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Capitalist Sage: How to Financially Survive COVID-19

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Steven Gu, Gu and Company

Business taxes and financials are already tricky enough to navigate, but with loans and other financially related acts surfacing in a response to COVID-19, the financial waters are even harder to tread. Luckily, in this episode of the Capitalist Sage, Steven Gu founder and CEO of Gu and Company shares some of his professional insight. Join Karl Barham, Rico Figliolini, and GU as they discuss PPP loans, the Care Act, COVID-19 response, and much more.

Resources:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/steven-gu-cpa-ll-m-tax-64534a4
Facebook : ​https://www.facebook.com/stephen.koo.5682
Website: www.gucpagroup.com

“We went through a change a little bit. When we do the tax plan before pre-COVID-19, we always try to focus on how to save people money. But now we are looking, not just at saving people money, saving people tax, but also helping them to generate cash. Bringing the cash to your pocket right now.”

Steven gu

Timestamp:

[00:00:30] – Intro
[00:02:49] – About Steven
[00:04:23] – Preparing for the Crisis
[00:07:06] – The Loan Process
[00:09:13] – Large Banks vs. Community Banks
[00:13:57] – Changing Laws
[00:24:09] – The Tax Benefit Buffet
[00:30:16] – Long Term Planning
[00:35:02] – Closing

Podcast Transcript

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

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

Karl: [00:00:49] Why don’t we get started by introducing our sponsors?

Rico: [00:00:52] Sure. Our lead sponsor for this show, as well as the other family of podcasts that we do is Hargray Fiber, and just want to introduce them. They are a regional company that handles cable fiber, optic connections. Bandwidths large for small businesses, as well as enterprise sized businesses. Providing solutions for collaborative work, providing bandwidth that’s needed for teleworking and being able to provide solutions for businesses of all sizes, customized to what they need. And they’re not the cable company, I can say that they’re not Comcast, they’re not AT&T. They are actually in your community providing services to the community and they’re there to be able to come to your door when you need them. So check them out. That’s HargrayFiber.com, or you could go to Hargray.com/business. Thank you.

Karl: [00:01:45] Oh, that’s fabulous. It’s great to see businesses that are focused on the business community here in Peachtree Corners and surrounding areas. Today, I am so blessed to get to introduce everyone to Steven Gu, who is the founder and CEO of Gu and Company, a fractional CFO tax and business advisory firm that services small and medium sized businesses. Today, we’re here to talk about EIDL loans, PPP loans, the Care Act, COVID-19 response. Lots of people have been going through reopening now. They’ve secured loans from the government and from their banks and they need to know what’s next. So we figured we’d have a conversation about that today. Hey Steven, how are you doing today?

Steven: [00:02:35] I’m good. How are you Karl? Hey Rico.

Rico: [00:02:38] Hey Steven. I gotta say thank you by the way, because I personally use Steven to help me get my PPP loans. So thank you for helping me do that.

Steven: [00:02:47] No problem.

Karl: [00:02:49] Cool. Well, you know, Steven here on the Capitalist Sage, we’re here to try to help people understand different things they can do to help their business. And we’ve been working over the last several months in helping business owners with cashflow leads. And how to access these PPP loans. But before we talk a little bit more about that, why don’t, why don’t you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about why you do and how you got to do what you do today for so many business owners.

Steven: [00:03:19] Sure. Like you introduced me, you know, we normally what we do is really tax planning and that fractional CFO service, but during the COVID-19, we helped a lot of you know small, medium businesses really helping them to secure that EIDL or the PPP loan. And also there’s other financial resources available. So that’s our mission to help them to locate as a financial security, financial, to have them survive that COVID-19. And right now, we are at the second stage. So there are lots of business already called their PTP loans. So in a way, we are helping them how to plan the PPP loan, how to know how to use them, how to use a fund. So that as those money could be forgiven and also there’s other resources, other tax incentives, tax aids, and also you know, forecasting, budgeting, how to basically help them to survive and thrive during this COVID-19.

Karl: [00:04:23] You know, so many business owners when this started were caught and were surprised by the impact on people from a health standpoint. I remember, you were one of the first people starting to warn and advise of the impact of it. Tell me a little bit about how you were able to start seeing this coming. And some of the things you started learning that we needed to do when the crisis started.

Steven: [00:04:58] Right. Actually Karl, you’re one of the people sort of bombarded by me, you know, talking about a PPP for almost three months now. And you probably didn’t know, I think way back in, in March, around the middle of March. You know, you heard me talk about the idea or the talking, sometimes they don’t, they have no word for the PPP yet right? And then we started helping people get the idea, because know, when we have our cloud, we realize this COVID-19, this how bad it’s going to impact business. And we’d realize they are EID available. So we start to reach out to our clients, tell them one, you have to look at how much cash reserve that you have. And the two is like how to take advantage of all those financial aid available. That time is just a family, family first act. Like, so we started that and that time we went a platform, the idea was a website just crashed. At the time is the only, think it’s only a $6 billion. We would apply the website crashed all the time. We don’t really know where you get, it took us, like literally 12 hours to apply for one client. And it often would get done and then the website crashed multiple times. And then in April, early April, the CARES act came out and they added the 10K advanced payment, you can repress the 10K that’s where the 10k come from. It’s added by the CARES act. And then, because, I think as they probably lost it in beta, so they said, Hey, you know, whatever you submit on account, you have to reapply. And that then made is that the bit of the process extremely simple. Now you go there, you just need to spend less than five minutes. Just go submit your request of 10K. So I could, so before that, it’s very, very complicated. So that’s how it started. And at that time though, people, when we talk about a PVP, you know, if you’ve talked to other folks in your, nobody, nobody’s talking about that. But nowadays, if you go there and talk to other CPA, other advisors, probably they talk nothing but for PPP, but it’s a journey.

Karl: [00:07:06] There was a dynamic that happened in this, about getting to the front of the line. Those that had people that one, knew how to, knew the urgency of getting these funds and the necessity for cash in their business, along with how to do it, what documents and information
was going to be required. I noticed how those people with that finance support were able to get to the front of the line and get loans. When, when folks got through that, what were some of the things that, that you saw small business owners didn’t do properly that might have delayed their ability to get some of these funds? What were some of the challenges you saw in some of your early clients in getting funding?

Steven: [00:07:56] Well, first of all, you know, for funding, they typically wait. Let’s say, a typical people is going to screw these up is you know, they don’t have a sort of financial statement, right? For the business, right? And you know, some, some businesses, they don’t even issue a W2 and that they not pay for payroll tax, right? Those are screwed the most. Basically, those are document that the bank files when you file a QPP. And the other issue we also see is really, you know, the financial, it’s not a, not ready. And, you know, tax returns are screwed up and also they’re sort of, they can do to themselves, this thought of the bigger bank is going to help them. And they, they’re just keying in a number they saw just in the application form. And they eventually going to turn it down. We saw that multiple times people just put whatever number they think. And then eventually the back comes back to, Hey, this is not accurate. And you have to wait for another one. And then first of all, the money by now, you come to the last month and the other millions of people ahead of you. So we definitely see people screw up because of that.

Rico: [00:09:13] Let me ask you something, Steven, when you helped me out, actually it was. We will be, they were between legislation, right? The second time it was coming up. We had,actually had talked about putting together the package and, we were ahead of before the legislation passed. So we were doing it ahead of time, right? Hoping that knowing sort of 90% sure that legislation was going to pass. So we were ahead of the curve a little bit, but I had other the friends that were out there that were applying through banks. And what I realized is that you can’t, you know, at the time anyway, many banks did not want to deal with you unless you had an account with them. Or you might’ve had an account with them, but you weren’t big enough.

Steven: [00:10:02] Yeah.

Rico: [00:10:03] In essence, Chase bank, wouldn’t be able to do what you want that maybe a smaller bank could or regional bank. So that’s, that’s where I saw the advantages, right? Does that make sense? Is that what you saw during that time?

Steven: [00:10:17] That’s exactly. Because, you know, we were monitoring this CARES act way before they passed, right? You know we, we read the Congress version of the PPP act. We read the earlier version, right? So we sort of know what’s going on before Trump signed that into the law. And then before he signed it into the law, we have to, we’ll started communicate the ways that different bank offers SBA lending, right? And to our surprise, we thought the bank, were excited. It’s sort of, they’re going to make lots of money. We realize the bank is not a, it’s not a very interested, especially, bigger bank. That’s to know that they cannot make too much money out of this and they’re employees are like, I have to wear the masks, go to the bank and apply, document all these things. They are not incentivized at all. And then we realized, Oh, this
is going to cause a big problem, right? Because, and also they told us like, look, we’re going to take care of our prefered customers first. I mean, it makes sense. I mean, if I’m the business owner, I would take care of my you know, the important clients first. So that’s when we realized this way, would be like, you know, is this a web of chaos? Right? And the bigger bank does not necessarily give you the best service. And they don’t necessarily have your best interests in their mind. So that’s why, that’s when we tried to persuade people, try to tell people, let’s say look, if possible, you know always go to the community bank. A small bank that you have strongest relationship that they can take care of you. They can look at to return and look, look at your application, not necessarily the bigger banks. But at that time, lots of people do not trust us. And they’re like, Oh no, I’ve been dealing with Wells Fargo for how many years. I think first of all, we’re smarter than that, you know they try to game the system. They tried to get away from doing this. This is the first time the community bank really represented the meaning of community.

Karl: [00:12:21] You’ve highlighted a key lesson that a lot of successful business owners have learned is when the crisis hit, everyone ran to their safe place. But those that had built a relationship with their local community banker. And local community banks, they saw an advantage in this particular case to do that. And we always try to advise business owners to make sure they’re having relations. We’re not saying you shouldn’t do banking at the big banks. But you should also have a relationship with the community banks who’s able to pivot, move quicker. They know who you are. They get to understand what you need and be able to provide that service to you. But I think you highlighted something else that I wanted to make sure folks realize. The people that were able to get the loans and the funding first had payroll records. They had their financial statements ready. And I know a lot of people may wait til tax time to reconcile their financial statements if they have it. But if you ever need to go to a bank or a lender, all of those records are going to need to be done. And that just really shows as a business owner. There’s an element of the business of keeping up the financial records and your scorecard that’s important to be able to react quickly should the business environment pivot.

Steven: [00:13:55] Right.

Karl: [00:13:57] So now that we’ve gotten the loans and folks have gotten the funding. I’ve seen some news come out about more laws and more rules. And when it comes to, can you explain the difference between what originally people signed, everything got easy and they just signed something. But when they signed the first time, what were the terms of those loans that they got. Why didn’t they have to pay it back? What did they have to spend it on? And has there been any changes in that in recent weeks?

Steven: [00:14:29] Yes, great question. So this is the first time I, you know, I ever deal with that. So, so much uncertainties. You know, for the PPP application itself, the department of treasury and the SBA, they issued more than 20, like rulings and guidelines more than 20 times, right? And now after people get the money, they issued a new ruling that May 16. So they issued as
that people that got PPP forgiveness, the preparation for. And a few days later the department of treasury issued a regular issue to some guidance on how to calculate the forgiveness portion. It’s, the application, PPP forgiveness application form it’s 11 pages. And as a department of treasury guide is 26 pages. Okay. And then, two weeks later now we just had a PPP flexibility act. It changes lots of things. Lots of important things, a lot of forgiveness. So it’s, it keeps changing, keep changing. So, yeah, there’s a few, let’s talk about before change. Before they make the big, before the flexibility act, they passed the law, the requirements are, you know, the money you receive. 75% of the money received has to be used on payroll and then for the remaining you can only use multi-interest, rent, or utility. Only those three, okay? And also you are required to remain a payroll number, right? A head account let’s say a full time, full time equivalent, meaning full time. Or if you have part time, you have to convert the part time into full time. Okay, so FTE, full time. So you have to maintain those payroll numbers, okay? People, how many people you have, and then you also are required to maintain the payroll level. If your payroll is reduced to more than 25% compared to prior quarter, the forgiveness amount will be reduced accordingly. A secondary requirement. That’s third requirement, the fourth requirement is you have to restore your employee headcount by June 30th. And if you don’t, then the forgiveness portion will be reduced. That’s another law. Right now under the, under the flexibility act. The 75-25 split has been changed to 60-40 split, I’ll explain why, okay? That’s one big portion. And also, previously you have, you have eight weeks to use this PPP money, eight weeks. And then, now they extended to 24 weeks. So you have more, you have more time to, to use up this PVP money, okay? And previously you only have up until June 30th to rehire, to restore your employees. But now you have up until the end of the year, okay? And, and also previously, if your PPP law is not forgiven, you have to pay back. You have two years to pay back. And then now they extend to five years. Okay, you have five years to pay it back. Okay.

Karl: [00:18:20] Why do you think, why do you think they did, they made these changes? What was the concern? What were they trying to address that they saw happening?

Steven: [00:18:29] The biggest one, there was a few things. If you think about it, once people get the money, think of a restaurant, okay? Once they get PPP money, they cannot basically, they cannot use the money for the, well that can, but even if you got the money, you probably see lots of employees they refused to return back to work. Why is the conditionings not permitted, it’s still unsafe or the restaurant simply is not open yet, right? And the third problem is really the restaurant owners are now competing with unemployment benefits. In California, for example, California state pays the employee people for like $550 a week. And the federal government matched another $600. So that’s like the people, people got to like $4,400 a month tax free, just unplanned benefit. So they are not like, they don’t want to, I make it for your, for your PPP, how much you pay for them, for the people working is probably less than $4,400. So they’re like, I would rather just stay at home, watching Netflix. I don’t want to go back to work, right? That’s why. And then for other businesses, they are really not ready to go back to business yet, right? So that means really, yeah you help the employees, but they are not ready to help as an employer because the money you’ve got already doesn’t help you restore, reopen the business, right? And so that’s why they extended that, extended the time. So say, okay, you
don’t have to use it within eight weeks. You can use it within 24 weeks so you can decide, okay, I want to restore, I will ask the five people back first and then I’ll add more and more and more. Now it really makes sense now, right? And also I get previously, like if I want to use a PPP minus, so if my employee doesn’t want to come back, should I call the state to report them? If I report to that guy he’s not getting any benefit anymore. So it was putting the employer in a very odd situation, but now you don’t have to do that because now you have up until the end of the year to rehire all the people, right? So that’s, that’s the main, that’s the main concern. The other, there was also other people, like, again, they extended to rehire period back to, pushed it back to December. So the first period that’s kind of the same concern, like, Hey, If people, what if people don’t want to come back? Or what if you know, the condition is not ready to reopen yet. So really we give people more flexibility. And plus previously you only have eight weeks to pay, to use our money basically caused some issue because you got a 2.5 of your month to payroll that’s your PPP loan. And you’ve only got two months to use it. So you really have to think about what’s the way to use it right? I have to use it on something now. But now they give you more time. So really the policy is really want to make sure you know, almost everybody can get the money, be forgiven.

Rico: [00:21:45] It sounded like, it sounds like to me, the original policy was meant to be a shot into the economy to get it moving at a point where it’s stuck in the mud and it’s not going to move, right? I mean, people, customers are not coming back as quickly, right?

Steven: [00:22:02] Right.

Rico: [00:22:03] So you got that, and you’re right about unemployment. Now unemployment runs out that extended unemployment, I think in July.

Steven: [00:22:10] July 31st. Yeah.

Rico: [00:22:11] Right. So once that runs out, one of the restaurant owners I’ve spoken to, he’s like, you know, the problem is he says, is that they don’t want to work. Like you said, because maybe they’re getting more money.

Steven: [00:22:24] Yeah, exactly.

Rico: [00:22:25] By the time they come back. Some of these restaurants may not, some of them may not reopen anymore.

Steven: [00:22:30] Right.

Rico: [00:22:31] But we hope the majority will, and there won’t be as many jobs. So they’re looking at short term money. As, as versus looking at the long term, if they’re going to have the job three months from now or a month from now.

Steven: [00:22:44] Exactly. So that comes right down the mix, especially for tip workers. Like, you know, if I hired them back, for two months and then do I just fire them again, because we’re not ready? It’ll make no sense.

Rico: [00:22:55] Yeah. And then some companies who did we talk to that was, they had the cheese business, I think. And, essentially, Oh, you weren’t in that this was a different zoom podcast, but it was a cheese manufacturer, small business you had about 50 employees. She couldn’t let go of her employees. She had to use the money. Cause how can you retrain cheese manufacturers? If you will. It’s not a job…

Steven: [00:23:22] Right.

Karl: [00:23:24] They, folks once you let people go, they might find other jobs and other places and they won’t be able to bring them back. So those are some of the things that people have to pay attention to for the PPP. They’ve gotten some flexibility, some bandwidth. What about on the tax front? I know we would, they’ve got a delay to, a six month delay or one quarter delay, excuse me, for tax from April 15th. What’s the new current deadline for tax filing it? What does it mean for business owners? What do they have to pay attention to in filing their tax? Do they have to make sure it’s filed and pay by this new date? Or is it, or what do they need to worry about Steven?

Steven: [00:24:09] Well, they’re required, actually, I call that a buffet, I call that a tax benefit buffet, a COVID-19 tax benefit buffet coming in from a different acts. Coming from CARES act, coming from your Family First act. And maybe they tried to attempt to add more in under the Hero’s act, but it did not pass. So there are a lots of things, I think I summarized eleven of them. I cannot remember them all right now. But once there is, you know, basically the IRS extended everything. Whatever you do before, it’s all extended for six months. Plus, the majority of the returns or forms are extend to July the 31st. July 15th, sorry. So you have enough time and then you don’t have to pay. The payment obligation is also extended. So you don’t have to pay. And besides that they have many other important benefits available that is worth, worth doing some tax planning. Now I want to make sure people understand the difference between tax preparation and the tax planning. So the biggest problem, Karl, you and I talk almost every week on this and before COVID-19 I was, try to always educate that to folks. Tax preparation is really a cost. Something you have to do. It’s like you’ve got all your information for last year. You give it to your tax preparer, put it in the software and then send it to IS, right. It’s just to report information you have. Tax planning is really, you have to look at lots of legal intricate structure and locality or personal life insurance, retirement, look at text, no tax costs different than the CARES act, all those things, and then come up sporadically, typically it’s done before the end of the year. For example, under the Family First Act and the CARES, they have lots of stuff. For example, they have lots of benefit. You can use, you can take advantage. One simple articles, called section 139. Section 139 was drafted really for section nine, really for 911, what time, you know, lots of victims of 911. So they passed the law. Basically say if there are certain victims, their family or your employees that are impacted by that tragedy, you can pay your employees a
certain amount to really support a family, right? But the sentence was drafted as a national disaster. So if you’re paying your employee, because of national disaster, you can, the employer can pay a certain amount to the employee and the employer can deduct those expenses. An employee does not have to include that in their income. So it’s tax free for the employees. It’s almost like double dipping, right. But it is really for the tax, for the national disaster relief. So now we have another national disaster, COVID-19, so you can do the same. You can do the same for your employee, for example, you know Karl, literally I think a you and I both now with the kids at home, we really cannot work. So we can literally, we can pay the employee. You can hire a nanny for your employee to take care of their kids so they can work, right? Or you can pay for the internet service, so maybe computer or camera, if they are required to do that to work from virtual, right? Or if you have to buy certain, something to keep them safe. As long as those are necessary expense to help them to go through this thing. Those could have be tax deductible for the, for the employers, I mean, deductible for the employer and the tax free for the employee. That’s why. And there’s quite a few other things. For example, you can always, you can get the retention credit, right? You know, if you’re keeping employees, you can get a retention credit and you can defer your payroll tax for two years. So you know, those 15.3% you’d have to pay now. And QIP, that’s very important, but if you did some qualified improvement, you are allowed to write them off immediately, right? And also like if you have net operating loss in previous years and you can, you can just, they are allowing you to carry it back and then you can convert those net operating loss into cash now. So you can receive a check now. So we went through a change a little bit, when we do the tax plan before the, pre COVID-19, we always try to focus on how to save people money. But now we are not looking, not just at saving people money, saving people tax, but also helping them to generate cash. Bring the cash to your pocket right now, so.

Karl: [00:29:22] That’s a key thing that you highlighted a couple of great, great suggestions, but I know a lot of people are impacted with employees that have to work from home. At the same time, a lot of the childcare services that were traditionally available weren’t available or aren’t available. And so these are costs that people have to account for because of COVID-19. And if I understand you correctly, there might be opportunities where you can in addressing some of those things, there might be some tax advantages or tax things you need to understand and know that can be applied to help you and your business.

Steven: [00:30:05] Yeah. Huge advantages, especially the people involved in if they do, if they have some new manufacturing boards, they have some real estate warehouse related. There is more benefit out of that.

Karl: [00:30:16] So, you know, as you think about it, we we’ve started off by talking about, COVID-19 and all the loans that help push money into the economy. I’d like to ask you to maybe take out your crystal ball a little bit. And you’ve got a perspective on, you know, the future of both from you do a lot of business with international businesses that do business in China, North America, all over the world. What are you seeing and hearing, you know, over the next year, that business owners should be considering. How not, not so much how long this is
going to last, but just what should people start preparing for when it comes to cash? The financials of their business over the longer term?

Steven: [00:31:06] What they, I would say it’s hard to predict what are the future looks like, but I think the chances are, you know, maybe yeah we’re gonna reopen. You know, maybe some, maybe school is gonna reopen in September, but eventually the risk of a second wave of infection is very high. If you’re considering given lots of negative, if you see people on the, right now into the protests. Lots of, lots of crowds. I mean, not a lot of them wear the masks. I feel like almost like the second wave is becoming evitable. So those are, how does that impact the business? I think we needed to really consider what, we have to plan out what if the second wave is true, will come? And does the business have to shut down again. How do you plan, right? How much, you have to look at, you know what if your business just returns to only 90% or 50% or 20% and how much cash you have? What if they use up all the PPPs? What if there’s no more free money from the government, right? How much your burn rate you have? How much money you have in your bank and how much money you have before you use up all your critical or other loans? So that’s the thing I think, as a, the business to think about, I know you do, they have to really think about it. And right now we do, we have the client do some forecasting budgeting. They look at your cash, you know earn rate and do some prediction on how much revenue you can incur that, how much to recover the revenue loss during the lockdown. And in the future, how much they’re sort of factoring the possibility of second wave. Anyway, it’s really become the exercise of doing a, doing a forecasting budgeting and getting prepared.

Karl: [00:32:59] This is critical. We just experienced about 11 to 12 year expansion, economic expansion. So there’s a lot of business owners that came into the business over that period of time. And they didn’t have to focus on the financials, the cashflow of their business for the last 10 years, because they were growing consistently. It was predictable. When you enter into a period of uncertainty and we don’t know the probability of a second wave, or even other things that are impacting the economy happening over the next 24 months. But planning the financial scenarios, what cash you need, what lending or borrowing or equity injections is going to be needed, where you need to pivot your business. How much will that cost to do. If you need to remodel your restaurants to enable social distancing from its current floor plan, you might need a general contractor and other funding that. There are mechanisms to fund that, but you need a plan, financial plan for your business to be able to do that. And that’s where if you have the skill set and knowledge to manage the financial of your business, now’s the time to use it. If you don’t have that knowledge and skill, now’s the time to learn it or to reach out to people that can help you. Your business might depend on it over the next 24 months. So I think it’s wise advice that you describe the role of a CFO in your business, no matter their size. Because it’s looking forward on how to plan for the financial needs of your business versus rearward looking on what did you do last year and how much taxes you owe. So really appreciate you sharing some of those ideas and tips with us. How would people get in touch with you if they wanted to learn more about tax planning, COVID-19 financial planning and others.

Steven: [00:35:02] Well, if they’re already connect with you, you know, just send you an email, but I can also be reached by steven@gucpagroup.com. That’s my email. And I do either a one point, Karl and Rico, you probably agree with me on this. I call myself a war time, COVID-19 war time CFO. Really we have to plan ahead, but I think we will never return to what we were three months ago, or even maybe six months ago. We will never. Because look at, we have 38 million in unemployment. Think about that. Even if we add 1 million a month at an average of one million a month, that’s going to take 38 months. Probably we will never again, we will never return to what we used to be. So we really need to plan. We need to plan ahead.

Rico: [00:35:56] I agree with you that we need to plan ahead. I’m hoping that we do return at some point somewhere. It might take a year. It was that boom economy for the last 10 years, like Karl said, can be a bit tough to do that anytime soon, I’m sure.

Karl: [00:36:14] Or industries will change. I think, you know, we are able to adapt. That is one thing that both here in America and around the world, we adapt to changes. After 911 flying on planes were different, but they, the people flew again and people travel and new industries emerge. Uber is a post 911 industry that, that flourished and there’ll be others. For the business owners that are out there trying to navigate today. The goal is survival. But also start looking forward to how to change the nature of your business for what the future may look like. Those that are able to do that faster, they’re going to be more successful in the long run.

Rico: [00:37:02] Especially with businesses like Steven said that have to look at maybe a second wave coming. So just be prepared. If you’re going to have to close down again, if that’s what we have to do,

Steven: [00:37:13] Right. Again, not all the business were impacted all the same. Some are really, they probably could have, cannot survive. Some are just impacted a bit, they can bounce back. But some are, is just a beneficiary out of the COVID-19, the Ecommerce, you know, some health care. You, know, it’s different.

Karl: [00:37:31] Well, again, I’d like to thank Steven Gu. He is the founder and CEO of a Gu and Company, a fractional CFO tax and business advisory firm. You shared a lot of great information. For some people you know, this might highlight some opportunities where they can get more precise and efficient with how they run their business and whether they reach out to their accountant or anybody else, or reach out to you. It’s time for folks to really pay attention to this important aspect. If nothing else taught us a lesson, when the government had free money to give out those that knew what to do and how to do it, and those that had their books and records and good accurate business records, they got to the front of the line, they got the money quicker. And so should that happen again, people have a personal mission to look at their own situation and see if they can make some improvements. So they’re more ready for the next, the next time. Thank you very much. We’d like to thank everybody for tuning in to the Capitalist Sage podcast we’re continuing to have new and interesting guests come in and talk about things to help you improve your business. I’m Karl Barham with Transworld Business
Advisors, Atlanta Peachtree. And believe it or not, this has been a time where people have reevaluated what’s important in life and we have more qualified buyers and investors in businesses that you would think. People are looking to invest in different businesses. And we help them find the right business. If you’re a business owner and you decided that, you know, you want to move on to other things in your life. There is a process to help get your business sold so that you can do what’s next. And so feel free to contact myself, one of my agents. We’ll be able to help you with that. You can reach us at KBarham@TWorld.com or visit our website www.TWorld.com/AtlantaPeachtree. Rico, why don’t you tell us a little bit about what you’ve got coming up?

Rico: [00:39:41] Sure. Before I get to that. Steven don’t don’t log off when we sign off, hang in there for a few minutes. And for those that need Steven Gu’s information, I’ll make sure it’s in the show notes also. So you can track back to his Facebook or LinkedIn pages, or certainly reach out to me or call. But you know, Peachtree Corners magazine. The newest issue is in the mailboxes. I got mine today, so hopefully everyone’s getting them their copy over the next few weeks. We’ve been fortunate to have a support of the city, local businesses continuing to advertise. So it’s a strong issue. This one’s about, stories that brighten our spirits. So a lot, a lot of people doing a lot of different things during COVID-19. People making, so Steven Shininess is our cover story, along with four other stories of people that have decided to do different things than what they were originally doing. So he’s 3D printing face masks. Howill Upchurch is a videographer, but he also creates guitars. So he was making guitars in his workshops. And there’s a bunch of people like that. Lots of stories. So pick it up. You could pick it up at, there’s still places that are carrying the publication that are able to do it in this COVID-19 environment. So check them out. Dunkin Donuts, Ingles, lots of restaurants that are opened for dining. You’ll see, you’ll see it there. Or go to living in PeachtreeCorners.com, you can find the digital edition there. Mighty Rockets, that’s what I do, social media, videography and all that. We’re still doing gangbusters, so there’s a lot of work out there for what I’m doing for companies. I need to get online, whether they’re doing a webinar or podcasts or other things, I’m busy doing that. So MightyRockets.com. You can email me Rico@mightyrockets.com and I’ll help you guys out.

Karl: [00:41:40] Well, thank you again, Steven for joining us today. And for everybody out there, stay strong. Keep pushing forward. Take care. Have a great day.

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Peachtree Corners’ Curiosity Lab Celebrates 1-Year Anniversary

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Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners is celebrating its one-year anniversary as the world’s first 5G-enabled living laboratory for testing, demoing and deploying autonomous vehicle and smart city technology.

“Joining Curiosity Lab as a resident company and member has created new opportunities for us to engage with non-traditional partners and accelerate our growth,” said Eyal Elyashiv, Founder and CEO of Cynamics, a disruptive AI-based Network Visibility Solution for Threat Prediction and Performance Optimization “Peachtree Corners has built a one-of-a-kind technology ecosystem in Curiosity Lab that enables technology companies such as us to test and prove next-generation solutions for today’s and tomorrow’s challenges.”

The city of Peachtree Corners founded and launched Curiosity Lab on September 11, 2019 in conjunction with Smart City Expo Atlanta. Featuring a 3-mile autonomous vehicle test track, 5G connectivity, dedicated DSRC units, a network operations control center, smart traffic light and smart poles, the Lab enables corporate innovation teams and startups to test their technology in a real-world environment where more than 8,000 individuals work and live.

The Lab combines access to subject matter experts and experienced serial entrepreneurs with infrastructure that accelerates growth and engagement for established companies and startups.

Since its opening, the Lab has experienced significant growth with the addition of some of the world’s most promising technology innovators. Building upon that momentum, Curiosity Lab launched a variety of partnerships with organizations such as Georgia Power, Delta Airlines, the Ray, ASHRAE, The Technology Association of Georgia, The Metro Atlanta Chamber, Kennesaw State University and Georgia Tech.

Curiosity Lab milestones during the year also include:

· Winning Transportation Project of the Year in IDC’s Smart Cities North America Awards (SCNAA).

· Deploying Local Motors’ Olli, the world’s first co-created autonomous electric shuttle, for several months with city residents.

· Launching the world’s first fleet of shared e-scooters with teleoperated repositioning.

· Expanding its technology infrastructure to enable research and testing by academic, corporate and startup technology innovators.

“The last 12 months have been exciting and challenging – but Curiosity Lab has remained focused on facilitating innovation and creating opportunities for our members and ecosystem partners,” said Betsy Plattenburg, executive director of Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners. “Our grand opening demonstrated the potential of new technologies for a future yet imagined. Autonomous delivery that was novel this time last year is critically important today.”

Curiosity Lab is actively recruiting innovators working on mobility and smart city technologies. To learn more, visit: curiositylabptc.com/contact/

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The Impact of COVID-19 on the Future of the Restaurant Business

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Capitalist Sage podcast

Clifford Bramble, author of “Within Our Walls” an “inspirational story for the restaurant industry,” and the founder and owner of Hungry Hospitality joins Karl Barham and Rico Figliolini to talk about the current state and the future of the restaurant business. Recorded socially safe from the City of Peachtree Corners, Georgia

Website: ​https://www.hungryhospitality.com
Social Media: @HungryHospitality

“No matter what industry you’re in, you have to learn and do the job before you actually become an owner of the job. Or the owner of the business. So if somebody wants to get into the chef position, they have to learn how to cook. If somebody wants to learn how to do the business side, they have to learn the front of the house stuff. So it’s really important that they still have to be working for somebody to learn from somebody. They can do it in school, but they’re going to learn a lot more on property, inside a restaurant.”

CLiff Bramble

Where to find the topic, timestamp:
[00:00:30] – Intro
[00:01:49] – About Cliff
[00:03:35] – Why Restaurants?
[00:07:22] – First impressions of COVID
[00:09:19] – Doing Things Differently
[00:14:07] – Finding the Right Information
[00:17:52] – Reopening
[00:18:57] – Looking to the Future
[00:25:21] – Restaurant Real Estate
[00:29:20] – Getting into the Restaurant Business
[00:31:12] – Closing

Cliff Bramble joined us on our video chat podcast.

Podcast Transcript:

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

Rico: [00:00:47] Hey, Karl. Good. Thanks.

Karl: [00:00:49] Well, why don’t you tell us a little bit about our sponsors today?

Rico: [00:00:52] Sure. Let’s go right into it. Our lead sponsor I want to thank is Hargray Fiber. They’re a major company in the Southeast that handles fiber optics, internet connection at the speeds you need. And also because they handle, because they’re right in the community, they’re not your cable guy, right. You could call them up, they’ll be right out there. They’re very attentive to their client’s needs. Whether you’re a small business or you’re a large enterprise business, whether your employees are working from home or home and office, they’re providing all the smart office tools that you need to be able to do the work that your company needs to be able to get sales done. So check them out, they’re HargrayFiber.com. Or you can go to Hargray.com/Business and check them out because they have a thousand dollar Visa gift card going, promotion. And you may be one of those if you hook up with them. So check them out. Thank you to Hargray Fiber.

Karl: [00:01:49] Thank you. Thank you Hargray for continuing to sponsor all of the podcasts here. Today I’m excited to bring back a guest that joined us when we started this, if you remember. Cliff Bramble, founder and owner of Hungry Hospitality here in Gwinnett County. He’s here to talk a little bit about his perspective and experience and thoughts on business, small business in particular restaurant. 2020, it’s been a tough year for so many businesses. And in particular, you’ll see a lot of restaurant business being impacted. But I’ll tell you, being able to understand the history and what makes things work, is a great conversation to just show how we could support small business and maybe even talk a little bit about what it’s gonna look like post COVID. So Cliff how’re you doing today?

Cliff: [00:02:41] I’m doing great. Thanks for having me on.

Karl: [00:02:43] Well, many people might already know you and so on, but I’d love for you to share your background with folks so they can understand the many, many things that you’ve done in your career.

Cliff: [00:02:55] Absolutely. So, I live in Peachtree Corners. So I’m around here quite frequently. I was, I had the Nobel Fin going for quite some time until COVID came in. So I’ve been in the restaurant business for many years. I cofounded Rathmines Restaurants many years ago. And in the meantime, after that, ended up opening up Noble Fin. And now I just started a new company called Hungry Hospitality because, Noble Fin, I had to close it. Which isn’t a good thing, but we had to do what we had to do to start with COVID. But being in the restaurant
business and also real estate and also investing, I’ve been working with businesses for many years and I really enjoy it. It’s always a fun thing to do.

Karl: [00:03:35] Well, that’s what we’re here to talk to is the small business owners. We know it could be lonely owning your small business and having others to be able to share ideas with talk, to get ideas from, we know is very helpful. And so, why don’t we jump right in? And I’m curious when you did all your experience in a restaurant, what are some of the things that attracted you and many people to the restaurant business? From a business perspective, why do you think people get into that?

Cliff: [00:04:03] Well, you know, there’s a lot of glory in restaurants. A lot of people love to be in it. There’s, you know, there’s many people that will say, Hey, I’d love to open a restaurant. I don’t know about right now, but over the years they always have. But there’s always a lot of excitement. There’s a lot of adrenaline that’s going on. You know, there’s that. You’re around some nice people all the time. You’re around people all the time. And some people think it’s just an excitement thing all the time. You’re always excited. There’s always something going on. And although there is, you still have to run the business, with the HR and the hiring and all the other aspects that go into it. But the restaurant industry, it will come back. It’s having a challenge right now, but it will come back and there’ll be just as many people in it.

Karl: [00:04:44] Yeah. Over the years, I think one of the things is I always associate restaurant with creating memories. People get engaged, they have family feasts, birthdays, mother’s day, father’s day. And no matter what is happening in the economy or the world, people are going to want to celebrate with other people. They’re going to do it over food. And so we know that that’s going to sustain over the long term. What are some of the things that people, when you think about restaurants, they don’t know about the restaurant industry that you think they should for folks that have been in it for awhile?

Cliff: [00:05:18] Well, a lot of people may, again, people think it’s a fun industry. You, number one, you have to be there when you open up a restaurant, you really have to be there most of the time, especially if you’re independent. If you’re working with five and six other restaurant groups or you own it, and you have the luxury of hiring people because you’re a very profitable organization, you will have less time within the restaurant and more time operating the company because somebody still has to run the company. But the options are, is that people don’t see the hard work, the sacrifices that go into owning a restaurant. If it’s your kid’s birthday and you own a restaurant and you’re opening and it’s Friday night, you probably have to be there. It just depends on what people’s version and definition of fun and excitement is, but there’s a lot of hard work that you have to be there all the time.

Rico: [00:06:09] You know, I remember when we did a podcast, not too long ago, about your travels to Italy. Yeah, that was fun. I mean, you shared some pictures. You talked about the food and all that. Do you miss any of that? Do you miss being, you know, I know it’s only been a
little while. You know, but sometimes I feel like people leave a business and it doesn’t take long for them to miss it. Like a few days even.

Cliff: [00:06:34] Yeah. It’s interesting. You mentioned that if somebody asked me that the other day, just yesterday and he said, Well, are you going to get back into it? And I said, listen, I’ve been doing this for about almost 40 years. And, I’d love to say that I want to jump right into it, but I have to tell you I’m having a good time not being in it right now. So, you know, what you do realize is all of a sudden you realize all those things that you really couldn’t do over the years and you missed, all of a sudden they’re back at you. But you do miss the, you know, the fun of the excitement on a nightly basis, meeting all the different people. Because you do meet a lot of people in the restaurants and you have a lot of friends in the restaurants or acquaintances. But the other thing you miss is you miss the good food. So we cook at home all the time now.

Karl: [00:07:22] I’m curious when all, COVID-19 started to happen, where did you first hear that something was happening? How soon did you hear something was happening? What was your first thoughts and reaction to that?

Cliff: [00:07:35] Well, I’m involved in investments and financial side as well. And I’ve been, I started watching it in December to be honest. And, so in December I really watched it and in January I became obsessed with it. To a point where, I was up at three 30 in the morning, reading news from other countries, from that all the way to the East or the West, wherever it was. That was already happening and I was watching it. So for the month of January, I watched it and I read. I read a lot of information about it and I kind of warned a few friends of mine. I said, you know, if this comes over here, restaurant wise, we may end up having a big problem. Now I didn’t know how big of a problem it was, but watching it escalate, I took a lot of screenshots basically when the John Hopkins first started tracking. It had, there was two people. I have a screenshot with two people in the United States have it. And then it continued to go up and up and up. So, you know for me, I started watching it in January really, really, more so than December. But when I had over at Noble Fin, I did tell my staff in January. I advised them I said, listen guys, if this comes over here, it’s going to affect everybody. So start saving your money. And actually quite a few of them thanked me later on. And they said, man, I can’t believe that. But we did save our money and thank you very much. So I watched a lot of it in January. And then obviously in February when it started to pick up, you know, it just continued. I think the financial markets, in my opinion, kind of ignored it in January. You know, just paying attention to it, wondering what was going to happen on the hospitality side. It took a mind of its own and obviously where we are now today.

Karl: [00:09:19] Yeah. I remembered you actually being one of the first ones to talk about it and, you know, we were chatting and you were starting to do that early March, late February, early March. But I don’t know that people really understood how long this would be around. And we all didn’t know enough information about how we responded and how many. There was a time there were country that had a spike and then they got it under control and everyone thought that that’s what happens. But decisions and choices and behaviors and all these things played in.
And we’re a big country with a lot of complexity to it. 50 States, a lot of different approaches to tackling it. So, when you knew that it was going to impact your business, I know there are things you can do generally. Is there anything looking back, you’d advise the restaurant industry as a whole or people that are leading large in the food and beverage space, things that a year ago, you know, hindsight’s always 2020. Things that a year ago, things that could be done to prepare, if something like this were to happen. What would be some of the things in the food and beverage space that good business people could do? Could have done?

Cliff: [00:10:38] Well, one of the most important parts really for me, was making sure you had enough cash flow in a situation like this or any emergency situation. And, you know, I’ve worked with my accountant and it’s very interesting. Making sure that you have enough cashflow for three or four months. And most people in the, you know, we’re all in the same boat. Most people in the United States only have two or three months worth of a fund saved. In a restaurant the same exact thing. You do have to treat it as a business because that’s exactly what it is first. The fun of the restaurant has to come second. But having the cash in bank and making sure that you have enough for an emergency situation, honestly, it helped me tremendously this time. Now obviously you can not predict what’s going to happen how far along this is going to go. But, there still are, you know, we’re still in the pandemic. There’s still restaurants that are having challenges, especially in different segments. So you know, when it comes down to it, in my opinion, no matter what business you’re in you always have to plan two, three, four, five months worth of cashflow to make sure that you have that. Because when you need it and you don’t have it, you can’t get it.

Rico: [00:11:46] Let me ask you something. You know, I don’t think the restaurant business. Is immune to things, right? They’re listeria outbreaks, the salmonella outbreaks. Those are common. Every day there’s always a recall somewhere in the country for something. Especially romaine lettuce. Well, romaine lettuce from Arizona, I guess, or wherever it comes from. It’s like that one place, you know. So you have all that going on and then you have the pandemic on top of that because you have the normal stuff like that. So do you see this coming back? I mean, they’re talking about it coming back again. You know should restaurants are planning out for this type of thing beyond the money? You know, how do you plan the health wise? How do you keep things clean? And not that you know, a pandemic this may not matter, I guess the cleanliness. But how do you, what do you see there?

Cliff: [00:12:42] Well, I wish I had a crystal ball. I really do, but you know, restaurants in general are clean. You know, we clean them all the time. You have a cleaning crew or you have an outside company who comes in and cleans it. So it just, it really depends, but you still have to remain diligent on what you’re doing and you have to continue to train your staff.That’s there and make sure the management is on guard. Make sure that everybody’s paying attention. Because it, you know, what happened to me over at Noble Fin is really the reason why I ended up closing the first time in March was because somebody walked in. And then they had a party of 10, but they came from out of town. They called up two days later and they said, Hey, by the way, I think I may have COVID. You may have to tell your staff. So that was a real big
eyeopener for me when I’m dealing with hotel guests from the Marriott locally here, and, you know, the international companies that are around Peachtree Corners and Gwinnett. That was a big eyeopener. So you know, keep being diligent about listening and watching what’s going on and listening to your staff because your staff will tell you a lot of what’s going on. But more importantly, you have to continue to remain diligent and be clean and make sure you’re paying attention to everything around you. You can’t just be paying attention to your four walls within that restaurant. You have to be paying attention to what’s going on in the business world as well, because it does affect restaurants.

Karl: [00:14:07] That’s a good point. Early on information was flowing from so many sources to help guide you on restaurant safety and protocol. What was the right source to listen to? How do you figure out who to pay attention to?

Cliff: [00:14:24] That goes right about now too, we’re still trying to figure it out. You know what? The Georgia restaurant association has a great page on COVID. So, you know, any restaurant, or individual, or an employee of a restaurant or hospitality field, they can go onto the Georgia restaurant association webpage. And they have a great COVID, it’s a webpage with all types of resources on it. So that was something that I really paid attention to because they were very keen on keeping that up to date on a daily basis. Even though every day something came out differently. They were very good at keeping their website up.

Rico: [00:15:01] What did you, did you find useful the other resources that the association provided? I mean, obviously the restaurant industry is different than other industries because of the employees. And just the nature of sustainability and all that product. When it came to the Cares Act, to PPP, to loans, to payroll. You know, when business is not happening, was that any of that useful to you? I mean, I know you did a lot for your employees. God knows. I think anyone that lives in Peachtree Corners knows that Cliff Bramble, Noble Fin. You guys really, you really employed your employees as long as you could.

Karl: [00:15:39] And the community.

Cliff: [00:15:41] We did. We did. I honestly, I mean, we did pay attention. You know, when the Cares Act came out, I was very much aware of that coming out four or five weeks ahead of time with my fingers crossed because I told my staff the same exact thing. Hey guys, this is, if this comes in, I’ll be able to help you guys for this much longer. And to be perfectly honest, I mean, I kept a lot of the staff on. I couldn’t, I think 26 staff members on for the nine weeks that we were closed and they got their paycheck. You know, and that was important to me because we opened back up, everyone of those employees was back there to work. Which is a great feeling. So, you know, so yes. The other items that were out there and the people that, you know, friends of mine in the business world also. You know, from my banker to my accountant, we were all kind of talking about the same exact thing. So, we all help each other. And, there was a lot of guys in the restaurant business that I spoke with as well. We had a few, what do they call the zoom meetings, right? We had a few of them. Which were pretty cool because everybody
really helped each other. And I think that’s what the industry is really needing right now, is people to help each other being in the same industry.

Rico: [00:16:50] Well, was it a little scary at one point when they were sort of changing the rules of the game a little bit? Like you had to spend it all in eight weeks and then you could spend it in 24 weeks. Maybe some of it’s forgiven, maybe not some of it, that formula was changing. Was any of that scary?

Cliff: [00:17:07] You know what scary could be a word, but confusing is more of the word. There’s no question about it. I mean, you try to become an expert at this stuff because you know, you’re learning about it, but you’re trying to learn as much as possible. And, I have several, you know, several email friends that would send me information. Hey, this is what’s going on. My banker would send me information. I would go to treasury.org. I would go to all the different government websites and pull down the latest information. But man, confusing is the word, because, you know, one day you go, wow, this is fantastic. And next day you’re up and down. And honestly, you know, you think you lose sleep when you have a restaurant? Go through COVID and own a restaurant, you’ll really be losing sleep. And that’s probably with any business too.

Karl: [00:17:52] Right. I wondered when you reopened and people started coming back, what were some of the, you know, the response the community gave as people started going back out to restaurants and as you walked around town? What was your general sense and feel on how people felt about it?

Cliff: [00:18:10] You know, we opened back up May 25th. It was eight weeks after we had first closed. And I think we were one of the earlier ones that we opened up. And I felt that at that time it was probably a good time because I didn’t know how long this was going to continue. But the people who came in, I have to tell you, we had a very, very supportive clientele and a lot of the people who had frequented the restaurant over the years, they were the first one’s back. Yes, there were some people that came in with masks. Yes, at the very beginning. But we did everything that we possibly could to make the people feel comfortable. But when it comes down to it, you know, the people who came in, they were very supportive. They were very happy that the restaurant was back open. They enjoyed the food and they came back a couple of times. But as the confusion set in, you saw less and less of them.

Karl: [00:18:57] Yeah, yeah. I know people are happy now. If you fast forward to today, restaurants are open and people are going out to eat. Yes, the world’s changed a little bit, there’s a little bit more spacing and so on. But I’m looking in the future, there’s a short term where, you know, until, vaccines are available and so on. We’re going to school dealing with this, we’re working dealing with this, we’re living our lives dealing with this. What do you think the restaurant industry is going to look like over the near short term? And I’m going to ask you, what do you think it’s going to look like a little bit further on? How does this change how
business owners approach food service, delivery, in dining experience. How do you think this could change it? And any of them for the better?

Cliff: [00:19:42] You know, the restaurant industry, I think right now is changing on a daily basis. But, you know, we’ve gone through a lot of different changes in the last six months. Let’s face it. We went from being like, for example, you got quick service, you got full service, you have fine dining, you have fast food. And what happened for me, for example, was you know, we went through the whole process of, okay, let’s see if we can continue with the sale. So we started to-go stuff immediately. And then from there you started selling stuff online and then people started ordering it online. But now you go into the future and all that stuff is still happening. Where there’s a lot of people eating outside. But let’s face it, it’s 95 degrees outside. At nighttime it’s fine. I know a couple of places that they set up their patio and outdoor front, and they look really, really cool. And people do dine in them. But the future-wise, I mean, you’re looking at home delivery. You’re looking at more chefs cooking at home, chefs from restaurants maybe doing meal preps. And that’s already happening. You know, and there’s also a lot of virtual cooking classes as well that’s going on. Where chefs or restaurant owners are doing the virtual cooking classes from their kitchen or they’re doing a zoom cooking class, basically. So the nice part is, is it’s working and people are going with it. What’s going on in a year from now? I don’t know. I mean, there may be some consolidation, but there’s also a lot of companies out there with some pretty deep pockets. That are looking for good brands to purchase with great locations because the restaurant industry, it’s not going anywhere. It will consolidate, it will change, but it’s going to come back. Sooner or later it will come back. But we are dependent on the hotels, just like hotels are dependent on us. And I know in Peachtree Corners there’s still one, at least one hotel that I know of that is not open. But this is people in this area, the less traveling we do, it does provide a challenge for what’s going to happen now or in the future as well.

Karl: [00:21:38] I’m curious. In New York I saw some areas of New York city shut down the streets and allow the restaurants to go out into the streets, where they get the advantage of spacing and they’re able to deliver a different experience. But also, do you think there’s a future and figuring out a way to leverage outdoor space and eating for the short term. And then I’m sure, you know, over time and it’ll go in there. Have you seen any innovations in that area?

Cliff: [00:22:10] You know, most of the cities and the towns have really eased the restrictions on the outdoor dining. I know Peachtree Corners has, so that has helped tremendously. You know, it’s really up to the building departments up to the coding and also how long this is going to continue. Hopefully there’s a vaccine where we can all say, okay, in six months, eight months, this is all done. And people are back dining in air conditioning, rather than sitting in 95 degrees.

Karl: [00:22:33] Yeah.

Rico: [00:22:33] Well, you know, I think that this has shown us though that this could happen again, right? I mean, this is just, this can happen again. And it doesn’t take long, right?
Transatlantic flights. I mean, by the time anyone really knew what was going on. We were already deep into it, you know what I mean? You were able to see it coming, maybe so were other people, but obviously some people ignored it. And it came and slapped us in the face. It was really bad in Italy and Greece and some of the other countries in Europe. But like you were saying things change, right? Yeah, I think there’s more ghost kitchens going on now.

Cliff: [00:23:09] Absolutely.

Rico: [00:23:10] Right. And to explain that to some people that don’t know what a ghost kitchen is.

Karl: [00:23:14] What is a ghost kitchen?

Cliff: [00:23:15] Well you know, there’s a place called Prep Atlanta over by Spaghetti Junction. They have, I don’t know how many, I’d like to say there’s about 75 to 100 different, 100 square feet. Some are 80 square feet kitchens. And I’ve been in two of them. One of my old chef has a food truck and he took me into one of his places and man it was pretty cool. But basically they’re doing all the prep there and then they basically will deliver it to somebody else. I know Elon Musk’s brother is heavily involved. He raised about, only about $500 million to start these virtual kitchens around the United States. So the virtual kitchen, it could be something where you have a restaurant where Noble Fin used to be, for example, and have four or five different kitchens only in there. And basically you order everything online and you just go pick it up. So it remains to be seen, but I think that that virtual kitchen definitely has a huge lifespan coming up to it.

Rico: [00:24:11] If you see what’s going on with like Domino’s pizza, right. The pizza industry is really good at this. There were set because most of their stuff is delivered anyway, right? So Domino’s is no, I think it’s Domino’s right. There’s no sit in, it’s all delivery, right? It’s all curbside or pick up or delivery. You’re seeing more of like what you said. And I’m seeing companies that are doing four different brands within a ghost kitchen. Like they own the whole thing, but they’re doing it for, so that pizzeria, mexican, chinese. They own all four brands let’s say and they’re in some hole in the wall place that’s conditioned for a kitchen and they’re selling right?

Cliff: [00:24:50] Delivery only.

Rico: [00:24:51] Yeah. And then, like you said, your chef started a food truck, right? So I’m seeing more of that.

Cliff: [00:24:58] And I’ll tell you, what’s interesting. He goes to neighborhoods too. He goes to different neighborhoods where, when all of a sudden when, you know, this whole COVID came in. Obviously the business parks had disappeared. Or the people, the parks are there, but the people weren’t. So he ended up going to neighborhoods where they would call him and they have 40, 50 people there and he’d serve them on like a Tuesday night.

Karl: [00:25:21] Yeah. We saw a few of those. Those are good. We ordered dinner, when they would pick neighborhoods from different restaurants, we thought that was fabulous. I’ve got a question that might be more technical. Since you, one of the biggest costs for restaurants is the space, the real estate, the space you’re in. Do you think this is going to have an impact on commercial real estate, being able to charge the same rates, if you can’t have as many people in a space. How do you think that’s going to affect that part of the business model for restaurants?

Cliff: [00:25:57] Well, you know, it’s interesting that you say that. But, you know what, when it comes down to the per square foot, you know, the restaurants are going to move out and restaurants live off of what you’re sales are per square foot and also what your rent is per square foot. And if you have a large restaurant and the rent is, you know, $40 a square foot. You know, in Georgia, in Atlanta, it’s probably a lot less than other parts of the country. But you also have a sales forecast for that specific restaurant square footage. So knowing what your sales are going to be or what they forecasted compared to what they are, the rent will be. And it’s, especially with only at 50% seating capacity, it’s going to provide a challenge without a question. So there are going to being landlords out there trying to charge more rent. It depends on how bad somebody wants a location. If somebody wants to pay for it and they want to be in a restaurant. If they have 4,000 square feet and they need to do $600 a square foot, which is on the medium level. They really want to do $800. So that’s three and a half million dollars in sales, but if they’re paying a low $20 a square foot, that’s great. But if they’re paying 35, your occupancy costs are going to be way too high. So it’s very important to pay attention before you go into it and know what you’re sales are what you think they’re going to be. But with COVID, you know, the next six months we just don’t know.

Karl: [00:27:20] Right. Yeah. And I see, I know with all the vacancies that are happening or projected to happen between retail, restaurants and others, it’s going to have an impact. I remember December, most landlords were pushing price increase in lease updates. Some may still it’s all very local. So it depends on laws, or people, or location. But if the model changes where you can’t drive as much revenue, whether it’s by people or the price you charge, you can’t get the sales volume. Don’t you think that that will force landlords to have to either face vacancy or build a model that allows, you know, business owners to be successful and come to the table. Now over time, like it happens every other time prices will increase again. But for the short term, it’s important that we, that somehow that gets figured out.

Cliff: [00:28:19] Well, you know, listen, we all know there’s going to be a lot of retail space available within the next six months. It’s already happening. You know, whether it’s here in Atlanta, West side, downtown, you go to old fourth ward. I mean, there’s so much happening right now. You look at Alpharetta. Alpharetta is, you know, it continues to grow. Peachtree Corners, there’s buildings here, but there’s also empty buildings as well. So the more of these companies that are not letting or telling their employees to stay home until June of 2021, it provides all of a sudden empty space. Now they still have leases on them. Some of them maybe they own the building, but it’s all really dependent on whether they can work it out with the
landlords. I got an email today from somebody who’s closing a bunch of restaurants and one of the main reasons was because they could not work out a solution with their landlords. So ultimately the landlord is either going to have empty places for, until COVID is over or there’s going to be somebody else who walks in and says, Hey, I have five brands and I want to put them in that place. Maybe for a virtual kitchen. You just, you just don’t know.

Karl: [00:29:20] That’s gotta be. So what are your thoughts on someone thinking of getting into the restaurant? Just finished working at some restaurant, moving into the Metro Atlanta area. Any advice to folks that might be looking to step into it?

Cliff: [00:29:36] You know what, if they’re looking to get a job right now, you know, there are a lot of jobs out there where people are looking for, restaurants are looking for people. You look in the suburbs right now. Suburbs are pretty much doing better than in town. Because a lot of the in town, especially downtown is reliant on the hotels, downtown Atlanta. But the suburbs right now are the places to really find a job. Because the suburbs are coming back a lot more quickly in the restaurant side. Not as much as the hotel, but definitely in the restaurant. It’s coming back more quickly. So the jobs are out there. They’d have to look in the suburbs before they go in town.

Karl: [00:30:09] And as for a career path for someone that wanted to own a restaurant. What types of positions and roles would you recommend someone craft that they wanted to build a career to be an owner of a restaurant one day?

Cliff: [00:30:24] Well, you know, if they wanted to be an owner of a restaurant right there one day, they could probably buy a lot right now.

Karl: [00:30:31] And are they ready?

Cliff: [00:30:33] But they might not be ready. But you know what, it comes down to they have to continue to learn. They have to continue to work at another restaurant. They have to learn from somebody else who’s doing that. And you know, no matter what industry that you’re in, you have to learn and do the job before you actually become an owner of the job. Or owner of the business. So if somebody wants to get into the chef position, they have to learn how to cook. If somebody wants to learn how to do the business side, they have to learn the front of the house stuff. So it’s really important that they still have to be working for somebody to learn from somebody. They can do it in school, but they’re going to learn a lot more on property inside a restaurant.

Karl: [00:31:12] Well, I want to thank you for sharing some of your wisdom and experience navigating through not only just this crazy 2020, but an industry that already has its ups and downs and challenges, and you continue to be successful in all things you do. Anything you have coming up? So what keeps you busy nowadays? What type of stuff you get yourself into?

Cliff: [00:31:36] Man, you know, I’ll tell you what I’ve been doing a lot of pivoting you know. And when we had Nobel Fin, we pivoted to to-go, then we pivoted to online and, you know, ended up closing that. But I started a new company called Hungry Hospitality, which really it’s my main focus now. So I’m working on that and I’m working on these classes called audio business classes. They’re really business classes that are online and there’ll be subscription basis. There’ll be coming out probably sometime in October. And it’s really geared to the hospitality industry, but also the business industry as well. So it’ll be something a little different, but I think it’ll allow people to learn 24/7 and basically download whatever they need. So it should be interesting.

Karl: [00:32:16] Cool. I know a lot of people that would be able to really use some of that wisdom to share.

Rico: [00:32:21] Where can they find, what website can they go to? Where they, where can they find you if they want?

Cliff: [00:32:26] Yeah. Right now all my information is on HungaryHospitality.com. Right now that’s the consulting side. And the consulting side is really working with the restaurants, working with business owners, real estate people, realtors. And you know, a lot of people could use, they always say, man, I never knew this stuff. And you know, the nice part is if they want to learn how to open up a business, it’s better to have somebody who has already done it then trying and making all those mistakes and costing them a lot of money when somebody can guide them to it and help them immediately.

Karl: [00:33:01] Oh, absolutely. It makes perfect sense. Well, I want to thank you Cliff Bramble with Hungry Hospitality, local business leader. And I just want to thank you personally, for all the things you did in the community. Bread you were giving away during the time just being a voice.

Rico: [00:33:21] How many pounds of?

Cliff: [00:33:22] I was making that in the back kitchen and having a good time.

Rico: [00:33:25] You came up with 400 pounds of dough or more,

Cliff: [00:33:28] I think in total, almost 800 pounds of dough. But it was good, you know what I mean? It was a good time, the people enjoyed it. And you know what? I think that the people needed something like that. And, you know, you have to do something like that and get back to the community because the local people are the ones that helped you out in the first place.

Karl: [00:33:44] Well, I want to thank you. You’re a great example for the community and continue to wish you all luck on some of your new endeavors. Well, for today, I want to thank everybody for joining the Capitalist Sage. I’m Karl Barham with Transworld Business Advisors of Atlanta Peachtree. Our business is to help business owners figure out what comes next in life,
whether they are looking to exit the business, sell, whether they’re looking to acquire a business to grow through acquisition or through franchising. We help people realize those dreams. You can reach us at www.TWorld.com/AtlantaPeachtree. Rico, what do you have coming up?

Rico: [00:34:23] Sure. Well, I’m Rico Figliolini. I have MightyRockets.com and we’re a social media content creation company. But I also publish Peachtree Corners magazine so that’s six times a year. Keeps me busy. Talking about passion, I love doing this stuff. I have great writers with me. We’re working on the next issue right now. So part of that is pets and their people. We’re going to be running a, we’re launching a giveaway next week on that. We’re also doing, asking people to give us what they’re thankful for. So our hopes are accumulating 50 people and what they feel they’re thankful for this year. Besides family and friends, we’re all thankful for that. But what else are you thankful for? So you want to get a sense of what that is in Peachtree Corners. We’re curating that and putting that in the magazine. And we’re also wanting to be doing a bunch of other things, including backyard retreats. So we’re profiling five of those. Really some great looking backyard retreats that people can go to. There’s one place, I forget how many acres it is, smack in the middle of Peachtree Corners, has its own rapevines and place to just hang out. It’s kind of a neat place. That’s one of the places, but we’re doing all that. So and these family of podcasts we’re doing. Because you’re the heavy lifting, scheduling everyone on these podcasts and it’s kind of cool. You’re bringing in really good interesting people. Cliff this hour, this half hour was really, really good learning about you and the business. So all that, and we’re fortunate to have Hargray Fiber as a sponsor of these podcasts. So if anyone wants to find out a little bit more about what’s going on in Peachtree Corners or any of the podcasts we do go to LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com and you’ll be able to find out all sorts of things.

Karl: [00:36:15] So I want to mention one more thing as we wrap up today. It’s great having folks like Cliff and other business owners all over the community, because I don’t know if a lot of children get to see business owners. They go in patron in the business, but they don’t know the people in the community that do it and some of these things. And so if this helps to prepare the next generation to be great business owners, small business owners I think, it’s going to drive the economy. So, this is a joy for us to do and we want folks to follow us on Facebook. And on Facebook, is it Living in Peachtree Corners?

Rico: [00:36:53] Well, it’s Peachtree Corners Life on Facebook. So if you like the page, right, and you’ll get alerts for it. If you go to YouTube and you search Peachtree Corners Life. Subscribe there and you’ll also get an alert because we’re doing these things live to YouTube simultaneously if we don’t get dropped. So I think we went about 27 minutes before we got dropped. So the full version will be up after this.

Karl: [00:37:17] Awesome. And then the website?

Rico: [00:37:20] Well, the website is LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com. and on Instagram, we’re Capitalist Sage so check it out.

Karl: [00:37:29] Absolutely. Well, thank you everyone for tuning in and thanks Cliff again. Take care of everyone. Have a great day, everyone.

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Business

How an Adult and Senior Care Service Pivoted their Business During COVID19

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Aysha Cooper

How did one company choose to adapt and pivot their business and stay relevant, during COVD-19? In this episode of the Capitalist Sage, Karl Barham and Rico Figliolini are joined by Aysha Cooper, the owner of McKinley Caregiver Resource Center in Snellville, Georgia. In the world of Senior Healthcare, professionals are looking for answers on how to pivot in business. Aysha has found some great solutions to the problems of today.

Resources:

Phone: (678) 691-1610
Website: ​https://mckinleyga.com
Social Media: @McKinleyGA

“And the one thing that we want to assist families with is being proactive versus reactive. You know, a lot of times we will get calls in crisis mode and then you’re struggling to pull all these pieces together. So it is how can we give them the tools to plan and prepare properly.”

Aysha Cooper

Where to find that topic in the podcast:

[00:00:30] – Intro
[00:01:52] – About Aysha and the Center
[00:04:53] – Initial Thoughts
[00:05:49] – Continuing Care After Shut-Down
[00:08:05] – Pausing to Reflect
[00:13:03] – Industry Changes
[00:19:56] – Technical Aspects
[00:24:32] – Sharing Advice
[00:28:07] – Closing

Podcast transcript:

Karl: [00:00:30] Welcome to the Capitalist Sage Podcast. We’re here to help 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 the publisher of the Peachtree Corners magazine. Hey Rico, how are you doing today?

Rico: [00:00:52] Hey Karl, good. Good. Beautiful day outside.

Karl: [00:00:55] It is, it is. Why don’t you tell everyone a little bit about our sponsors today?

Rico: [00:01:00] Sure. Our lead sponsor is Hargray Fiber. They’re a fiber optics company that supplies some of the fastest internet that you’ll see out there in the marketplace. They’re a southeast company that provides, here in the community and Peachtree Corners specifically. High end fiber for businesses, whether you’re small or enterprise size, doesn’t matter, they will provide the tools to do smart office with. We have to be connected to your teleworking staff, to your business. It doesn’t matter which it is, and they’ll create bundles and create packages for you to make you work the best you can in this COVID environment. So go check them out. HargrayFiber.com or Hargray.com/business and check their current promotion of a thousand dollar visa gift card for those that become qualified clients. So check them out. They’re our sponsor.

Karl: [00:01:52] Alright. Thank you. Well, I know a lot of people are doing homeschooling and so fiber optics is becoming a really important part of the landscape for every week. But today I am happy to bring our guest Aysha Cooper who is the owner of McKinley Caregiver Resource Center in Snellville, Georgia in Gwinnett. We’re here to talk a little bit about, how businesses are navigating the pandemic in 2020, she operates, works with the elderly and operate various resources and services to help support that community. And she’s here to share a little bit about her background, her journey in that business, and hopefully share how other business owners can continue to evolve their business as things change. How are you doing today?

Aysha: [00:02:49] I’m good Karl. How are you?

Karl: [00:02:51] I’m doing fabulous. Why don’t you tell everybody a little bit about yourself and how you got into your business?

Aysha: [00:02:59] Okay. Well about, almost 12 years ago, we launched an adult daycare center in Snellville, Georgia. And we have grown over the last 12 years, of course, from three participants to almost 45 to 50 a day. No vans to three vans, three employees to 20 employees. And, then the pandemic happened. So, but we have a love for our senior community and still want to be able to be here to provide care for them and their caregivers. But that is, that was the nuts and bolts of our business since 2010.

Karl: [00:03:41] Oh, so why don’t you, for folks that may not be familiar, what are some of the services and things you provided for our senior citizens and elderly and in the center?

Aysha: [00:03:53] Okay. Adult daycare centers are a day center for primarily seniors that can’t stay safely in their home. But it’s also providing peace of mind to their loved one, caregiver, maybe an adult child. If it’s an adult child that adult child may still work. If it’s a spouse, they may just need a couple of days, where they can go run errands with, you know, without their loved one with them. And so what we provide at the day center or provided at the day center was activities that were specific to stimulating them. You know, especially if they had a cognitive impairment, then we would provide activities, meals throughout the day. But we also had a medical oversight with, because we were an RN supervised center.

Karl: [00:04:53] So, I know most people know that when the pandemic came around, it really impacted elderly community. And those were some of the most at risk population. What did you think when you started hearing about COVID-19 back in probably late February or early March. Did you know who’s going to have the impact is going to have?

Aysha: [00:05:17] Oh, no. I mean, when we shut down, we shut down Wednesday, March 18th and I’ll never forget it. It came so fast. And, you know, maybe it was slowly turning and other people were able to be more on top of it than we were, but we knew people were still in crisis. And so we wanted to provide the care as long as we could. But once, you know, it was a state shutdown, then we had to make the choice to shut down. But we thought we would be back in a couple of weeks.

Karl: [00:05:49] Yeah. So what were the options to the family members of the caregivers once, you know, the center wasn’t available and open? What were some of the things that people were having to do to continue to give care and support to their loved ones?

Aysha: [00:06:06] Well to keep people safe just as we have done, most people have to hibernate in their homes. And, you know, they have the longest stay at home order and it changed often. You know, first it was 30 days away, and then all of a sudden it just kept getting pushed back. So, these people are still at home and doing the best they can with their loved one.

Karl: [00:06:30] So that raises an interesting question. I’m sure you keep in contact with others and in the same industry, same business. What were some of the things that people were doing and what are things that people are doing now in their businesses that specialize in caring for the elderly?

Aysha: [00:06:50] Well, you know, even the, you would have thought that people may still needed services. But I do know that it impacted the home health industry as well. People didn’t want individuals in their home, which is understandable. One thing that we did to pivot was, or at least just keep their loved one engaged, keep them stimulating with their loved one mental
stimulation, is we provided activity packets, we had to do that through our Facebook page. And we did send out an email to families. We had a pastor that’s been coming to our center, providing devotion. I had been open six months and he came and blessed us and had been providing devotion with our participants for all that time. So he also provided us a devotion to share with them. You know, and that was just ways that, you know, to help people stay mentally healthy, hopeful, and engaging. But it was very limited of what we could do, especially not being able to go in people’s homes.

Karl: [00:08:05] So once you’re in this situation and you can’t, you’re not allowed to reopen the center yet at that time, what were some of the things you were thinking of as the options? Walk us through some of the options that you might’ve considered, even if you didn’t go down that path. And what were some of the, what are some of the options you’re you’ve explored pursuing?

Aysha: [00:08:27] Well, to be honest Karl when it first happened, I was in my own space of mental clarity. You know, finding mental clarity. You know, letting go of 20 employees and almost 80 families that don’t have care right now. I mean, you can imagine the weight that someone has to carry with that and it being out of your control. So, I had to really just sit with that for, and it took me a couple of months before I could figure out what I really wanted to do or how we were going to pivot. But sometimes rest is the best place to get clarity. And so I got plenty of it for two months. You know, whether it was, you know, depression or just overwhelmed and, you know, a lot of fatigue, emotionally drained. But I woke up from that with a great perspective. I say, you know, God gave me a good download of how to move forward.

Rico: [00:09:37] You know, it’s funny. I’ve heard this, this remark about how covered has paused people’s lives, right? How they become more in tuned with their kids, with their family, because they’re forced to be in the same area, same place. And even how some people look at their work in their job and it gives them that forced retreat like you just mentioned. Where you’re able to look at life and what you’ve been doing, where you would not have been able to do that before, right? I mean, would you have been able to just sit down and say, you know what, I needed a three day weekend retreat, and just see what I’m doing with this business. Would you have done that before?

Aysha: [00:10:17] You said a three day or like two months retreat? Yeah, with just me and my son here doing digital learning and you’re right. You know, It’s interesting. A lot of people have, you know, you see posts and it’s unfortunate that people are going through this and it’s not been well for them. For me, I just wanted to find, the clarity in how to pivot in a positive way. And it’s allowed me to do that, allowed me to be with my family, like you said, Rico. And I’ll explain that with some of the services that we have launched. But that’s, those are the things that we can’t ever get back. Those moments.

Karl: [00:11:06] It’s true. Yeah. We, I noticed a lot of small business owners, when this started were not sure what to do cause they came so fast. And we had introduced a bridge plan to
people to just simply figure out your breakeven. Figure out how to reduce expenses that make sense for most people. We wanted them to figure out how to increase income and then that’s kind of stabilizing the base. The part that folks started struggling with is one, what kind of conversation, we called it disclosed. What kind of conversations do you need to have with your employees, if they had questions? Your clients and your customers, with your community, how do you stay engaged with them while no one knew how long you were going to be closed and what was going to happen. But then as people started to push their way out of this, it got back to G, get working. Get out there, start, don’t just sit in the turtle shell. But you know, your competitors and other people are doing that. And the ones that started hustling, working, figuring out so many new business models were being created. So many innovative ways to maintain their business, offer new services, find new clients. And the E, the last part of the bridge plan E, was talking about excelling and how do they prep themselves to excel going into the future. Now I know we’ve chated a little bit. How do you see the industry changing that you’re in and what opportunities do you think that you can start moving into to help service that client base that you had, but in a different way, with social distancing, and masks and all of these things that’s creating these barriers.

Aysha: [00:13:03] And, to mention the technical challenge with the population we serve. So we’re still a little bit, but it’s providing care for them in a different way. And that’s what we are doing. And so, when I woke up from my slumber, it was, I have a building, I have a commercial kitchen, I have vehicles, what can I do with it? And that’s what we started working towards was how can we use what we have? You know, to your point about cashflow and cutting back expenses and things like that. You know, it’s even though you’re reinventing the wheel, you still have to be cautious of the investment because of the limited cashflow. And so I had to make sure I was using what I had. And so that’s what we did and we started a home delivered meal service first that was just developed to provide meals for our previous families that were enrolled in the program. Because again, no one thought that this would last that long. So we still had all of their belongings at our center. So that was our way of just seeing them and being able to say hello, take them their belongings, take them a meal. Put our eyes on them. We tried to social distance as much as possible, but that’s hard to do when you have a center full of love and hugs, you know?

Karl: [00:14:45] Yeah.

Aysha: [00:14:46] But we’re moving forward and just looking at what is the need. And the need right now is caregivers are at home and they need support. They don’t get the respite care that they used to get anymore.

Rico: [00:15:08] And you find that, are you finding it easy enough to work with them to be able to do, with the caregivers? You know, with the existing care caregivers I’m assuming.

Aysha: [00:15:21] Is it easy to work with them?

Rico: [00:15:24] Right.

Aysha: [00:15:29] Yeah. It’s easy to work with them. You know, they’re at home. They don’t mind that phone call. They’re glad to have it.

Karl: [00:15:39] So if I hear, if I understand right, a caregiver would drop off their loved one at the center. They’re able to go to work. They are able to do other things and so on. And the center and your staff is able to fulfill different care needs that they might need. And so now that they’re also the primary caregiver and they don’t have that option. Are you describing a system where you support the caregiver? Arm them with the skills, experiences, tools to provide better care for their loved ones while they’re having to be the primaries to do that for the foreseeable future?

Aysha: [00:16:25] Yeah. Ultimately it will be a caregiver resource center. Where we have vetted resources that are available to them all in one place. Because right now it’s very fragmented. And which could discourage anyone from trying to find the resources and the care that they need. So it’s having a compiled list of care providers, vendors that want to support the caregiver. Within the center though, we’ll be able to provide some events, but we’ll have a limited attendance with the virtual component because there’s still a lot of people, you know, that aren’t coming out. But we want them to still be able to participate. And, what we will do is have events around self care. But also have experts speak to them on how to continue to care for themselves, a health care professional. And then there’s some education, that I have trained. One is powerful tools for caregivers and the other is dealing with dementia. Both I was certified through the Roslyn Carter Institute, because they do a great job at providing the education and the tools. So we’ll just be able to bring that to them. And again, still have both components an in person and virtual option for that. So I wanted to be that one place that you can go to and find your, what’s gonna equip you as a caregiver to better take care of your loved one.

Rico: [00:18:09] You know, that’s interesting because when my, God bless them they passed away, my inlaws lived with us, my wife had to find services. She had to call a dozen different places in the state of Georgia, different services, different senior services and stuff. And there was not one place that she could pull these things together from. There were individuals, that would say sometimes you could go here, go visit this website. But not someone that can actually do it for them or become the concierge. If you will, of senior care, to be able to provide that service to her. She had to do all the leg work. And it was I’m sure for everyone, it’s almost like reinventing it every single time, but it sounds like you are able to not only provide some of the services, right, but also be able to pull it together for them. I would imagine.

Aysha: [00:19:05] You know, these are things that we did for the family caregiver that was dropping their loved one off anyway. You know, if they came in with questions or needed assistance with something, then it was our job to find it for them. You know, because this is a challenging moment, you know, when you are taking care of a loved one with a cognitive or physical impairment and either you’re still working, you’re not taking care of yourself. And so it’s
not that we don’t want to take care of our senior, because we love our senior gems, but we do also understand the burden of caregiving and we want people to relieve themselves of the guilt and take care of their own mental health.

Karl: [00:19:56] I think you’re highlighting something really important for folks to think of. In the past year there’s been several business owners that I know that either had to sell their business or consider stepping away from it to care for a loved one. And when they didn’t know what options were available to them, they thought the only thing they can do is to shut down their business or to sell it. And, you know, as I started learning about the services that were offered, just more people being aware that there are options there that people could leverage that could help them with that, help them get the answers. But I would remember some folks spending hours and days going to the wrong place for the wrong information, struggling through that. And I love this idea of a center where this information is happening. And sometimes people could plan ahead. If you know, a family member is moving to town and has needs, you could start the training. You could start educating, start pulling those resources together. Especially as people tend to leave the cold of the north than move down south more. That’s something that happens and it’s hard to find good places where you can get that information and get that support and help. So I think you’re tapping in. I’m curious though, you know, every other business, restaurants started Ubering and different doctors are doing virtual appointments. How do you see technology playing a role in this? And how is there a specific thing that you have adapted to what you used to do live or in person, but have shifted leveraging technology in some way?

Aysha: [00:21:49] Well, we will have to of course have the virtual component. So we’re still working on that. I have a little bit of time, you know, we are figuring things out still. But putting down our systems and foundations and making sure we launch correctly. We’re still here to help in the meantime, but yeah, we’ll have to. And see in our challenge will be as not just being able to provide the virtual component, but then ensuring that the person on the other end has access to that.

Karl: [00:22:24] Yeah. Knowing how to receive it. Well, I know there’s a large scale experiment happening in the school system right now. Where they’re figuring out how to digitally learn and do things digitally. Just recently ordered are these pads where kids could write and draw on and it translates over to their computer. And that would normally be, it’s up to you if they could have the luxury. But now, I’m already seeing how the kids are learning digitally is starting to transform. So I’m a little scared of what the future is going to look like because we’re going to have really fully, digitally native kids that are learning once we get through this period of transition.

Aysha: [00:23:10] But thank goodness we have the platform, because if we didn’t even have the platform to build off of, we would have been in real dire straights.

Karl: [00:23:20] Absolutely. But I think you’re highlighting, we’ve been focusing on the kids. And maybe we need to expand that focus to the elderly and what services can be delivered digitally
and how do we help them cross that gap more effectively. But I could see people showing up and helping people navigate, you know, virtual reality, augmented reality, possibly and all sorts of cool technologies with new applications.

Aysha: [00:23:52] Yes. You know, I do want to, you said something interesting earlier about, helping families prepare. And the one thing that we want to assist families with is being proactive versus reactive. You know, a lot of times we will get calls of in crisis mode and then you’re struggling to pull all these pieces together. So it is how can we give them the tools to plan and prepare properly.

Karl: [00:24:32] What would you advise someone? If I had a family member that was, let’s say relocating to town, and what will be things that loved ones and children could do earlier to prepare. If they know that in the upcoming weeks or months or year, they may have to care for a loved one. What are some of the suggestions you’d give folks?

Aysha: [00:24:56] Well, I think sometimes people have to make that decision and their house isn’t ready for the parent. I mean, one of the first questions is how will mom or dad be able to navigate throughout the house if they are using a walking device. But even before that, we had a lot of adult children. You know, whether it’s, you don’t have the choice or not, there still needs to be a certain level of sensitivity to it. Especially when you’re moving a parent from their town, their friends, their church, everything that they know to a whole new environment. And so you have to be sensitive to their mental health and wellbeing. So it’s how can you get and keep them engaged and involved, no matter what stage it is. So, you know, if they are a fairly independent senior, but just can’t stay safely in their home out of town anymore, you know, how can you keep them engaged in the community? That stimulation helps people with cognitive impairment. It gives them meaning. So we need that. They don’t want to just sit in someone’s home. So it’s researching, first of all, you know, is your house equipped, but then what is in your community that can keep your parent or loved one involved. You know?

Karl: [00:26:33] That makes perfect sense. I like to think that, you know, there are resources out there that can help guide people through this. I’m always curious of, have you come across any instances where you know, you see people really do a great job of preparing that and stepping through that. Are there, is there a trigger or things that people might do and conversations they have with their parents sooner? How do you, how do they even begin that conversation?

Aysha: [00:27:11] You know, that’s a tough one, Karl. Because first of all, you find out how collective your siblings are and who’s the actual care, the financial burden. You know, we always recommend having a family meeting prior to. You know, so that you can identify which siblings are willing to take on what. But yeah, you and I both know those are tough conversations to have with your parents and they aren’t the generation of just sharing.

Karl: [00:27:47] Right. Yeah.

Aysha: [00:27:50] I think more importantly is what can we do now as we sit in our generation to make sure our kids don’t have to go through what some of the adult children are going through now.

Karl: [00:28:07] Very, very good point. Well, I tell you, it’s been fascinating listening to another business owner who’s journeyed through this. And, but I am really excited seeing how you’re figuring out new ways to serve the community and your clients and the families, the family members of those clients there. And as you continue evolving, I definitely want to keep in touch and just learn how it’s coming along. But if folks wanted to just learn more about this and learn what you’re doing, how can they reach out to you and learn more?

Aysha: [00:28:45] Well, we are still in our same place in Snellville. We sit directly behind the Lowe’s off of scenic highway, so they can always find us there. Monday through Thursday, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. But a phone call, I know people aren’t just getting out. So they can also give us a phone call at (678) 691-1610. And then follow us on Facebook at McKinley GA.

Karl: [00:29:18] Fabulous. Do you have anything coming up, that in the upcoming month or any, what do you have coming up for the community that you’ve made that they participate in?

Aysha: [00:29:29] Well, we are going to kick off and we will have this on our Facebook page. We’re going to kick off in October National Family History day. So the whole month of October, we’ll be surrounded around family history and learning about your family history and what you’re leaving as a legacy. And then in November, it’s National Caregivers Month. And that’s when we will have our ribbon cutting. So they can find that information on the Gwinnett Chamber website.

Karl: [00:29:59] Perfect. Perfect. Well, I want to thank you. Aysha Cooper, owner of McKinley Caregiver Resource Center in Snellville, Georgia, right behind the Lowe’s on scenic highway here in Gwinnett. And if you are interested in reaching out to her, you’ll see some of the ways to contact her on the website and the show notes for today. So I just want to thank you for sharing your journey through this. And I think you could serve as an inspiration if there was an industry that was hit hard by this, it would definitely yours. And taking the pause, which people need to do for themselves as well as to strategize. One good tip, and then really figuring out different ways to serve the community, putting a plan in place and going out there and doing it. That’s what I love about small businesses. They’re forced to be creative, to innovate quickly, fast. And they’re able to do that, and that’s why it helps drive our economy. So thank you for that and sharing today. I also want to thank our sponsor, Hargray Fiber, who continues to sponsor the family of podcasts. Rico, the podcast, that we currently have going, what do we have coming up on those.

Rico: [00:31:19] On the other podcasts? Well the Ed Hour is in, we’re looking for a guest right now to talk about COVID and the school opening. So we’re going to be scheduling something in the next few weeks on that. And how that’s working for private as well as public schools. And, for Peachtree Corners Life we have a few things in the works for that we’re going to be putting
together. But I know the Capitalist Sage has several more. We’re looking at the former owner of Noble Finn, Cliff Bramble. Also have a podcast Friday morning, actually that we were putting together with Link Dental Care, and Dr. Shyn that’s going to tell them about how the dental business took a hit pretty much during this COVID. But also on how they had to deal with work. You know, if you have it too thick, you really have to find the right dentist that can always do the right job safely for you. So yeah, a lot of good stuff.

Karl: [00:32:14] We have some marketing experts coming, joining us too later on in September, as well as working on some guests to talk to people about how to navigate their decisions around their businesses as COVID-19 is happening and everything else. So we’ll continue to do some of those really interesting things. The magazine Rico?

Rico: [00:32:40] Magazine’s out. I mean, it’s been out for a week. We had a great cover. Great story hit 19,000 plus homes, their mailboxes. So happy to be able to get that out. We are working on the next issue. So nothing ever dies here, right? The deadline continues. We’re putting out a pet issue for the next issue. But we’re also putting, so it’s going to be a pets and their people as a pullout in the magazine. We’re also looking at great backyard retreats because everyone’s sort of still stuck at home in a way they may not be traveling, but maybe your backyard is the best place to be for that time when you’re home. And we’re looking at pulling together a feature story about getting several dozen people or more, almost 50 people sharing what they’re thankful for this time of year. Even in this time of COVID-19, you know, we’re all thankful for our families, for close friends that we have. But what else are you thankful for? You know, and that’s what we’re trying to get, and we’re going to curate all that together and publish that in the next issue as well. So that’s, it’s going to be a good packed issue with a lot of stuff we’re working on. And that’ll be out the first week of October, which it seems like a long time from now, too. So I dunno, it’s going fine.

Karl: [00:34:02] And since you’re one of the hardest working with people in Peachtree Corners when you’re not putting out a magazine and when you’re not doing a podcast, what do you spend your time doing?

Rico: [00:34:13] Mighty Rockets where we produce those podcasts. We have the magazine, we do a lot of the social media product videos. A variety of things online. So digital content, producing blog posts and all that stuff. Pretty much, we find, we work with clients, see what they need. And then we put together a package that works for them. Because you know, you know how it is. Not every client needs the same toolbox or the same tool. You don’t need a hammer on everything. So we look and see what the client has and where we can help them to get further along in thier, especially in their online reach right now.

Karl: [00:34:49] Well, I definitely recommend. I said, I definitely recommend that people think about ways to market their business differently. We’ve moved to a virtual world and all of the things are evolving and getting your message out about the new things that you’re doing in your
business is really important. So figuring out how to do that and getting experts to help you with that is going to be really important.

Rico: [00:35:13] And Karl, you are the man though, that if someone’s looking for an exit plan or someone was looking to get into a new business, I mean, you’re the guy. So, you know, why don’t you tell everyone about how you work that also.

Karl: [00:35:27] Yeah, Transworld Business Advisors, where we help people with finding the businesses to buy, we help people that are in an existing business looking how to sell it the best way to do that, and more importantly, just help people planning through that. At the end of the day the best way for a business owner is to have a plan on how they want to exit, and we can help them walk them through that. We do evaluations for people. We help them consult on their business and you can reach us at www.TWorld.com/AtlantaPeachtree. Our office is in Atlanta Tech Park, so you can stop by there and chat with us. And we continue to want to serve the business community by producing and sharing these Capitalist Sage podcasts with folks so you can follow us on all of your streaming platforms, iTunes, you can follow us on Facebook, iHeartRadio. And the last thing I’ll say for today is we’re sitting here at the end of August in a few months. There’s a really important time coming up. And we just encourage everyone register to vote. It may be a little bit different this year. So if you want to request absentee ballots go on the secretary of state website and request that. A lot of the polling places will be open by now where that is. And this is a year where you should definitely participate in political process and make your voice heard. This country is going through a lot right now and every voice should be counted and we need to help support people to be able to do that, so.

Rico: [00:37:01] Or that if you’re going to be doing that mail in ballot, do it early. Don’t wait until the week before, because they ain’t going to be counted.

Karl: [00:37:08] So that’s right.

Rico: [00:37:09] Do it early on. Do it now, request that ballot now and put it out as soon as possible.

Karl: [00:37:16] Absolutely. Well, thank you everybody for joining us on the Capitalist Sage Podcast. Everyone be safe and be blessed. Take care.

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