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Capitalist Sage: How to fund your business growth [Podcast]

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Capitalist Sage with Anita Davis

Business banking and funding your business can be intimidating. Luckily we have the help of business banking expert Anita Davis – Chief Funding Matchmaker, sharing her sage advise on how to access capital and fund your business growth through SBA and alternative loans. Join Karl Barham and Rico Figliolini on the latest episode.

Recorded at Atlanta Tech Park in the City of Peachtree Corners, Georgia.

Where in the podcast to find these topics:

[00:00:30] Intro
[00:04:42] When to Reach Out to a Bank
[00:05:31] Risk and Funding
[00:06:52] Credit and Funding
[00:11:28] Options for Funding an Acquisition
[00:13:54] Loan and Funding Rates
[00:16:09] What is SBA?
[00:22:43] SBA Structures
[00:24:39] Industries SBA doesn’t fund
[00:26:18] SBA Requirements
[00:29:15] Funding in 2020
[00:34:51] How to reach Anita

Resources:
Phone: (770) 365-0858
Website: Praxstra.com
Linkedin: Anita Davis

“So even with your good credit score, now they want to see not only your credit, they want to see your bank balances in their bank for over a period of time. And so what happens is people don’t know that, that the banks and all of these lending sources are already making the defense decisions about how they’re going to restructure and how that tightening up on that credit. And if you’re not prepared, you don’t have any projections, you don’t have any resources on your team to help you with that, then that’s that. That’s, that’s, this is the time to explore. Where can you get that support?”

Anita Davis

Podcast transcript

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

Rico: [00:00:45] Hey, Karl. Alright,

Karl: [00:00:47] Why don’t you introduce some of our sponsors today?

Rico: [00:00:50] Sure. I want to introduce our lead sponsor for the first time, Hargray Fiber. They are a business that is very unique to this area. The two piece is the city of Peachtree corners. Actually, they just moved in a little while ago. So they have philosophy is that every business is unique. That the, they craft customized solutions for our hundreds of businesses here in the Southeast that based out of Savannah, they’re looking to work with small businesses to create affordable bundle services on other, that level or even enterprise cause this level where they can talk about managed, bundled sites, full suite of managed IT services and all that. So they customize a solution. Every business that needs fiber cable in there. Our sponsor. Thank you for doing that. No matter what industry though, you run you should take a look at them. They can do internet, TV and phone solutions and they can meet your local need and be local so you’re not dealing with a cable company that then you have to call some service and they might or might not show up.

Karl: [00:01:52] Well, they’re in a perfect spot if they’re looking at growth for business. Peachtree Corners has a lot going there. Atlanta Tech Park and Curiosity Lab and all the businesses that are joining the community. So glad to have them onboard as a sponsor and also a member of the business community.

Rico: [00:02:07] And the other thing too, Atlanta TechPark, right? We’re here in the podcast studios, Atlanta Tech Park in the City of Peachtree Corners.

Karl: [00:02:14] Yup. Wonderful coworking space for folks that are building their business. There’s 70 plus companies here, events held here throughout. we have a network of resources available to entrepreneurs to be able to leverage, to grow their business. And Atlanta Tech Park are right here in Technology Park, in Peachtree Corners. Come check out Atlanta Tech Park. Well, today’s guest is Anita Davis. She is the founder, president of the chief funding matchmaker of Praxis Strategic Solutions. It’s a consulting firm that helps companies fund business expansion that, and also they’re able to help support corporate and government customers and training people on funding and business, et cetera. So really thankful to have you join us today. And today’s topic we want to talk about, it really relates to funding, funding your business growth. Anybody that knows and owns a business knows that to grow a business takes input of resources, both capital and people and time and strategies. But right now, if you’re looking at the beginning of 2020 it’s the time to look at what are the funding needs you’re going to need over the next year? And we’re here to talk about the different options that are available from
SBA to some alternatives, and some of the things you should be thinking about and misconceptions of seeking bank funding for your endeavors. So anyway, why don’t you tell us a little bit about how you got into this?

Anita: [00:03:49] Thank you so much for having me. First of all, it’s, it’s a pleasure to be here and always talking about money. I am the money lady, so I love money. I used to be a banker for 20 years. A business banker and a commercial lender. And so that is where my passion has come from. I started my own firm four years ago under the name Business To Banker Connection, because I connect people with money and I’ve navigate the funding process for my clients. My passion is to make sure that small businesses that are intimidated by the process of acquiring capital to grow their companies, have somebody to navigate that for them. Most of my companies that I work with, Karl and Rico, they are small companies and they don’t have a CFO in place to navigate that for them. So they hire me to take care of that process for them, and I make sure, let’s say I can direct them directly to the places that’s going to give them the capital that they need to grow.

Karl: [00:04:42] Oh, it’s fabulous. It’s, it’s interesting when, when you start thinking about, lending, what are some of the, when, when do, should people start considering whether or not they need to reach out to a bank to start funding, what would be your recommendation?

Anita: [00:04:57] So you need to know when you have expired your capacity to internally manage that growth. Then you have more clients than you can fund their needs. Or you’re expanding, you need equipment, or maybe you’re growing and you need to ask staff and space that that will require some outside funding solutions. So when you can no longer internally generate enough to run the business and or scale the company, then you need to start thinking about your capital structure and where are you going to go for that funding.

Karl: [00:05:31] The saying that, you know, every funding decision from a banker is a risk decision. Can you explain what that really means? When people start talking about risk and funding, what are, what are things looking at?

Anita: [00:05:43] So when I’m working with my clients, that’s the first thing that we talk about. Every decision, whether it’s bank funding or whether it’s any external nontraditional funding, every funding decision is really a risk. Decision and their risk decision. It’s around what is the likelihood that this company is going to default and not pay us back. And then the second question that’s always asked is, given a loss, what is the likelihood that we would be given a default? What is the likelihood that we’re going to take a loss on this funding opportunity? So most clients don’t think about funding from that perspective. They don’t think they know, I have a need. This is what I need, and this is what we can do. And they have, they’re clear about their position, but they’re not really clear that the bank is making a totally different view on it. The view is what is, what is their history of repayment? Are they stable and can they support this new funding requests that they’re making? And so they make that decision with a totally different set of eyes that I is on risk

Rico: [00:06:52] Relevant right perspective, I guess. So every business owner thinks they do it really well. Maybe, although not everyone’s credit report is pristine, you know, everyone looks at a certain rate and said, well, you know, it’s cheap money out there. It’s like whatever, 0% from the, from the money fund there, but you know, really you’re lending out at a certain rate, maybe four and a quarter or mortgage or more. But individual bankers, business owners, you know, their, their backgrounds may be different than credit reports may be different for a variety of reasons. How long would that affect the way you would approach something like that for, for them?

Anita: [00:07:29] Credit is very important in the funding process because even if it’s a nontraditional solution, credit is going to come into play. Most clients that I, that I work with, actually, most people think about it from their experience with their home mortgage, that everybody can understand buying a car or purchasing their home and they, and they think about funding from that perspective. But business funding is totally different from that. They’re not looking at that. Again, they’re looking at the risk and the process and one of the things, one of the qualifiers that determines whether or not you are a good risk is your credit history because that’s a standardized process that’s standard for everybody. In the United States you have a credit score. If that credit score is certain, a certain level, and that means you’re a good risk decision. If it’s below a certain level, then you’re probably not as strong about above decision, I mean, good risk for that institution. It could be a bank and it may not be a bank. So even when they are not looking at, say your performance in your company to determine the qualifications for a lending decision, they’re going to look at credit. So that’s why I always encourage people, if you’re going into business or if you are in business, make sure that that part of your business growth strategy is intact. And then if it’s not intact that you’re putting in some processes and plans to strengthen that because it’s always going to put you in a better position. So I always encourage my clients, get in the 700 club and try and stay there. The 700 club is a good place to be because it really is a differentiator between whether you’re going to get a good pricing on whatever that funding solution is, or you’re going to pay a premium. And when you start to pay premiums, that takes out money from your bottom line that you can take home to feed your family and put your kids in school and do all the things that you really want to do.

Rico: [00:09:17] So it doesn’t necessarily negate you from getting a loan. It’s just the guys shoot from getting the best rate for the loan.

Anita: [00:09:23] And that depends on how unhealthy that credit score is because they can, the gate, you can’t prevent you from acquiring capital, but if it’s not, so 680 is considered a decent and good credit score, 700 is safer and you’re, you’re on the road to being really great. And, so that determines really what they’re going to, determine the right that you’re going to pay for your, whatever it is that you need.

Karl: [00:09:46] You’re highlighting something that I think a lot of people don’t think when they’re thinking of starting a business, they start thinking of the idea. They may start looking at a plan and how they’re going to market it and how they’re going to sell. But they never look at their personal financial situation. And if I were to advise anyone looking to start a business, or even someone who has an that owns a business today, it’s maybe talking with your financial planner or your people that advise you and make sure that part is solid. So if you know you’ve got some hits on your credit. If your debt ratio is off balance before you ask someone else to lend and invest in you in your business, show that you’re able to get control of your own finances and drive your credit score. And that might take two or three years before you do it. But it’s something that everyone could start working on. Know what their score is today, understand what it takes to get into 700 club and make those adjustments to their personal lives, budgets, whatever their situation is. So they could be a good risk for lenders.

Anita: [00:10:52] That is such a, that’s just an accurate way to capture that, capsulize that because it’s really important for you to plan for, your business funding your business. Because even if it’s going to be self funded to a degree, you’re going to have to buy something outside of what you do to make your business run. If every decision is going to cost you money. And so if you don’t understand what that cost of capital is, then you’re going to end up paying more. Or if your credit is not in a position to get you to the best rates that you can, then it’s just going to take you longer to pay it off or cost you more in the long run.

Karl: [00:11:28] So I know, I know in my world, most businesses that we look to find buyers for are funded through some kind of lending. And it’s, it’s, it’s a high in the 75 to 80% are, especially if they get into a larger value. Can you share, the various options people have for funding growth or funding an acquisition?

Anita: [00:11:53] So most people fund acquisitions that I know of and have experienced with through bank funding of some sort and bank funding. You have two different kinds of options with the bank funding. If you are a strong solid and have a really strong savings account or some kind of investment vehicle, then you can find that traditionally. Through a conventionally through our traditional wall. But most lenders like to add a SBA guarantee on to that process. So the SBA guarantee does a couple of things. It guarantees that the bank will, if they invest in your bright idea, in your company that if there is a default, again, the risk process, if there’s a default, then the gate, the bank is guaranteed that they’ll get back 75 to 90% of the monies that they lent. The other benefit of looking at it through SBA guarantee, even from the bank’s perspective and from the buyer’s perspective, is that your cash injection in terms of long, it’s less. So your requirement that you have to come up with, for a conventional loan, it’s typically going to be 20% of that acquisition. If you are in a riskier business, sometimes they want more than 20% for that acquisition. However, SBA guarantee tacked on to that loan requests will minimize that, bring that cash injection down to 10% and for a riskier business, another 5% that may be 15% and say a riskier business would be maybe a gas station, a convenience store, car washes, things like that, that they have a special use. Those kinds of business acquisitions really require some additional risk from the lender’s standpoint and from the SBA standpoint. So they have a
higher cash injection requirement. But if you are solid enough to get a bank acquisition and you have the extra funding, then your rates are probably going to be a little bit lower because with that additional SBA guarantee comes a little bit of a price hike.

Karl: [00:13:54] When you, when you think about people buying, their experience with bank lending, it comes with buying a house and mortgage and you often see people making that mortgage decision a lot around what is the rate they’re getting for that long? They’re looking quarter points and half point. If you’re looking at a commercial loan for business, is it the same thing? Is the rate the biggest sole determination of who you should lead with and who you should work with or well, the other factor that they should consider?

Anita: [00:14:21] So rate is very important in terms of just, you know, how much it’s going to cost you to maintain it and pay the loan over time. However, the biggest thing you want to do when you want to make an acquisition is know am I able to able to make this business profitable and what would the little profitable profits look like over time. So you may pay a different rate. So again, the rate structure that you will pay for personal loan or mortgage loan, that is not going to be the way they process and review and analyze a decision to make a business acquisition. So the whole process is completely different. They’re going to be looking at the cashflow of the business and is it, is it likely to be stable? And if you’re making an acquisition, there’s your background and your history in that industry. Right? Inland to you. I’m having more success in the business. And so those factors, your, your historical performance and knowledge in that industry is going to be an important factor when you’re making an acquisition. The, the, and sometimes that can determine your rate and then the money that you have to invest in. So you are your resources that you have after you’ve made that investment is very, very important because people are like, okay, I can come up with my 10% now, but it’s going to suck up every resource that I have in order to be able to do that. So if that’s the case, what a, the bank wants to know is that you’re going to have some kind of reserves. Is there something to fall back on in the event that all of those cash flows that that came to the business came to bear when you just purchased the business, is that going to automatically transition over time? Because there’s usually a difference than a ramp up. When you change management, you change only shifts, different styles, different plans, different strategies. All of those things come into play, and so those are some of the factors that you should consider when you’re making an acquisition. That’s where the lender is going to be looking at when you’re making an acquisition as well.

Karl: [00:16:09] Okay. So you think about, we’ve been using this term SBA and, and it should be fair. Some people may not be familiar with what that is, the small business administration and loan. Can you tell us a little bit about the history of that and what that is and how it’s helped people get into small businesses?

Anita: [00:16:27] Yeah. The small business administration is, a government entity. And that government entity is designed to help small businesses prosper, to, to start to prosper and to grow and scale. Cause really small businesses really make up the bulk of the economy and, and in jobs resources available. So since this small businesses are run in the country, it is
vested in, the government has a vested interest in making sure that small businesses succeed. So what they do, the small business administration is not a direct lender. They use outside resources like banks and some other non-bank, funding resources to you to guarantee that indeed that there is a loss. Again, the risk and all, I was going back to that risk. If there is a loss that the bank will not have to bear that whole burden or whoever that funding source is, they won’t have to bear the full burden of that loss. The government will come in and back up that loan, and that’s a very, very strong mitigant right. For a lender to, to, to have as a resource in the event that there is there, there’s a challenge with that loan.

Rico: [00:17:40] Cause the, does the sba then provide a better chance of getting a loan? Like if I went to the bank, normally obviously the rules would be a little bit more stringent on a, on a direct loan from a bank without the SBA. Does this guarantee? Sort of makes it less trenchant.

Anita: [00:17:59] It’s considered a mitigant. It mitigates the risk involved with taking on a newer, younger business that may not have been established or is not well established in that.

Rico: [00:18:12] Are there specific things though that SBA will forgive or look over, if you will? The specific guidelines that someone can look at and say, Oh, okay, well, if I went this SBA route, maybe I need one year less financial information, maybe, you know, is there, aside from money going down maybe?

Anita: [00:18:31] So you talked about a little bit about their investment. Their capital investment is, it’s usually less, but also the credit score requirement may be a little bit more flexible. If you have a SBA guarantee that industry may, maybe, they may not like that industry, but they would lend in the event that there is a SBA guarantee. To shore up that long. It could be, your, just your background, you don’t have, the lender may not be comfortable enough to lend you a conventionally because you don’t have enough history in that industry. So a SBA guarantee can be a mitigate. And so usually what I think, from my history as a banker when a bank is, is looking at a mitigation, they will mitigate maybe one one shortfall. They’re not going to mitigate, you know, you can’t be, had bad credit. No, you’re no bad idea. No history, cause they’re not going to mitigate all of them. But say for instance, if, if most, if you have most of the requirements and there’s one short fall, that would, would not allow a bank to be comfortable enough to make a conventional loan to you, then they all say. This SBA can come in and mitigate that risk. Typically, one of the other things that we haven’t talked about is collateral. So you know the business, the lender’s decision, again, we talked about the likelihood of a default and then the probability of a loss given a default. That is what the SBA guarantee is really designed to help shore up that short falling collateral because most people when they start a business, they may have some of the resources that they need, but they don’t have a lot of collateral to support that. So if you are a business that you’re not buying equipment where the equipment is going to be in the collateral, you’re not buying a building where the building would be the collateral. I’m buying a business, right? I’m buying a business and you’re getting good wheel for that. The name of that business, and maybe their client list. There’s nothing for a bank
to say that we can fall back on what? Nothing. There’s nothing there. So, right. So the SBA guarantee becomes that mitigate.

Karl: [00:20:33] So if you think about it, and when I also think about that as well. Some business historically had a lot of assets. Maybe it was a building, and the business was sort of building other value that the bank could lend on. If something happened, they could take the building and sell it to someone else. It could be the equipment. But if you think about it in the last 40 years, the shift to service industries, what is a software company? Someone that’s generating software, e-commerce habits, assets. What does anybody that owns that, a medical practice or things that delivering service, beauty salons or these service oriented, you would think the economy expanded in the service industry so much. How would banks fund those types when they don’t have assets? The SBA allows working, cashflow for the business to make up some of that, to look, this business is good. It has got a track record, and if people are able to, to fund and pay off the loan, but a traditional bank would say, but I want assets. I want something. And I think that’s what the SBA is, is created to help close the gap.

Rico: [00:21:36] They might even look at, let’s say a hair salon or, or a medical practice and said, well, you know, those patients. Like the practitioner practitioners gone with those 80% of that business disappear or melt away. You know, over a year. I can see issues like that.

Anita: [00:21:53] Yeah. Those are very, very real issues when you are making a decision to make an acquisition. So they want to know what, what’s going to still be there to stabilize the company. And that’s why it’s so important that the new owner, the purchaser of that business to have some background in it. And so, or if they don’t have background themselves, that they hire talent that has the background to manage the day to day operations.

Rico: [00:22:16] And this goes back to what you’ve taught me, is that you want a business where there’s a manager managing the business. You essentially, that you’re not coming in to do that part of it necessarily. You’re coming in there to do the other parts of it.

Karl: [00:22:30] Yeah. I mean, the infrastructure and the leadership team in place in the business insurance, better continuity. So it’s not all relying on just the owner of the business that’s generating all of, all of the value in the business, is key.

Rico: [00:22:43] I did have another question too. I mean, it’s been a loan sounds, like it’s an SBA loan, but all the different, various SBA loans, different levels or different, products or structures?

Anita: [00:22:56] Structures. Probably structures would be, or products could, you could use either one, but, there are several different SBA products that are out here on the market that are available. So if you want to a traditional working capital loan, if you’re a small business looking for something under $350,000 and some bangs, $250,000 they’ll end up the SBA express product. And that’s a product that doesn’t require as much collateral. Usually for younger companies or companies that don’t need a great deal of capital. Once you get over and get over
that $350,000 mark, then you’re probably moving into a larger loan category. That 350 up to $5 million, will allow you to get a SBA 7(a) Loan. And that loan is designed a lot around working capital, but you can do quite a few other things with it. You can purchase equipment, you can also get real estate with that loan, and it’ll allow you to get the working capital needs as well as, say a building and the equipment that you might need to run a building inside that inside the building with a 7(a) loan, and then the other product that’s very, very attractive. One of my favorites for commercial real estate purchases, the SBA 504 loan and that loan allows you to have a lower cash injection in it, and it’s strictly for business and maybe heavy equipment that might go inside. There’s a building that would be maybe attached to the building as opposed to small pieces of computers. You wouldn’t buy that on the real estate.

Rico: [00:24:21] Commercial real estate? Not residential necessarily.

Anita: [00:24:26] Absolutely not residential. So the SBA does not fund residential use, and it does not fund any residential products. It is, SBA is for commercial acquisitions, commercial purchases, commercial, commercial activity only.

Karl: [00:24:39] There’s some industries that they do not fund, some financials. And what are some of the industries?

Anita: [00:24:46] Well, some of the ones that, so the SBA does have a little bit more flexibility than maybe your average bank that you would see on the corner. They, they will fund, they will not fund typically, if you are in business to lend money to somebody else, they don’t fund that. They don’t find any, what’s the right word? Sexual kinds… Thank you. That was the word that would come to my brain. But adult entertainment, they don’t find some of those. And those are restricted and prohibited. They don’t find any businesses if you are renting, so say for instance, in Atlanta tech park, if they want it because they lease space out to another tenant. They don’t fund those kinds of business. They consider that investment real estate and they won’t fund those. So those are some, some a few that come to mind.

Rico: [00:25:38] Just to kind of piggyback off that. So if I wanted to buy a commercial building, put my business in it. It also rent maybe a couple of spaces out of the to help with the mortgage payments.

Anita: [00:25:47] That’s a good differentiator. So if you are going to operate 51% of the business with your company, that will be the difference where you can lease out the space. As a matter of fact, I just, we’re closing on a loan for $1 million, an acquisition of a building and she is going to be written now 49%. Oh, that too, to another tenant. So they will allow that. But you have to maintain the majority of that they’re building for your own business. Square footage Is the differentiator.

Karl: [00:26:18] Are there things that when you work with clients and they go through the best pay process and now they’re, well, they’re in underwriting. Things that they, they, that they find
out or learn that that, may cause them pause. Things that they could be aware that they may be asked to do or, or things that they may have to account for that the SBA requires. is there, are there any things like that, that you’ve seen people have paused with.

Anita: [00:26:43] Absolutely. In this process, the SBA process is, it’s beneficial that in ways that will allow you to get access to the capital. But it is a very stringent process. So the government is, it does a lot of due diligence around making sure that your business is viable and legitimate in order to, to grow so credit. I can tell you that, for instance, recently I’ve experienced, companies that have a really good business model and good cash flow, but bad credit from the owners, they will pass, they will pass, or they will make you go through a credit repair process so it can delay the process. Some of the other things that you said they, they do look at, all of your business, all of your resources when they, when you’re looking at an SBA loan. So if you have a house that has equity, because they are going to be gaming at 90 or 70 to 90% guarantee, they’re going to take all of their global assets that you have, as, as a lien, they’re going to put a lien on it. So that’s something that people, sometimes that gives them heartburn. But it’s a true thing and it’s a very real thing that you need to know on the front end. I would hate to somebody about getting in the middle of that process and didn’t know that. Yeah, you should know that on from the first conversation that you really have.

Karl: [00:28:00] Is when you, in most cases, when you go down that path. They most likely will ask for a personal guarantee that would be secured against your all your personal assets in the business.

Anita: [00:28:12] Absolutely personal guarantee is required. And typically almost every business loan, whether it’s conventional, well, I shouldn’t say every conventional and SBA funding, some of the outside nontraditional lenders may not require your personal guarantee. But if you’re going to look at conventional SBA funding that you do have to guarantee it personally, anybody who has 20% or more ownership in the business will have to guarantee. So if you have partners, everybody who owns 20% or more. So I used to tell people, if you’re going to get partners, make sure you cut them off at 19% you know, or give them, you know, under 20% so that they won’t have to go through that funding process. And they look at any additional businesses that you may have. So some people are going into a second or third business there. They’re going to look at everything that you have to make sure that your capacity to pay that obligation back is met.

Rico: [00:29:03] And it doesn’t matter the corporate structure, it could be LLC or C corporation. There’s no, no?

Anita: [00:29:09] There is no differentiation in that in terms of whether you guarantee the loan. Yeah, the structure doesn’t matter.

Karl: [00:29:15] Okay. I’m wondering about if you’re going into 2020 anything that’s trending in the SBA world and lending world that you see coming. What should business owners know. About over the next say, year or so that they should, that should impact their decision on when and how and why they should seek funding.

Anita: [00:29:34] Thank you for asking that question because I think it’s when I’m telling my clients and anybody that I’m in front of and speaking opportunities, I’m asking them to pay close attention to our economy. The recession that has been teeter tottering over the last year. We’re in a good economy today, but economic cycles happen. So we are, we are due for another economic downturn, economic cycles. We’re in a 10th year of a, a progressive, robust economic cycle. But it is going to end and it will probably end soon. And typically, when we have an economic downturn in the country, what happens is credit titans. So if your company is healthy, like you mentioned earlier, if a customer or is thinking about getting capital and they’re healthy enough to get capital, they haven’t done it yet, this is the time to do it. And also rates are really, really good right now, but I don’t think it’s going to be sustained for, you know, indefinite years. So you need to start thinking about that and you should never wait to get funding until you desperately need it because you desperately will not get it. So you have to be in a healthy position in order to acquire capital. So I think the recession and the economic conditions, the election will impact what’s, what, what rates and what the, what’s happening in our economy. Obviously, it always does. And one of the things that I’m particularly an advocate of is for people to understand when you’re looking at easy capital, easy money, some of the online lending, some of those quick and easy resources that you know you get in the mail. The cost of that capital can be very, very expensive. And I, people come to me saying, you know, I’ve got a couple of these loans and if it really, really easy for me to give, but now they’re in my checking account every day, every week, every month. And those kinds of, capital funding solutions sometimes they’re not sustainable. I tell people, the only time that I would recommend one of those kinds of solutions for funding is if you, for instance, maybe had an opportunity to buy some books, inventory, and you knew that you can turn that inventory in a short period of time and get in and out of that obligation. Obligations are designed to just be 12 months long, so they’re so short term that the payment repayment structure on them is so difficult for most people to maintain that as one of the, that’s the second thing that I would say, you shouldn’t look at as an outside of the Academy.

Karl: [00:32:05] Yeah. That you, you mentioned those, those loans and that short term, they were originally designed for someone that received a PO for a big order from some big company and you had to outlay for inventory or get things built and bring in, but you have certainty that you’re going to sell them, so you have to fund it. It’s expanded to, you know, I need money and you may not, yeah, I got this hip product, I’m going to buy all this inventory. It’s going to sell, and if it doesn’t sell, you still owe for that money and now you’ve got inventory that you get a discount. So really being careful, and that’s where I think planning. Is if, if, if there’s one thing that business owner can do is develop a robust planning process that includes understanding projection of financials of their business. Because through that process, they’ll start to discover where they might have cash flow short needs or growth and how to fund it
efficiently at the right time so they’re not in desperate measures and they can do scenario testing. What if it’s 20% more, 20% less, and having those discussions and having a lender, somebody that’s expert in finding sourcing funding. On their team advising them on, here are your options. If you decide now, these are your options and these are the potential pros and cons. If you wait, that’s, this isn’t later, your options shrink to these fewer options. And at least when people have that information, they can make better informed decisions.

Anita: [00:33:36] And, and I agree with that. I’ll give you a quick example because I work with lots of lenders, lots of banks, lots of non bank lenders across the country. And one of my lending sources that I had that, that was just three months ago. I’m doing unsecure working capital to those, 700 club, clients that I work with often too. They were doing unsecured credit lines based on, on your good credit score. Now, because they know that the economic conditions in this country are about to change now they don’t offer that solution. You now you have to bank with them for over 12 months. And then after 12 months, they’ll let you look at a, a secure vehicle. So even with your good credit score, now they want to see not only your, your credit, they want to see your bank balances in their bank for over a period of time. And so what happens is people don’t know that, that the banks and all of these lending sources are already making the defense decisions about how they’re going to restructure and how that tightening up on that credit. And if you’re not prepared, you don’t have any projections, you don’t have any resources on your team to help you with that, then that’s that. That’s, that’s, this is the time to explore. Where can you get that support?

Karl: [00:34:51] I like the, a little bit about, you know, if folks wanted to learn more about, what you do and how you help client navigate these waters, what’s the best way they can reach you?

Anita: [00:35:03] The best way to reach me, LinkedIn is a great way to reach me at Anita Davis on LinkedIn because I’m in the process of rebranding, but you can also give me a call at the company (770) 365-0858. That is a good number to reach me and look for Praxstra.com. That is my new website as we rebrand.

Karl: [00:35:28] So I’m wondering, what do you have coming up? Do you have anything coming up? over the next few weeks and months?

Anita: [00:35:34] I have lots of things coming up Karl. I’m, I’m teaching a class. Who are on tomorrow, here in Atlanta tech park. And we’re talking about funding and we’re going to go into a deeper dive conversation over all of the different funding solutions that are available. But I also have other, workshops and conversations on podcasts from being invited to speak. And then this summer I’m working with the WE bank, which is the women’s enterprise business national council that, certifies women business owners that are having a national conference here this summer. And I am on the host committee for that. So it allows me and other women business owners to get an app access to corporate and government contracting. Great things going all for Praxis.

Karl: [00:36:18] Well, absolutely. Well, well, I want to thank you very much. Anita Davis, chief funding matchmaker for Praxis Strategic Solutions, for your time and, and helping to begin to unravel. I think we’re going to have to have you come back a little bit and we can peel back the onion on some more topics around, around funding. You provided some great kind of advice and things for people to think about and I just say to anyone out there that’s, that’s thinking about their 2020, if they think they might need funding, and if they don’t know, they can reach out to their advisors, they can contact me, Karl Barham at Transworld Business Advisors, we tell business owners help navigate, their, their business strategy and including, you know, when they’re ready to exit their business. Well, it’s really important to have that discussion, put a plan down on paper, and have these conversations with people that can help get you funding for, for, for the businesses that they, that they have. I also want to thank Atlanta Tech Park, for hosting the Capitalist Sage Podcast. And, and, and if you’re interested in starting a business, having access to folks like, Anita and others here through various forum gives you knowledge and information to be more successful and build networks around that and also a few here you can meet. Rico, who’s also here doing a fantastic job with the Peachtree Corner Magazine. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about what you’ve got coming up?

Rico: [00:37:49] Sure. So Peachtree Corners Magazine, we’re working on the next issue, the first week of February, it’s February/March issue. The Major feature in that issue is innovative companies in Peachtree Corners. So that’ll be, we’ll be discussing half a dozen companies. We’ve interviewed already about four or five, tech firms, and there’ll be an article about some of the other innovative companies here in Peachtree Corners and a few other good stories in there. So, you should pick up a copy. It will go to our Facebook page, if you’re watching the live stream, there would be Peachtree Corners Life, Facebook and like us on that page. If you’re listening to the podcast, go to LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com. You can find out all sorts of new things going on in the city and they’ll associate the digital edition on there. And if you’re looking to, because I do other things. If you’re looking to do online content, brandings, social media, video, product, product videos, and such, go to MightyRockets.com and maybe I can help you there.

Karl: [00:38:50] Oh, fabulous. I’d also mention iTunes, iHeartRadio, Spotify, spreaker. If you’re a business owner, I get it, You’re busy. I get it. You don’t have time to show up at every, lecture or workshop and so on, but you do have time in your car if you’re in Atlanta to listen to a podcast and, and learn stuff that could help you improve your business. So with that I want to thank, thank you for tuning in. I’m Karl Barham and Rico Figliolini for Capitalist Sage podcast. Thank you.

Rico: [00:39:24] Thank you guys. Thanks.

Anita: [00:39:26] Absolutely. Thank you for having me.

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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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