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Capitalist Sage: MARTA and Business, with Eric Christ and Paige Havens



MARTA Referendum How it Works for Business hosts Karl Barham and Rico Figliolini having a conversation with Eric Christ and Paige Havens looking for their Sage advice and perspective.

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What Can Businesses Gain from a Chamber Membership? [Podcast]



Local business chambers are important facets of any thriving community. On today’s episode of The Capitalist Sage, Karl and Rico are joined by Steve Dorough, President and chief executive officer of First Community Development and founding member of the Southwest Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce. Steve has years of experience working with nonprofit organizations to help them with developing their dreams and helping them transform their plans into reality. Together Karl, Rico and Steve discuss the value that local chambers bring to business owners and the entire community.


FCD Website: https://fcdusa.com
Steve’s Email: SDorough@FCDUSA.com
FCD Office Number: (678) 906-4081


[00:00:30] – Intro
[00:02:18] – About Steve and FCD
[00:04:20] – Importance of Chambers of
[00:00:30] – Intro
[00:02:18] – About Steve and FCD
[00:04:20] – Importance of Chambers of Commerce
[00:09:41] – Helping Small Business Owners
[00:13:47] – Gaining Leadership Skills
[00:16:32] – Voices in the Community
[00:19:45] – Changing Times and Challenges
[00:27:45] – Helping Young Business Leaders
[00:35:54] – The Future of Southwest Gwinnett
[00:40:12] – Get in Touch with Steve
[00:41:26] – Closing

Podcast Transcript:

[00:00:30] Karl: 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 co-host is Rico Figliolini with Mighty Rockets, Digital Marketing, and he’s also the publisher of the Peachtree Corners Magazine. Rico, how are you doing today?

[00:00:49] Rico: Hey, Karl. Great, beautiful day outside today.

[00:00:52] Karl: It is, it is. Spring is here and we’ve got another great podcast today, but why don’t you introduce our sponsor for today?

[00:01:00] Rico: Sure. I want to introduce our sponsor, first time within the publication, EV Remodeling. It’s a home remodeling contractor. Eliad actually owns the business and lives in Peachtree Corners, great community member. So I want to thank him for becoming a corporate sponsor with Peachtree Corners Magazine and the family of podcasts that we do. So go ahead and visit them online at EVRemodelingInc.Com and tell him we sent you.

[00:01:29] Karl: Well, that is fabulous. I know a lot of people have been doing and will continue to do remodeling on their homes. So it’s great to have a new sponsor for the family of podcasts. W ell today it is my pleasure and honor to introduce Stephen Dorough, president and chief executive officer of First Community Development and also a member of the Southwest Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce. FCD as it’s known, works with nonprofit organizations throughout the Southeast and helps them with developing their dreams and helping them transform their plans into reality. So today we want to chat with Steve about local business chambers and the value that they bring to the business owners and the communities in general. Steve, how’re you doing today?

[00:02:15] Steve: I’m well. How are you Karl?

[00:02:18] Karl: Doing fabulous. I only gave a short introduction of all the many things that you’ve done to serve the community and in your professional career. Why don’t you tell everyone a little bit about what you do now and a little bit about yourself and how you got here.

[00:02:31] Steve: Sure. I’m born and raised over in Birmingham, Alabama. We moved to Atlanta about 30 years ago. My wife, Kim and I, and we have five kids between us, none together. And four of the five kids live here in the Atlanta area. My daughter and her family are in Homewood, which is a suburb south of Birmingham. And we have eight grandkids. So, we have been blessed to say the least. And we’re enjoying Peachtree Corners. As I said, we’ve lived here 30 years now and started the company, First Community Development back in 1994. So we do strategic planning, feasibility analysis, and we manage million dollar and up fundraising campaigns for what we describe as corporate driven nonprofits in the Southeast nine states. So that would include chambers of commerce, economic development authorities, downtown revitalization groups. Occasionally we’ll do education, fundraising, and cultural and performing arts. We have projects right now in Georgia and over in Mississippi. We just raised $15 million to help build the Mississippi aquarium down in Gulf Port. And we also raised $15 million over in Walton County to build their first YMCA in Walton. So it’s a fun business. It’s something that I’ve enjoyed doing now for, gee whiz, over 35 years. And we thoroughly enjoy helping communities kind of realize their dreams, transform their vision into reality.

[00:04:20] Karl: You are one of the key cogs in this movement that’s happened over the last probably 25, 30 years where you’re seeing downtowns and economic development happening in cities. If you go back to, when you said 1994 when you started, Atlanta, Metro Atlanta was a very different city back then. That was pre-Olympics, if I’m not mistaken. And the growth that’s happened in all of the suburbs around, has really transformed a life where everyone used to commute in Downtown, Midtown and all of this industry and living is developed outside has taken off here. I’m curious in your experience, what role have you seen local chambers of commerce as they popped up, play in their communities?

[00:05:08] Steve: Yeah, a local chamber of commerce is a great opportunity for business owners and business leaders to collaborate, to share their collective vision for a community. It’s a great opportunity for them to let their voice be heard. Obviously there’s strength in numbers and the Gwinnett Chamber is a great example of that. They’ve done a magnificent job over the decades in creating a sense of ownership, as far as the businesses here in Gwinnett County are concerned and giving them a forum from which they can plan and strategize and impact their local communities. So it’s, a chamber is it’s only as good as its membership, I guess we’ve all heard that. But the reality is that a local chamber is an opportunity for business leaders, business owners, to think outside their own businesses. To think more in terms of a community wide vision and initiative. So a number of great projects have been spawned through local chambers of commerce. And we’re pleased to have a chamber here in the Peachtree Corners, Norcross area called the Southwest Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce.

[00:06:39] Karl: It is. I mean, right now, when you think about legacies we are celebrating, actually this evening, 10 years of the Southwest Gwinnett Chamber. And you were here when it began. Can you tell us a little bit about how did it come about? What were the thought processes? What was the vision for creating this chamber, when there was a Gwinnett chamber and a Fulton and many others? What was in the thought process of those founders when they created the Southwest Gwinnett Chamber?

[00:07:07] Steve: As I mentioned a moment ago, 10 years ago, we certainly had the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce and they were doing a fantastic business up in the north part of the county at Sugarloaf. And I began to talk with some of my friends over in the city of Norcross, Peachtree Corners, had not yet been organized as a city. We were at the time a part of a unincorporated Gwinnett County. But a number of us began to chat about the need for a business organization down here in Southwest Gwinnett. The Gwinnett chamber at the time had 2,500, 3,000, business members but they didn’t have a significant presence here in Southwest Gwinnett. And my experience through my company, working with hundreds of chambers of commerce around the Southeast is that that local chamber is critically needed. One chamber cannot represent, oh gosh, 40,000 businesses in Gwinnett county. As I just shared, it only represented about six or 7% of all of the businesses in the county 10 years ago. So I said, why don’t we organize? Why don’t we establish our own chamber of commerce down here in Southwest Gwinnett? There was some resistance. As you can imagine, some of the municipalities here were staunchly aligned with the Gwinnett Chamber and they said, we don’t need our own chamber of commerce. We’ve got a great chamber of commerce up in the north part of the county. And I said, I totally agree. But we need our own local chamber and we can certainly collaborate, cooperate, partner, if you will, with the Gwinnett Chamber. But let’s establish our own chamber here in Southwest Gwinnett and so I found 20 good men and women who agreed with me and they became the founding board of the first Southwest Gwinnett chamber. And we were officially incorporated in 2012. In fact, this month in March of 2012. And we had our inaugural meeting of the chamber over at Atlanta, Northeast Hilton, and a big banquet lunch and meeting and we were off and running.

[00:09:41] Karl: I find it interesting, when you look at chambers and for small business owners to look at it in a couple of different dimensions. 3 in particular. What is it for the small local business owners being affiliated, whether members are getting involved in their chamber. The guy that owns a pizza shop or the local business in this community, how have you seen over your time it helped those types of community members?

[00:10:08] Steve: Yeah, the good chambers of commerce are focused on what they can do to help their corporate members succeed. I think that first and foremost is what a chamber can and should do. That should be the chamber’s mission. They can accomplish that Karl a number of ways. Certainly there’s the networking aspect and our Southwest Gwinnett chamber has a, every Friday morning, over at the Atlanta Tech Park location where the chamber is headquartered they have a coffee. And they invite both their chamber members, but also nonmembers to come over about 8:30 in the morning and sit down together for a cup of coffee. The coffee is free, the conversation is free and you have an opportunity to meet with 25 or 30 or 35 other business leaders and owners here in the area. Talk about your product or service, learn about other’s products and services, and have the opportunity to network. Secondly, I think, as I mentioned earlier, a chamber is a place where you can make your voice heard. And that was important to me, when we founded the chamber. That small businesses are the backbone of every economy. It isn’t the big businesses. It isn’t the one to make the headlines in the newspaper. No, it’s the mom and pop businesses. They represent easily 85%, 90% of the economy in every community where they’re located. So having a chamber of commerce here in Peachtree Corners, Norcross, Berkeley Lake, those were the three communities that we had served with the Southwest Gwinnett chamber. To reach out to them and say, come join this chamber and your voice will be heard. We will certainly support you in terms of things that you’re trying to accomplish here. We’ll also defend you against things in our community that may thwart your business success. So, being a part of an organization that’s larger than just your individual business, having the opportunity to market your product or service through networking, making sure that your voice is heard throughout the community and on any particular issue with which you are supporting or combating. And then finally the opportunity to give back. We’re all blessed to live in an economy such as the one we have here in Gwinnett County and Metro Atlanta. So a chamber of commerce is an opportunity for you as a business leader, as a business owner, to give something back to your community through the chamber. So I think those are the primary ways. There’s the leadership aspect as well. Early going with the Southwest Gwinnett chamber, we offered courses in corporate leadership. So if you had an employee or a second or a third in command at your shop that you wanted him or her to have the opportunity to gain some leadership expertise, the chamber hosted a number of leadership programs over the early years to give local business owners and managers the opportunity to extend, expand, enhance their leadership skills.

[00:13:47] Karl: You’re hitting on a theme there that I think is important to note. For example, in that leadership training and professional development, there are some things that are better done as a collective than trying to do individually. And that’s a great example. If each small business owner hired managers and so on and wanted to upskill them in leadership, it probably gets cost prohibitive individually to get training and find it. But a local chamber can offer professional development in the form of leadership and others where it’s close to that community, that local Southwest Norcross. People could go after work, they can go during work and get back quickly. Upskill them where individually they couldn’t do that.

[00:14:33] Steve: Absolutely. The course that we taught was called the leadership challenge. It was a very popular course out in California. We did the math. If you as a business owner had two or three employees that you wanted to involve in a program like that you would pay somewhere in the four to $5,000 range to have those three employees participate in the program out of California. Having the Southwest Gwinnett chamber kind of purchase the rights to the program to be able to teach it here locally, we were able to charge I think it was just $800 for the full program. So you can see the cost savings involved. But again, we would have Karl, 20, 25 members in the class, each time we taught it. And there was another opportunity for them to network to get to know one another better over the eight or nine or ten sessions that we had once a week, same night of the week. Betsy Pickrin, from the chamber, and I co taught the class and it was, it was amazing. It was wonderful to see a group of people like that who wanted to expand their skillset to be better leaders. We taught things like modeling the way and feeling for your employees. Being the kind of leader that you would want to follow. We had some young people in the class, we had some older people in the class. It was a great mentoring opportunity and a great relational opportunity as well. So I’m proud of the chamber for having the initiative to put something like that together. It was Betsy Pickrin’s idea at the time. And she did a wonderful job in organizing and engaging folks here in the greater Peachtree Corners, Norcross, Berkeley Lake area, Southwest Gwinnett for the leadership challenge.

[00:16:32] Karl: I think you highlighted something great with Betsy and my first exposure to the chamber was through Betsy at our morning coffee in Atlanta Bread Company. At the time I walked in after a workout, I was picking up something and I saw a bunch of people meeting with, and a lady with a big Southwest Gwinnett shirt on, red shirt. And I walked over and I asked what was going on. And she started chatting with me and invited me to join and become involved. And I think what you’re highlighting there is the ability for folks to connect with other business leaders and exchange ideas and form friendships and bond. I always say being a business owner sometimes can be very lonely. You can’t talk to your employees about everything. Sometimes your spouse doesn’t want to hear about what’s going on. Versus when you’re in a large corporation, you go to coffee or lunch with your colleagues. A lot of business owners don’t have that. And the chamber serves as a vehicle, a platform to form those connections. To talk about marketing strategies, and HR strategies, and different ways. Because people need someone to talk to and get advice from. You also highlighted another one. That having a voice in the community. Can you give an example of ways that the Southwest Gwinnett chamber helped have a voice, bring a voice to business owners in the community?

[00:17:59] Steve: Yeah, we certainly, from time to time, we’ll get contacted by one of our chamber members who may be struggling with an issue involving zoning, involving infrastructure like sewer or water or electricity. Not getting the right power to their businesses, that sort of thing. And again, the chamber of commerce is a business collective. It’s a cooperative. It’s the opportunity for you and others to bring your issues, bring your obstacles, bring your impediments to a chamber of commerce and then allow the chamber to speak on your behalf at a local city council. At the Gwinnett County commission, other organizations in the community. So we’ve certainly had those kinds of opportunities over the last 10 years. And I was a part of some of the studies where we reached out to a local organization or to a local government to try to right a wrong that was somehow impeding, not necessarily one of our members. Though, I think the members were the ones who brought the issue to the chamber to begin with. But also to represent other businesses who are not chamber members, who are not having the clear opportunities to succeed because of a regulation, of an ordinance, a tax, or something like that, that a city or a county was trying to impose in the area. And so that’s another reason to have a business organization, like a chamber of commerce, especially in the local community. And I think the Southwest Gwinnett chamber has done its very best to represent its business constituents.

[00:19:45] Rico: Do you, Steve, do you find in the course of time, things change a little bit, right? Types of companies, some more high-tech, more service oriented versus product oriented, younger people coming into the fray. As well as actually those that were downsized during COVID maybe even, starting their own businesses. Do you find anything different, any special challenges chambers face or that chambers have found that they can provide solutions for new challenges that these particular groups of people face?

[00:20:20] Steve: Yeah. You make a great point, Rico. Obviously over the last couple of years, the entire business landscape has completely turned over. Things that we were doing back in 2019 seem completely foreign to us now. I think we’re always going to have virtual conversations, virtual meetings like this. I was on two calls this morning they were both video calls. I’m going to get to go to a business lunch in one of the communities we serve tomorrow and I’m excited for the opportunity to be face to face with some of our clients for a change. So yeah, we’re going, and every good chamber of commerce has to reinvent itself regularly or it’s going to grow stale. And very quickly it’s going to cease to serve the current needs and interests of its membership. So if anything, a chamber of commerce should be on the cutting edge. They should be leading the way in terms of this type of metamorphosis and technology overturn. Very early in my career living in Birmingham right out of college, I went to a small liberal arts college, birmingham Southern college, which is a United Methodist church supported. I was going to be a Methodist minister when I graduated from college. I changed my mind, decided I wasn’t a good fit for the pulpit when I was a junior in college for a number of reasons. But the only job that was available to me when I graduated was working for First United Methodist church in downtown Birmingham. So I was the full-time youth director at First Methodist church for three and a half years. The very next job that I took was to walk directly across the street to the Birmingham area chamber of commerce. And I worked there for the next five years as director of their membership. And the Birmingham chamber gave me an excellent introduction to how businesses should and should not be run. I learned so much as a 20 something year old in Birmingham, Alabama. And just watching all of our business leaders who came through that chamber, who served on the various committees and on the chamber board of directors. And I had the opportunity to staff a number of those committees as a chamber employee. So that when it was time for me to get my own business, I knew the type of business that I wanted to run based on what I’d seen others do. And so creating First Community Development back in 1994 was simply assembling all the pieces, all the parts that I had absorbed, that I had collected over the 20 something years of being in business. But more than that observing business. So a good chamber is able to help its businesses continue to morph to help its businesses continue to grow, to find areas that businesses need to understand as they adjust their business models to keep pace with the current economy. So the very best chambers are the ones that are not so much about winning awards or hosting big events, but they’re more about what can I do to help each of the individual businesses and industries that are members of our chamber or that reside in our communities be better, keep pace, succeed. Obviously if those businesses are succeeding, the old adage, a rising tide lifts all boats. So a good chamber of commerce is helping all of their business members to continue to succeed and raise the economy in their local community.

[00:24:47] Rico: Yeah, I agree. I think that companies that are involved in the chambers are able to support those companies well enough. The energy just from that, from the success of that. People willing to then come back to meetings, come back to events. Because it’s not just, like you said, it’s not just a party, right? Sometimes it’s learning, it’s a workshop. It’s being able to find out the little things like, how to make sure your, LinkedIn profile, your social media profiles are working for your business. Or cutting the tape, like you said. If there’s relationships within city governments that the chamber has. And a business person is opening a second location, but they need help because the red tape is choking them. Then maybe the chamber’s relationships thing can be able to help that. Yeah.

[00:25:33] Steve: Obviously Rico there’s strength in numbers in having a business organization that represents a a hundred, a hundred twenty five, a hundred and fifty businesses in the area. And that’s a very small chamber. I mentioned the Gwinnett chamber 2,500 plus members. So a very strong advocate for local business is one of the strengths of a vibrant and active and engaged chamber of commerce. So I think a chamber is certainly not the end all and be all, but I think a chamber is an important factor in any successful community. That they’re able to engage their business, their corporate leadership, but also give that voice the opportunity to be heard in local government, in regional government, in plans for the area and so forth. We’ve learned over the years that an elected official really ought to listen to their local business leadership because it’s that local business leadership that is the backbone of the economy in that community. And if a local elected leadership are going to do things that thwart their local business and industry, then it’s a recipe for disaster. And there are a lot of failed communities that if they were prudent, they could go back and say, you know, it started 20 years ago when we began to work against our local businesses. So that’s not happening here, and I’m excited about that. Peachtree Corners, the city of Norcross, are both strongly supportive of business and industry here. They get it. They understand the value of a good local retail and service oriented businesses, and they are willing to open their doors, open their committee’s open their visioning processes to include business leaders as a part of those communities and in councils.

[00:27:45] Karl: Steve, can I ask a question? So in a couple of hours, there’s going to be a big party in downtown Norcross at the Brunswick location for the tenth anniversary. And folks like yourself will be there and will meet some people. If a young businessperson, leader, I’m going to use the word leader, comes up to you in the community and he’s says, where do you see, based on your history, where do you see chambers like the Southwest Gwinnett need to go into the future? What wisdom would you impart to a young up and coming business leader?

[00:28:17] Steve: We started this chamber 10 years ago Karl, with the idea that we wanted to support small and medium sized businesses in Norcross, Peachtree Corners, and Berkeley lake. And I think the Southwest Gwinnett chamber has done exactly that. We can do more. I teach a Sunday school class at Simpsonwood United Methodist church and we talk about the fact that the church is full of sinners as it should be. And we’re all trying to do better each and every day. So it is with the Southwest Gwinnett chamber. Beth Coffee is our executive director over there, Marty Acef is our current chair woman. They’re doing a fantastic job of continuing to try to build this chamber to be all it can be for our community. So 10 years from now, I would say if you join the chamber today, 10 years from now, your business will be in a better place. You will be more knowledgeable of all the things that are going on around you. Hopefully you’ll be a better corporate leader as a result of mentoring with other corporate leaders through the chamber. I think there’s a great opportunity for us to be more engaged in our community, more focused inward as well as outward here in the Southwest Gwinnett corner of our county. So yeah, I think the Chamber’s in a great place. There are occasions that I’ve had the opportunity to sit in a chamber meeting here in the last several months. We have a First Friday breakfast every first Friday of every month. We have that Friday coffee on every other Friday morning during the month, except for first Friday. And Karl I’ve been able to sit in those meetings. And again as a Christian, I try real hard to monitor my sense of pride, but I’m proud as to where this chamber is, where it’s come over the last 10 years. I look around me in those meetings, and I think yep. This was the idea we had in mind. This is why we started our local chamber here.

[00:30:39] Karl: So one of the things that essentially I’ve been having conversations with folks when it comes to chambers, and if you read most literature on chamber of commerces, and most conventional wisdom people would think people join chambers to network. And the answer is to that, I think it’s very true. What I think people miss and may not appreciate it as much is one, as you started to mention about leadership development, I remember working in large corporations where when people were going for promotions they would have to talk about their achievements. They would have to talk about ways in which they’ve led. And if they’re an individual contributor in a company, they may not have had the opportunity to lead people in their company but they’re going for a promotion to do that. So the question we were trained to ask, other ways in which you’ve led. Whether it’s in your church, it could be in sports, it could be in the community. The chamber for those out there that may have their own company or even work for small, medium size, larger company. It’s a great way for individual leadership skills. You’re networking, you’re working on projects, you’re there collectively. You’re doing those things that people are looking for behaviors and evidence of before you get that promotion. So I’d say to all those companies in the Southwest Gwinett area, if you’ve got leaders in your company and you want to develop them it is a great avenue in partnership to help not only through formal professional development and opportunities to lead in activities. And I’ll point to a few, just to highlight the Gwinnett Chamber. You talked about making a difference and the impact they can have in the community. Sometimes it’s tough for companies on how to integrate with some of the great nonprofit schools, the different areas. The chamber has a long track history with vetted organizations that provide opportunities to mentor, lead, volunteer support. And the local high school Norcross, Wesleyan, Great Atlanta Christian, Cornerstone and others there are career nights and events that the chamber members are asked to participate in. If you think of junior achievement, which is a beautiful component of the education system here in Gwinnett and all around. The chamber volunteers at the local middle schools several times a year. And even more specifically there is right now, currently, if you go to the chamber website, there is a current campaign, for cell phone charger in hospital, partnering with Northside Hospitals. And when people are in there for extended stay and they need to charge their cell phone, there’s a station so the nurses don’t have to lose all their chargers and look for them after patients are going. And we’re partnering with them to raise some funds, to put those in North Side. One of our local members and hospitals to do that. So that’s where collective action really has an impact. And really you don’t get into that unless you’re engaged, you’re participating in the chamber.

[00:33:41] Steve: Yeah, I agree Karl. I think on a very basic level, the chamber is kind of a win-win, win-win situation. If you think about the fact that, if you’re a young businessman, business woman here in the Southwest Gwinnett area and you’re, you’re stuck in your business. I’m saying stuck loosely, but you’re nine to five or you’re in this day and time, your eight to six at the business. Here’s an opportunity for you to get out and see the rest of the community. Here’s an opportunity for you to get out and meet other business leaders, other business minded people, your business certainly gets a benefit from that. The business that you represent, their brand gets out into the greater community as a result of your participation. You personally have opportunities to grow as far as your experience, as far as your expertise, as far as your leadership is concerned by participating in an organization like the chamber. And then obviously it’s an opportunity for you to represent a business that may need its voice heard on a particular matter. And it gives you the opportunity to pursue some leadership roles in the chamber. If you want to serve on the board of the chamber, if someday you would like to be chairman of the chamber. Again, all of that is available through an organization like the Southwest Gwinnett Chamber. And I think people should take that opportunity. It’s not expensive. It’s a very reasonable membership fee, but at the same time, you get a wealth of knowledge and understanding, and experience, and expertise. And you’re giving back to the greater Southwest Gwinnett community in the process. So all of the things you mentioned are something that you probably would not experience if you were not a part of the chamber and didn’t have access to all of those kinds of opportunities.

[00:35:54] Karl: Absolutely. I’m curious Rico, as you’ve seen Peachtree Corners grow and evolve as a city and as a chamber, you’ve been here for all of the time, all the 10 years of both the chamber, as well as the city’s time here. I’m curious in like your perspective as someone that, I consider you someone that watches things around you and able to present it to people in creative ways. What do you see as the future for chambers in general, and Southwest in particular?

[00:36:25] Rico: Interesting, because I was just thinking about that the other day, as far as what is a chamber? What traditionally does a county chamber, business chamber do? Which is a grand thing they do, right? Because they’re lobbying state legislators as well as doing work in the county level, a little different right there. They’re bringing in businesses, their soliciting, they’re enticing businesses to relocate into a county. A little different, right? Southwest Gwinnett Chamber, I don’t see that way. So it has a different mission, like Steve has been saying. So I, it is challenging out there. Certainly in the last two years, I have seen different businesses have so many challenges. How to prospect, how to reach out to a customer base that normally would be reached out by phone or reached out in an office visit that couldn’t be done over the last two years, really for the most part. So how does a chamber evolve to be able to address some of those needs of their membership? Pretty much in the last two years, you know, looking to find direction on how to do these things. I think the networking part of that has helped more greatly than anything else, because I think that as you mentioned before, call us a collective. We can bounce ideas off each other or we find ideas that we didn’t know about. All of a sudden from a different member that has, is doing something, is reaching out in a different way. We’re all, think we’re the center of our own universe, but we don’t know everything. And it’s good to be able to find. I’ve found so many different ways to do business over the last two years that I never thought of before. And part of that came out of sharing information with you, Karl, and with a lot of the business leaders that we’ve met with. Just little kernels of things that you pick up. Things that I think we’ve all evolved and learned from. So it’s challenging. It will never end. There’s more challenges ahead of us. But I think if we’re working together and we’re willing to keep an open mind, I think that the chamber and these types of organizations like the business association, can provide a lot. You don’t have to Google these things or YouTube it. You can just go right through the chamber meeting and meet up with some friends. Good stuff there. Just have to dig for it, that’s all.

[00:38:44] Karl: Yeah. Especially as you think of millennials and other parts of generations coming in, I think morphing to find their platforms and how to communicate and engage with that demographic is going to be something that the chambers in the forefront are going to wrestle with and figure out. And all those home-based businesses and technology-based businesses, let’s listen to what they need, how it’s different? And how can we serve that portion that is growing in every city, every community around. Especially here in Peachtree Corners, we’ve got Atlanta Tech Park, we’ve got the whole Curiosity Lab. These tech businesses are coming fast and furious and chambers have got to learn how to embrace that type of business as well and provide value there as well. Well, Steve, I want to thank you so much. Let me reintroduce Stephen Dorough, who is the president and chief executive officer of First Community Development, and one of the founders of the Southwest Gwinnett Chamber. I want to thank you personally, and for the community, for the service that you did. It’s hard to create a thing and to start it. And I think you were one of the right leaders to do that based on your experience. And I hope you could take some pride, humble pride in what it has evolved in over ten years. And more importantly, what it’s going to do over the next ten. So thank you. Thank you for your service and sharing your insight on the chamber.

[00:40:11] Steve: My pleasure.

[00:40:12] Karl: One thing Steve I want to ask is if someone wanted to reach out to you, what is the best way to get in contact, to learn more about First Community Development and, or just meet you for a cup of coffee.

[00:40:23] Steve: Sure. Reach me at SDorough, and that’s spelled just as you see it on the screen. S D O R O U G H @ F as in Frank, C as in cat, D as in dog, USA dot com. SDorough@FCDUSA.com and our office number is (678) 906-4081.

[00:40:52] Karl: Excellent. Thank you so much. Anything you got planned over the next, let’s say five hours. You want to share with everybody?

[00:41:02] Steve: We’re looking forward to the 10th anniversary party for the chamber tonight. And that’ll be a nice affair and we’re looking forward to participating in that. Other than that, I think two of our granddaughters are coming over and spend the night with us tomorrow night. We’re looking forward to that. This is a great time of the year, to Rico’s point, we all need to get outside and enjoy this nice weather.

[00:41:25] Rico: Yeah.

[00:41:26] Karl: Absolutely. Thank you so much for joining. I’m Karl Barham with Transworld Business Advisors of Atlanta Peachtree. Our business is working with local business owners, whether they’re looking to improve their business, whether they’re looking to grow their business, especially through acquisition or when they’re ready to exit their business to go on to do other things. You can schedule a consultation at K Barham, that’s K B A R H A M @TWorld.com. Or visit our website at www.TWorld.com/AtlantaPeachtree. There is a business valuation calculator on there. You put in information, get an idea what your business is worth, and also a special tool for those looking to become their own boss. We call it buyer match. You can go in there put in information of the type of business you’re looking for, and you will get a whole series of opportunities. Not only here in the Metro Atlanta area, across the country, businesses that might be the right thing for you. So you can then become a member of a local chamber and help to grow your business and your community. Rico, what have you got going on?

[00:42:36] Rico: Sure. Well, before we get into that, I just want to give a plug for you actually, because I’ve learned a lot over the years from you, Karl. I’ve learned a lot about preparing my business for exit, if I want to get there. How to grow the business, what to be looking for when hiring for this business. I mean, just shooting, just even just talking and shooting ideas off you. I mean, it’s just been, it it’s been a good, two, three, actually going on four years, maybe? It’s been four years almost, right. So a lot. So people should check you out because they can learn quite a bit more. And if they continue watching these podcasts, like Steve here. I mean, there’s a lot of good knowledge coming out of these podcasts. As far as what I’m doing, we’re working on the next issue. So it doesn’t stop, right? Peachtree Corners Magazine, we’re putting that to bed by the end of the month. We have faces of Peachtree Corners, is our main feature. So we picked out twenty people that are faces of Peachtree Corners. Different age groups, different experiences to just to give their mini profiles about who they are and just some of the people that make up this community. Plus we’re covering stuff like the purchase of the Forum on Peachtree Parkway. So that just closed last Friday, we’re putting together an article. We’re interviewing one of the owners of North Atlanta Properties today I think. And we’re going to be putting that article out shortly. We’re covering stuff more so than ever before, online at LivinginPeachtreeCorners.com. So if you want to find out what’s going on in the city, certainly feel free to, you know, sign up for that. As far as other work Peachtree Corners Magazine is just one of what we’re doing. We’re launching Southwest Gwinnett Magazine in about another month or so. That’ll be out in the beginning of May. So that’ll be covering Southwest Gwinnett area. Peachtree Corners, Norcross and Burkley Lake, parts of Duluth, unincorporated Gwinnett County. So that’ll be a bimonthly also. So that’s alternating between Peachtree Corners Magazine and Southwest on different months. So a lot going on there and by the way, if you need social media content. If you need online management of your content or your social media or your brand work. You can reach out to me. My company’s Mighty Rockets. I’ll certainly be able to speak to you about that and follow Capitalist Sage. The Instagram handle that we have along with Peachtree Corners Life on Instagram as well. When you find out all sorts of things going on.

[00:44:57] Karl: Wow, that sounds fabulous. Well, thank you Rico for your service as well. And putting out this great information and, and being a great member of the community. We need all these different types of creative minds and influences to build a strong community. And if you watch the news and you see what’s going on, Southwest Gwinnett is the place to be. Norcross, peachtree Corner, Berkeley Lake and surrounding areas is on fire. And so I’m looking forward to celebrating some of that tonight with everybody. Thank you again for joining the Capitalist Sage, and then continue to follow us on all of our social media and platform links. And we look forward to chatting with you again in the future. Take care, everyone.

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How to negotiate and what to look for before signing a retail or commercial lease



One aspect of real estate that is supercritical to business owners is leasing. Here to talk about the ins and outs of leasing is Mario Mireles, Principal of CLR Real Estate Management. Mario has years of experience working with landlords, tenants, negotiating, and creating leases that are win-wins for both sides. On this episode of the Capitalist Sage, Karl Barham, Rico Figliolini and Mario discuss tips for working with commercial leases, what to look out for in the fine print, and much more.


Mario’s Email: Mario.Mireles4@gmail.com
Mario on LinkedIn


[00:00:30] – Intro
[00:03:18] – About Mario
[00:04:24] – The Business of a Landlord
[00:07:14] – What Affects Vacancies
[00:09:32] – Creating a Third Place
[00:12:53] – Choosing the Right Space
[00:16:53] – What to Pay Attention to in a Lease
[00:19:42] – Negotiating Different Leases
[00:27:04] – Identifying Risks
[00:33:02] – Lease Renewals
[00:39:49] – Closing

“The two things to consider is, get a business plan. And then decide, or really do your homework in terms of who your co-tenants are. Is there a merchandising plan? Look at the occupancy in that shopping center, is it 50% leased?… Once you’ve answered those questions or to the best of your ability, then you begin to ask rent questions… And we all know this, whether you’re buying a house, whether you’re buying a car, don’t fall in love with any location.”

Mario Mireles

Podcast Transcript

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

[00:00:48] Rico: Hey, Karl. Good, how are you?

[00:00:50] Karl: Doing great. Spring looks like it’s here. It’s a beautiful day outside and I’m excited to talk about our topic today, but let’s start off with our sponsors for today’s episode.

[00:01:02] Rico: Sure. So the sponsor of all these podcasts is Peachtree Corners Magazine. We just came out with our latest, Best-Of issue that was a reader survey. Had over 1900 respondents to that. So it was a great survey. I think it’s a great issue actually. We’re right now, working on our next issue. So there’s a lot more to come. You should check that issue out probably in about another, I think it’s going to be another six weeks or so, it’ll be out there. But otherwise go to LivinginPeachtreeCorners.com. We are doing a lot more online articles and content. Talking about local stories here and our last one that just got uploaded this morning is about the Pedestrian Bridge that was just re-colored in the city of Peachtree Corners to Ukrainian colors of the flag. So we have some interviews with some local Ukrainian people and you can find that online this afternoon actually.

[00:01:51] Karl: Awesome. Great, great content and just also keep aware of events that are happening, everything that’s going on locally visit the website and check out the magazine. So great job again, Rico. I got a few good recommendations from it. So we’ve been trying some new businesses here locally that we hadn’t known about before. So, great time to support local businesses and meet some of the other members of our community. Well today, we’re going to talk about one aspect of real estate that is super critical to most business owners and that’s talking about leases. And today it is my pleasure to welcome our guest Mario Mireles. He is the Principal of CLR Real Estate Management. With years of experience, both working with landlords and working with tenants and negotiating, creating leases that are win-wins and successes for both sides. And today we’re going to discuss tips for working with the commercial leases for small businesses. Anyone that’s been a small business owner with a brick and mortar location or an office or industrial knows that working with landlord leases can be challenging. And so today we’re going to talk a little bit about some things that you can consider, think about, and do whether you’re going for your first lease for a new location and, or renewing a lease at a current location. So, Mario, thank you so much for joining us today.

[00:03:15] Mario: Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here guys.

[00:03:18] Karl: Why don’t we start off with, just tell a little bit about you and some of the stuff you’ve done in your career to assist both small business owners and tenants in the commercial leasing world.

[00:03:28] Mario: Overarching, I’ve been in the commercial real estate industry since last century, I like to say. And primarily started working in the enclosed regional mall space. As everyone knows, that’s changed significantly with what’s going on in the retail world, especially in the last 10 to 15 years, pandemic aside. But in that process, I’ve also worked in grocery anchored real estate, open air centers, some high rise office commercial business district, office buildings, as well. And in as much as landlords all want to deal with national tenants, large, big boxes or small spaces, whether it’s in a grocery anchored center and franchises as well. Really, the lifeblood of these shopping centers is the small business. So I’m glad to share some tips and discuss some of that with you today.

[00:04:24] Karl: Oh, excellent. Well, let’s jump right into it. And maybe for folks that are sitting kind of on the outside, can you share with us kind of the business model of the typical landlord for a commercial space. Let’s say like a strip center or something like the Forum where there’s a group, a couple of anchors, and a group of small. How is it that they make money? What are they thinking about when they’re setting up that business?

[00:04:51] Mario: Well, those are two different asset classes, so starting with the small, I’m going to call it the grocery anchored business, which are plentiful around Peachtree Corners. The landlord will first and foremost attract an anchor, and typically that anchor in a grocery anchored business is grocery anchored, of course. And many, many brands come to mind for that. I’m not going to call it a loss leader, but of course the landlord is giving a lot away in terms in lease and cost per square foot for something that’s going to drive the business. What keeps that shopping center afloat are the small shops. So certainly there may be a demand for the UPS store or the Papa John’s pizza, or those type. But then the rest of it has got to be filled by the local florist, the local tailor, the nail salon, and so forth. So that’s what drives the income stream for the landlord. Now they all have different reasons as to how they’re going to operate that in the long-term. By that I mean, are they a build and hold developer? Do they purchase the property because it’s value add? Meaning they’re going to increase the rents, increase the occupancy, or are they going to flip it? Do a couple of things to it, throw some paint on it, fill it with short-term deals. Or are they going to refinance? The way we do our residential homes. After a period of years, there’s some equity in it. They’ll refinance, and they’ll use that cash to go build another shopping center or purchase another shopping center. The Forums and the open air centers are an entirely different beast. Certainly the underpinnings of the business model are the same but on a much larger scale. And you absolutely need more national tenants, or what we call credit tenants to fill those spaces. So whether, the Forum in particular, whether it’s Belk or Home Goods. Pottery Barn comes to mind, some fast casual restaurants, Chipotle, Jason’s. Those all help drive traffic, but you really need to back fill it with some strong, local tenants. And of course there’s all the other moving pieces, right? Occupancy, rent, location, ease of parking, types of uses, and so forth. But that’s generally what is going on. And again, it depends on the landlord’s business model. Is this a core property they’re going to keep? Or is it something that they’re looking to turn over? Are they looking to fill it and refinance to make improvements, and so forth.

[00:07:14] Karl: So I’m curious to just explore a little bit on some of those retail spaces. If you drive around outside the perimeter Atlanta, in various areas from Alpharetta, Peachtree Corners, Norcross, you will see a lot of plazas that have what would be considered a higher number of vacancies than traditionally. Can you share what’s been happening in the market or in the economy that’s driving what appear a lay person, more vacancies and how is it impacting landlords in particular?

[00:07:47] Mario: Interesting question. I think that the pandemic stands out. The last 24 months, 23 months in clock ticking, have certainly affected occupancy for both anchor-less shopping centers, that is just strip centers with a bunch of small shops in it. Or centers with an anchor in it as well. And for the large open air properties, whether you’re an open air property like the Forum or the mall. And the occupancies are a direct result of foot traffic, a direct result of sales. There’s no other way to put it. And landlords, in many cases, if they have the resources have bent over backwards trying to adjust rents. I’m not saying give away and reduce rents. What they do is they take those rents and they move them to the end of the term. So if they reduce your rent 50%, they take that 50% reduction and add it onto your last couple of years, or they extend the lease by a couple of years. But you’ve gotta be a credit worthy tenant with a good track record to get that. And ultimately, that leads to vacancy sometimes because there’s no negotiation and the tenant falls behind. There’s just no way that they can survive. The last piece, Karl, is that retail has consolidated tremendously and you can look a little bit at online and how that’s been a disruptor. But that along with the pandemic, along with a lot of small businesses that are, it’s capital intensive and they don’t have a lot to fall back on. Landlords and whether or not they have the opportunity or whether their lenders are screaming, not allowing them to reduce rents. All of those things, and I know I’ve said a lot, affect the occupancy in any kind of shopping center.

[00:09:32] Rico: Let me ask you something on the, I know you’ve worked with Phipps Plaza, Atlantic Station. You were general manager of those places some years back, along the Perimeter mall, North Point as a regional person. I’m thinking particularly, Phipps Plaza, Lennox mall rather, they are filled to a degree. They have people going to it. Now, there is density around that type of mall. An open air like here, there’s no density, right? Not really, you know, when you think about it. A lot of single family homes and stuff, the demographic doesn’t quite fill. Does that affect the retail? Because I’m seeing more of the Halcyon’s, more of the places where you have multi-use. You have retail that is surrounded by apartments. Do you see more of that happening to these types of places?

[00:10:21] Mario: I do. And to kind of backtrack on your first comments, I would argue that while there is the potential and has been density. When I was running Phipps, twenty-five or 30% of Fortune 500 companies were represented in that Buckhead market. So daytime traffic was literally a hundred thousand people, 200,000 people that that place would grow by. Weekends because they had a critical mass of terrific retailers, a whole different time when I was there, that created a constant cycle the fed itself. The best retailers, daytime density, hotels, a center of commerce and so forth. But as things have changed, you know, traffic is an impediment sometimes to success, right? You can be too successful. Too dense, right? So you end up, in those situations, with also customer preferences changing a little bit in terms of, how many teen stores do you really need in an enclosed mall? How many shoe stores, how much urban wear and so forth. And it just, the list kind of goes on and retailers have been slow to adapt in that sense. And it’s been a tough 20 years. If you think back 15 years ago, when the bottom fell out in the recession, the great recession, that caused retailers growth plans to cave and rents fell down and so forth. You recover from that and the world is changing a little bit with online retailing, then the pandemic hit. So retailers haven’t been quite as nimble, in that way to recover. And to your point on the Halcyons of the world, or even Avalon and so forth. A lot of these cities realized that a third place, and that’s something that I’m stealing from some of my peers in the business. Creating a third place, first where you live, second where you work, third where you play. That’s your third place and where can you do that? Well, Avalon successfully did that. They’ve tried to create, the same developers tried to create the same thing down on I think, 14th and Peachtree at Collins Square in the middle of a, that’s very dense. But Halcyon, they want people to go spend time and be entertained. So you’ve got dining, you’ve got entertainment in the form of theater, you’ve got green space. The only thing that people complain about first and foremost is parking. Because they, you know, that can be a sign of way too much success too quickly. But all that being said, Rico, that’s what they’re looking for. And these cities want to keep you from traveling, you and I, to keep our dollars local and that’s what they’re all working for.

[00:12:53] Karl: So let’s build off of that for the small business owners. Let’s say I’m a small business owner and I’m trying to make a really critical decision. Now let’s say I’m a retail type business where foot traffic matters in my business. What would you advise me to consider when trying to decide to be in, what might be a more expensive location with what the anchors and the foot traffic versus some of the secondary strip mall that may not have the same level of foot traffic? How much impact on my revenue can that have? What’s, give me a range. Do you have a range or is there a way I can think about that to help guide that decision?

[00:13:32] Mario: I think the first question that a lot of small businesses would ask me when they’d look at leasing in a grocery anchored or an enclosed mall would be, what’s the rent? My answer would be that ultimately turns out to be, it’s not a minute percentage, but depending on your sales is really, I would say, what are your sales goals? How much do you think you can do? Why do you think you can do $500,000 your first year? And if that’s the case, here’s what the rent for that space is. And, you know, you can argue a little bit, it’s like tipping your hand to the landlord, but you have to present a business plan. You can’t just say, okay, the rent is twenty-five dollars a square foot. Or twenty-five dollars all in including cam charges, insurance, marketing, and so forth. And my utility charges are X and my insurance charges are X and then say, okay, I need to do six times the rent, ten times the rent in order to be successful. There, there is a difference, but it all depends. Is it an anchored center? What’s the foot traffic? And I think the two things to consider is, get a business plan. And then decide, or really do your homework in terms of who your co-tenants are. Is there a merchandising plan? Look at the occupancy in that shopping center, is it 50% leased? I don’t care if they have a Publix. Or is it 80% leased and has perhaps an Ingles instead of a Publix. Those are all of the things. I think you and I spoke some time ago about, what kind of business. Is it a service business? Is it a fast casual food business? Is it going to compete within, you know, five minutes of another use that you have that’s similar. Is there a hole in the market? Once you’ve answered those questions or to the best of your ability, then you begin to ask rent questions. What’s it going to cost me to go into, A, B, or C shopping center. And the last thing, and we all know this guys, whether you’re buying a house, whether you’re buying the car. Don’t fall in love with any location. That I think is hard. Because the emotion starts to pull on you, because look at all these people. But they may not be the people who come on a Saturday and bring their couches in for reupholstering. Those are the, those are the kinds of things that you have to consider.

[00:15:56] Rico: You know what, that always bothers me when I see certain businesses in certain areas opening. And I think they choose to open in an area because the rent’s low. But the ir cupcakes are $5 a cupcake. And people may not go there for that $5 cupcake, because that’s not the demographic visiting that shopping center.

[00:16:16] Mario: Are these tenants impulse? Is your small business an impulse like a cupcake or a cookie? Or as I said, is it a service, is it a weekday service? I think it’s complex. It’s very difficult. And I’ll say this, I believe in small businesses. I believe in entrepreneurism. I believe in the American dream. I just think that it’s very, very difficult for people to separate the emotion related to the things I just talked about and wanting to be their own boss or wanting to sell widgets and making a business decision that’s the best for their use, their location, their potential sales.

[00:16:53] Karl: I’m wondering about kind of jumping into some of the nitty gritty of a new lease. What can you share with business owners when they’re looking to sign their first lease? What are some of the parts of the lease they should pay more attention to? What are some of the gotcha things that people may not expect that’s in typically people’s first lease?

[00:17:14] Mario: Certainly rent is first and foremost on people’s mind all the time. But there are so many other things. There’s what I call the business points in a lease and the boiler plate. The boiler plate talks about what your insurance coverages should be. And at what limits they should be. It talks about force majeure, which is a fancy way of saying, simplified version, act of God in a lease that no one could have anticipated. It talks about a number of things and basically what you have to do, when you have to be open, when you can close, what you can sell and so forth. And then there’s the business points, the rents, the additional charges, the opening date, which isn’t always as straight forward. It might say 90 days after possession. Well, when does possession start? There are discussions about rent increases. Overarching to that, my comments, read your lease, read your lease, read your lease. And there’s always tension. Business tension between a landlord and a tenant. It’s just the natural order of things. Find an expert in small business or someone who’s done it, or a trustworthy attorney, a business broker that you can work with and walk through these points. Back to your question, are there rent increases in the lease? Not just steps every couple, three years, but what if the shopping center expands and adds an anchor? Does your rent go up? It does typically, but a lot of owners gloss over it. What if that expansion is at the other end? And what if it’s an Auto Zone, auto store that they add on the property and your rent’s supposed to go by eight or 10%? How does that help you? There’s so many of those little wrinkles in there. I think there’s tenant responsibilities that go way before what to expect in the lease, but there are tenant responsibilities that a tenant should adhere to. Inspect the space, measure the space. Landlords don’t always have the perfect measurement. And what if you’re paying for fifteen extra square feet, for the seven years there. Look at utilities, mechanical. Typically in a grocery anchored shopping center, the HVAC unit is the responsibility of the tenant to maintain. Well, what if they’re giving you a ten year old unit? You just signed a 10 year lease, those things don’t last that long. There’s a lot that goes into all of those things.

[00:19:42] Karl: I know we can’t cover all the different topics, but I do know that types of leases come up. Ground leases, and triple net, and so on. One of the more common is a triple net lease, can you explain that to someone that may be being introduced into the typical type of lease they might see in a typical retail?

[00:20:02] Mario: You typically see that in a standalone property. A Walgreens, a Wendy’s type. And the tenant pays for everything on that property. That’s typically how it’s structured. And that as opposed to the landlord doing common area work and a number of other things, it’s a tenant’s responsibility and many landlords love that.

[00:20:25] Karl: For which one? Which type of lease is the tenant?

[00:20:27] Mario: Stand, what I would call your standalone leases. Your Walgreens stores, your Wendy’s locations, your fast food locations that are just standing there on their own parcel. They don’t own it. Those companies don’t want to own their real estate because it ties up a lot of their capital, but they are willing to lease it, and operate it, and go from there. And landlords love it, because it’s cashflow positive, in many respects.

[00:20:53] Rico: A lot of businesses around here in the city of Peachtree Corners, for example, especially with the new Town Center, those parcels are individually leased like you’re saying. And some of them can be sold, you know, and then you’d have a new landlord. What happens then?

[00:21:06] Mario: Right. Well, the landlord typically has to honor the lease. There’s no doubt about it. It goes like Karl was talking about at one point earlier in terms of, just as if a tenant is going to sell their business and assign it. They’ll work with the landlord and vice versa. If the landlord sells a to another landlord.

[00:21:22] Karl: What are some of the, you mentioned about the HVAC and just things that people are sometimes surprised on. Who’s typically responsible for like the HVAC unit for a particular space?

[00:21:34] Mario: It’s so interesting that I would think of this like death by a thousand cuts. A tenant can know the rent and they look at that statement and they go, look, my rent is 3,500 a month or 2,500 a month. It’s the other things that happen. You have a plumbing issue that is within the four walls. Anything within the four walls typically, it belongs to the tenant. So the HVAC unit, which is attached. Typically it’s in grocery anchored or open air centers, not the Avalon’s of the world generally. But these, they own their HVAC unit, a landlord installs it for the first tenant and then the landlord will make sure it runs for the first tenant. And after that they wipe their hands and they say, tenant you maintain it. Tenant, you take care of it. And if the second generation tenant in there gets a twelve-year-old unit in three years into their lease, that’s on the tenant to replace a five or ten ton unit that costs five to $10,000 or more in that way. Plumbing issues within the space, the hot water heater blows up, there’s electrical issue within the space. And it’s all within the four walls. That’s the tenant’s as well. So in some respects, you’re leasing the area, but it’s like a homeowner who has to take care of all of the niggling little things there.

[00:22:51] Rico: So any negotiation then has to happen before that lease signing. You know that the unit is 12 years old, you want to negotiate your responsibility out of it or a new one before you move in, I imagine. And even the electrical may have been, if it’s a 15 year old establishment, you may have new things coming in that’s going to draw a lot more electricity. So wouldn’t you negotiate that stuff ahead of time. Can you negotiate that? How easy is that, even?

[00:23:17] Mario: Well, you can ask for the moon Rico. I think that a tenant can ask the landlord for money to remodel. And the landlord may give it to you if it’s a use they need. And the landlord will say, okay, here’s twenty-five thousand dollars. You, tenant, have to put the money into the space. You have to give me a release of lien, meaning it’s paid for. And then I will give you back the $25,000. And this is where a lot of tenants fail, guys. They just don’t know to do this type of in-depth inspection on HVAC, on electrical, on the demand. Now the city will help to some degree because they have to get a building permit. They have to submit their plans and so forth, but there are horror stories related to, does the tenant fog a mirror and have a pulse? Okay, sign the lease. And next thing you know, the tenant’s saying, I didn’t know I had to have a permit. I was just going to knock down two walls.

[00:24:12] Rico: Yeah. And you don’t get to that stage until after you signed a lease.

[00:24:15] Mario: Absolutely right.

[00:24:17] Rico: You mentioned something before, I want to ask about also, just one quick thing on CAM. CAM is marketing dollars, that a?

[00:24:24] Mario: No, no, no. Common area maintenance.

[00:24:27] Rico: Okay.

[00:24:27] Mario: And in these shopping centers, again let’s do grocery anchored or the Forum or Town Center. The landlord will pay for all the exterior maintenance and the building envelope maintenance. So if they’re painting the outside, if they’re resurfacing the asphalt, electricity for lights in the common area, landscaping, snow removal, security. All of that is the landlord fronting the money and charging the tenant. And very quickly, the way it works is the landlord says, I need a million dollars to run this property. That comes out to $10, a square foot or $5 a square foot, depending on the size of the property. And they will bill $5 per year to that tenant. A thousand square foot tenant, $5,000 a year, we’ll call it 400 a month. And at the end of the year, if it costs them 1,000,001, they bill that a hundred thousand dollars back to the tenants to settle up. It’s basically a settlement. So, common area maintenance.

[00:25:27] Rico: So that was my other question. I know one of the retail places at one of these larger outdoor facilities was always complaining that every once in a while that CAM, that fee, was way more than was expected. And there was no cap you had to pay it. And that was the end of that. I mean, is that normal? That’s almost like a question mark. It could be anywhere.

[00:25:51] Mario: Well, I’m going to answer that three different ways. One, national tenants with leverage typically will negotiate a cap of an increase per year. 2%, 3% increase is all you can give me. So if you had a terrible snow year or electricity goes through the roof or their security needs better coverage, or you add shifts, okay. The local tenants don’t have that kind of leverage and they lack some sophistication and representation in that area, so they don’t negotiate a cap. At the same time, Rico, is the sky the limit? Not really. Because the landlord has to stay competitive against the competition. So if you’ve got even some regional players or you’ve got a lot of local people in your center, they start comparing notes. We all know what the houses in our neighborhood sell for, guys. And these tenants will start to do the same thing in terms of, I got a thousand dollar settlement bill, I got a $1,200 one. And the landlord has to make sure they’re managing that relationship. And they’re fiscally responsible because they’re competing down the street with the shopping center that’s anchored by the next best grocery store. So that’s the deal.

[00:27:04] Karl: I’m curious along on that a little bit more. There’s often time, and I’ve heard of a situation where a landlord notified a tenant that they had to do a major piece of construction on the space, for code reasons. They found something, but in effect it would take several months, more than a month to fix, and they would have to close down the business while this is being done. Now to lose an entire month or two of revenue while doing this. And to our understanding in the lease, the tenant would still be responsible for paying the lease rate while that was happening, just based on the base language of the lease. I think the point you’re making about reading your lease and understanding what you’re signing up to is a really important one. And leases could be 30, 40 pages with lots of terms and conditions that you may not be aware of. So having someone fluent in leases, both legally and commercially is really important to really understand where are the areas you can push on with the landlord or things that can help mitigate risk. And where are the things that you probably don’t have a good chance of renegotiating or taking out a lease. I’m wondering what are some of the practices you do for your clients to work with to help identify those risks better?

[00:28:29] Mario: On the front end?

[00:28:31] Karl: On the front end, before the lease is signed.

[00:28:33] Mario: Well, the first thing you said, and I had a note here or two that said in case of, let’s talk about a similar case. If you lease in a shopping center and there is a strong grocery anchored center and it’s 80% leased and then that grocery store closes to remodel for a year, that isn’t unusual. I went through that when I was in another company in Florida. They closed down a Publix store for one year. And what does that do to all of those tenants? Be it a florist or the pizza guy or the Asian restaurant. That you can try and anticipate as a small business tenant, a shoe repair business, whatever, and say, well, I’m willing to pay this rent. I’m willing to stay in this space, but if XYZ, fill in the blank. If the anchor closes and you can name it, or you can say the number of square foot close, if occupancy drops beneath 50%, then this is what these national tenants negotiate all the time. They’re able to say I’m going to 50% of my rent, and if it’s not fixed within 12 months, I can cancel my lease. So all of those options are open. It’s simply a matter again of sophistication, representation, and sticktoitiveness on the part of the tenant. In terms of why I said, don’t fall in love with any location. Now, if you happen to be in one of those spaces and you happen to find yourself in this situation, landlords want occupancy guys. It drives me a little crazy to read on that next door website, people saying that, oh, they raised the rent so high that, you know, the landlord’s rent, the landlord’s rent. That’s easily an assumption, but the truth is the landlord wants the occupancy. The landlord’s lender wants them to keep the occupancy. So any tenant should be able to approach a landlord and say, what can you do for me? You’re going to shut me down for a month. And I can’t afford the rent for that month. I can’t afford the loss of revenue. Can I just tack it onto the end? Can you increase my lease an extra month at the end of my lease? Can you spread that over the next 12 months? There’s a number of ways that you can deal with that type of situation. And lastly, there’s business interruption insurance too. And I think that that might qualify if the landlord has a code issue, and so forth. And the landlord’s not going to do the nice thing, right? And say, well, if you dig far enough in the lease. So again, it goes back to representation and knowledge.

[00:31:08] Karl: Let’s talk a little bit about some of the terms in the lease that could have a lot of impact on a business. The personal guarantee security at the beginning. Why do landlords ask for the personal guarantees and how is it that some tenants are able to negotiate that out of their lease?

[00:31:27] Mario: Every landlord is going to ask for that because, they’re asking for it if the business should fail, they don’t want to go after an empty shell of a company, an LLC or whatever you’ve incorporated as. There’s no assets there. It’s just shell. They want to be able to go after, and this is sad, but literally the personal belongings of a tenant. And I’ve worked for landlords that have done that. And they said, oh, you own a house. Oh, you have a 401k. And so any tenant worth their salt should not sign a personal guarantee. Or if they do sign it, they should sign it for the first year until they establish themselves with that landlord. And then it drops off. To kind of jump ahead, in an assignment situation, there’s language and leases that allow you to assign the lease and the landlord can’t reasonably withhold approval. But they also require the original lease holder to guarantee the lease for the balance of the term and so forth. And all those are negotiable. It’s just, they’re buried and difficult to understand in that way. So landlords want a guaranteed revenue stream and they want recourse in case the tenant fails. And I will tell you the churn rate of local businesses, and you guys know it really well, is very high in these grocery anchored centers. Restaurants, you know, have a very short shelf life, that aren’t well capitalized or have made a decision that didn’t work out in the market or just things in the market went sideways.

[00:33:02] Karl: So we talk about the next lease. Someone’s coming with a lease renewal coming up. Any advice for those folks on things that they want to look at? They’ve signed the first one, maybe they didn’t, you know, they weren’t as wise as they are now. What are some things that they should be looking for when they’re signing a new lease at the same location?

[00:33:23] Mario: I would hope a tenant would have kept a laundry list of concerns. That they would say, you know, there’s things that I’m concerned about. I’m getting, I think Rico mentioned that I’m getting this big bill. Is there a cap on my CAM? Am I always going to be hit with 3% increases when inflation isn’t quite 3% for that? What additional services am I getting? Are utilities going up? So that, they ought to look at. Putting a cap on CAM or some type of idea that they know what they’re going to anticipate. Every business wants to know what their expenses are going to be going forward to the best of their knowledge or that they can get. Karl, you and I spoke sometime ago about records, records, records, finances, finances, finances. You have to have your finances in order. Because when that renewal comes up, you really have to understand what your occupancy costs are. And occupancy costs are your rent and charges as a percentage of your total sales. That will help you understand in the anticipation of a renewal that you know you’re going to get additional rent costs. And you can, hopefully in that time have made relationships and network with people to begin to understand some of the more clauses, the difficult clauses in the lease on assignment and related to that. Here’s a simple one, you’ve been in the property five years. Your business is stable. Not great, but you’re making a living. And you realize there’s a new pylon sign out there. Negotiate a spot on the pylon sign. There’s never enough slots, but at renewal time is a perfect time to say landlord put me up there. I’ll pay for the little sign that says, you know, Mario shoe repair. And that will help visibility. And the landlord because again, they want occupancy. If you’ve performed well, all of that will go a long way. Another piece at renewal time, you can ask for dollars to remodel. Even if it’s 10 grand, a coat of paint, new light fixtures. Those are the kinds of things that a landlord will certainly help you with. But I would always have a plan B. Look for another location that may be suitable for you. That maybe you started looking 12 months before. I’m sorry if I go on and on, but all of this is coincidental to the fact that I’ve had two conversations with two long-term automotive repair shops in the market, just coincidentally. In one case the owners are getting older and I think, and I think we’re going to sell it. but we’re going to get a new landlord and we’re not sure what to do and so forth. And so I’ve kind of told them, I’d be glad to help them just look at the lease and see what it is they’re going to get. And the other case, not more than a week later, one guy has been in the space 30 years and they’re going to sell his parcel that he doesn’t own. He’s a tenant and he’s not sure where he’s going to go. And he’s just starting to look and they’re going to rezone it for apartments. And here, this guy has put his heart and soul into 30 years in the business. He didn’t own the garage, but he’s looking to move. And I offered, said, look, I, you know, I’m not a broker or anything like that, but I’m glad to just talk with you and walk you through some of these very points we’re talking about where you’re going and when.

[00:36:35] Karl: I think you’re hitting on something that, on a final point that I wanted to make clear to folks. In each of those scenarios, I see something common. And I don’t want to criticize, to call it a lack of planning, but every business owner should have two types of plans in their business. No matter how small, informal. I would call, what would be an annual plan. What do you think is going to happen this year? Expenses and revenues. And are you going to hire more people and so on. And that’s going to tell you what’s happening over about a six month to one year period of planning. And you should put it down on paper and you should hold yourself accountable to what that plan is. And if you don’t, if you’re not good at creating one, get someone to help you do it. It’ll help you create a north star direction for your business. But on the second plan should be a little bit longer range. Three to five year plan. And your comment around, rent versus own. Very often I’ll run into a business owner that’s looking to exit or retire, and they’ve been approached by the landlord several times to acquire the property. And they made the decision for whatever reason, good decision or bad decision, not to do it. But in the scenario that plays out when the owner sells it, now they have to deal with the move. This is a bigger problem that it creates a new location that they have to solve. So time horizon matters because if they know they may be retiring in the next three to five years, what they negotiate in a lease, could be very different than if they plan on being there for 30 years. So having that conversation upfront about, where do you see yourself three to five years? What are some of your goals for the business? Is really important before you sign your next lease. In another case with a business owner we chatted, they were thinking of retirement and we talked through various scenarios. And one of the scenarios was winding down the business and closing the doors. Not selling it, not trying to. And in that case, you don’t sign a new lease. You plan an exit that’s aligned with the timeline of your lease and you slowly, you ramp down the business. So at the end of the lease, you walk away, there are no obligations. The important thing is, is kind of coming up with that plan so you can do the right lease. What’s unfortunate is someone signs a five-year lease, they’re ready to retire in one year. And now they’ve got four years to wonder about, what to do with the lease that they just signed. So that planning discussion is something that’s really, really important.

[00:39:12] Mario: No doubt. I wish I would meet some of those folks and that’s one of the areas I’d like to help folks concentrate on going forward.

[00:39:21] Rico: Yeah, interesting that this conversation is a small piece of any business, right? But it affects the business so widely. Exit plans or even just getting into it, the commitment that you have to make and not understanding maybe where some of the hidden costs are. I’ve learned a lot just from this past 45 minutes with you Mario. Things that I didn’t realize, and some stuff that as we’re talking about it, I’m beginning to realize more. It could be a make or break thing now.

[00:39:49] Karl: It is super critical. And if you talk to anybody in my line of work, the landlord and the lease is always an important point of inspection when we first talk to business owners. Along with, what are you trying to do? And then each one may guide a very different set of decisions or things to work on, to set their business up for success in the future. Mario, I’d love to share, do you have a way of folks can contact you if they wanted to chat with you and learn more about what you do and how you help people? What’s the best way to reach you?

[00:40:23] Mario: Sure. I think my email address as I start to get the CLR real estate management wheels turning a little bit. My personal email address, would work really well. It’s Mario.Mireles4@gmail.com.

[00:40:39] Karl: Excellent. And just so you know, Mario is a neighbor here in Peachtree Corners. He lives here, been living here for years in Peachtree Corners. And is one of the many talented, knowledgeable resources in our community that helps business owners and folks in the community navigate some of those challenges that they may run into. We definitely should have another discussion. On leases and real estate in the future, because there’s so many more layers we could talk about around that. But I want to thank you for spending some time today and sharing some of your knowledge and experience and wisdom for folks that are considering leasing a new space for their business, growing and picking out a new space. Or if they’re looking at renegotiating a new lease, I think we’ve given them some things to think about it and options to explore. So thank you so much for that

[00:41:27] Mario: You’re welcome. I’ve very much enjoyed it guys.

[00:41:29] Karl: I would like to take Mario Mireles of the principal at CLR Real Estate Management for joining us today. And just again, the insight that you shared is something that folks need to understand better when they’re signing those 35, 40, 50, page leases and ask some more questions, understand what they’re signing. But most importantly, don’t be afraid of it. Look at how many businesses have been successful navigating leases. It is not something to be afraid of, just like your supply chain or dealing with your customers, or dealing with your employees. Lease is just another aspect of the business that once you understand the risk that’s involved, the things that impact your expenses, understanding your occupancy costs and having it related to your revenue. And be able to compare for your type of business, what are the industry norms for that? So that you always are in line with that. Are there things that you can do to be successful? So don’t be afraid of them, just get people like Mario and others to help you look through leases and negotiate the best term that works for both you as a tenant and the landlord. So thank you again, Mario. Well, and I’m Karl Barham with Transworld Business Advisors of Atlanta Peachtree. Our business advisors are available to consult with businesses. Whether it’s working through leases and understanding where there might be challenges in connecting you with resources that could help you be successful in that area. Or when you’re ready to retire and figuring out, what do I need to do now to retire and exit the business or in the next three to five years. Our team of consultants help with valuations. We do business assessments where we look at the qualitative and quantitative aspects of a business to help identify the things that you can work on to be successful when you’re ready to sell and, or acquire a new business. Rico, why don’t you tell us a little bit about what you’ve got going on?

[00:43:24] Rico: Sure. Peachtree Corners Magazine is, we’re working on the next issue right now. So if you’re a business looking to reach out to this community of the city of Peachtree Corners, think about either advertising, in Peachtree Corners Magazine. We hit 19,000 plus homes in their mailboxes. We’re a nice big publication and it’s not crowded with ads on purpose. Our ad ratio to editorial is, small and that gives us a lot of space to be able to tell the stories in the city. And we’ll never run out of things to talk about. That next issue is the Faces in Peachtree Corners. So there’s going to be stories about 20 different people here in the community that have impacted our city or their family, or the community that they’re in. So visit LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com to find out a little bit more about that. If you want to become a sponsor of these podcasts, certainly reach out to me. And if you’re looking to do online content, social media and video production, just let me know. You can reach me at Rico@MightyRockets.com and I’ll be more than happy to speak to you about that.

[00:44:26] Karl: Yeah, well, thank you Rico for all that you do for the community as well. Both from the magazine, digital content, sharing the story. And again, I do recommend folks checking out and exploring it and from time to time, there’s a solicitation out there for a story and then ideas and contributors. Always looking for folks and new stories. So please reach out through the website to Rico, to share some of the great stories that are happening here in Peachtree Corners and surrounding areas. So thank you for that. We’ll have another podcast for you coming in the near future. We continue to find local talent in the community and folks that can help the small business owners in particular be successful here in the area. So thank you for following the Capitalist Sage Podcast. You’ll find us on various streaming platforms, iTunes, iHeartRadio, Spotify, YouTube and Facebook, of course as well. So, just continue and also on the website. Follow us on any of your favorite platforms and check out our library of episodes. We’re well over 60, we’re approaching 75 episodes in there. So we’re continuing to serve the community in this way. And thank you for all your support.

[00:45:38] Rico: Thank you guys.

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Taking the Leap into Entrepreneurship With Tony Hill



What does it take to be an entrepreneur? Tony Hill, Founder and Chairman of Preschool Solutions Inc.  who, with his wife, have developed, own, and operate Goddard School Franchises in metro Atlanta talks about taking that huge leap into entrepreneurship and what it takes. Listen in as Hill and hosts Karl Barham and Rico Figliolini discuss getting into a business as well as the importance of wellness for you, your family, and your community. Hill shares interesting insights on planning before starting a business.


Young Presidents Organization: https://www.ypo.org
Entrepreneurs’ Organization: https://hub.eonetwork.org
Vistage: https://www.vistage.com
Georgia Chamber of Commerce: https://www.gachamber.com

“Entrepreneurship is not a job, it’s a lifestyle. And I think it’s very important to assess what type of lifestyle you want for your family and how entrepreneurship will work or integrate into what you see as the type of lifestyle you want… You have to choose a space that allows you to blend those two.”


[00:00:30] – Intro
[00:01:52] – About Tony
[00:03:37] – Considering Entrepreneurship
[00:05:35] – The Importance of Wellness
[00:10:52] – Purpose and Mission
[00:17:33] – Being Financially Prepared
[00:27:40] – Building Your Team
[00:32:20] – Taking the Leap
[00:37:06] – Closing

Podcast Transcript:

[00:00:30] Karl: 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 of Atlanta Peachtree, and my co-host is Rico Figliolini with Mighty Rockets, Digital Marketing and the publisher of the Peachtree Corner Magazine. Rico, how are you doing today?

[00:00:49] Rico: Hey Karl. Good, excellent. Beautiful day outside. Nice and warm. Just the way I like it.

[00:00:54] Karl: Excellent. Why don’t you introduce our sponsor for today’s podcast?

[00:00:57] Rico: Sure. The sponsor of these family podcasts, this including Peachtree Corners Life and Prime Lunchtime with the City Manager, is brought to you by Peachtree Corners Magazine. And the latest issue is actually out now. Let me show you a copy of it. There you go. So the best of Peachtree Corners, there’s over 30 categories. Plus a lot of other articles in here that you should be picking up and looking at. It should be hitting mailboxes today. Otherwise go to the nearest restaurant or other store within Peachtree Corners in the next few days, and you’ll find copies there. Or actually go online at LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com and look at the digital edition that’s there.

[00:01:35] Karl: I saw my copy come in on the kitchen table this morning, so they’re definitely getting out there. Another great magazine. I love all the different businesses and restaurants and stuff that were highlighted. There were some that I never saw before and definitely going to check out. Great addition.

[00:01:51] Rico: Excellent. Thank you, Carl.

[00:01:52] Karl: Today’s guest is Tony Hill. He’s an investor, with Solutions Force. And we’re here to talk about taking the leap into entrepreneurship. The top things that anybody should consider when they’re ready to make that leap. Hey Tony, how are you doing today?

[00:02:11] Tony: I’m doing fantastic Karl. How are you?

[00:02:13] Karl: Oh, we’re doing well. As we get started, why don’t we just do a quick introduction to yourself? Tell folks a little about you.

[00:02:20] Tony: Sure, sure. So I am a native of upstate New York. Been in Atlanta now about twenty-five years via way of Maryland. Where I went to school at Morgan State and I gained a industrial engineering degree. Took a transfer down here, corporate America in ’96 and pretty much transplanted ever since. And my wife and I have two pretty much college-aged kids. One in college, one on his way in six months. And we have owned some smaller family businesses for a while that she runs. That’s what brings me here today.

[00:02:54] Karl: Excellent. Taking this leap into entrepreneurship, I know we’ve been having conversations with a lot of people that have worked for various companies for other folks. And now after these, going into year two of the pandemic, folks are changing their priorities and thinking about taking a leap. And when we’re having those conversations, there’s a bunch of stuff that they’re considering, and there’s a bunch of stuff that they probably haven’t thought about as they’re going through that journey. So I wanted to chat a little bit about that today and start off with, what are some of the things, when you were making that shift that you considered was helping you with the decision for you and your family to go down a more entrepreneurial path?

[00:03:37] Tony: Sure. So we’ve been married about 22 years and early on in our marriage, we both had entrepreneur interests. And so we started off earlier in our marriage. So a couple things we did and we’ve been, like I said, small business owners for some time now, 15 plus years. But one, we wanted to find a business that would work for our family and the things that were important for our family. So I think understanding that entrepreneurship is not a job, it’s a lifestyle. And I think it’s very important to assess what type of lifestyle you want for your family and if, and how entrepreneurship will work or integrate into what you see as what you want, the type of lifestyle you want. So I think that’s first and foremost. And I think you have to choose a space that allows you to blend those two. And I guess at some point there is, for me, it’s really important when people think about this entrepreneurship is not a job it’s a lifestyle.

[00:04:43] Karl: I love that you highlighted that point. Very often when someone comes into our office and they’re talking about acquiring a business or starting a franchise or starting a business of any type, they start with numbers. They say, I need to make this much money from the business and I want this type of business with these types of things. And I always pause, ask them to pause and consider holistically their life. Where they are, the age of their kids. At different stages of life, you may have different demands on your time. What things are you passionate about? What things are you good at and have relevant experience? And using all of that to factor in, into their decision on choosing that. Are there any things or resources that helped you think through that when you were going through that process that you think people should explore?

[00:05:35] Tony: I’ve heard everything you said and just as I get ready to answer that question, one way, and I don’t know if we did this 15, 17 years ago, but starting a business is like having another child if you’re a parent. And it’s the equivalent to marrying your spouse. The same, to me, consideration and evaluation that you do when you’re looking to marry your spouse and, or have children is the same type of consideration I think you want to give to becoming an entrepreneur and the entrepreneurial life. To answer your question more specifically, when I was in college in the early nineties, I was an RA. And as an RA, we were challenged to create programs around this model called wellness. And at the time it was six dimension wellness model. I think it’s been evolved to seven or eight. And so, one of the things that I suggest entrepreneurs do, is as they look at their wellness plan, their wellness model, look again how that would integrate into an entrepreneur lifestyle. So an example of that, when you look at the wellness model, there’s like I said, seven to eight, six to eight dimensions, but one is emotional. As you know Karl, being an entrepreneur is an emotional roller coaster. And I think you have to make sure you are prepared for that emotionally. You’re tapped into your own emotional IQ and you understand the psychology. Because as an entrepreneur and particularly as a leader, not only do you need to be in tune with your own emotions, but I think you need that emotional IQ as it relates to potential partners and employees. And so that’s one component of the dimensions of wellness that I think you have to make sure you’re very mature and stable. And before you launch into the entrepreneurial lifestyle. And so essentially what I suggest Karl, is folks look at that wellness model and in each dimension of that wellness model assess where you’re at today as an individual and how that same dimension will be applied as an entrepreneur. And make sure that you’ve prepared. And you may think you want to be an entrepreneur today. Like you said, it’s the first of the year a lot of folks are thinking about it. But in my opinion, maybe take a year, maybe take a year and a half really to go through this model and truly prepare yourself emotionally, financially, physically. My wife who runs our business, some of the hours I see her work, grace of God she has to be able to withstand that. And so I’d go through all those dimensions and map them back to entrepreneurship. And I’d be happy to try and unpack that and share the rest of them as we go through the conversation. That’s how I would recommend people start to frame their evaluation of the entrepreneurial lifestyle.

[00:08:33] Rico: Let me ask you, Tony. Is it, the wellness is like you said, you started out with six back in the nineties. It’s I think up to eight now, they’re various categories. They don’t have to be equally important. You can even choose one or two, I think. That you can weigh more on as long as you’re aware of it holistically in some of these areas. And that they shouldn’t be ignored, like you said, right? Because they might tax you even further, especially if you’re not aware of what you’re doing. It’s like Karl knows, I know, and you do, that when you own a business, it is a lifestyle. You live and breathe it. Seven days, 24 hours a day, paying your bills. It may be out of your home, it may be multiple locations. And someone doesn’t want to be, let’s say like an Elon Musk necessarily, although who wouldn’t want to be a billionaire. You don’t want to be living on a plane going back and forth between two cities and two companies. So it’s definitely something that people should be aware of. I agree with you.

[00:09:28] Tony: Yeah. I agree with your sentiments. You may not weigh them all equally. One of the obviously ones that, Karl can speak you, is you, you have to have a financial infrastructure to even contemplate going into entrepreneurship. And so that one typically gets a lot of attention because it’s front and obvious. But I also think it’s equally important to not take your eye off some of the other ones. Because, as you said, not only is it a lifestyle but I think holistically you have to be prepared. It’s a marathon. And even though you don’t weigh them all equally, I think there, they all need to have some level of attention so that you can have the sustained success that you want as an entrepreneur. One example would be, one of the dimensions of wellness is a social, cultural. What I’ve seen very successful entrepreneurs do, as they circle themselves, or they surround themselves or the lunch tables that they show up with are other entrepreneurs. So they’re getting some social, but they’re also getting reinforced to sharpen in areas that will help in the entrepreneurial life. The way I would frame it is, look at all these dimensions and just try to say, how can I tie this into becoming a successful entrepreneur. In each one there is a particular play that I think can be made, for you to pursue those entrepreneurial interests.

[00:10:52] Karl: I’d like to explore some of these dimensions a little bit further. One of them that I see as a pattern, is something that I might generally call around purpose people, call mission people, call values, whatever that is. When folks are looking to become their own boss or do entrepreneurship. Yes, they want to generate an income to support their family. And you can get that from a job or investing or owning a business. They may want to build an asset that appreciates over time, builds value, builds wealth. But the industry you choose to be in and the type of business you choose to be, it’s probably really relevant to have, what’s your purpose in that business? Is there one dimension that kind of speaks to that? And just some of the thoughts that you think people should consider when thinking about matching their purpose and mission to their business choice?

[00:11:48] Tony: Yeah, that’s a great question, Karl. I’m not sure that, I’m not sure I would tie it to one dimension, but I will say a couple of thoughts on it. One, I think you’re absolutely spot on. You need to have that. That north star is critical for you as the entrepreneur, for you as the leader and from the readings that I’ve seen, and I know my wife has been in time with, it’s really important for employees now. I think particularly as we’re in this resignation nation, people want their eight hours a day to be more than a paycheck. And they want to know that they’re supporting a mission that, is not just doing well, but it’s doing good. And so I think there’s multiple layers of value in having what you referred to. I see it, if I’m looking at this model, from a spiritual perspective and everyone brings their home spirit value to, to who they are. But for me as a Christian, the fruits of the spirit are important. And those things are love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, patience, things of those natures. And I think though that may not be the mission statement, if you can bake some of those values and characteristics into your business, I think that will, it will come through your business. And the way you interact and treat your stakeholders. And whether it’s on mission statement or not, and I know that’s critical to have, but if you embrace those values into your culture I believe that’s what will come out from your culture. And people will see it and appreciate that in the longterm. Who you are as an entrepreneur and how your culture is about, based on those values. So I don’t know if I gave you a direct answer, Karl, as far as the mission statement and where it fits into a wellness model. But I absolutely think it’s critical for multiple reasons.

[00:13:39] Karl: I know our faith played a big role in what we did and for business, we’ve learned to consider it’s not our businesses. It’s God’s business that we are the shepherds of, and folks may come from it from a different perspective, but it informs the values and approaches that we use in how we conduct and how we can serve both the community and clients and others within that. But getting that alignment, what I find that does, I don’t feel like I go into work every day. I’m working and I’m doing the things that I would be doing, whatever I was doing. And if you can get that alignment between what you’re doing in your business and its purpose, or whether it’s faith driven or others, I think that helps people through the ups and downs that you will be experiencing. Especially early on in business. Rico, I wonder if I could, when I think about some of the stuff that you did, when I first moved into the Peachtree Corners area, I thought I mentioned before that I found your podcast is one of the first things. And when I read, when we met and we chatted up and talked about it, you said you did it because you didn’t get paid to do it. You just did it. There’s something in doing that that helped you live your passion and do it. Can you share a little bit about just the work that you do and how it aligns to your business?

[00:14:59] Rico: Sure. So I liked giving back. I like being a cheerleader for other people, if you will. The reason that podcast started some years back was also because there was wrong information online and stuff in some neighborhood apps and things. So I wanted to be able to put out the right information for people to see. Some people go golfing and do other things, this is what I do. I do a podcast. I do it two, three times a month. This I ended up expanding right to having this podcast twice a month to having the city manager podcast once a month. On occasion I get good sponsors that come on board for a year or two, and that’s fine, that pays the bills. The cost of doing this stuff and the time and such. But I think it feeds into what I like to do, which is publishing. I like content. I like being able to share, whether it’s print or digital, being able to put out that information in a way that people can consume it. Because people like to consume this stuff differently, right? Whether it’s audio, video, or print. So I think it helps feed the rest of what I’m doing. And long term the first three years I had no sponsor. But after that I started getting really good sponsors that understood that they wanted to support the community, good journalism, and all that. So it’s worked out well, I think. And it feeds my passion too. So it makes me happy to know other people and to help tell their story too. So it’s a good thing.

[00:16:23] Karl: Absolutely. And it makes it, the service you provide, when people think about the businesses they’re going into, think about how they’re helping their clients, their community, and others is a factor. If I could shift to a dimension that most people will talk about.

[00:16:39] Tony: Hey Karl, can I just book in what Rico said, just to share. I totally agree with him. And I feel a lot of the same sentiments. Rico, one of the books on my book list and you may have read it or heard of it, but I think it frames out what you shared a little bit is, Getting to Half Time. And it talks about going from success to significance. And though I haven’t read the book, the way I interpreted significance is really helping out others beyond yourself. And so whatever that’s worth, it’s on my list. And I’m excited to get into half time.

[00:17:13] Rico: I think the people that give back without a selfishness, we’re not all saints. But I think that if you try to do that, it does come back well enough for you, I think in life. It’s a good thing to be able to do. If that drives, your passion is driven in that part, then the business part will excel even further I think.

[00:17:33] Karl: So another dimension, when folks are considering how to be ready to take that leap and they get their passion aligned, and then they have purpose and focus. There’s some things I think they need in their tool belt to equip them to be successful as entrepreneurship. And maybe the first one starts around doing that self-assessment of their financials. Anything you’ve learned along your journey, tell people, how do they assess when they’re ready? What are some of the considerations that they need to consider when they’re taking that leap?

[00:18:05] Tony: So absolutely the financials. For us, my wife runs our businesses, so I stayed in corporate a lot longer. And for us, I became the breadwinner on the corporate side. And I gave her some latitude to really get the foundation and the infrastructure and footing for the businesses to be successful. That’s one thing, like you said, you got to think about the financials. We talked about the emotional, the physical, the spiritual. But also I think, the truth of the matter is I don’t think entrepreneurship is for everybody. And I think that, as you’re approaching it, you have to make sure everyone’s on the same page. Stakeholders, pre-call we talked about a situation. So you have to go into it with your partner, at a minimum your life partner, your business partner, your spouse, on the same page. And I don’t think you can undercut the importance of preparation and preparing, working to get on the same page. Because it is going to be in a roller coaster that will test you, will test your marriage, it will test you in every way possible. Looking back 15 plus years, we did a little pre-planning, but never enough. And so I would encourage folks to look at all those aspects, do the hard work upfront. And realize, it’s more than the hype of being an entrepreneur. The things I see my wife go through it, it’s more than the social media and the business card and all the glitz and glamor and hey, I work for myself and all that stuff sounds real cool. But that’s about 2% of it. Just really being prepared for the journey. And I’ll say it, if you do the work and you’re diligent, once you get to the other side I don’t think you’ll regret it. But you just need to go in with your eyes wide open. And that’s, I think the way I would suggest people prepare. I hope I’m answering your question direct enough Karl.

[00:20:01] Karl: You are. And if I could add to that, one of the things that I think is a tool is to do a personal financial statement. And if folks don’t know what that is, if you have a financial planner, they can help you with that. You can go online, there’s resources there. But it’s simply stating all of your assets, all of your liabilities, and coming up with your net worth. Lots of different ways to generate capital to invest in a business. But it’s probably going to come from personal savings that you have. And a good test is, have you been disciplined enough over enough time to generate that initial capital, invest in your own equity, that you can go into an endeavor. Now for some people it’s easy, they made a great living, they saved lots of money, they’ve got stocks, bonds, it’s fine. They’ve got the money, they’ve done the discipline to that. But for others, you may not have all the money that you think you need to start it, but that’s when putting together a budget, getting disciplined, so you could save enough. In the first year, many entrepreneurs don’t pay themselves much or anything, in the first. So having a year’s worth of expenses, saved the way to take care of your family and, or having other sources of income. Whether one spouse works and the other one takes the lead are important factors to talk to with your advisors before going there. And I’ll mention one more point, there’s a misnomer or a myth out there that to start a business, I can go to the bank or go get an SBA loan or something. What they do not say in popular media, which I wish they did, is a bank is uncomfortable loaning someone money that doesn’t have money. So if they go to, to apply for a loan for a million dollars. The bank wants to see that you probably have assets approaching a million dollars. It makes sense. It gives them security around that. It’s very infrequent that a bank would lend someone a million dollars and their net worth is $10,000. You’re extremely high risk.

[00:22:11] Rico: I think that people think that because it’s an SBA loan and that the government what, guarantees like 80% of that loan or something like that?

[00:22:19] Karl: It’s less than 20%, but they guarantee less than 20. The lender takes the bulk and they typically will ask for 10% to 20% equity from the seller as well.

[00:22:31] Rico: There you go. I think the worst part is even if they understand all that, is that they may not understand, like you said, usually people don’t draw from the business the first 12 months, the first year. I’ve seen people go into business, open up a place and think they can shoe string their operating budget and get through it. And it doesn’t work because the minute you hit that bad bump in the road, which will happen, the unexpected. That’s when they, the whole thing falls apart after six, eight months. And it’s a shame.

[00:23:02] Tony: And Rico, the thing I would add too, Karl you broke it down in technical terms. But, and it took me some time to come to this realization. To me, the bank is just a bunch of other individuals. And you’ve got to look at it from their perspective. Would you lend yourself money? Would you lend yourself a million dollars if you only had two thousand in the bank? So I think if you just take on that perspective. If I had to go, would I give it to that person? And if you wouldn’t, then you’ve got to evaluate yourself. Maybe go through this model, build yourself up. Not to be discouraging, but just to understand a lot of times it’s not personal. They’re just saying, is this individual a good financial bet? And if you’re coming to the table with 10,000 asking for a million, on the surface, that doesn’t seem like a good bet. And so I would just think about it that way. The other thing I would add Rico, if I’m allowed to mention the books, because Karl made me think of one called the E-Myth. I think the classic E-Myth is if you’re thinking about entrepreneurs, spend some time and there’s a variety of them, tons of books out there, thousands, a hundred million. But to me, the E-Myth is a classic and frames it in a very simplistic way. And the ‘E’ stands for the entrepreneurial myth. And it’s a series of books now, but if you get one of the original ones and you spend some time with that, I think it will help you understand this mindset that will get you to a lifestyle that we’re talking about here.

[00:24:26] Karl: I’ll mention something, as you mentioned, the E-Myth and just for cliff notes for folks, it talks about strategies that successful business owners have figured out to help them build and scale their business. And it involves putting in systems and developing teams and other things that, that people don’t think. And the reason that’s so important, I often will see when people are looking at taking an entrepreneurial job, they don’t understand the difference between being what I call self-employed and the owner of a business. And on simplistic terms, self-employed is someone that creates a business, an LLC or a Corp. And they are the person that generates the revenues and income of the business. A classic example, you might say, as simply as a doctor. If the doctor owns a practice and he sees all the patients, that person. If you take that doctor out of that practice, they can’t service customers, they can’t make money. And so in just replacing working for someone else to working for yourself. But that’s not very scalable, because it’s all built around you as an individual making the money. When you’re thinking about starting a business, if you’re thinking more of an investor’s approach to it in business. The difference is in the beginning, they might be the one generating the income. They’re working, hard labor. Over time they evolve into being the executive, running the processes, the management team to run the business. So they’re not directly involved in the day-to-day generation of cashflow in the business. Maybe they’re more, they own the company, set the direction for it. They have systems and teams in place to generate the business. In going into that leap, one of them without you working really, really hard, if you want to double your revenue, you’ve got to work twice as hard. If you’re an investor, to double your revenue, you don’t actually have to work twice as hard to do that. And those businesses tend to be more valuable over time. So there’s a lot of folks out there starting businesses in the services sector where it’s just dependent on them to generate the revenue. I think it’s an important consideration, what type of business you want. They both have pros and cons and different headaches. None is better than the other, but you should be intentional in your choice. Are you buying a business that can scale and what are the types of industries and businesses that can do that? Or are you buying a business that might just serve your lifestyle, generate an income to make you comfortable?

[00:27:01] Tony: Absolutely. I agree with you a hundred percent. And just not to be discouraging, I think people may realize it’s a journey. You may start off, like you said Karl, in one situation with the aspirations of getting to another. And I say, you own a business is if you can go away or you can walk away from the business or if you can go abroad or whatever, not being involved in that business and still produce a good return, then you own a business. As opposed to a solo entrepreneurship. And like you said, one is not better than the other. But I think as you’re doing that prep work, getting familiar with these different concepts and planning accordingly to create that life that you want is the critical piece to it.

[00:27:40] Karl: I volunteer with an organization called Start Me and they help entrepreneurs and underserved communities help learn how to start a business. And it pairs up mentors with entrepreneurs. And one of the sayings that’s often used there, that entrepreneurship is a team sport. And so as you looked at along your journey, and when you took the leap, how do you build that team and that support team for entrepreneurs? Because being a boss or a CEO can be very lonely position to be in for a lot of people.

[00:28:13] Tony: Yeah. So what I recommended in that regard is, like I mentioned before, being very intentional about surrounding yourself and being in the right organizations. And so there’s different, there’s a ton, there’s a lot of different organizations out there. If appropriate, I can share some of the names. But there’s entrepreneur organizations designed for other entrepreneurs so that you’re sitting at the table with folks that are going through the same journey that you’re going through, that they can commemorate with you, they can do experience share with you. They can talk about the challenges they’re having. And I think that is vitally important. Because entrepreneurship is lonely. And your loved ones and your families and your friends, as much as they love you and you love them, if they don’t have those experiences, there’s limits to how much they can understand and support you as an entrepreneur.

[00:29:09] Karl: Feel free to share. Can you give me examples of organizations that you’ve seen out there?

[00:29:14] Tony: Absolutely. One is called, there’s a lot of them, I’ll just rattle off a pamphlet. YPO, Young Presidents Organization. That one is probably for more senior, larger enterprises. The owners of that, they have a, I think a spin off of that, which I think is called the Entrepreneur Organization, EO. All this stuff you can Google entrepreneurial organizations, worldwide organization chapters, and most metropolitans. And within EO they have probably one or two, perhaps three different levels that you can kind of come in. Some are kind of in the startup phase, below a million, some get, there’s another level where have north of a million in revenues and let’s say 10 employees. So there’s different levels. I think there’s a organization called Vistage, if I’m saying that properly. Which is similar to EO and YPO. It’s packaged to be a Christian based one. And then my wife is affiliated with some that are women only entrepreneurs. Off the top of my head, those are some that come to mind. Additionally, there’s always organizations like your local chambers, your county chamber, your city chamber. I know in Georgia there’s Georgia State Chamber. Those are gonna get you around other entrepreneurs. And then there’s Business Leagues. And so I think with a little effort and a little diligence on your part, you will find various communities wherever you’re at that you can plug into with other folks like you. And when you’re an entrepreneur, I can tell you from seeing my wife’s journey, you’re going to be under time, and perhaps under resources. And the last thing you might say is I have no time or desire to go do this thing over here. I’ve got to go make PNL. But my experience, from the successful entrepreneurs I know is it’s worth the time. Because it may seem like you don’t have the time to give up, to plug into those organizations, but the people I’ve seen be successful. The value they got back from plugging into the right organizations justified the time.

[00:31:14] Rico: Yeah, I agree with you. I think that people get caught up in doing the work, maybe. And the schedule of that work and the overwhelmingness of that work maybe. And sometimes you have to decompress and just be with people that you can say, that can share that same relationship. Whether it’s, like you said, it’s a chamber, or even if it’s for example, the Georgia Hispanic business chamber. Because even culturally, sometimes there are things that you’re going through, that maybe you want to be around similar people that share the understanding of that stress. Because it’s a cultural stress over business and stuff like that. So there’s a variety of ways to be able to reach out and talk to different people.

[00:31:53] Tony: Absolutely agree, yeah. And I’m familiar with that chamber there. They’re awesome. And you’re right, so all those things exist. I know there’s ABN and so you’ve just got to do a little research in your area. I think with a little effort and you’d be surprised the amount of resources out there. Some are peer to peer, some are professionally led, and there’s three different flavors there to them. But the key I think, is being around other like-minded folks that have the same aspiration and the same entrepreneurial desire that you have.

[00:32:20] Karl: I think you’re hitting on something that people can do before they take that leap. Start visiting these organizations, chambers. Meeting other entrepreneurs. They’ll tell you the truth of what it’s like. They’ll tell you the joys and how they’re able to help in their communities, and the mentors that they build. And that’s why this concept around entrepreneurship being a team sport, not only is it you and your team in the business. When we think of team, we think about mentors and allies that can come, that have experience that might get you that introduction for that big client that you might need one day. And likewise paying it forward. As you become more experienced, there’s someone that’s going to be following you, starting and helping share some of learnings and experience with them. Which I’m glad Tony today, you’ve been able to share with us. I’ll add one other resource that’s out there, a type of resource. And there are coaches, business coaches. Now a lot of people carry that title as a business coach, but a good business coach not only has some expertise in various aspects of business, but they’re a sounding board. They’re there. They’re people to walk you off the ledge or hold you accountable for goals that you set. So exploring business coaches, there’s various organizations and companies that do that, but sometimes it could just be someone that’s successful that takes you under their wings and explains to you how to set up your financials. So you can make an acquisition in the future. Or how to deploy a recruiting and onboarding system and work with payroll and understand those rules. These coaches can play a role in the success of a business leader. If I were to ask you one last thing, if someone is considering taking a leap that they really should sit hard and think about, what would that be? That we may not have covered already?

[00:34:14] Tony: I think I would reinforce what I’ve mentioned up front. It’s a lifestyle, I equated to having a child or choosing your spouse. And you want to, I think be extremely diligent. I would say, don’t look at it for the sizzle, look at it for the substance. I think there’s so much on social media, et cetera, that people can get sideways. So just understand it’s a real undertaking if you’re serious about it. Be diligent and realize it’s a journey. No disrespect, but it’s not the Kardashian motto. You’re not gonna be a gazillionaire tomorrow. So going at it with the understanding that, you know, I might be in prep mode for a year. And I’m okay with that. And as Rico mentioned, when I do launch my business might not pay me for 18 months. And I’m okay with that. Because I have a bigger goal and picture in mind long-term. And, I just think you’ve gotta be very honest with yourself. Very diligent. We’ve talked about for me, the six to eight dimensions of wellness going through each one of those dimensions and saying where I’m at today, where I want to be, and how will this tie into my entrepreneurial journey. Would be the things that I would suggest people be extremely diligent about

[00:35:38] Karl: Rico. I’d love to get your insight on that. If you were to, somebody come up to you and said, we’re going to, I’m going to start a business. What would you share with them that they should really consider before they take that leap?

[00:35:49] Rico: Pretty much what we discussed here. Do you have the money for it? Do you have the financial will to do what’s necessary to last those 12 to 18 months? And do you have the background as far as family support to be able to do it? Because your wife’s going to get tired of you talking about the business if she’s not part of it. And even if she’s part of it and you’re talking about it all day into the night after dinner, when you get to bed. It’s not going to be pretty. Your wife, your partner, whoever. I think those three things, money, support, and the willingness to do it. I just listened to a podcast about the founders of Goodreads. If you’re familiar with that, that’s a book review site that started out as a book sharing site. They spent three, four years before they were able to make any money themselves. And it was a husband wife team, but they were both involved in it. And they both segmented their job responsibilities too. But it was a while before they were able to do any real money out of it. And if you can’t do that then maybe you need a nine to five job. And that’s okay. Not everyone, there’s more nine to five people than there are entrepreneurs.

[00:36:57] Tony: And you can transition over too. So it’s not, doesn’t have to be a big jump. You can transition, you can prepare it, so you can do some things in parallel.

[00:37:06] Karl: I’ll leave this topic with this thought, when I talk to folks and there’s all the risk and the fears and the unknowns. I like to leave people with this thought. Throughout history, business creation is probably one of the biggest drivers of wealth creation. You could have a job and invest and you could do all these different things, but it’s been shown historically being an entrepreneur, creating a business, growing a business, being successful, is one of the ways to generate generational wealth. And the reason it’s important is not so much about the number that you are able to achieve in wealth, and so on. It starts to shift when you see the people that are more successful on what you can do with both the wealth and the skills and networks. How you can impact those around you. Whether it’s through your faith, whether it’s through community service, whether it’s through very targeted you want to attack an issue or solve a problem or create something new. It gives you the opportunity to do more when you’re successful with it. So I always encourage people if they prepare well, taking the leap and the risk is one of the best ways to really transform not only your life or your family’s life, but your community and folks all around you. You see these business leaders doing that all the time. It’s harder to do that as an employee very often. You can absolutely have impact. But becoming a successful business person just allows you so many different ways to impact your community. You know what, we could continue chatting about this all day, Tony. And I really appreciate you spending some time with us on the Capitalist Sage. I’d like to reintroduce Tony Hill. He’s an investor, with Solution Force. Thank you for chatting and sharing some of your insights on what it takes to take the leap into this entrepreneurial journey that many of us get to enjoy and many more people will in the months and years to come. So thank you for joining us today.

[00:39:07] Tony: I would say it was an honor and humble, humbling to chat with you guys and share my thoughts. Karl, I’d like to give your listeners just some very tactical things. One, I mentioned I would encourage folks to pick up Google, the six or eight dimensions of wellness and spend some time more to that chart. We mentioned the E-Myth. I think that’s a phenomenal book to read for aspiring entrepreneurs. A classic that I read out of college and I still think is hard to beat, is the Seven Habits of Successful People. So those are two or three things that I think are tangible that people can put their hands on. Because at the end of the day, as we talked about, you want to be overly diligent. You want to come up with a plan. You’re obviously going to need a business plan, hits the financials that we’ve headed on a couple of times. But know that if you want that lifestyle, it’s obtainable, the information is out there. It’s just really, are you willing to be focused and disciplined to go obtain it and execute. And when you do, like you said Karl, the other side has some rewards that exceed money. You can focus on that wellness. You can focus on your health, you can focus on your family. You can focus on going from success to significance. And that you can’t put a price tag on. And so I encourage everyone, I wish them the best of luck. And I know you guys are some great resources for those on that journey.

[00:40:23] Rico: Thank you, Tony.

[00:40:24] Karl: Thank you so much, Tony. Well, I’m Karl Barham with Transworld Business Advisors of Atlanta Peachtree. My passion and the team’s passion is to help business owners be successful and when they’re ready, exit their business. We love helping entrepreneurs find the right opportunity that fits them so that they can be successful. So if you’re looking to improve, grow, or exit your business, you can contact and schedule a consult. I can be reached at KBarham@TWorld.com or you can visit our website www.TWorld.com/AtlantaPeachtree. Lots of tools in there for entrepreneurs to find opportunities, to get valuations on their business, to find businesses that they may want to invest in and join. Take that leap into entrepreneurship. Hey Rico, what have you got going on?

[00:41:13] Rico: Sure, so we’ve put out the latest issue of Peachtree Corners Magazine. If you want to find out a little bit more of that, or you want to reach this audience in the city of Peachtree Corners, just reach out to me. You could look LivinginPeachtreeCorners.com or Google Rico Figliolini on LinkedIn. Feel free to get back to me. When it comes to content, video, photography, and print, and online, I’m the person that can help you. So yeah, there’s that. It’s hitting the mailboxes and I’m already working on a second magazine launch. So hopefully that’ll come to fruition by April and I’ll let you know more about that when I get to it.

[00:41:48] Karl: Excellent. Well, thanks everybody for joining us on this episode of the Capitalist Sage, with Tony Hill. And just, out there when you want to consider, your options for the future just know, taking that leap into entrepreneurship is something that many people have done before. Many people will do in the future. It’s up to you to decide if it’s the right fit for you and for your family and your goals. Thank you everybody for tuning in, follow us on iTunes, YouTube, all the various streaming channels. And visit, what is the website where they can?

[00:42:19] Rico: The CapitalistSage. Podcast.com or go to LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com and you’ll see the Capitalist Sage tab right there. And you can find all the places where you can get the audio podcast as well as the video podcast.

[00:42:33] Karl: Excellent. Well, thanks everybody. Have a great day.

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