third sponsor – well, it’s more of a media sponsorship for us because we are a media sponsor for Smart City Expo Atlanta. That’s coming in September. It’s the first North American expo and offshoot of the Barcelona World Congress Expo that happens. And Curiosity Lab, Prototype Prime, will have for the first time here, an offsite demo of the 1.5 mile stretch that’s going to be the autonomous vehicle lab. So we’re proud to be a sponsor of the Smart City Expo Atlanta, and you can find more information just by googling that or go to SmartCityExpoAtlanta.com and that’ll take you there.
Karl [02:21 ]: For folks who don’t realize what Smart City – if you think about what information and data do cameras and so on is able to do in a city – improve service, helps us direct traffic if there’s an accident and so on. The companies that are leading in developing the technology for the next generation of cities are coming into Atlanta and we’re being featured here at Peachtree Corners for that, which is fun and great to know.
Rico [02:45 ]: Yeah. And that stretch of land, well at least up until City Hall, will be completed to a degree, so there will be a lot of things going on on the day – on the first day of the expo here.
Karl [02:55 ]: Fabulous. And that’s in September, right?
Rico [02:58 ]: September 10th – well actually 11th through the 13th.
Karl [03:02 ]: Okay, that looks good. Well, today’s guest is Lisa Proctor and Brad Kluesner from Peachtree Corners Business Association. They’re here to talk to us a little bit about what these associations due to help local communities – business communities – the community overall. And let’s start off by just having you guys introduce yourselves and maybe some of the roles you play in the organization. Lisa?
Lisa [03:27 ]: Sure. My name is Lisa Proctor, and I’m the president of the PCBA. I started with the organization as a founding member when the organization was created in 2012, and made the – volunteered to be the membership chair and did that for a couple of years and then stepped into the role as president. So I’ve been doing the president role now for a couple of years and always love to continue to build and grow the town and the organization.
Karl [03:56 ]: Fabulous. Brad, how about you?
Brad [03:58 ]: Yes – a couple years ago I joined the Peachtree Corners Business Association and I just said to myself, “I want to meet people who live and work and play here.” And the best way to do that is, I’m just going to go to every meeting every month. And I didn’t know anybody and eventually, I knew one, and another person, and a year later, Lisa asked me to volunteer to be the chair of the community outreach. So this is my first year on the board connecting businesses to the community.
Rico [ 04:24 ]: Wow. You mentioned something about volunteering. The organization – how is that structured around the members?
Lisa [04:30] : The organization is all 100% volunteer. Which creates its own little challenges because trying to coordinate everybody’s schedules and everything, but the great things about Peachtree Corners and the greater metro Atlanta area is – we actually recruit volunteers, and we say to people, “You don’t have to recruit or be part of the organization 100% every day, every month, every – tell us what you can do, but what you commit to, please do what you commit to. And if you can only do it for one month, if you can – if you want to be on a committee – if you want to just help check people into an event. Tell us that’s what you want to do, we’d love to have your help.” But that way, I think it’s a great way for engagement. The reason I volunteered to do the membership is – I have lived in Peachtree Corners for over 25 years, and because I work nationally and internationally with my day job, what happened is, I discovered I didn’t have children in school, I didn’t know people, so it was a great way for me to get to know the community. So just sitting at the membership, checking people, seeing those faces together, getting to know people – kind of like Brad – is saying, I’m going to the meetings, I’m learning who these people are, and I discovered I got to make some great friends and some great business associates just by putting myself out there and doing some simple things. So I think that’s the best way to do it.
Karl [05:54 ]: I know for folks that worked in large corporation and corporate environments, you build a social network within your company and you can always tell it by LinkedIn – you’ll see how many people they’re connected within their same company. But if you’re a small business owner, you don’t have that advantage of all these people to be connected to. So I could see how being a part of a business association that gives you connection with other business owners that are like yourself is a good way to build your network around that – around that.
Lisa [06:24 ]: It is. Not only is it – what you find is, you don’t have to have the answers to everything, you don’t have to have all the solutions. You will meet people or you will get to know people that say – “You know what, I have somebody you should meet.” So it’s not necessarily who you meet at the event, it’s taking the time to get to know people who feel comfortable enough referring you to people that you need to know. And I think those are the best relationships.
Brad [06:50 ]: Yeah, I would say, you know for me, good business starts with relationships where you trust somebody and you know them. And then they can help you or you can help them, and it just becomes a community of givers, really. And that’s what I’ve seen.
Karl [07:05 ]: So your great example of when you started this, of started joining and being a member of the organization. Were there specific things that you saw helped you personally as you started venturing into your own businesses?
Brad [07:21 ]: Well for me, I was a little bit of the opposite of Lisa. I just moved here just a couple of years ago. A lot of people are moving to this Peachtree Corners area. And you get here, and you didn’t grow up here, and you don’t know anybody. And so, you want to know leaders in the community. You come to these events, and you just start with a conversation. And for me, it became a home. You know, I lived here first, I had a house. But then the Peachtree Corners Business Association made it a home and a community for me. And for a guy from a small town, that’s important.
Rico [07:52 ]: Where’d you come from?
Brad [07:54 ]: I came from – I grew up in a little town called Jasper, Indiana, but I moved here from Indianapolis.
Rico [08:00 ]: Small town, right? Not too big. You know what I like about Peachtree Corners Business Associations and some of the other, you know, associations and chambers around the city is that, if you really want to, like you did, be involved – it’s one thing being a member of an organization, so you feel like you’re there and you show up at some events and stuff, you’re fine sort of doing your thing. But it’s always better to be part of – part of the group and it does consume some time, but it becomes fun I think, and it also provides better connection to the group – to the leadership.
Lisa [08:39 ]: Absolutely. Well in fact, one of the biggest things is, when people are saying “what organization should I join, and how do I decide?” My first question to them always is, “What do you want to get out of it? Why do you want to join it? Because if you just want to take in – pay a check, we’ll take your money. Happy to do it. But you’re not gonna – next year, when it’s renewal time, you might not renew because you didn’t get anything.” So come to things, get engaged in things. We try to do events different times of days, different kinds of things, just to say, we’re not going to solve everybody’s schedule – we’re not gonna do that. But we want you to feel comfortable engaging on that works for you.
Rico [09:18 ]: You know what I find that – since we started the magazine, and this used to happen before, too. But now with the magazine, we’re pro-businesses – new businesses – and some of the same questions – “What do you think we should do to get more involved in the community?” You would think they would know. But, you know, so you encourage them. So the first thing is the PCBA, you have the Southwest Gwinnett Chamber – those are certain places you should join, and then they will help you get out into the community because giving into the community is always the best way to reach the community.
Lisa [09:53 ]: Well, and I think you hit it also when you said, with small businesses, one of the things that was really important to me when I started my business was – part of our mission statement is to be very philanthropic in the communities. And we make donations in our clients’ communities, but what we found was that the outreach committee and having that part of the organization – that’s why we built it – was a way for all the businesses to have a meaningful impact in the community. Because as a small business, I can’t write a check to sponsor every single thing – the parade, the festival, the run for the corners or light up the corners – all these things and here comes the high school and here – but the great thing is, with the business association, we’ve donated over $75,000 back into the community since we created the committee in 2013, is when we created it. So, you know, and you’ve seen it. With being able to do scholarships and things like that, as you look at that, what have you seen?
Brad [10:53 ]: Well, every recipient has been so moved because the need is so great and nonprofits are such tight budgets that they just say, “Anything you can do to help us, we’ll appreciate it.” And so we give them a voice in the community, we give them recognition by coming to the events and sharing their stories, sharing some of the causes that we’re working with to the whole business community. And if you don’t know what’s going on, nobody’s gonna be able to help you. And so that has been very impactful for them.
Karl [11:27 ]: I talk to business owners – they’re always asking about ways to improve their business. And one of the top things is always the top line and revenue and how can I get more revenue. And I always explain to them – what are they doing to get more known, build awareness? And a lot of businesses have figured out how to use community involvement, charity – whether or you’re sponsoring a high school team – to help generate awareness for the product and services that they provide. What I like about these business groups and organizations – it gives you multiple ways to get in front of different – but they’re also helping you vet the organizations that actually make more impact with each dollar that you donate or each service that you do, so you don’t have to go and be a researcher and figure out, “should I provide money to this cause or that cause?” These groups have been there for years, they know the organizations and the types, and you can talk to them and consult and say, “this is the type of impact – it’s education. Here are four ways you can give back to education.”
Lisa [12:29 ]: Right, well, it’s so funny that you say that because one of the things I continue to find is I find that there are so many great charities in Peachtree Corners or the greater Peachtree Corner area that support our community. And I didn’t even know about them. I don’t know if you did, but we started looking at the list, and I said – “We’re gonna have to categorize them because they’re getting so long on our website that all of a sudden you’re like, I’m getting lost in the weeds.” There are so many – by the time you look at the schools and you look at the assistance league – most people didn’t know when they opened and we did the ribbon cutting for the Assistance League. They’ve been in existence in the greater metro Atlanta area for years – I didn’t even know what they were. And so it allowed me to say, “oh my gosh, they do so many things.” And really help them and they’re all volunteers as well. But it’s just something to learn.
Brad [13:21 ]: And what I love about the Peachtree Corners Business Associations is you get to meet the leaders of these local charities and nonprofits – they’re a lot of causes nationally, and you always send in money, and you know you’re helping a great cause. But at this, here in our community, the leaders come to their events and you know them and you know their character and you know their story and they’re helping your neighbors, and that’s very powerful. That’s what I like.
Karl [13:45 ]: I always like introducing the concept of, every small business owner should have a board of directors. But the trick is – people that could advise them on business – I have one area of expertise and Rico has another – and if you want to talk about marketing strategy, you want to talk about financial strategy or legal tactics, you want someone that you could have a conversation with, and most often you have to pick up a phone or google or pay a fee. But part of these organizations will allow you to build your own personal board of directors. There are people that have done what you’re doing – they’re five years, ten years ahead of you – there’s people with different subject matter expertise. And you can start forming those relationships where you and pick up the phone and say, “Hey Brad, I’ve got a question about X.” Or “I’ve got a question about Y.” And you can have a conversation and see if you need further help and they can help guide you with that. Is there any other advice that each of you can give to a person of something that they can benefit when they join organizations like this?
Lisa [14:44 ]: Go ahead.
Brad [14:45 ]: I was gonna say – you have to have that relationship so you can pick up that phone. You know, I met Karl at one of these events when I was on a tour, and now I’m on the podcast, and that starts with that relationship. And now, you feel comfortable calling me, I feel comfortable calling you. But if you call me and I don’t know, I might know someone in the Peachtree Corners Business Association that I’ve met and had lunch with them too, and I think that is the real value of the association.
Lisa [15:09 ]: And what I find is, if all you’re gonna do is go to the event and do what I call the drive by – the business cards and you’re handing them all out and you never follow up or you never do those things, and it’s getting to have those conversations that are the casual things – understanding what people do. It’s amazing to me how many things that I don’t even realize the number and depth of the connections I have, and somebody will say, “I’m about to start this” and I – there’s a staffing firm, and I won’t tell you who, but she was saying to me, “Lisa, I’m about to go after this in the market.” And I said, “well let me just share my experience. I did the same thing, and if you do this better than me, let me know how that works for you, but I wasted a lot of time and got a masters degree on the street doing the wrong things.” And I was happy to share that because I could tell she was excited about what she was doing and she was just ready to do it. And I – she was going after the financial surface industry and I was like, “that’s very regulated, and if you’re not that familiar with it, you need to know.” So I think you’re spot on with – you know, people who are willing to give back to others – um, my natural tendency is, I’m happy to give back because, you know what? Somebody did that for me. I didn’t learn all these things because I’m brilliant. I learned the hard way. But I had some great mentors and great leaders that helped me along the way.
Rico [16:34 ]: That’s great. I feel like – I mean, I love talking shop. I love talking about business, about start ups, it’s just – I feel – when I see other people – especially younger people – getting into business and launching something, I feel like I wanna help them. It’s just like – it’s cool, it’s exciting. I’ve been there before, I’ve done different things, so that’s what I find also – that network of business people – to be able to just talk shop sometimes and share what you know.
Lisa [17:02 ]: Well, what I’ve also found is how much I can learn from them. Because when they tell me what they’re going to do, what I’ve learned is, I’ll say, “Tell me why you’re gonna do that.” And it’s interesting to find out that I’m not always the expert, I don’t always know anything. And sometimes when they tell me, I say, “Hmm, that’s an interesting way.” And so, it’s caused me to be more open thinking the other way, and not just assuming that I am that person who knows and can do that. And it’s been pretty humbling, especially when it comes to technologies and all the things. Cause I’ll say, you know, let me run this by you. I’m about to put this piece together for marketing, and they’ll look at it and go, “Hmm.” And I’m like, “You don’t think so?” And they’re like, “Well, it’s probably wonderful, but I wouldn’t use it or I wouldn’t read it or I wouldn’t do – ” And so I think that’s the part that I love is – having more of that ability to collaborate in a safe environment. And you don’t always have to feel like you’re the know it all of everything. You can actually ask other people very safely, even in your role as you’re listening to them – I’ve probably learned as much from listening and hearing what they’re talking about, saying, “What makes you think about that?” Or just asking those questions and going, “You know, I was so busy doing all this, I didn’t think about that.” And that’s a good wake up call.
Karl [18:20 ]: You’re tapping into something when you think about just personal development. Most owners of business or anybody in small business – the thirst for development can make their – they don’t have peers that they can have conversations with. Most people report to them, no one’s gonna be frank with feedback on ideas. They’re gonna tend to want to agree. You’re both in leadership roles within the organization. How is that helping you develop personally, getting involved in leadership?
Brad [18:50 ]: Well, for me, I like learning from the mission driven leaders of organizations. And so, you know, we’ll give a $500 check to a nonprofit, and then I’ll kind of follow up and go on a tour and see what the operations are like and see how the executive director is managing the people, sharing the story and the vision in the community, and I think to myself, “What am I doing to make the community a better place? What is my personal mission? How can I help more people and how can I collaborate with more people around me like that person’s been doing?” So I’m always trying to learn from others who are successful. And that’s been one thing that I’ve gotten out of it.
Lisa [19:36 ]: And what I find is, it’s helped me broaden and learn more from people where – what happens when you’re in your little focus and your head’s down and you’re running business, you surround yourself with people that think like you do. Cause it makes it fast, and what I’m finding is, it challenges me to think more out of the box and step back from things before I just go ahead and do the ready, fire, aim. It makes me say, “Wait a minute, let me – it’s okay to take a step back. It’s okay to do.” And just as you were saying is, so many times, you forget to invest in yourself. And realize the cobbler’s kid has no shoes. And the thing I’ve learned is it gives me that of – “You know what, I need to step back. I need to learn that technology. I need to listen. I need to – it’s okay to take time to do this class, or, you know, go to this launch or go to this thing.” And for me, I have a bad habit of not giving myself permission to make the time.
Rico [20:33 ]: Do you find that because, I mean you’re a small business. How many people?
Lisa [20:39 ]: I have basically a staff of three. And then I have some contractors who work with me for about another four. And what helps me a little bit is, I also happen to be part of the Sanford-Rose franchise. So we have a hundred offices and I have two hundred people that are there to back me up, but at the end of the day, it’s still my P and L, what I’ve gotta do – I’ve gotta deliver. And so, at the end of the day, yes you’re big over here, but yeah you’re pretty small over here.
Rico [21:11 ]: And that’s why I think – you know, if you have your head down when you’re working, and because you’re a small business, you have to really work at taking that step back for a minute and say, “you know what, you’re right. Let’s go to that dinner or let’s do this thing” and not just working all the time.
Lisa [21:28 ]: Exactly. Well, and I think that that’s what we find when we tell people you need that engagement, you need to give that time. I think with entrepreneurs, you end up wearing so many hats that sometimes, you forget, “Wait a minute, I am supposed to be the leader. I am supposed to basically replenish my mindset and what I’m learning, and I can’t do that if I can’t get my head out of my computer, off my phone or, you know, getting out and talking to people.” And so it really, for me, that’s when people say, “It’s so much work.” And I go, “Well it is.” But I’ve rarely had anybody get me to do something that I didn’t choose to do. So for me, it’s a choice. It’s not a duty, or I don’t feel like it’s something I have to do. I choose to do it because I see the value, and I do think it’s helped me learn so much more. Look at how the city has grown in the last seven years and all that’s going on. And I don’t know if I would have been as aware of this stuff if I hadn’t been really in touch with it. And all I can say to people is, plug in. There are some things that I would not have known, that there’s business opportunities in the future that maybe didn’t give me that immediate sale. Or that – you know, I always say to people because I work nationally and locally, or internationally, I may not give a direct sale because I went to a meeting. But the relationships that I built were invaluable.
Karl [22:55 ]: It’s interesting, and if you think kind of individually about it, I’ve noticed we’re – at the state of the city – the mayor – a lot of people there are learning, listening about the city. How does these business organizations like Peachtree Corner Business Association help influence policy, help give input from a collective voice to the leaders in the political sphere but within the city? Because Peachtree Corners is going through a transformation, and it’s growing and there’s a lot of interesting things. What role can PCBA have in that?
Lisa [23:33 ]: I think that’s an awesome question. That’s actually one of our founding principles of why we created the PCBA. Is because it was unbelievable to me- 80% of the people who work in Peachtree Corners do not live in Peachtree Corners. So they can’t vote in Peachtree Corners. So if they don’t take advantage of the business association – we as an association don’t always agree on every policy, but what we can provide you is you have those opportunities – those city council – those mayors – we bring in speakers – we bring in in a very casual, business after-hour speaker type thing where you get to know those people. And you can actually talk to them and tell them what’s important to you, and if you didn’t have that forum, I don’t know if you would ever really do it. It’s amazing, like, when you mentioned the city – state of the city – I’m not sure how many people in that room were business people versus community people. I was there, and I went, but that’s been always one of our challenges is saying to the business people, “Plug in and know what’s going on. They do listen and there’s some real things” – in fact at the Lazy Dog ribbon cutting yesterday, one of the challenges that Lazy Dog had is that they cannot serve food to the dogs, which is part of their business plan, because of a Guinnett County health code issue.
Rico [24:59 ]: It might be a Georgia state –
Lisa [25:00 ]: It maybe also Georgia. I don’t know how much. But as they were talking, the city council were there, they were actually talking to them, saying, “Help us. We understand that it’s not just the city, but who do you know?” And something that basic and that easy – when people are in the community getting to know each other, that’s where they can have it. Now, whether that will change or not, you don’t know. But those things don’t happen if people don’t start those relationships.
Karl [25:28 ]: It’s funny, I think maybe all of us were at the State of the City. And you learn a lto of stuff that’s going in, but I think you had a good point – the mix of business folks to folks that might just be more living in Peachtree Corners was nice to see the mix there. And some of the vision of the city really impacts and is centered around business. Is there an area that you’re seeing in Peachtree Corners – we got local – where we could do better when it comes to supporting the business community?
Lisa [25:58 ]: I was gonna say – that’s a great question. I think it continues to be the way that we try and communicate to the business community. The thing that I’ve run into and maybe you’ve seen it as well – there’s so many ways that people can communicate. But it doesn’t mean they’re actually engaged. So what I have found has been a big help to us has been the Peachtree Corners Magazine, or doing podcasts, or doing different ways, cause people learn differently, people communicate differently. And I think being open to whatever those ways are provide the platform. So I think trying to figure out how we provide that – I think the town center – some of that central communication has helped. But we’ve got a long way to go.
Brad [26:48 ]: And I would say that, as a leader in the business community, take initiative. You know these causes are here, and take initiative and make a donation or volunteer. Don’t just wait for someone to ask you and then the event goes by and you say, “Well nobody asked me.” You’re leaders, you’re entrepreneurs. Take initiative and jump in.
Karl [27:08 ]: Well, I wonder what you got going on. I know there’s lots of events that are happening there, and maybe just tease up a few events that people should be aware, how they could find out more about the events with the Peachtree Corner Business Association.
Lisa [27:23 ]: Absolutely. Our website is PeachtreeCornersBA.com and all our events are listed out there. Probably a couple of the events that are nearest and dearest to our hearts is August 22nd, we have our annual charity event, and we are going to be doing Island Castaway beach party, Gilligan’s island style. And so their registration event is there. You can register for the event, find out the details. On September 26th, we’re gonna do business after hours at Anderby Brewing, which is our new brewpub in Peachtree Corners. And we’re super excited. And on October 24th, for those business people who need to build their personal brand, they get to come here, who is the LinkedIn guy – if you don’t know who he is, don’t miss out because he can help you build your personal brand as well as your business brand. And we also have our coffees – the second Tuesday of every month. Don’t – just very casual, very easy conversations like this, and you don’t have to be a member to come. And then stay tuned for some more of our upcoming business lunches. So we’ve got a lot of ways to do.
Karl [28:37 ]: Fabulous – so if you’re a business owner in Peachtree Corners, there’s so many ways to get plugged in. And starting out with a small business step – go to one of these events. Meet Brad, meet Lisa, talk to them about it, meet some of your neighbors, and you know, step up and be a leader in the community and get out there and get involved. So really appreciate – I want to thank both of you – Lisa and Brad – for your time today and just helping, kind of exploring, the different options around joining groups, being involved in the community and how collective action in the business group can really impact the community. We’d also like to think Atlanta Tech Park for hosting the Capitalist Sage Podcast. We enjoy our time here – beautiful facility to visit and take around. I thank Brad for introducing me to Atlanta Tech Park a while ago, one on the many ways that connection to these groups have helped me personally and to develop the business. Rico, anything we got coming up?
Rico [29:41 ]: Um, I mean, should – the last issue that just came out. Let me just put that up here. Peachtree Corners Magazine just covered this city’s big video and film industry in the surrounding areas, which is, you know, a three-part article, so it was kind of neat to cover that. Plus we covered a few other things like Anderby Brewery that just opened, which they have a dozen square-foot event space also.
Lisa [30:11 ]: It does – that’s where we’re gonna do it.
Rico [30:13 ]: There you go. So there’s that, and then the Peachtree Corners swim team – first time champions from Peachtree Corners for Guinnett Swim that happened just recently. So there’s a bunch of things in here – Fipe high school, high school kids that are doing it big out there in the world. One of them works for Space X right now. So I kind of made a lot of articles in here especially about Smart City Expo that’s happening in Atlanta. So there’s that.
Karl [30:39] : And if you wanted to check out some of these things digitally, where would I find that?
Rico [30:44 ]: Sure. You would go to LivinginPeachtreeCorners.com. And if you go there, you’ll find the digital edition of the magazine, you’ll find – we post there every week, sometimes every other day, different articles on there. And you’ll find all the podcasts there. So back history of these podcasts with Capitalist Sage, Peachtree Corners Live and the stuff I do with Brian Johnson, City Manager, which is that once a month Prime Lunchtime with the city manager.
Karl [31:10 ]: So you can listen, you can read, you can go online, you can find out what’s going on here. I’m Karl Barham with Transworld Business Advisor with Atlanta Peachtree. We help people, advise people on the best way to understand the value of their business. And when they’re looking to make a transition with their business, we help them with that, finding both buyers and helping sellers with that. And Rico – Mighty Rockets –
Rico [31:34 ]: MightyRockets.com. I do a lot of creative services, so anything that deals with social media marketing, online content, videography – I’ve been doing a lot of product videos lately for our companies in Charleston and Kentucky, so that’s been fun. And, so, a bit of that, we do a lot of creative services, of course the magazine also takes up a lot of time now, too. But it’s been fun, and these podcasts are – you’re the heavy lifter on the Capitalist Sage, so it’s been cool doing these podcasts.
Karl [32:05 ]: Oh, absolutely. It’s great to have great guests come in, local. You could find folks in the community – say hi to them in Sprouts or Engels when they’re out and about, set up a coffee and find ways to grow and improve your business. It’s the Capitalist Sage Podcast. We look forward to chatting with you some more on some future episodes. Have a nice day everyone.
Atlanta Tech Park to Host Global Cyber-FinTech Event in September 2019
Over 70% of all credit and debit card transactions are processed through more than 160 Georgia-based companies, which results in billions of dollars in revenue across the board annually. Securely processing these transactions is an industry of it own, and Georgia is home to a handful of the 500 best cybersecurity companies in the world, according to Cybersecurity Ventures. Furthermore, more than 80 countries have a presence here in Atlanta, which makes the scope of our event a global one.
With that in mind, Atlanta Tech Park is excited to host the inaugural Global Cyber-FinTech Challenge on September 18 & 19, 2019. The event will feature keynote speakers, panel discussions, workshops, and one of the best networking opportunities within the industry this year. With over 500 expected attendees from companies around the world, this is a unique opportunity to position your company as a leader in the Cyber-FinTech space. Developers will also have the ability to participate in a handful of “challenges” for a grand prize of $10,000.
Why September and why Atlanta Tech Park?
As with any business, Q3 is a pivotal time of the year that allows many to evaluate how successful the year has been, change course if it hasn’t, and begin forecasting the coming year. Atlanta Tech Park is a great fit to host this event because of our passion for cybersecurity, which stems from Robin Bienfait, the Founder of Atlanta Tech Park, who developed multiple patents. “Cybersecurity is the underlying foundation for all successful tech businesses now and in the future,” Robin says.
To sign up for the Cyber-FinTech event as a sponsor, speaker, exhibitor, or judge, please visit bit.ly/ATLCYBERFIN now.
ABOUT US: With over 75+ companies in residence, Atlanta Tech Park is a technology accelerator in Peachtree Corners, GA. The facility features boardrooms, conference rooms, a video podcasting studio, hot desks, private offices, 600+ person events space, and 100+ person auditorium. Membership and insider information can be found on www.atlantatechpark.com. Please follow us on Twitter at @107ATP and on Instagram at @atlantatechpark for the latest news and updates.
Redefining what it means for a city to be “smart”
Atlanta hosts the first-ever Smart City Expo in the United States
From Wednesday, Sept. 11 to Friday, Sept. 13, 2019, Atlanta will host the first American edition of Smart City Expo Atlanta at the Georgia World Congress Center, in partnership with Fira de Barcelona and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.
Smart City Expo World Congress is globally recognized as the most important conference on smart cities, held annually in November, in Barcelona. Since its inception in 2011, local branches have sprung up on four continents, addressing the particular interests of those regions. The offshoot being transported to the United States for the first time is Smart City Expo Atlanta (SCATL).
We are focused on redefining the term “smart” to ensure equity, prosperity, humanity, inclusion and justice are part of the implementation of blockchain, A.I., IoT, big data and automation.John Griffin, Director of Communications — Smart City Expo Atlanta
Director of Communications — Smart City Expo Atlanta, John Griffin from DKC News, outlined Atlanta’s vision for the Expo. “We are focused on redefining the term “smart” to ensure equity, prosperity, humanity, inclusion and justice are part of the implementation of blockchain, A.I., IoT, big data and automation. It’s important that we look at social and economic mobility in addition to scooters and self-driving cars, equitable infrastructure not just intelligent and connected infrastructure…and that we invest in human capital not just venture capital.”
“The focus on cutting-edge technologies, smart city innovation and equity and inclusion directly align with our One Atlanta vision of affordability, resiliency and fairness,” said Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. (As cited by Brianne Fortuna, 2019).
Atlanta to Host for Three Years
The city of Atlanta embraces and exemplifies the summit’s agenda to encourage smart urban revolution. Griffin revealed that Atlanta has secured a three-year commitment to host the U.S. spin-off of this important conference.
In response to what makes Atlanta a good choice for the U.S. edition of Smart City Expo, Griffin replied, “Atlanta is in the middle of a period of significant growth and investment. The city recently passed legislation to raise $2.5 billion for mass transit and infrastructure; the suburbs are the fastest growing in the U.S.; it has become a center for film and TV production due to the largest tax breaks in the country; it has a burgeoning startup and venture capital culture, and recent expansions there by companies like Google and Salesforce are anchored by Fortune 500 stalwarts The Home Depot, UPS, Coca Cola and Delta Air Lines. Atlanta, and its mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, are thoughtfully approaching this growth through a lens of equity and inclusion and civic and social innovation, not just technological. To me, that is what makes Atlanta so “smart”.”
What to Expect
Imagine stimulating conversations and interactive activities with solution-minded mayors, top-level executives, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and leading corporations from across America, who share a desire to create more equitable and inclusive cities. Experience three full days (or perhaps just one) of this expo’s inaugural expansion to the U.S. and learn what’s being done to create a better future for cities and their citizens worldwide.
Each day of exploring technology, sustainability and innovation concludes with happy hour and a reception, allowing more time to create strategic new alliances and open more paths for collaboration.
Griffin stated, “Attendees of Smart City Expo Atlanta will be able to engage with and hear from top government officials, industry leaders and the foremost members of academia on a wide range of subjects from Opportunity Zones and reimagining cities, to the power of predictive analytics to address natural disasters. They will also get to experience cutting edge demos and activations at a world-class expo.”
Referencing the offsite Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners demo, Griffin affirmed, “On the first day of the conference, we are hosting a truly unique autonomous vehicle demonstration at Peachtree Corners where entrepreneurs will have an actual testbed and 5G connectivity to accelerate research on their innovations.”
“We will welcome over 50 local and international companies by the time of the show,” declared Griffin. It is expected that SCATL will bring together over 2,500 participants and 200 speakers.
To learn more about SCATL, visit smartcityexpoatlanta.com. ■
Get Ready to Travel Japan – Olympics 2020!
Johns Creek Crawl
Capitalist Sage: Business Leadership in Your Community [Podcast]
Light Up The Corners “best race and most successful”
Live on the Green – BJ Wilbanks Band
Georgia Unified Invitational Brings Together Swimmers for Competition and Fun
Georgia Unified Invitational Brings Together Swimmers for Competition and Fun
Live on the Green – BJ Wilbanks Band
Light Up The Corners “best race and most successful”
Capitalist Sage: Business Leadership in Your Community [Podcast]
Johns Creek Crawl
Get Ready to Travel Japan – Olympics 2020!
Cliff Bramble: A Culinary Adventure through Italy
Gwinnett Medical Center to Open Primary Care & Specialty Center in Peachtree Corners
Capitalist Sage: Business Leadership in Your Community [Podcast]
Cliff Bramble: A Culinary Adventure through Italy
Top 10 Brunch Places in Gwinnett County
A Hunger for Hospitality
THE CORNERS EPISODE 3 – BLAXICAN PART 1
Top 10 Indoor Things To Do This Winter
The ED Hour: What it takes to Remove Barriers from Education
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