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Capitalist Sage: Why Digital Marketing is a Must in Every Small Business [Podcast]

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Trent Phillilps

Are you missing something in your business marketing plan? Trent Phillips, CEO and founder of Bizography is here with great tips and tricks for your digital marketing plan. Join Karl, Rico, and Trent as they discuss the best tactics for your business.

Resources:
Website: bizography.com

[00:00:30] – Intro
[00:04:49] – About Trent
[00:07:56] – Changes in Consumer Behavior
[00:13:25] – Why you should consult an expert
[00:15:19] – First steps to make a difference in your marketing
[00:19:31] – Choosing the right marketing for your business
[00:22:05] – Advantages of video
[00:28:06] – Driving conversion and leads
[00:32:59] – ROI on digital marketing and AB Testing
[00:41:33] – Closing

“What stuck with me was that they were small and big companies have a lot of resources,
programmers to make these kinds of things work. Who helps the small guy? And that was the light bulb moment for me, is that there is an opportunity, to help small businesses get on the internet.”

Trent Phillips
Hargray

Podcast Transcript

Karl: [00:00:30] Welcome to the Capitalist Sage podcast. We are here to bring you advice and tips from season pros and experts to help you improve your business. I’m Karl Barham with Transworld business advisors and my co-host Rico Figliolini with Mighty Rocket Digital Marketing and the publisher of the Peachtree Corners Magazine. Rico, how about introducing our sponsors today?

Rico: [00:00:49] Sure. So let’s talk about where we are first. We’re in the podcast room of Atlanta Tech Park. Atlanta Tech Park is an innovation hub with 60, 70 companies. I think right now their work out of here, out of a capacity of about 110 so a lot of companies here at Atlanta Tech Park, it’s an event facility also. So you’ll find all sorts of things going on. What’s the next one? Is the FinTech event happening in April?

Karl: [00:01:14] It’s coming up in April. Their CEO, a CIO round tables, their schedule.

Rico: [00:01:19] And you can find one on one financing here. You can network with other companies and other financial sources. They do Financial Fridays.

Karl: [00:01:29] Financial Fridays, we have Wine Wednesdays once a month. Lots of places for entrepreneurs to come out, network with others, learn some stuff, and get support they need.

Rico: [00:01:39] That’s right. So Atlanta Tech Park. So it’s actually on another innovation thing here in Peachtree Corners. And that’s the Curiosity Lab in Peachtree Corners. It’s a 5G Sprint, we should say Sprint 5G enabled autonomous vehicle track, one in 1.7 miles or so. It’s a living lab. I mean, there’s cars on there, there’s people walking crossing the street, and it’s a place that companies can come to plug in their stuff. And whether it’s in the Ollie Self driving vehicle or put the wrong vehicle on this, on this track.

Karl: [00:02:12] And look outside of Atlanta tech park. You’ll see some scooters out there. So scooters are coming. E-scooters coming in yet will driverless scooters that will return back to its location. So we don’t have that problem. Folks in downtown Atlanta.

Rico: [00:02:27] But the dumping the scooters on the corners, no, these are enabled through an app where you can get them to come to you even go pick them up. And then, like you said, once you’re done, they’ll go right back to where they were. So, and they’ll self charge and stuff like that. So that’s another thing that’s going on here. And you know, the backbone is wireless, right? It’s 5G. But what drives that whole backbone? You still got to bring the cable here to be able to do the 5G and what’s the backbone of that? One of our lead sponsors, and that’s Hargray Fiber. They are a Hilton Island based company, and they are a company that in the Southeast is bringing fiber optics to not only consumers, but businesses. So if you’re a small business and you’re looking for fiber solution for your network, for phone, internet, entertainment, you can go to them. If you’re an enterprise level, you’re looking for bundled resources that can do VoIP and other types of incidents, traffic and security that they can
provide. They’re like an IT company, if you will. So they are a lead sponsor of ours that provides that in. You can find more about this company, Hargray Fiber at HargrayFiber.com.

Karl: [00:03:38] Fabulous. I love how cities like Peachtree Corners all over the country are transforming themselves into this technology in digital, digital, new smart city. And one of the things that we’ve been noticing is that, small businesses have been struggling to make their transformation to leverage digital marketing, digital technology. So I’m so happy to have today’s guest, Trent Phillips, founder and CEO of Bizography. A local web design and digital marketing company that helps people improve their digital month marketing. If anybody out there is looking for them to grow their sales. The traditional methods of doing that, they still work, but they’ve evolved. People have mobile phones. They’re looking in different apps, web, Facebook, Instagram, and others and Trent and his team and photography helps people do that. So we just want to share some tips today on what people can do to put that into their marketing plans for 2020 to help them continue to grow their business. Welcome, Trent. Really appreciate you coming.

Trent: [00:04:48] Thank you for having me today.

Karl: [00:04:49] Well, why don’t we start off by telling us a little bit about, you know, what brought you to where you are today? Just tell us a little bit about yourself and, and what you’re doing now?

Trent: [00:04:59] Well, I guess that would be considered a dinosaur today. I’ve actually been in the technology business for 35 years. Started out, actually writing a babysitting COBOL program on a mainframe and realized that that was not, my destiny in life. And so, went, got a job in the software business. So in software, initially a portfolio analysis software to wall street firms and did that for awhile. I actually was in the software business for 15 years. Went through two or three startups. A very interesting process. A couple in IPO, so, you know, worked out. But, around 1999, I had just transitioned from the last software company I was working for. And, at the time the internet was the brand new thing. And, I was enthralled by the internet. And so I’m sitting in the CEO’s office at Home Depot one day, and he was talking to me about a software contract, and I had a call from one of his suppliers, and the supplier was having problems, logging into their inventory system, via the internet. And I realized, after talking to the CIO, he’s like, these guys are a very small supplier. What stuck with me was that they were small and big companies have a lot of resources, programmers to make these kinds of things work. Who helps the small guy? And that was the light bulb moment for me, is that there is an opportunity, to help small businesses get on the internet. And, I was much more interested in providing the content. So it started out as a web design company and, about six months after we started, the internet went, kaboom. And so a lot of people went out of business. And so I kinda…

Karl: [00:07:18] 2002 right?

Trent: [00:07:19] Yeah, 2000. So I looked around and said, you know what? People are still going to need websites. And, that’s where we actually made our bet. And, 20 years we’ve been doing that, building websites and over that timeframe, things have evolved. You know, search engines have come along. Social media has come along. Digital marketing has come along. So, we’ve just been a company that’s kind of embraced all those technologies as they came along and incorporated those, into our solutions for small and medium size businesses.

Karl: [00:07:56] So let’s get into that a little bit. you start thinking about the small business, on our, what are some of the things that are changing in consumer behavior when it, when it comes to business marketing?

Trent: [00:08:10] Well, I think the biggest thing that has happened is the consumer, how they consume information has changed. And for somebody who’s been in business in the last 10, 15 years, they have actually seen a dramatic shift. And the way people get information. And so in the marketing business, you have to find customers, and every business does. But how do you actually go about finding those customers? It used to be the yellow pages. It used to be a teller, an ad in the newspaper. Those days are long gone. Everybody, they walk around with a cell phone and so they’re there. They’re a captive audience in some ways. But how do you find that ideal client? And so that’s been one of the things that we’ve been tasked with. And one of the things that we actually provide a solution is helping those businesses, small businesses find clients today. And it’s different.

Karl: [00:09:20] So, if you think about it, and, and I love, I feel like the role of print media has shifted. And, and 30, 40 years ago, it served both giving information, keeping people aware. It was the classify where people went and found things to buy and sell. It was a sports section where you got information on sports and so on, and it filled maybe, you know, 10 other roles today and print media still has an important role. I think it’s elevated, sharing story telling. And so on. But some of those other aspects of it have started going into other aspects, especially online and digital media. If you’re a small business owner today and you’ve had a successful business for 25 years, you’re, you’re the place where everyone already knows your name. Why should I as a business owner like that, invest or start exploring improved websites, digital marketing, those types of things?

Trent: [00:10:23] Because your client today is in those places. I don’t think you have to abandon the traditional ways you’d done business. I always use the old football analogy. As a, as a coach, you got to have a ground game and you gotta have an air game. And I think of the old ways of actually doing business, face to face, handing out business cards, networking, doing print media, those things. That’s the ground game. But you also today have to have an air game and that air game has to be, you know, social media marketing, email marketing, online advertising, all the things that people have embraced the day, as, as solutions for getting information. The combination of the two, I think is where the opportunity is. And, there’s a balance that you have to strike and it depends on the business. Some businesses can still use print media very effectively today. But a lot of businesses, their clients are on the internet.
They’re on social media. They’re in all the places that you see these digital assets, and you’ve got to have a presence there. And so what we do is we try to help clients understand, where are your clients? How do you get to those clients? And then provide the services to help them acquire this contents and keep them.

Rico: [00:11:57] Do you, do you find like a, you know, when they teach you business, right, in business school and stuff, they teach you every client’s different. You have to find out what, how they need to reach their client because every client is different depending on the product, service and all that. When we talk social media, do we also talk, like if you do in retail, do you want to be on Amazon? Do you want to have an Amazon store? I mean, you haven’t might have a brick and mortar store, but do you want to have that Amazon store? Because today you can be on Amazon, you can be on, Home Depot will love you, put their products on their roll. Mark, go to any of these places, right? And what’s that? All the one Etsy makers. I mean the, and that’s not necessarily social media, but that’s all encompassing, right? Do you find that?

Trent: [00:12:43] Right. As a matter of fact, depending on what you’re doing, you may need to be in all those places, right? You may have your own eCommerce site and still sell products on Amazon. if you have excess inventory, you may actually want to get rid of it on eBay. And so you, you could actually use all of those different places to do e-commerce. And that’s the thing that we try to articulate the clients is that, one size does not fit all. Every company is unique in how they actually do business on the web. What we try to do is to try to help them understand what’s the best approach for them.

Rico: [00:13:25] What do you, how do you answer them when they say to you? Social media. I have a Facebook page. I have an Instagram account. And I, I, we’re, we’re handling it fine. But then you go and you look and you say, well, maybe they posted once every three weeks or something. How do you answer that to them when they think it’s free and they think that they can just do it themselves?

Trent: [00:13:46] Well, there are certain things that you can definitely do yourself. I’m looking at something like a Facebook platform, a very sophisticated platform. And I can boost the posts like a 15 year old can boost a post on Facebook, but he can’t put together a digital marketing campaign that actually segments my customer base based off their consumer behavior, based off the things that they’ve actually done as far as surfing the internet.

Karl: [00:14:16] Why not? Why? Why can’t you know Joe, the average business owner? Why can’t he do that?

Trent: [00:14:22] Because he’s wearing a lot of hats. He’s wearing a lot of, he’s, he’s the marketing guy. One day, he’s the accounting guy. The next day, he’s the HR guy. The next day. And so he’s wearing a lot of hats. And so if you’re going to wear a lot of hats, which every business owner has to at some point, that makes only a lot of sense to outsource some of these things to a company like ours. Today, very few people do payroll internally, because it’s just not
cost effective to do so. And what we try to actually, work with our clients to understand is, what is your core competency? Where are you most comfortable if marketing and digital marketing is not your core competency, then outsource that to us. Because we’ve been doing it for a long time. We have a lot of experience doing it. And we can actually do it more effectively.

Karl: [00:15:19] What are the times when I talk to business owners around their digital marketing or so on? They say, Oh, I tried that and it didn’t really do anything. What are they missing to give us specific as to what does it look like to do it well versus what you see people, when you start with them, what are they doing normally versus how do you really elevate that?

Trent: [00:15:42] The first thing you have to do is you have to set expectations. Because a lot of people think that, Hey, I want to run a Facebook ad and I’m going to get clients right away. It doesn’t work that way. There, there has to be expectations set as to what’s going to happen. There are certain things you can do digital marketing wise where you can get results quicker. But if you’re actually just doing content marketing, blogging, you know, putting stuff on different social media platforms. You may not see a return on that investment right away. Why not? Because it’s not a traditional way for people to actually spend money. Here’s what happens today, and this is the beauty of the internet. The internet, the main use of it, I think is still today is an education platform. The best user is an educated user, and today everybody can get very educated on the internet by just going out and looking at stuff. I can read blogs about how to do anything. I can go to YouTube and learn how to do anything. And so as an education platform, I could learn certain stuff. But if you’re not doing digital marketing day in, day out, like a small business owner or a lawyer or a dentist or a doctor who, who’s not. There’s no way you can actually keep up.

Karl: [00:17:11] So help me understand that. Let’s say I’m an attorney and I’m putting out a blog regularly on my website, and maybe I posted them. What’s, what am I missing? What, what’s the thing that a professional firm does that’s different than what I’m doing?

Trent: [00:17:29] Well, you may actually put out a blog, you may put a few tags in it. You may not be optimizing it for search engines properly. You, the frequency needs to be there in order for you to actually do it right. Your frequency, how many times are you blogging? and once that blog is done, is it just been blogged on your blog, or is it, being posted on your Facebook page? Is it being tweeted on your Twitter account? Is it being posted to your LinkedIn account? All at the same time?

Rico: [00:18:04] And probably several times. No one’s looking at the Twitter feed like every single minute of the day. So that stuff needs to be out there five or ten times.

Karl: [00:18:14] It sounds like you’re describing to me part of this equation to get good at this. Is there, there’s a little person in a room that’s in front of their computer just constantly doing stuff for later to that. Is that, is that what’s going on?

Trent: [00:18:30] No, no. There’s a, there’s technology in place. There’s automation in place, to make all that happen. We have people who can actually put that automation in place, tie all those different platforms together, make sure that you’re actually targeting the right platforms. If I’m, looking for 20 year olds. I’m probably not looking at Facebook. And so a lot of times people are actually putting stuff out on these different platforms. I don’t understand the law in demographics associated with these different platforms, because depending on who your customers are, they may actually be in a different place. And so that kind of expertise isn’t always known. And so, automation, helping them with the demographics. developing the content, for those different things. That’s all stuff that we do.

Karl: [00:19:31] If you, if you look at, different types of business, some of those just kind of walk to a couple of professional services business, what platform, what would be a good digital marketing plan look like for lawyers, accounting and professional service?

Trent: [00:19:45] Well, I’m definitely going to target LinkedIn because that’s where professionals are. The people that they work with are typically professionals also. So that’s a very good platform, I think by the thought everyone should actually market on Facebook, but the sheer size of it, and is, is big enough that it actually has, a target market for pretty much everybody. And so those two platforms are very good. Then the other one I think is extremely important is Twitter.

Karl: [00:20:17] For professional services?

Trent: [00:20:19] Twitter. Yeah. Because what happens is that Twitter is the 21st century PR tool. And, if you want to actually market your services, you want to toot your own horn. Twitter’s how you do it. And so you have to use, not only traditional ways of doing stuff, but also stuff like Twitter, which, I think gets overlooked.

Rico: [00:20:45] So what about Instagram though, wouldn’t you?

Trent: [00:20:47] Instagram’s for, for picture based stuff is good. And if you’re in a service business, where are you showing your work is important. Absolutely, pinterest.

Karl: [00:20:59] So let’s flip to that. Let’s, let’s say, you know, you’re not a service based basement, but you make a product. Let’s say it’s arts, it’s, it’s, it’s gift type items, crafts, that kind of stuff.

Trent: [00:21:11] Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook. Those are all good platforms.

Karl: [00:21:16] And you’re posting what, what? So what’s the content? What is the content you would deliver on that type of?

Trent: [00:21:21] I’m going to deliver what your, your product, you know, examples of your work. Cause that’s really what you’re doing. Also, again, I still think you have to use Twitter as a way of actually showing your work. you still have to use a blog as a way of actually, you know, demonstrating your expertise, positioning yourself as an expert in that area.

Karl: [00:21:42] So if you’re a service person and you do something like counseling, I’m going to give something generic like that. How do you show your work in counseling?

Trent: [00:21:49] Well, I think what you do is you actually show your expertise, and so you’re, you’re, you’re blogging, you’re tweeting, you’re doing things along those lines. You can’t really show that on Pinterest.

Rico: [00:22:05] But can’t you, you know, I find video even more accessible and with captions, it actually is a stronger element than, than just posting stuff like that.

Trent: [00:22:14] The video is, is the, is the game changer, videos, number one, right? Rich content, the richer content, the more people you’re going to get.

Karl: [00:22:26] So why aren’t people doing more videos? I mean, I go on, I look at everybody in there. You know, I get the big companies and folks, but when I look at small companies, there’s no video.

Rico: [00:22:38] They’re probably afraid of it for the most part.

Trent: [00:22:40] Well, I think a lot of clients that we talk to, they think they have to have a Disney presentation in order to do video when literally everybody has, everybody’s a videographer today, all you need is your cell phone.

Rico: [00:22:56] iPhone makes it so, Apple makes it so much easier to shoot a video.

Trent: [00:22:59] Right? Right.

Karl: [00:23:01] So help me with this equation. The access is there. The tool is there. They’re shooting video of their kids and their pets and everything else.

Rico: [00:23:09] The cats.

Karl: [00:23:11] How, how can a small business owner take that, those tools and apply it to drive, drive their business?

Trent: [00:23:19] Oh, there’s, I mean, there’s several ways. I mean, just, you know, talking about your business, doing a presentation about your business during the presentation about the products and services that you offer in video. Then taking that video and, and, and delivering it
via email, via websites, via all the different platforms that you could put that social media. And so it can be used very easily. We encourage our clients to do that. I think there’s still a phobia around doing video to a certain extent. And I think it has to do something with the age of the clients because our younger clients have no problem doing video. Some of the other clients are going, I don’t know if I want to be on video. And what they’re missing is the opportunity to present their products and services in its best light. Everybody today is a movie star.

Karl: [00:24:23] It’s interesting. So a lot of service businesses, when I look at their business development plan and when they’re marketing, they’ll show me, presentations and seminars and webinars and things of that as, as a major lead gen for them. And what you’re suggesting here is video, using video to supplement those activities can give them a larger reach. For further…

Trent: [00:24:49] And more engagement, because video’s just much more engaging than text and graphics.

Karl: [00:24:56] What if you’re bad? Like, what if you’re boring? What if the video is not that strong? What would you recommend a client do in that case?

Trent: [00:25:03] Well, there’s, definitely video production companies that do videos. We don’t do video production at all, but there’s tons of companies out there to do it. We partner with, with the number of them to actually, you know, design videos for presentations for how to do stuff, training, a number of ways that you can actually use video and then take that video and then market that video on a website via social media, on a blog, email, whatever you want to do with this.

Karl: [00:25:36] You use video a lot. You do a lot of video stuff when you talk to clients. You know, what are you seeing some of their apprehension around it?

Rico: [00:25:46] It’s to some degree the same. You know, if you’re older, you want to be more planned than what you’re doing on the video. Let’s say this is what I got also, right? If you’re younger, the only thing I have to tell young people is that if you are shooting Instagram video, it’s okay to do it this way, but if you want it on YouTube, you get to do it this way.

Karl: [00:26:03] Right? That’s right.

Rico: [00:26:05] Video is, the good thing about video is that you can cut it apart, right? You could shoot a five minute video and take one minute or 30 seconds of it. That’s the gem part of it, let’s say and use it. You could show the product or you could show the behind the scenes of the product, right? Like, I mean, I just posted something before we got on the, that showed us a picture of this multi-screen and YouTube before we went on. So showing them behind the scenes look of what you’re doing, showing the everyday life of what you’re doing on a, on an Instagram, whether it’s YouTube or even getting an influencer. I mean, when we put out the magazine, we don’t shoot video yet on it, but we take pictures of like at least a dozen places we
go to. They’re holding the magazine. It’s a place that you can, and we post it, we tag it, we tell people you could go, you know, go have a burrito and you might as well pick up Peachtree Corners Magazine while you’re there. So it’s taking brands and putting it together right. And if you get influencers that, and we’ve had them where they take a picture of the magazine with a coffee cup on it and they’re like, you know where we just picked up our latest copy? I mean, those are the best, right? When the influencers are out there sharing those videos.

Trent: [00:27:17] And you know, as long as you’re happy with the video, then you’re fine. If you need to do any editing to the video…

Rico: [00:27:23] Then it becomes, and there’s apps, but you’re right, you have to be your 18 year old kid not able up to do it for you, but you might not be able to do it yourself.

Trent: [00:27:31] That’s right. So a lot of business owners, because it’s their business, they obviously want to put their business in the best light. And so they want to, they want a nice presentation of everything that they’re doing. So when you get into post production, yeah, you’re talking to different volumes.

Rico: [00:27:49] And different dollar amounts, different, because you’re talking, you could shoot on an iPhone 11 you could shoot 4K and you get great sound, but if you want to do that in a professional level, they might charge you 6-700, $1,200 for the die in versus, you know…

Karl: [00:28:06] Being able to do a conversion. So again, attracting people there. What can people do in their digital marketing plans to drive conversion where customers are coming in and either requesting their services or buying their product?

Trent: [00:28:22] We still think today that, in a lot of ways a website is still central to what a lot of people will use as a jumping off point. And so whether they actually come through the door from social media or from a blog or from an ad, they don’t necessarily have to go to a website, but at some point in the sell cycle, we see people still going to a website. And so if you can drive that ideal client to your website, provide the content on that website that speaks to the person that you’re targeting, put the right presentation, whether it’s video call, the actions, eBooks, whatever, in front of those people. Then we’ll actually allow those people to convert. Then you’ll see a higher conversion rate, but, we call it, building customer centric content. And so the websites need to be customer centric, not built around the company themselves, but built around the people that are actually going to be visiting the website. And then having that content speak to those people. So they do raise their hands. So they do actually fill out that inquiry for them. So they do actually do that call to action. And so we spent a lot of time working with clients to make sure that the content that they actually are providing gives that ideal client, that jumping off point to go, I’m your guy. And so that’s some of the stuff that we do.

Karl: [00:30:03] You know what about if I, if I could act, investment? When I look at a business owners financials and so on, one of my quick scans, it’s how much they’re spending on
marketing and advertising relative to their top line. And I’ve seen a definitive pattern, if they’re in the right range and, and for some business, depending on their stage, if they’re starting up, it should be a little bit more. If they’re more mature, it can be a little bit less, but anywhere from four to 8% of their revenue for certain types of businesses. What I see as norm for the businesses that consistently grow through cycles, when I see the numbers lower and I’ll see numbers that are in the 1 to 2% and so on, but I’ll often hear, Oh, we’ve got a lot of referral. They already know who we are and so on, but when I look at their revenue numbers, it tends to be flat. And that’s fine. If that’s the objective for the owner, they could save money on marketing and it could stay flat until the environment changes. Competition comes in, they have a service head. A new product comes out, something impacts them. When you’re talking, and when you would advise more business owners, what kind of budget should they be setting if they really want to continue to grow RO, outgrow their competitors in their particular space?

Trent: [00:31:19] Well, I think your numbers are about right. What we see a lot is exactly what you said as far as getting a, using the existing channels of doing business. We’re getting referrals, so we must be doing something right. What we talk about is, but are you getting the incremental customer that’s not the person that you’re actually coming into contact with this actually in your sphere, but is someone who actually needs your services. How do you find that person or that person is not, you know, in a networking group with you? Probably, it’s not, one of the referral partners that you have, so they’re not coming through those, those existing channels of getting business. So that’s where the online advertising comes into play. And so we see a lot of people who are totally ignoring a portion of their, of their opportunity, because they’re not actually proactively going out and grabbing people. They’re simply just waiting for people to come to them, but you can’t do them. And that’s where we think you can actually pick up a significant amount of business. We see clients that are proactively going after business, and we have clients in the same business, they’re not proactively going after business. And we can see the difference because over time you’re building a pipeline of potential clients that down the road are going to become your clients.

Karl: [00:32:59] So, what would be the ROI if someone decided they’re going to invent for every dollar spent? You’re, based on your experience, what’s the ROI when people invest in a digital marketing plan and an executed plan?

Trent: [00:33:12] The thing that I think is really key for return on investment is how long are they willing to do it? Yeah. You guys, small business owners because they don’t have a lot of resources traditionally wanting to get a return on investment quicker. It doesn’t work that way with digital marketing. I think that you should have at least one year. A budget in place in order to actually do digital marketing. And then I think you should actually look very closely at return on investment every 90 days, to actually and measure what’s actually happening and actually tweak it, as you’re going through those 90 day periods. We see that a lot with advertising. Google and Facebook advertise, where you’re doing AB testing.

Karl: [00:34:09] What’s B testing?

Trent: [00:34:10] It’s literally taking different ads, for example, and, different messages and different audiences and running that stuff through those different platforms. Looking at those different audiences with different messages and seeing what happens, see, seeing who responds to what. And when we find a client who responds, an audience that responds to an ad, our response to a message whereby, another audience doesn’t respond to that ad or not are that message, then that actually tells us something about that particular audience. And so then we want to actually take that money that we’re actually spending on all that ads and actually target the people that are responding. And so we do a lot of that up front. And it’s just testing to see what’s most effective from a marketing standpoint. See what’s key about that. Can you see this? The average business owner that says, let’s do this ourselves. Designing what you’re selling is an experiment, a test, AB testing to test different messages. Get the data, come back, figure out what it’s telling you, and doing that with the key is for the first time versus, you know, this is what you do. So you know what the data is telling you. And, and that’s where I see folks, you know, missing a huge opportunity to get educated and get help that could drive it, drive their business. And that’s what actually, initially we’ll extend, you know, the term for your ROI on digital marketing because that has to be done first, right? And the average best small business owner, does not, does not know how to create multiple ads. May not actually have the expertise to create different messages. May not, definitely does not have the expertise to build different demographic audiences. and then to be able to do the test us things. We do that for clients. And a lot of times, we don’t get it right the first time. And so we have to go back and actually tweak what we’re doing in order to actually find that optimal. Audience message, ad that works.

Rico: [00:36:34] Cause it’s also, I think two other things that, that sometimes the, the business owner thinks they know the client and where it’s coming from. And they really may not understand their client well enough.

Trent: [00:36:46] Exactly. Because what happens a lot of times is, you know what? We’ll go in and the client will go, well, I know who my client is right as hell. Okay, well we’ll set up an audience. Oh, who you think your client is. And then we’ll set up a couple of more audiences that we’ll be testing. We’ll run ads at, at all those and all those audiences. And let’s see if your audience is really those people, right. And most of the time it’s not.

Rico: [00:37:13] And I think most people don’t even understand too, when you’re doing it like Edwards or Facebook or whatever, that you’re tweaking it on a continuous basis. Not every 90 days. It’s like, right. Every day.

Karl: [00:37:27] There is an interesting dynamic there. What you just described, it’s been around for a long time. Focus groups where they get different groups of people and then it, this was in a room getting feedback, understanding motivation and so on. You’re able to do that digitally now through these platforms and understand, demographics patterns where the, the cost of doing it
now drastically dropped.From what it took 30, 40 years ago. If you just use focus groups to, to be able to do that on scale for lots. So it makes it accessible to small business people.

Rico: [00:38:03] You know, a lot of times you can also, even though this is, this is using a camera, right? Set up your iPhone camera, do a time lapse, and then look at it at the end of the dance who your customers really are. There will be a pattern in there of the type of client that’s walking through that door. If you’re a consumer drifting business, you’ll be able to see that in a way more natural way. You know, the focus group. I agree. You know, you could do that. He gets some good feedback sometimes it depends. But if you put that time lapse camera up for about eight hours in your shop and you see that and then you play it back later, you can see the exact client in a way more dynamic way.

Karl: [00:38:40] I do that often. And you can do that digitally, digitally, who’s how long they stay really.

Trent: [00:38:48] And so just looking at the, at the demographics and the behavior of the people that are actually coming to your site? Well, this person, went to bankrate.com to look at a mortgage. So is he actually a prospect for a real estate agent? Probably. This person got turned down by the bank. Is he a good person to target for a hard money lender? Probably. And so there are things that, you know, if, if some, if a young couple, all of a sudden their address changes, are they a good target for divorce attorney? Maybe. And so the behavior behind these platforms will allow you now to actually build audiences based on their behavior. And it’s the rest of stuff that a small business owners never gonna be able to understand. And that’s the type of stuff that we do.

Karl: [00:39:45] Oh, this is a lot of good information. And, and I think it’s, it’s, it’s one of the areas where I find, most small business owners are lacking in. And when they look at their plans, I start with the financials. I see their marketing spend. I asked them what are they doing. And they’re going to tell me a lot of traditional methods. And they’ll describe their website. They’ll describe, maybe buying some Facebook ads or a couple of things, but they don’t necessarily have a LinkedIn strategy. I don’t think that they’ve done AB testing. I don’t think that they’ve looked at, at, at the data and made tweaks on it. And so they’re not getting the results that they think they’re doing really good digital marketing. And, and so if there’s something in 2020 that small businesses can do to, to, to improve their business, I think definitely if you don’t have a website, it has, it has a place in your business and it’s probably necessary if you’re interested in attracting more customers. If you don’t have a digital marketing plan that leverages the right platform with the right content and the right frequencies and the right methods, you’re leaving money on the table. And I think, Rico, you mentioned video, incorporating video into it. Rico: [00:40:59] I think if you’re not doing it, you’re…

Karl: [00:41:01] Just not doing it. They’re leaving. You’re leaving money on the table if you’re trying to acquire customers.

Trent: [00:41:07] Right. And I, one of the other things I think is really important is, is this is something that the owner actually has between his ears, is to take their expertise and actually use it as content for social media platforms. And so, that’s something that really just requires you to take all that expertise that you have between years and sharing it with somebody.

Rico: [00:41:32] That’s absolutely right.

Karl: [00:41:33] So well, thank you so much. Well, why don’t you tell us a little about what you’ve got going on, over the next few months. How can people find you more?

Trent: [00:41:41] They can find us at bizography.com, that’s the easiest place to find this. We are actively working with all different types of small and medium sized businesses. Trying to help them understand this challenge and digital marketing. We work for companies actually around the country. So, we’re in Alpharetta and you can find us on the web at bizography.com and, we’ll be the guys, I’m out there with our hair on fire trying to try and help people.

Karl: [00:42:14] Well, I want to thank, I want to thank our guests, Trent Phillips, CEO of Bizography. First time today helping us just, you know, giving us advice on how to grow our business using digital marketing and websites. Everyone talks about it. Everyone says they’re doing it, but if you take nothing away, nothing else away from today, there’s a lot more that goes on behind the scenes and you gotta make a decision. Do you have the time to commit, to learn and execute on all these things to really drive a strong digital marketing campaign so you get a return on your investment? And if you’re honest with yourself, you don’t think you could. You know, seeking help isn’t hard. I don’t know that many people that would try to defend themselves in court if that’s not their, their vocation. If you’re looking to grow your business, focus on your customers, focus on your T’s, focusing on your business and get either educated and, and pick up the skills yourself or find someone that has it to help you grow your business. So I’d like to thank Atlanta Tech Park for hosting the Capitalist Sage Podcast. If you’re looking to start a business or be around entrepreneurs and in, in a, in a greater work environment, come take a visit in Peachtree Corners, Atlanta Tech Park, and located in the Curiosity Lab right down the street from city hall here. It’s a great place to come by, ask for Emily or Natalie, and they’ll give you a tour and tell you a little bit more about some of the services and opportunities that are here. I’m Karl Barham with Transworld Business Advisors of Atlanta, Peachtree. We help business owners just trying to improve their business. We do it so that they can improve the value of the business. They can, they can, they can, send their kids to school. They can live a good life. And when they’re ready to move on to the next thing, we help them find buyers and, and, and people that’ll help them buy their business so that they can move on to the next thing. So if anybody is one, have a consult with any one of our advisors, you can reach us at TWorld.com/AtlantaPeachtree or you can email me KarlKBarham@Tworld.com and we can have a conversation about your business and, and how you can grow it and, or if you’re ready, how you connected it also, Rico, why don’t you tell us a little bit about what you’ve got coming up?

Rico: [00:44:37] Sure. Well, I want to, I want to thank again, Hargray Fiber for being a leading, sponsor on the podcasts that we do. The family podcasts, because Capitalists Sage is one of several that we do, Peachtree Corners Life. You’ll find that in fact, tonight we’re interviewing a candidate for Gwinnett County Sheriff. So if you want to tune in at about 6:30, we will be talking to Floyd Scott tonight. Peachtree Corners magazine is a magazine that’s mailed to every household in the city of Peachtree Corners, so you don’t have to worry about walking into a place and picking it up with, it’d be right in your mailbox. It’s going to be a big, big magazine you should’ve gotten in the last week or two. We’re working on the next issue now, which is the April/May issue. Big cover story is likely youth sports. That’s big in Gwinnett in Peachtree Corners and Gwinnett County. So we’re looking at baseball, softball, soccer, and then a variety of other sports in there as well, along with middle school soccer. No doubt we’re also going to be doing an article on doing good, using homegrown, the homegrown nonprofits in Peachtree Corners and what they’re doing. So we’re going to be doing that as well. You know, it’s interesting finding you could Google what you want, if you know what you want, but we hope that the magazine. Brings surprises that you’ve not been, that you haven’t been looking for. So that’s the good part about print to a degree, especially when it’s hyperlocal, because you really can’t get that on CNN or Fox news or anything like that. So there’s that. And then of course, you know, MightyRockets.com if you’re looking to do videos or social media content or anything along those lines, and you just want to talk shop, checkout MightyRockets.com, give me a call, (678) 358-7858. And visit LivingInPeachtree Corners.com, which is a website for the magazine and these podcasts.

Karl: [00:46:30] And you will see additional articles, news in there around business, around education, around living in and around Peachtree Corners. A great site if you want to keep up with local happenings. And there, there’s a great way to extend digital media, how we can help educate and people can find information, about, about what’s going on around the city. So, thank you. Thank you for that.

Rico: [00:46:55] Thank you.

Karl: [00:46:55] Thank you. Thank you very much. Well, everyone, thank you very much. This, this has been our 30th episode of, of the Capitalist Sage podcast and it has been a joy and we’re continuing to bring you local business experts and business leaders and people in the community so that more people can find ways to improve their business. That’s our mission and we’re going to continue to strive to do that in 2020 so thank you everybody for tuning in. Follow us on Facebook, any Peachtree Corners Life on Facebook.

Rico: [00:47:29] Share it with your friends, cause you get notified when we go live in these streams and on Instagram, you could go to the Capitalist Sage.

Karl: [00:47:36] Capitalist Sage on Instagram. So you’ll be notified when we do a new episode. Thank you everyone. Have a great day.

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Peachtree Corners’ Curiosity Lab Celebrates 1-Year Anniversary

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

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

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

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

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

Curiosity Lab milestones during the year also include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Capitalist Sage podcast

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

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

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

CLiff Bramble

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

Cliff Bramble joined us on our video chat podcast.

Podcast Transcript:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Karl: [00:22:33] Yeah.

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

Cliff: [00:23:09] Absolutely.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Business

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

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on

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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