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City as Living Lab

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autonomous vehicles in Peachtree Corners
Technology Parkway is being reconfigured to create an intelligent mobility test track that will run alongside regular traffic. Entrances and brightly painted lanes are planned for this “living laboratory” being created by the city in partnership with Sprint. Rendering courtesy of City of Peachtree Corners

Intelligent vehicle test track brings the future, and the world, to Peachtree Corners

The little orange flags on stakes along Technology Parkway are modest harbingers of the huge change coming to the Peachtree Corners road.

The city is reconfiguring the road to create a 1.5-mile intelligent mobility test track that will be used to develop and test self-driving vehicles, intelligent mobility and IoT (internet of things) technologies. The test site is the only one of its kind in Georgia, and it may be the only one like it in the country.

Driverless vehicle testing is typically conducted in isolated research environments such as empty parking lots. But the test lanes on Technology Parkway will run alongside regular traffic, separated only by flexible bollards, or sticks, and interacting with vehicles and pedestrians at intersections.

“5G is a world of the future and we’re still trying to figure it out. So, testbeds and living labs like this … are absolutely vital to the growth.”
Cynthia Curry, director of IoT Ecosystem for the Metro Chamber

First announced a year ago, the research site is part of an economic development mission to help reinvigorate the technology park it winds through, Technology Park Atlanta.

Mayor Mike Mason
Photos by JASON GETZ/Getz Images

Mayor Mike Mason expects it do that and much more. “The short-term benefit is that it will provide an energy, a synergy, if you will, for high-tech businesses to establish their businesses in Technology Park to create and develop AV (advanced vehicle) technologies,” Mason said.

“Long-term, we see the Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners to have a ripple effect that expands well beyond our city limits to neighboring cities, counties, regionally and even statewide,” he said. “There is no other living laboratory like this in the state that is available for companies to research, develop and test their intelligent mobility concepts.”

Sprinting to Peachtree Corners

In January, communications giant Sprint signed on as a partner to the test track, bringing its super-fast, high-capacity mobile 5G to the city’s initiative and giving the site a trademarked name, “Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners.” 5G, the latest generation of cellular mobile communications, will provide the bandwidth needed to test vehicle-to-vehicle communication, vehicle-to-infrastructure communication and over-the-horizon warnings, Sprint said in a press release.

Curiosity Lab was first unveiled on Jan. 8 as one of three 5G, IoT partnerships announced by Sprint at the international Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The press release from the event quotes Ivo Rook, Sprint’s senior vice president of IoT, who said, “This is much more than self-driving cars.

“Sprint is bringing together Curiosity IoT, micropositioning and HD mapping, all enabled by our upcoming mobile 5G network, to develop and test the most advanced technologies in the industry,” Rook said, in the release. “We are honored to work with Peachtree Corners to drive AI, robotics and autonomous.”

Peachtree Corners officials showed video they shot at CES during a Jan. 15 press conference at City Hall, a facility that sits directly adjacent to the test track’s path at 310 Technology Parkway.

In an interview on the video, Rook says he is unaware of anything like Curiosity Lab. “What I love about Peachtree Corners is the fact that they’re bringing together a laboratory environment, an environment where companies can actually invest and try things out, but they’re marrying that with the real life,” Rook said. “So, this is the only initiative that I know where basically the test track meets the public road.”

Inquiries are coming in to Curiosity Lab from across the country. There’s interest in testing everything from drones, to solar panels on roads that charge electric vehicles as they drive, to robots that deliver packages and even individual flying machines. (Think “The Jetsons.”)

City Manager Brian Johnson

“People don’t realize — we didn’t until we got involved in this, too — there is a lot larger of an industry in the future to move goods by autonomous vehicles than people,” Peachtree Corners City Manager Brian L. Johnson said. “… All of this V2X, ’vehicle-to-everything,’ requires 5G because 4G does not have enough bandwidth to do this.” Vehicle-to-everything communication is the transfer of information between a vehicle and any entity that may affect the vehicle such as infrastructure, networks, pedestrians and other vehicles.

How it all started

Incorporated in 2012, the city of Peachtree Corners is a planned community that began in the late 1960s, with Technology Park Atlanta, a low-rise campus for high-tech industries, at the core of its 17 square miles. “Companies, specifically tech companies, are the bedrock on which this city was formed from,” Johnson said.

Legendary tech pioneer and Georgia Tech grad Paul Duke proposed Peachtree Corners as a way to attract engineering firms to Georgia and keep Georgia Tech engineering graduates from leaving the state to find work. And today, “The city’s focus on technology is citywide,” Johnson said.

Like many other cities, Peachtree Corners deploys smart city technology such as sensors that can alert when a parking space is available and sensors in public trash cans that can report when they need to be emptied.
Technology Park Atlanta is now home to 49 technology companies, 18 biotech businesses and 84 international companies.

“We have about 45,000 people and about 45,000 jobs,” Johnson said. “It’s very rare for a city to be in a one-to-one ratio scenario. You’re usually considered to be a jobs hub … or vice, versa, where you’re considered to be a bedroom community.”

Peachtree Corners’ robust business community is one of the reasons the city is able to have a full-service government that charges no city taxes, Johnson said. “Very few cities have no property tax,” he said, “and most of the ones that are like us are not near our size. … The healthier the [business] environment is, the healthier our non-business environment is.”

While the city’s origins are part of what led it to where it is today, the other driving force is the way Peachtree Corners approaches economic development, Johnson said. “There’s typically three conventional legs to economic development — recruitment, retention and expansion,” Johnson said. “This city has embraced a fourth leg, and that is creation.”

Becoming an innovation hub

In June 2017, the city approved plans to transform Technology Park Atlanta, commonly known as Tech Park, into a center for innovation.

“When we became a city in 2012, we didn’t inherit a high-tech hot spot. We inherited an aging, suburban office park,” Mayor Mason said, at the city’s Curiosity Lab press conference. “We knew that, and we were determined to change it, which led us to create the Innovation Hub Master Plan.”

The plan calls for research institutions, entrepreneurial training, professional networks, enhanced walkability, mixed uses and public spaces. The city aims to promote collaboration with like-minded business owners and employees in gathering places such as coffee shops and parks within Tech Park’s 500 acres.

Parts of a multiuse trail have been completed in the area. And the 295-unit Echo Lakeside apartment complex was intentionally built within Tech Park to enable millennials — who tend to want to live near their jobs — to walk or bicycle from home to their Tech Park offices.

Full time Prototype Prime consultant
Betsy Plattenburg and City Councilmember Alex Wright

Prototype Prime

Curiosity Lab is the second step in the city’s master plan to re-establish Tech Park Atlanta as an innovation hub. The first step was the city’s 2015 creation of the 25,000-square-foot technology incubator, Prototype Prime, directly adjacent to Curiosity Lab, at 147 Technology Parkway.

The nonprofit supports early stage technology startups with rental space and services such as legal and marketing assistance. Mason said it “epitomizes an innovation hub.”

“Prototype Prime was an empty building and a concept that is now a job creator, an event space, and an educational site,” he said.

A regional affiliate of the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) at Georgia Tech, it’s one of three incubators and business accelerators now operating in the city, all of which are located within Tech Park. The others are privately owned.

After Prototype Prime’s launch, the city decided it would be advantageous for the incubator to target a specific technology, Johnson said.

From there, things happened quickly. City Council members settled on intelligent mobility. Betsy Plattenburg, who worked at ATDC and is a senior consultant to Prototype Prime, suggested adding a research component.

The city announced the intelligent mobility test track last April, committing to a $2 million investment. And today, Prototype Prime is recruiting startups across the country who can be connected with corporate partners in the self-driving vehicle ecosystem.

After the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce heard about the city’s intelligent mobility plans, Peachtree Corners representatives were invited to join the chamber’s delegation to the Smart City Expo held Nov. 11-15 in Barcelona, Spain.

Cynthia Curry, director of IoT Ecosystem for the Metro Chamber, spoke at the city’s Curiosity Lab press conference, saying it will provide vital opportunities for testing to move the IoT system forward and generate jobs.

“5G is a world of the future and we’re still trying to figure it out. So, testbeds and living labs like this … are absolutely vital to the growth,” Curry said. “We’re just thrilled to have this in our region. It helps us ensure and kind of reinforce our position as the number one state to do business. … I can’t wait to see what comes out of this, and I can’t wait to see all the companies that get to benefit from it.”

Plattenburg said Curiosity Lab has received significant interest from universities, Fortune 500 companies and startups from around the country who want to test emerging IoT technologies for smart cities, connected vehicles and other mobility concepts. “They are excited to discover that they can use the track and innovation space at Prototype Prime for as little as a few days or as long as a year — whatever it takes to move their technology from concept to market,” she said.

Coding schools, for adults and kids

One of the startups’ biggest needs is software engineers, according to Plattenburg. “Almost every tech startup needs to hire people who can code, and good talent is hard to find,” she said.

Web development employment is projected to grow by 15 percent between 2016 and 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Peachtree Corners is already planting the seeds to help fill some of those positions.

“In creating the innovation hub plan, the city realized that helping citizens train or retrain to fill open positions would be valuable for everyone and made a focused effort to provide local coding education,” Plattenburg said.

The Professional Education division of Georgia Tech was signed on to conduct a “Coding Boot Camp” for adults at Prototype Prime. Its first round of classes, which started in January, sold out. About 40 students take classes two nights a week and on Saturdays for 24 weeks.

They will team up to work in a simulated professional work environment, building complex projects and applications to bolster their portfolios. They’ll also have access to career services such as resume and social media support, technical interview prep and portfolio reviews. The program, with a price tag of $10,000, is designed for people who are currently working or want to change careers.

Prototype Prime will also host a STEM-related summer camp for kids that starts on June 10. Roswell-based Kids 4 Coding will offer coding classes and other technology-related activities for kids ages 7-16 at the incubator.

Other kids will be reached through the incubator’s just-announced partnership with Paul Duke STEM High School, a new school that opened in Norcross last fall. Mentoring and other opportunities will be provided “so students can see what’s next for the future generation of technology,” Plattenburg said.

Left to right, Council-member Weare Gratwick, Mayor Mike Mason, City councilmembers
Phil Sadd and Alex Wright meet at City Hall during a January press conference where Sprint and the City announced their partnership on an intelligent vehicle test track which will feature Sprint’s 5G technology.
Photos by JASON GETZ/Getz Images

Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners

The city expects Curiosity Lab to take about four months to build. The track will run along Technology Parkway, from Peachtree Parkway to Spalding Drive.

Plans are underway for entrances to the site. “Later in the year, look for brightly painted lanes, digital signage and other visual cues that you are entering an innovation environment that will help to discover and define technologies of tomorrow,” Plattenburg said.

The test track is unique in that the city owns 100 percent of the roadway and right of way, she said. “What the city is creating out here on Technology Parkway is the opportunity for companies large and small to test things of the future and see how they will interact with people and with other vehicles, with traffic lights, with street lights, with everything that you would find in a city,” Plattenburg said.

Curiosity Lab will offer subject matter experts on site and will provide access to the 5G network to Prototype Prime startups. Existing companies in Tech Park will also be able to take advantage of 5G, getting it significantly ahead of the rest of the metro Atlanta, she said.

“We’re looking forward to Sprint helping our startups figure out how to utilize 5G,” Plattenburg said at the Curiosity Lab press conference, which was attended by Sprint IoT sales representative Steven Payne. Payne said Sprint is excited to partner with the city on Curiosity Lab.

“We’re looking forward to, over the next couple of years, not only the technologies that are born out of this park,” Payne said, “but just the innovations and the recognition and economic development it will bring to Peachtree Corners.” ■

Donna Williams Lewis is a freelance journalist who covered metro Atlanta for decades as a writer and editor at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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JTS Announces 2021 Evaluation and Management Services with Evangelical Community Hospital’s MSO

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JTS Health Partners (JTS) recently entered into an agreement with Evangelical Community Hospital to provide consulting services within professional coding, education, and compliance areas of Evangelical’s Medical Services Organization (EMSO).

As part of the agreement, JTS will conduct Evaluation and Management (E/M) benchmarking analysis to develop and deliver a comprehensive ‘Knowledge Journey’ program for their physicians, mid-levels, HIM professionals, and office staff. The ‘Knowledge Journey’ curricula will be customized for Evangelical’s peer-to-peer training. Training will include medical code selection and Centers for Medical and Medicaid Services (CMS) 2021 new payment model and coding changes.

“JTS is delighted to, once again, be partnering with Evangelical to offer professional services that will improve and enhance their 2021 E/M efficiencies. The new E/M coding changes that will be implemented January 1, 2021 are quite extensive. I am excited to partner with our Executive Sponsor, Brian Wolfe, Vice President of Clinic and Physician Practices. Having worked with Bill Franquet, Vice President of Revenue Cycle, in the past, I am honored to offer his Revenue Cycle team customized E/M training,” says Thomas Stewart, President, CEO, and Co-Founder of JTS.

JTS was awarded for this engagement based on their response to Evangelical’s formal Request for Proposal (RFP) process.

Evangelical Community Hospital has served Lewisburg, Pennsylvania and surrounding communities since 1926. With 132 licensed beds, Evangelical offers orthopedics, surgical care, diabetes care, wound and hyperbaric medicine, pain medicine, physical therapy, a dedicated breast health center, urgent care, primary care, and other specialty practices not commonly associated with a community hospital.

JTS Health Partners is a specialized, national healthcare professional services firm with expertise within revenue cycle management, health information management, information technology, and analytics services focused on hospital and physician clients. For more information, visit jtshealthpartners.com or call (404) 816-6107.

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How to Position Your Small Business to Grow Sales During and After COVID-19 [Podcast]

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The Capitalist Sage podcast

The pandemic has changed customers and their buying habits. That’s without question. So how do you talk to them now and in the next normal time? Open Window Marketing founder Lisa McGuire joins Karl Barham and Rico Figliolini to discuss brand positioning and more.

Social Media
LinkedIn
Instagram @iamlisamcguire

Marketing Tips for Small Business Owners to end 2020 strong.

  1. The 3 Customer Profiles of 2020 – how your customer has changed
    Customers have shifted from pre-pandemic to the pandemic to the next normal. How can you possibly know what to say?
  2. Why traditional marketing no longer works and how to move forward.
    Traditional marketing talks about the features of the product and why they are the best choice. In our noisy world, you need a new approach.
  3. Why your personal brand is even more important to help you drive more revenue

Timestamp, where to find it in the podcast:
[00:00:30] – Intro
[00:03:10] – About Lisa
[00:04:01] – Marketing Mistakes
[00:05:43] – Changing Clientele
[00:09:33] – Importance of an Online Presence
[00:16:14] – Clarifying Your Message
[00:21:14] – Traditional Marketing
[00:23:57] – Spending and Personal Branding
[00:30:17] – Marketing Done Correctly
[00:31:52] – Closing

“And the big idea to take away from this is the customers that you’ve had no longer exist.
They are now pandemic customers. They have new problems, they have new priorities. So what
do you need to do in your business to shift your product line and offerings? To meet these new
problems, or if you still connect with their problem, how do you need to shift your message?”

Lisa Mcguire

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 Peachtree Corners Magazine. Hey Rico, how are you doing?

Rico: [00:00:47] Good Karl. It’s a beautiful day considering how much rain we had the other day.

Karl: [00:00:53] I know, I know. This storm has gone past and now we’ll hopefully get some

better days going ahead. Things are getting cooler for the fall. Why don’t you introduce our

Sponsors?

Rico: [00:01:04] Yes. Our lead sponsor is Hargray Fiber. Hargray Fiber is a Southeast based

company that does internet connectivity. They handle fiber optics, which is the main drive of any

internet home or office, right? So they’re in the communities that they serve as well. So they’re

not your cable guy, right? They’re not a company that just has an office there. They’re involved

in the communities that they’re in, whether they’re involved with local companies. So for

example, in Peachtree Corners, they’re involved with Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners with

the city. They’re providing internet connectivity to a lot of companies in the area. So if you are

interested in Fiber optics in a company that’s local that has a local presence, and that can give

you the tools you need, like smart office tools to be able to operate your employees at home or

in the office, reach out to HargrayFiber.com or you could go to Hargray.com/Business. And they

have a promotion going on, a thousand dollars visa gift card for those companies that qualify

becoming a client of theirs, so check them out.

Karl: [00:02:10] Oh, that’s fabulous. Everyone needs more internet, more speed and I’m glad to

have good businesses like Hargray in our community to help business owners with that. Today,

I am honored and pleased to have a great guest. In this fourth quarter as we’re coming in,

rounding out 2020, most business owners have seen all sorts of impacts. Some have grown,

some have stayed the same. Some have actually seen some reduction in their customer. What I

know for sure if you’re going to have a great fourth quarter and start off 2021 well, you’ve got to

focus on growth. And today we have Lisa McGuire here to talk about how small business

owners can really focus their marketing and sales efforts in concert. To help them really have a

springboard to their growth in 2020 through 2021. Hi Lisa, how’re you doing today?

Lisa: [00:03:07] I’m doing great Karl. Thank you so much for having me.

Karl: [00:03:10] Oh, pleasure. Well, Lisa McGuire is a business growth and adviser. And a

marketing consultant with Open Window Marketing. And I’d love for her to introduce herself and

tell a little bit of how she helps people in business.

Lisa: [00:03:25] So, one thing we know is when business owners started their business, they

wanted to do the work they love. They didn’t necessarily want to wear all the hats that a

business owner has to wear when running a business. So what I do is I come in and help them

determine how to figure out who their ideal client is, how do they connect with that client, what

message does that client need to hear, to be able to engage with them, and then how to grow

their business through marketing that works. And then it filters into the other areas, productivity,

the mission of their company, the culture of their workforce too.

Karl: [00:04:01] Wow. Well, I’ll tell you, I look at a lot of P&Ls for business owners. And one of

the things that really becomes apparent, I look at how one business owner spends on marketing

and ask some questions about that. And then I look at another one who may not do a lot of

marketing. You’ll hear a lot of, I grew my business through referrals and so on. And I realized

there’s a big difference when you look at the performance of growth, those that focus on that

marketing versus those that don’t. But when they start business, they didn’t really think about

that. What are some of those mistakes you see business owners making when it comes to

marketing their business in general?

Lisa: [00:04:45] Yeah, just kinda marketing their business in general. What they’re looking at,

they’re looking at, okay, what is it that I have to sell and how can I push it out to get as many

people to buy it as possible? They’re not looking at it from the customer perspective of what do

they need to hear. All they know is I’ve got this many widgets to sell, or I’ve got to book this

many billable hours, and what can I do to make people buy from me. And so what they end up

doing is they’ve got this message they repeat over and over that isn’t connecting with their

clients. They put a lot of money into tactical things. They’ll do Facebook ads, they’ll pay a lot of

money for SEO to get people to come to their website. But what happens is the message that

they’re using either to get people there, or once they are on the site, it’s not converting because

it doesn’t matter to the customer. They talk about features. They forget about them.

Karl: [00:05:43] Wow. Well this year, has gotta be really interesting. For many businesses

because of the pandemic, their customers might have change. Either new customers are

coming through or what their existing customer needs have changed. How would you walk

someone through looking at a situation like that?

Lisa: [00:06:04] Yes, this has been a year that was unthinkable. We never could have imagined

it. And so if you think about back to January, February, we had pre-pandemic customers. Things

for going along, if you remember just a couple months before that we were celebrating a new

decade, there were all kinds of analogies, the 2020 vision, we’re going to make this the decade

that really makes the difference. And then the unthinkable happens. We have this global

pandemic. And really the whole world, as far as the business world in the United States, just

kind of came to a standstill. You know, we were in a period, if you remember back think when

they said, if you just quarantine for a couple of weeks, we’ll get through this. And so it was

uncharted territory. So here’s what we found with businesses. They did one of three things.

They either continued with their marketing as usual. They used a different message and pivoted

their message. Or they said nothing at all. So if we look at those three things, continuing

marketing business as usual would tell their customers you’re insensitive to what’s happening in

my life. Why are you going on acting like this world has not changed? The ones that went quiet,

what happened is they made a space for other businesses to come in and take their place. But

the businesses that won, the businesses that did well, were businesses who first of all

acknowledged what was happening and became very empathetic to your customers. You know,

there was and continues to be, but initially a lot of fear. A lot of anxiety, anxious, you know,

what’s going to happen to my business? What’s happening with my family? Am I in danger with

my health? So making sure that you really understand that customer and who they are was

really critical. So we heard a lot of messages, we’re in this together. You know, we’ve heard the

new normal, we heard all of those things to really unify our market place to be able to reach

them. But now we’re what, six months into the seven months into this, I guess, because it’s six.

Now you’ve got a third type of customer. You’ve got the customer that is realizing, okay, this is

our new way of life for now. You know we’re moving forward, so what can we do? Our whole

world has been disrupted. If you think about it or work lives, our home lives, how we consume

media, how we purchase, what we value up, like everything has been shifted. So what can we

look at what the customers, what they need now? And what the big idea to take away from this

is, the customers that you’ve had no longer exist. They are now pandemic customers. They

have new problems, they have new priorities. So what do you need to do in your business to

shift your product line and offerings? To meet these new problems, or if you still connect with

their problem, how do you need to shift your message? And that is the advice I would give

business owners heading into 2021. If you’re using a pre pandemic message, you’re talking to a

client who is no longer existing.

Rico: [00:09:33] Lisa, do you, what do you find from the clients that you talk to from the

companies you talked to more effective? You know, as far as business goes, what tools are

they implementing? What are they changing that they weren’t doing before the pandemic?

Lisa: [00:09:51] Well, I think the thing that has become very apparent to business owners is if

you did not have an online presence, you need to have one. You know, I’m very active in

networking and in those first couple of weeks, people were trying to figure out how do we

network if we can’t go to coffee? How we will reach people? How are people going to find me?

And you know, if you look even at restaurants, they had to do a quick of it. How do we get

people to consume our food? How do we make them feel like they’re safe? So being online and

making sure that your customer experience online is seamless. That has been the big shift that

I’ve seen with most people is figuring out, okay, how do I go online and switch my products.

Rico: [00:10:38] You know, what’s interesting. I think in the restaurant business especially, it

was easier, right? Because you had Yelp, you had Door Dash, you had Grub Hub, you had all

these businesses. If you wanted food, you could, you would go out and you’d find it. You know,

where you could go. The problem is with, you know, with a place like a yoga place or a soap

maker type of store, it’s difficult, right? Because people aren’t quite looking for that and they may

want it, but they just don’t know. So there’s that two-sided edge to that right? You do, but I agree

with you. You have to be online, but it’s way more difficult for some businesses than others.

Lisa: [00:11:17] Yes, it definitely is. So we saw a lot of people in the health and fitness space go

online and start having virtual yoga classes, things such as that. We found brick and mortar

stores suddenly had to have an eCommerce site. But the other thing too, we have this

opportunity of where we may have been marketing within a geographical area, is now we could

extend our services, you know, you can network nationally or internationally. I’m working with a

couple of clients who did work with local Atlanta businesses or local Atlanta clients. And now

their clients are all across the United States. So how do they find them? How do they reach

them? How do they connect with them?

Karl: [00:12:01] It’s easy to understand the power of being online. And I visit businesses and I

look at their websites all the time and it’s a pandemic in itself how bad some of these websites

are. People don’t put a lot of attention. When you look at a website, someone doing it right, what

are some of the things? Maybe not technical, but what are some of the things that you find helps

business owners be more reachable and successful online?

Lisa: [00:12:33] Yeah. So the first thing, you know, as we talk about websites, Karl the thing I

would invite people to do is if you think you have a great website, look at two or three of your

competitors and go to their websites. And what you’re going to find, it’s very likely you’re all

saying the same thing. So what you have to do is figure out how am I going to stand out?

There’s a couple of different ways to do that. So the immediate piece of advice I can give all

your listeners today, you can go and do this and start making money tomorrow. Make sure you

have clear call to action buttons. And you want them all over your homepage. So you want one

in the upper right hand corner. In that hero shot area. You want one in the middle of that hero

shot area and make sure those call to action buttons are a different color than the rest of your

website. Make sure they’re the same color throughout as you cascade down the page. As you

scroll down the page make sure there’s always a call to action button in the screen as well as in

the upper right hand corner. Because here’s what happens, the visitor may not be ready to

purchase from you or maybe ready to take the next step with you initially, but as they scroll

down the page and start learning more about you, Oh, now I want to know more. And so you

want to make it convenient. We call that call to action button, your cash register. So why would

you hide your cash register in the back ladies room? You want to make sure they’re all over the

place, right? So that’s something you can do to start making money today. So that’s one thing, if

that’s helpful to you.

Karl: [00:14:13] Yeah, that’s great advice. The other thing is, there’s this thinking around Google

pay-per-clicks and Facebook ads and so on. How do they, how do business owners use those

to integrate with their website?

Lisa: [00:14:28] Yeah. So there certainly is a place for paid ads. And you know, the thing is, is

you start with your website. You want to make sure that Google recognizes your website as a

quality website. So I’m going to answer your question, Karl, but I’m going to kind of connect

these two. First of all, Google’s going to try and watch and monitor to see, are people when

they’re on your website, are they staying on it long? If they can register that they’re staying on it

long, that signals to Google, there is quality content on there. So again, your message is so

important. So when you go to a website, you should be able to immediately know what the

business does. It is astounding, the number of business websites I see, I can’t tell what they do.

I have to know what you sell. What do you do for me? Making sure that you are updating

content. And so that would be having a blog on your website, talking about topics that people

have questions about. And, you know, people say, I don’t know what to write in a blog. Think

about this, what are the top five questions people ask you about your business? Those will be

your first five blog topics. And so putting those on there, that’s going to give you some organic

reach with SEO in that. But then when you get to ads, paid ads, that’s when you can drive

people to your website whether it’s Facebook ads or Google ads. And I recommend not trying to

do it yourself, work with a digital marketing specialist who knows what they’re doing. I believe in

paying experts for what they know so well.

Karl: [00:16:14] There’s a subset of business owners that I know struggle in this space. And it’s

in the professional services. Lawyers, accountants, etc. Very smart, very talented in their

profession. But when it comes to marketing themselves, maybe not as strong. And their content

can be confusing to the layman. Finding the intricacies of tax law for how to get out of speeding

tickets or whatever that might be. For those types of businesses, how can their messaging on

their website help them? What would be something they can do to guide people in?

Lisa: [00:16:54] Yeah, so a really great way to do that because, you know, here’s the thing we

want those experts. And when you need someone like that, you want someone who knows what

they’re doing, who knows all the intricacies and you know, the ins and outs of how to practice

their profession very well. But what happens is when you speak with them, because they are so

educated and they’re so good at what they do. You’ll find a lot of times they tend to use what we

call insider language. So they’ll use industry terms. And when they start using those, the person

reading the website or the person listening to the message, what goes on in their mind is they

say, I don’t know what that means. So they either get stuck trying to figure it out, what are they

talking about? Or they just stopped listening because it’s too much work to try and keep up with

the person communicating the message. So that is one thing I would advise for those folks, is to

stop using insider language. To make your language, make your website as if a 10 year old

could read it and understand it. You want the language to be that simple. You’ll be able to bring

in your credibility and authority the longer people stay on your website, but that would be the

first thing I would suggest. The second thing I would suggest is make sure that you really get to

the problem that your customer has. And here’s the thing, traditional marketing was talking

about the business. Today, great marketing is being known for the problem that you solve. So I’ll

use a tire store for an example. This one I use quite frequently. So if I sell tires, I am not selling

tires. That’s not the problem I solve when somebody needs tires. The problem I’m solving is

someone needs to have a vehicle that is safe on the road because they have quality tires. The

problem I’m solving is someone has to turn in their car for a lease and they’ve got to update their

tires so it meets qualifications. So look at for the customer, what is that pain they are

experiencing? How is it making them feel? And being known for solving that problem, that is the

way that you go in as a professional service provider and speak to them.

Karl: [00:19:20] It’s interesting, as you’re saying that, it made me think of this concept around

demand generation and leading the customer to discover or clarify the problem they have and if

you’re the person that helps them do that. And a lot of professional services, I talked to

someone the other day, a client the other day, and they were concerned about, they took out

PPP loans and EIDL loans this year. And so as they’re going through, I mentioned to them, they

have to process or apply for forgiveness. They looked at me kind of shocked. You mean it

doesn’t happen automatically? And so I know lots of financial advisors and CPAs and

accountants and folks that help in that area. No one’s talking about that problem that’s out there

that people may not know. And is that an example of some blog and/or content around that

particular problem that would help someone find a professional service site?

Lisa: [00:20:25] That is a very timely and perfect example, Karl. Because, so these people

walked into these situations, you know, okay, this is great. You’re telling me I can get this

money. How does this work? They were very good about leading them to it, but now is the next

step of now you’ve got to apply for forgiveness. Well, these people don’t know how to do it.

What does that look like? How do I? Is there a way I could do it and mess it up? Please help me

figure that out. So that is the next step of when the bank says okay, now it’s time, wherever you

were able to secure. It says, okay, now it’s time to start moving it along. We have no idea of

what that means. So you’ve got to spell that out as well. Yeah. Great example.

Karl: [00:21:14] Well, if I can ask a little about some of the more traditional forms of marketing.

This year, I don’t know how many movies were released between March and September, but no

one’s watching ads between movies anymore. What did the role of these other different

vehicles, whether it’s ads and papers and magazines and those types of direct marketing. What

role does that play in marketing today? And should people still be investing in those?

Lisa: [00:21:47] So, yes, there’s a lot of different types of marketing. And that’s the thing when

you talk to someone that has a marketing company that can mean a dozen different things, a

dozen different directions. And people are always looking for quick fixes, but I really, you know,

the way I describe marketing is imagine you were going on a cross country trip, you know, you

know, your goal is to get the other side of the country. You would not think of getting in your car

and just starting to drive without putting gas in the tank and making sure you have snacks. You

might, you know, plug in your GPS where you’re going, or, you know, you’ve got your Google

maps, you make a plan. You don’t just start getting, you don’t get in your car and just start

driving wherever you want. Well, that’s what people do with their marketing. So, okay I need to

market. Maybe I’ll try direct mail. Oh no, no, we don’t do direct mail because you know, I don’t

use direct mail. So why would anybody else use that? But even here’s a really great rate or

maybe I’ll try these Facebook ads and I’ll boost the post myself. Well, maybe so they’re all over

the place. So the first thing I would recommend for any business owner is to just sit down with

someone who knows what they’re talking about in marketing and develop a strategy. You know,

come up with a 12 month plan, a six month plan, a three month plan. Allocate some budget to it

because your business will grow in one of two ways. Your business is either going to grow by

innovating. So that’s changing up, pivoting, doing something better. Or it’s going to grow by

marketing. So you’ve got to make that investment one way or the other. And when you start

seeing traction, that’s when you’ll have, you know, more to be able to boost from. But you’re not

going to have that traction. You’re going to be wasting your money if you start going into

different areas that don’t apply to you. And I think what happens a lot of business owners,

they’ve got their buddy that did this, or they know of this other company, their competitors doing

this. They think they need to do it too. And that’s probably the worst thing they can do.

Karl: [00:23:57] I’ll offer up, if I could add to that, for business owners out there. There’s three

numbers I’ll share, 4, 8 and 12%. When I look at a P&L for a business and I’m looking at trend

over time, I notice how much percentage of their revenue to spending on marketing and I look at

their growth rate. And what’s often, if you want to benchmark for mature business, that’s been

around and known for a while. Some of those can get away with between 4 to 8% spend on

marketing. If they want to grow. If they want to stay flat. They don’t have to spend on marketing,

but if they want to grow their top line revenue, 4 to 8% is what your competitors, what other

people are spending normally grow. If you’re a new business or you’re a business that needs

some explaining or new to an area you’re talking about 8 to 12%, range depending. If your

product is known, but you’re a new company offering something that’s known, you might be

able to get away with 8%. If you’re offering something new and no one else is offering it and you

want them to build awareness. You’re talking close to 12%. I offer those numbers because it is

extremely consistent looking at the spend on marketing correlating to how people grow their

business. Now, the ones you’ll always have a family friend that says I spend nothing on

marketing and my business keeps growing. That is the anomalies. They’re innovating, they’re

doing something different, or there’s something that’s giving them a competitive advantage. Or

they are marketing without spending. So talking about personal branding, talking about other

ways to gain audience without spending for it. Can you comment a little bit on that?

Lisa: [00:25:48] Yes, sure. This is one thing that as we have been in this situation, we’re seeing

a lot more people on LinkedIn. I don’t know if you’re active on LinkedIn or not, but we’re seeing

a lot more of that. And there’s a lot of people that don’t know how to use LinkedIn and how they

can really leverage it. So, you know, here’s the thing that I tell people, particularly when you’re in

an industry that there’s a lot of other people that do what you do. People don’t want to do

business with business. They want to do business with people. And so what makes your

business different from every other business out there is you. And so being able to feature your

zone of genius, being able to show your authority, your expertise, your credibility. One way to do

that is to really work through a personal branding process. Now, personal branding is not all

about saying, Hey, look at me. It’s not about becoming an Instagram influencer. It’s not about

being any of those. It’s really being very strategic about understanding. How do you show up

online? Is that how you want to show up online? What do you need to do to shift that if it’s not

where you want it to be and how can you position yourself as a credible expert that people

would trust to do business with you? So that is something that I really encourage people to do.

Whether you work for a company or whether you own your own business. The only thing you

own when you leave your business is your personal brand. So it’s well worth the investment to

spend the time to do that.

Karl: [00:27:19] I love that you mentioned that. I’m curious about your thoughts on integrating

your personal brand or your personas, if you want to call it, professionally and personally.

LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, all of these, Tic Tok. They have different use cases for

different application. But I’ve seen more people, especially in 2020, there’s a lot of issues out

there that people are commenting on. Whether it’s social justice or gender or race or other

political items, things about climate change, and others. People are voicing their opinions across

spectrums that’s interweaved with their expertise in their business. Any thoughts on how to

manage that. And is that a good idea or? Well, what do you, what would you advise people to

do with that?

Lisa: [00:28:13] You know, it’s what I advise business owners is what I’ve always told my

children. Anything that you’ve put out there online will follow you and could be found. And if it’s

something that you aren’t willing to put on a billboard and have your grandmothers see, then

don’t put out there. If it’s not something that you’re not willing to share in your next job interview,

don’t put it out there. There are filters, but still there are way to, you know, there are ways to get

through those. And you just always have to be conscious of whatever you are putting out there

represents who you are, and it does follow you. So there are appropriate channels. And then

there are ones that maybe you need to just have a conversation with a friend.

Karl: [00:29:00] I’m curious about, there’s a professional sphere, but there’s all these businesses

that are coming up in this entertainment mixed with business. So you could take the example of

a local ice cream shop or fitness business, where it is a business and they have customers, but

it’s also a culture and a group and a community that they’re building that reflect certain beliefs

and their personal. How can those types of businesses leverage both social media and how

they brand themselves?

Lisa: [00:29:35] Right. So it’s a great opportunity and I don’t want to, you know, imply that you

always have to stay buttoned up. I think you have to really look at who is your ideal client. Who

are you trying to attract? If you are on LinkedIn, you’re trying to attract a different crowd than

what you’ll probably find on Instagram, or Pinterest, or Tic Tok, or Facebook. Those all have a

different feel to it and different clientele. So if you are an ice cream shop and you’ve got music

going on, you’ve got certain culture or whatever, they’re trying to attract the audience. They

need to be who they are. They need to be authentic. They need to be transparent. But they also

need to be respectful of their audience.

Karl: [00:30:17] I’m also curious, just comment and maybe Rico as well. When you interact with

people online in a lot of your publications, in your content out there, have you found examples of

people doing it really well? Can you give us an example where you saw people blend those

different personas well online?

Lisa: [00:30:42] I can’t think of one person that comes to mind right now, but here’s what I see

as a trend. It’s people who are sharing their expertise. They’re generous and they’re humble. So

they’re out there, they’re being servant leaders. They understand what their customers need.

They’re very generous with it because they believe in the law of reciprocity. You know, if I give

to you and I’m giving freely, and it’s this valuable, imagine what you’re going to get if you pay to

work with me. I mean, that’s the message that they’re sending. So I think that is a great lesson

for all of us, is we are here to serve in our businesses. We’re here to serve our clients and one

way to attract clients is to let them see what you’re about. Let them experience you before they

pay you anything. I think that would be a good model to follow.

Karl: [00:31:41] That would probably be about 1% of politicians by my guess.

Lisa: [00:31:45] Yes. They don’t fall into that trend very easily.

Karl: [00:31:52] That’s fabulous advice. Well, I’d like to, if folks wanted to get in touch with you

and learn more about just marketing and ways that they could improve for themselves, what are

some ways folks can get in touch with you?

Lisa: [00:32:06] Yeah, absolutely. So I am on LinkedIn. It’s Lisa McGuire. I’m also

Lisa@LisaMcGuire.com. And they can also call 678-520-7660.

Karl: [00:32:26] Well, as we’re getting into fall and you’re starting to get busy with helping clients

grow. Are there anything you have coming up or what do you have coming up over the next

quarter? What are your plans?

Lisa: [00:32:36] Yeah, so I’m really excited. I am a StoryBrand certified guide, so I’m affiliated

with the StoryBrand company and they have a sector of their business called Business Made

Simple, BusinessMadeSimple.com. And so, it is a series of online courses. They really propose

it’s the same thing as an MBA only we’re going to save you $50,000 from that MBA. It’s a one

year subscription or when you’re licensed for $275. And they have courses on creating your

mission, marketing message, productivity, communication, scaling your business. So I am being

certified as one of their Business Made Simple coaches. So right now I’m in the process of

clients, coaching clients, or really business growth advising is what I do. I think there’s a lot of

coaches out there. And a lot of coaches end up being cheerleaders. This is not the case. I really

believe on providing frameworks and valuable tools that we can help make a difference in your

business grow. Whether it’s in revenue, whether it’s in culture, whether it’s just the business

owner growing as a business leader and becoming more proficient in what they do.

Karl: [00:33:50] Oh, that’s fabulous. As you mentioned when we started, a lot of people get into

business to do what they love and that’s their operational expertise and they started making

money there. I think the lesson is to transform or to grow into becoming a true sustainable

long-lasting business, you’ve got to evolve. And so the other pieces in the tool belt that you’ve

got to build is some financial smarts, some marketing smarts, how to recruit people, some HR

smart to really become a fully well-rounded business leader. And if there’s a way for them to get

it without spending $50,000 and taking a year or two off to get an MBA. I think that’s a good ROI

on investment. So thank you for sharing that.

Lisa: [00:34:36] Absolutely, yeah. Thank you so much.

Karl: [00:34:41] I want to thank Lisa McGuire, who is a business growth advisor and a marketing

consultant with Open Window Marketing. Thank you for your insights for sharing your

experience and to help every business owner figuring out little nuggets of things they can do to

improve their business. I’m Karl Barham with Transworld Business Advisors of Atlanta

Peachtree, and we are going to continue to help business owners post this shutdown period of

the pandemic. Figure out their best way to grow their business, improve. We can do that by

helping them to franchise their business. We can do that by helping them to acquire their

business. And for those that are ready to relax on a beach somewhere, we can help them find a

buyer and help them get their business sold. So you can reach me at KBarham@TWorld.com

or you can visit us on our website at www.TWorld.com/AtlantaPeachtree. Hey Rico, why don’t

you tell us what you’ve got coming up.

Rico: [00:35:39] Sure. First, I want to tell people that I totally enjoy talking to Karl off-camera

because I learn a lot from Karl, okay? I own my own business or businesses and, invaluable

insight from Karl and along with our other guests. I mean, Lisa has some good, great, valuable

insight here. And you know, we’ve done what, 40 of these?

Karl: [00:36:00] We’re up to 47. We’re going to hit 50 soon.

Rico: [00:36:06] There’s a ton of sage advice out there that we’ve learned. So I’m always happy

to be on a show like this, where we get more because I’m constantly learning. I own my own

business marketing, MightyRockets.com and everyone that watches this show knows that. We

publish Peachtree Corners Magazine which is coming out again every six weeks we sort of wrap

ourselves around the next issue and we put this out six times a year. So the next issue is

coming out around the first week of October. And we’re going to have great backyard retreats.

We’re profiling five local backyards that we feel are exceptional for a variety of reasons. So

we’re doing that. We’re doing a pets and their people give away, and that’s going to be a pull out

in the next issue as well. And we’re going to have probably get 4 or 5,000 pictures of people and

their pets that have been submitting. So we have this contest going right now. So if you haven’t

entered, go to our Facebook page or to our website, enter it. All you have to do is submit a

picture of you and your pet. And, you know, tell us a little bit about you all. And then we’re going

to pick three winners at the end of that. So we’re doing that. We’re doing a bunch of other

stories within that publication. It’s going to be chock-full things as it usually is. And you know, I’m

still working with clients as well, doing some of their marketing online content and stuff. So if you

need to reach me and you want to be able to do some of that work and you need someone to

do it, MightyRockets.com is the place to go. LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com is the place to find

the magazine and our family of podcasts. And I just launched the CapitalistSage.com website

just to begin exhibits. So it’s shallow on content right now. We’re adding all the podcasts that

we’re doing, that we’ve done. So you’ll find some of that there. We’re going to be adding over

the next few weeks. So check that out, leave your name and email address. And certainly you’ll

be reached back out to it again.

Karl: [00:38:09] And if I can, I want to spark an idea in honor of the theme of today, marketing. I

think you’re still accepting ads. If somebody would like to do ads for the magazine, you can

reach out for that? So for people in Peachtree Corners surrounding area, if you want to increase

your visibility, traditional marketing methods also still work. But you can reach out to Lisa to help

you with your messaging and Rico, if you’d like to have an ad added.

Rico: [00:38:38] So if you do, our deadline is, well our deadline is September 22nd for the print

magazine for the October, November issue. But you know, we come out six times a year. Plus, I

mean, it’s not just print. You get exposure in a variety of places, you know, online on our

Facebook page on Instagram, on Twitter, on LinkedIn. So if you’re an advertiser with us and

you have that type of package, we’re providing some of that online as well.

Karl: [00:39:05] So if you didn’t get the message, post pandemic, your customers have changed.

You need to talk to them. So take advantage. Thank you everybody for joining us today on the

Capitalist Sage podcast, you’ll find us on all of your streaming channels. iTunes, Spreaker,

iHeartRadio, on YouTube, on Facebook. Just go and explore Capitalist Sage. And, you know,

pick up something, apply it, and we’ll be happy to continue to give you great episodes. Thank

you.

Continue Reading

Business

The Pharmacy Business and People’s Access to Prescriptions During COVD-19 [Podcast]

Published

on

Peachtree Pharm

How did one pharmacy owner navigate COVID-19 and still provide access to medicine for their clients? Dr. April Hang, owner of Peachtree Pharmacy joins Karl Barham and Rico Figliolini on the Capitalist Sage.

Phone Number: (678) 691-9079
Address: 5270 Peachtree Parkway, Peachtree Corners, GA 30092
Website: https://www.peachtreerx.com/
Social Media: @PeachtreePharmacy

Timestamp, where is the podcast to find these topics:
[00:00:30] – Intro
[00:02:33] – About Dr. April Hang
[00:04:21] – What Makes Peachtree Pharmacy Different
[00:06:09] – Business Impact of COVID
[00:11:52] – Getting into the Pharmacy Business
[00:16:02] – Dealing with Insurance
[00:17:01] – The Future of Pharmacy
[00:27:53] – Balancing Business and Home Life
[00:28:37] – Closing

We (work) for local patients and that way, you know, we can manage and keep that close
relationship as if they’re a family. Make sure everything’s okay.”

April Hang

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 he is the publisher of Peachtree Corners Magazine. Hey Rico.

Rico: [00:00:47] Hey Karl, great to be here. We might as well jump right into it and I’ll tell you
about our lead sponsor for the show, for the family of podcasts. And that lead sponsor is
Hargray Fiber. They are a large Southeast company involved in fiber optic cable, internet
connectivity. Don’t think of the cable guy because they’re not that. They’re a company that’s
right in the communities that they serve and providing variety of services, including that
connectivity to your team that’s out in the field teleworking. They provide it whether you’re a
small business or you’re an enterprise sized business. And they provide tools like smart office
that can keep your team working, both whether they’re in office or they’re out there at home,
wherever they are working for you and getting sales done and getting work done. So check
them out HargrayFiber.com or Hargray.com/Business, and find out how you can get your
thousand dollar gift card, visa gift card from them once you get involved with the company. So
we want to thank them for being our sponsor.

Karl: [00:01:51] It’s funny how so many people are operating from home, learning from home.
And so having great internet and fiber optics is super critical. So thank you for Hargray Fiber for
supporting us. Today I am honored to have Dr. April Hang who is the owner of Peachtree
Pharmacy right here in Peachtree Corners and Gwinnett County, Georgia. We’re gonna
continue on our series, talking with small business owners about navigating through 2020, the
pandemic and all the things that have been happening in our community. Dr. Hang, how are you
doing today?

Dr. Hang: [00:02:27] I’m good. Thank you for having me on the show. I appreciate and feel
honored to be here.

Karl: [00:02:33] Well, I’m just happy to have you. And the fact that you’re in the medical health
field of operating a business here is really important considering what this year has been like.
Why don’t you start off by introducing, tell us a little bit about yourself and why you got into
pharmacy career.

Dr. Hang: [00:02:52] Well, I worked at CVS as a high school student. And I saw the pharmacist
and you know, it intrigued me to see these crazy names and what they treat. So I just kept
wanting to learn more. Then I got into pharmacy school at Virginia Commonwealth University
and graduated in 2002. We moved to Atlanta in 2009, when my second child was born and I
continued working for CVS and when I was pregnant with my third child in 2011, that’s when I
said, okay, I’m just going to open my own business because I’m just tired of all the red tape.

Karl: [00:03:37] I could imagine so many people go through that same journey in opening their
business. What made you choose this area to open it and what do you find, what do you find
that you like most about being your own business owner?

Dr. Hang: [00:03:50] I actually got into business so I can have more time for the kids and more
flexibility. So I wanted to be able to have a stable income and have the flexibility to be there for
the kids. So it’s, you know, I knew initially it was going to be more time consuming, but then, you
know, as time passes it’s, you know, it’s a lot better now.

Karl: [00:04:12] Yeah, no, I appreciate that. Are your kids here locally? How many kids do you
have?

Dr. Hang: [00:04:18] I have three children.

Karl: [00:04:21] Very good. Well, it’s so cool to be part of the community that you’re in. So you’re
operating you live in the community as part of that. Often people aren’t as familiar with some of
the independent pharmacy. I wonder if you could share with us some of the things that make
your pharmacies different than some of the chains like CVS, Walgreens and others.

Dr. Hang: [00:04:42] We compound at Peachtree Pharmacy, which is the biggest difference,
which is making customized medications for you or your pets or animals that you have. A lot of
the compounding we do right now is hormone replacement therapy and vet meds. So that’s one
main difference. We also do blister packaging, which I’m sure you guys have heard that Pillpack
was bought by Amazon and they’re trying to do blister packaging. We do that for local patients
and that way, you know, we can manage and keep that close relationship as if they’re a family.
Make sure everything’s okay, put in the right time position of their blister packs. So I don’t know
if you’re familiar with what I’m talking about.

Karl: [00:05:30] No, I am a little bit, but it’d be interesting. Have you seen more need recently for
being able to provide that more customized service to your customers?

Dr. Hang: [00:05:45] It really depends on where they’re living. If they’re in a personal care home,
then they, it’s mandatory that they get blister packaging. If you’re still living at home, it’s a
personal choice to have that convenience. So you’re not filling your medicine tray yourself. So
that’s an advantage that we have.

Karl: [00:06:09] Excellent. Well, I’m curious to ask you a little bit about this year and when the
news of the pandemic started coming out. When did you first hear about it? And did you think it
was going to have an impact on your business initially?

Dr. Hang: [00:06:27] I actually did have an impact as far as PPP goes at the beginning. We had
a program where it would upload things onto Google saying we had certain things like M95
masks. So we had a lot of questions about M95 masks and, you know, hand sanitizers and
things like that initially. We also have increased deliveries now since the COVID and then
patients are asking me to go outside and give them their flu shots in their cars so they don’t
have to come in and interact.

Karl: [00:07:07] So, since this all started, where did your, probably your physical center in the
central service, did you close down at any point during?

Dr. Hang: [00:07:17] We did not. We just put procedures in place. Started requiring masks, just
following the CDC guidelines. There were people that, you know, embraced it and there are, of
course, people that are not embracing it or they’re against wearing masks.

Karl: [00:07:33] So now that it’s kind of normalized to some degree, if you want to call it that, are
there changes you’ve made in your business that because of this, that you’ve implemented,
that’s had an impact either on your employees or your customers?

Dr. Hang: [00:07:51] I don’t really feel like that it’s been impacted much. I mean, we did, like I
said, put up the plexiglass and made social distancing and one entrance and one exit. But as far
as the business goes, it’s been pretty stable. You know, depending on what’s coming out in the
news about COVID, sometimes they would say something about azithromycin so then all of a
sudden there’ll be a back order of that because it gets in the news or Plaquenil. You know, just
certain things, whatever the news says and all the physicians, they try to write for themselves,
you know, write for their families.

Rico: [00:08:40] As far as supply chain goes, were you finding yourself in need of certain
medicines or in short supply of certain things besides the masks and stuff like that.

Dr. Hang: [00:08:51] I know there was a shortage on Plaquenil for a while and azithromycin
because that’s the main two things they’re using to treat in the hospitals. But I think it’s
normalized now so we can compound it. I do have the powder where we can actually make the
Plaquenil in capsules.

Karl: [00:09:13] It’s going to ask for those, what are those used for? What are the treatments
for?

Dr. Hang: [00:09:18] Azithromycin is an antibiotic. And then the Plaquenil is for like auto immune
usually like lupus. And this type of inflammation, auto immune diseases.

Rico: [00:09:33] So most medications, most prescriptions that have been coming to you, though,
you’ve been able to fill and all that? Pain medications, other things along those lines.

Dr. Hang: [00:09:43] Right, right. Yes.

Karl: [00:09:46] So I’m curious as you follow what’s happening with vaccines and some of the
treatments and therapies coming out, how do you prepare your pharmacy for an anticipated
demand when different drugs are, you know, getting approved or being, how do you manage
that process? What information and sources do you use to know what you need to have in
stock?

Dr. Hang: [00:10:12] We just follow the CDC guidelines. So whatever comes out, we try to follow
that. As far as like sources of medications or vaccines, everything is pending, so there’s no
nothing really credible out there. So I can’t really comment on it.

Karl: [00:10:30] It got it. Testing. Do you get involved with the testing that they’ve been talking
about?

Dr. Hang: [00:10:36] We do not test at the pharmacy. There’s a little bit of fear with the staff, so
we don’t test. You know, they have small babies and families or their parents live with them. So,
you know, they have their, their personal consent, so I don’t enforce it. But I just make sure they
let the patients know where they can go and get access. I know that, you know, I have a contact
that can come out. They have a mobile bus and they’ll do both the nasal swab and the serology
test. And the difference is one tells you, you have it. And one tells you, if you had it.

Rico: [00:11:17] So antibodies you’re talking about or is that something else?

Dr. Hang: [00:11:19] Right. Correct.

Rico: [00:11:21] And there’s a place that does that here in Peachtree Corners even?

Dr. Hang: [00:11:25] Well, I can, I mean, I’m trying to get them to come out on, the mobile bus.
It’s actually with Dr. Heavenly Kimes and her husband, Dr. Damon Kimes. So, and yeah, they
are local and they’re reality TV people as well.

Rico: [00:11:44] We are in the reality show ourselves, right.

Karl: [00:11:52] This whole year feels like it’s been part of a reality show. For young people out
there that are thinking about businesses and careers to go with, what are some of the reasons
people might go into pharmacy, either owning or becoming a pharmacist?

Dr. Hang: [00:12:10] There’s so many different parts to the industry that people don’t know
about. There’s working for pharmacy manufacturers and you can be a medical science liaison
between, you know, the public or the hospitals and the pharmaceutical company. There’s PBMs,
pharmacy benefit management organizations that handle your insurance and tell you what
you’re going to pay for or not pay for. You can work for those companies. You can work for
wholesalers as pharmacists. The hospital, obviously, different areas of the hospital. And then
there’s something called closed door pharmacy, where they deam a list of packaging just for
senior facilities. There’s a lot of different avenues.

Karl: [00:12:56] What’s a good way for folks to get started if they wanted. If I was a young
person or if you were advising younger folks, high school, college, what are some things they
can do to start getting experience, to see if it’s a right fit for them?

Dr. Hang: [00:13:09] I know personally for me, we have students come in and ask to volunteer,
but there are some state regulations where you have to be minimum age 18 to actually be in the
pharmacy. You have to register with the state just to be a pharmacy technician. And once
you’re registered, then you can come behind the counter and kind of shadow and learn. You
know, I would just recommend finding a local independent pharmacy that would take, you know,
take you as a student or as a shadow.

Karl: [00:13:44] How was the prospect in the industry? Is there a shortage? Is there excess?
Trying to find people, has it been difficult?

Dr. Hang: [00:13:54] It’s actually excess in pharmacists at this time. So, you know, jobs are a
little bit harder to find. You know, people are graduating and then the salaries are going down
because of the abundance of pharmacies schools letting out students.

Karl: [00:14:11] What do you think drove that? Is driving that?

Dr. Hang: [00:14:15] When I went to pharmacy school, there was a shortage. So as time went
on, more schools opened up and you know, they started producing more students. And now it’s
just an overabundance of pharmacists.

Rico: [00:14:31] Do you think that, if someone wants to get into the business, right? The
pharmacy business, it’s intensive, I’m sure, investment to get into it. Besides you need someone
that’s licensed to do it.

Dr. Hang: [00:14:43] Right.

Rico: [00:14:44] Does it have to be owner licensed to be able to get into this business?

Dr. Hang: [00:14:48] No. You don’t have to be a pharmacist to be an owner of a pharmacy.
Rico: [00:14:54] Okay. And you’ve bee, I mean, Peachtree Pharmacy has been around for how
long has it been now?

Dr. Hang: [00:15:00] Six years now, since I opened the store.

Rico: [00:15:03] Remember we used to go to CVS and there was some issues about getting
how CVS handles certain types of medications and inventory. Unlike retail, they do not track
their inventory and they can’t even let you know they have certain things unless you come into
the store to ask them. So this is one reason we decided to come to Peachtree Pharmacy
because, it’s just we felt that we were talking to someone closer. More assistant. And it was just
a better experience. No drive-through, but that’s okay. You have to be aggravated with…

Dr. Hang: [00:15:40] Well, we come outside. Even though we don’t have a drive through, I’ve
been outside to bring people their prescriptions.

Rico: [00:15:49] And you guys deliver too.

Dr. Hang: [00:15:50] Yes. If it’s a parent and your child is sleeping in the back they’ll say, bring
my medicine outside. Like of course, no problem. So yeah.

Karl: [00:16:02] Well, what’s something about the business of pharmacy, that most people
wouldn’t know, realize about it. Is there anything that could make it surprising to folks?

Dr. Hang: [00:16:13] I think that the amount of time we actually spend on the phone with the
insurances, trying to get you your medicine is the most challenging thing. Just because a
physician writes for something doesn’t mean your insurance is going to pay for it. So then that
becomes an issue. It could be two, three days before you get your meditation. You’re just
coming out of the hospital and you might rebound and go back into the hospital so you had your
medication? So there’s, it’s just insurance is making everybody’s life hell.

Rico: [00:16:45] Yeah, and some of them will cover the generic, but not the brand right? And
some people want the brand versus the generic because they feel maybe the brand works
better, right?

Dr. Hang: [00:16:56] Right. But you’re not allowed to have that choice with insurances.

Karl: [00:17:01] So you managed to keep track. So now that 2020 is kind of continuing, I’m
curious about looking forward to the future. Do you see things that you can do differently or, as
you go into the future with your business?

Dr. Hang: [00:17:19] I think I learned, since a couple of years ago, I had a senior coming in my
store, this is somebody’s grandmother, somebody’s aunt, sister, cousin, you know. And she
handed me a prescription for marijuana. And it said a ratio of 1 to 30. And it’s one dropper at
that time for dementia. And I didn’t know how to help her. And I felt so bad when I can’t help
someone, I feel really awful. So, I got on the phone. Put her son on the phone who was in
California and he was really upset and he’s like, where can I send her to get this? She really
needs, it helps her stay at home by herself, it helps her with her daily activities or activities of
daily living and things like that. And I was like, all I could do was apologize and say I don’t have
an answer for you because we’re in the Bible belt. You’re out in California. It’s different.
Karl: [00:18:27] So, what is, are you able to, provide CBD or medical marijuana here in
Georgia?
Dr. Hang: [00:18:35] Medical marijuana is not accessible. CBD is very accessible anywhere and
you can get it from gas stations, to the smoke shops and, Peachtree pharmacy. You have to
educate yourself. You have to understand what the effects are. It can interact with your
medications, you know. Depending on how much you use, there’s the risk of having a positive
drug test. So it’s just, you have to be able to educate your patients on the proper use.
Karl: [00:19:14] Where would folks would go to learn more about that? Like, let’s get educated
on some of the benefits. What treatments for that? Is that a conversation with the physician?
Are there online sources for information?
Dr. Hang: [00:19:28] Honestly, I am on this thing right now where I want to educate other health
care professionals about it. Because most of them don’t really know. I mean, there’s so much
out there. There’s a DNA test you can do to let you know what ratio is best for what condition.
So they have that for, you know, general, big pharma medications, but they also have it for the
CBD and PAC as well.
Karl: [00:19:55] So does the doctor have to write a script for that or is that something people can
come in and get without a prescription from a doctor?
Dr. Hang: [00:20:05] They can come in and get it at Peachtree pharmacy. It’s just a, it’s actually
a cheek swab and it’s from a company called Endocanna out in California, Los Angeles. And so,
kind of met them at a conference and kind of partnered up. Because I wanted to be able to offer
a kind of service for all the patients not just big pharma meds. But offer, you know, all the
benefits of CBD that’s emerging on market right now.
Rico: [00:20:36] And April, you’ve been involved with some of the politicians in the area too,
right. Lobbying, but so bunch of legislative work. So who have you been working with and how
is that going?
Dr. Hang: [00:20:49] I actually am not officially a lobbyist. I’m officially a constituent. So when I
go there, I’m going for me personally, as a pharmacist and not representing any company. But
you know, the intentions I have to help people. So when they were talking about access to
medical marijuana, I did speak and say, you know, you have to have pharmacists involved,
make sure that they review everybody’s meds because there are drug interactions. And, you
know, they don’t teach you that in pharmacy school. All the knowledge I have, it’s stuff I’ve read
or just learned about.
Rico: [00:21:28] Really? They don’t teach you about it?
Dr. Hang: [00:21:31] They don’t teach you about Marijuana in pharmacy school.
Karl: [00:21:37] Not in the classroom. So what types of treatments or things that people are
coming in for CBD and similar?
Dr. Hang: [00:21:53] We have like this CBD oil. I don’t know if you can see.
Rico: [00:21:59] Is that peach?
Dr. Hang: [00:22:01] Yes. It’s peach relief CBD oil that we sell. We have capsules, we have
topicals. We have dog treats, you know. And soon to come we’ll have get goodies products in
the store.
Karl: [00:22:15] What types of conditions does it help with? What types of patients would find
this helpful?
Dr. Hang: [00:22:22] Honestly, any patient. With headaches, depression, anxiety, sleep
deprivation, you know, anything.
Rico: [00:22:33] And you said you do that, you say you do that DNA swab, and that’s supposed
to help with that ratio of medicine that you’re able to apply right?
Dr. Hang: [00:22:46] Right. So in a perfect world where I see the future going is that, you’ll have
this DNA tests and then you have to have more customized medication that works for you
based of your genetics. So you know what your body can process and not process. Because if
you don’t have the enzymes to get rid of the drug in your body, it is the beneficial test. But this
DNA tests are very expensive.
Rico: [00:23:17] Yeah. I don’t think most people realize that. Yeah, most people, if I’m not
incorrect, don’t realize that medicine even antibiotics or mainstream medicine that people hear
about only work on a percentage of people. They’re not, you know, people assume that they’re a
hundred percent effective, but no medicine is that way. And they’re usually, probably only 80%
effective.
Dr. Hang: [00:23:38] Right, right. And your body can only absorb so much. So like on CBD oil, if
you take or consume any kind of CBD product, you only absorb 6%. And I don’t know where I
read that, but that number is in my head.
Karl: [00:23:56] Does it matter, like, you know, proportionate to the size of the person or is it just
their genetics in there.
Dr. Hang: [00:24:02] It’s their genetics, like you have in your body, what they call the
endocannabinoid system. And so that’s CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors. So CB1 receptors is
your central nervous system. And that’s where THC, that’s where the THC usually binds. And
that’s why you have the psychoactive effects. However, with the CB2 receptors, that’s more on
the peripheral, the body and the organs. So if you have some kind of inflammation, they’ll help
you and kind of get back to normal and get to homeostasis.
Karl: [00:24:38] Wow. Well I know there’s been a lot of different folks that are providing that. You
mentioned gas stations and so on and…
Dr. Hang: [00:24:47] Right.
Karl: [00:24:48] Do you know if they’re doing anything to kind of gain greater control because
there could be contamination. There could be, you don’t know what the source is, is some of the
risk that I’ve heard about. Can you tell me a little bit about some of the risk factors of procuring it
in the wrong place?
Dr. Hang: [00:25:06] Well, there’s a lot of mislabeling. I know like if you have a CBD product and
you’re not sure that it says what it says on the bottle, you can actually send it to Georgia
extracts and they’ll test it at UGA and Athens and let you know what’s inside.
Rico: [00:25:27] Because this is not prescribed or anything. There’s no FDA approvals, there’s
no Georgia State quality control of it?
Dr. Hang: [00:25:37] There is the farm bill and that’s just with the hemp flour. But I honestly
haven’t read the entire farm bill, so I couldn’t comment too much on. But I know it’s to help
regulate the actual growing agriculture, like keeping pesticides out of it.
Rico: [00:25:53] Right. Do you see, April, do you see whether, if marijuana becomes legal in the
state of Georgia, at least medicinally legal, if not recreationally legal, do you see that as
something that Peachtree Pharm would be selling? That, you know, alongside the CBD oil and
stuff?
Dr. Hang: [00:26:17] It’s actually in the bill HV324, and you know, when, when the state gets the
infrastructure set up, there’ll be sold at certain specific pharmacies and how they decide that will
happen after they set up the infrastructure for access.
Rico: [00:26:37] Well, so every pharmacy or just certain pharmacies?
Dr. Hang: [00:26:41] My understanding, it’s going to be certain pharmacies. They’re right now,
they just hired an executive director to create the infrastructure for oil. And so once that gets set
up and people start applying and they start growing, while they’re doing the cultivating, they’re
going to decide or the pharmacy is going to decide. Okay who, which pharmacies?
Karl: [00:27:10] I mean, if you look into the future, how big can that industry you think get? I see,
I hear a lot of different, you know, ideas around a widespread, people might use it for all
different applications. Have you thought about how big that could be and how it might impact
your business?
Dr. Hang: [00:27:33] Honestly, it would help people get off their medications. So I mean, if
people would learn a little more about it, they can probably reduce their medications. But they
have to make sure, you know, the doctor knows. The doctor is educated or the pharmacist is
educated or the nurse.
Karl: [00:27:53] Well, I know as we look into the near future, people are being impacted because
kids being home and everything else. How are you balancing all of the demands on you?
Business, your family, have you figured out things to help you manage through this strange
year?
Dr. Hang: [00:28:13] I mean, I, you know, I’m lucky and I have a supportive family. I have my
parents living with me and then my husband is very supportive. So, you know, I’ve been lucky.
I’ve been able to, you know, go back and forth and stay home if I need to. So I’m just home
more. I miss going to the movies.
Karl: [00:28:37] Yeah, I think we all do, but when I hear that they’re starting to open up in some
locations and getting back. But between that, sports being thrown off schedule, I don’t know
what part of the year we’re in sometimes based on all of that. Well, I want to thank you so much
for joining and talking a little bit about, you know, the impacts of the pandemic on your business.
Help educate us a little bit about CBD oil and the alternatives that are available. More than
anything, I consider you and your staff are frontline, first responders. People needed help and
through this year, they needed to get their medications and it’s small business owners like
yourself that I’ve done just a great job of keeping people well as best they can. So if you haven’t
been thought, thank you from one of your clients. I like to do that for that. Well, how would folks
reach out? Why don’t you tell us your address and how they can find you social media phone
number? Just if you want to reach out and learn more.
Dr. Hang: [00:29:55] Our phone number is (678) 691-9079. Our website is
www.PeachTreeRX.com. We’re also on Facebook, under @PeachtreePharmacy, and also
Instagram.
Karl: [00:30:13] And what’s your address and where would we find you here in Peachtree
Corners?
Dr. Hang: [00:30:18] It’s 5270 Peachtree Parkway where the new Lidl that just opened up in that
shopping center.
Karl: [00:30:26] Well, absolutely while we definitely encourage folks to take a visit to Dr. Hang
and her staff, and, you know, just want to thank you again for being on our show today.
Dr. Hang: [00:30:36] Thank you, I appreciate it.
Karl: [00:30:38] You’re welcome and stay safe please. Well, I’d like to just segue into what we
have coming up. We’ve got more of discussions as we talk about the end of 2020. We’re going
to have some podcasts talking about, you know, what do you do now as you’re getting to the
end of the year to grow your business. And so stay tuned, follow us on all of our different
channels. I’m Karl Barham with Transworld Business Advisors of Atlanta Peachtree. Both myself
and the rest of the folks on my team, we help talk to business owners, help them figure out how
to improve and grow their business, whether it’s through acquisition or for those that are ready
to do something else, how to exit their business. Feel free to reach out to us online
www.TWorld.com/AtlantaPeachtree, or you can email me at KBarham@TWorld.com. Rico, why
don’t you tell us about what you have coming up?
Rico: [00:31:41] Sure. We’re working on the next issue of Peachtree Corners magazine. And
we’ve got a strong set of stories, hopefully coming in there. We’re actually doing a pet and their
people issue as well. So we have a giveaway that just started running today and 3 winners,
$700 in prizes. Submit a picture of yourself and your pet, and you’ll probably get into the
Peachtree Corners Magazines next pull out in the next issue. Plus, we’re doing the story about
backyard retreats, you know, everyone’s home there during COVID-19. So if you have a fire pit,
you have a beautiful backyard, we’re checking out five of them in Peachtree Corners and we’ll
share where those are and what they look like. And we’re asking 50 people almost, we’re
asking everyone actually and hopefully we’ll get 50 of them, about what they’re thankful for this
year. Besides, you know, we’re thankful for family and friends, for sure. But what also are we
thankful for during these times. So we want to find that out. Remember, this is the October,
November issue. So we’re doing Halloween and Thanksgiving. Yeah, so that’ll be fun. So we’re
working on that. So if you guys want to check out the last issue, which April was part of that last
issue, she was one of several people we profiled when it came to diversity in our community.
You can find that online at LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com. Follow us on
@PeachtreeCornersLife, the Facebook page, where we’re doing these podcasts from. Our
YouTube channel you should subscribe to that as well, because this way you can get alerts
when we go live there and when there’s more videos posted there as well. And you know, I do
work with a lot of different companies handling their social media, video production, whether it’s
product videos or other types of production work, and obviously producing podcasts as well. So
you can check me out at MightyRockets.com for that, or find me on LinkedIn or Google my
name because there aren’t that many people called Rico Figliolini. You can find me anywhere.
Karl: [00:33:39] Well, thank you for all that you do. And please do check out the magazine
online. There might be some still out there to pickup if you haven’t and just keep up with what’s
going on in the community and get to meet and learn the folks that make up your community.
Thank you again, Dr. Hang for joining us today. Everyone have a great day.
Rico: [00:34:01] Thank you.

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