Calvin Murray talks about positioning his business to work in a COVID-19 environment, and how technology and rethinking his approach helped his company Egoscue of Atlanta continue on their mission to eliminate chronic pain and assist those that come to them to enjoy active living. With your hosts, Karl Barham and Rico Figlioliini recorded socially safe in Peachtree Corners.
Phone Number: (678) 528-2393
Social Media: @EgoscueofAtlanta
Timestamp (where in the show to find the topic):
[00:00:30] – Intro
[00:03:11] – About Calvin and the Egoscue Method
[00:05:38] – First Years of Business and COVID
[00:07:47] – Pivoting the Business
[00:09:59] – Balancing Life
[00:11:33] – Technology in Business
[00:17:39] – Helping People in Pain
[00:20:46] – Government Aids
[00:22:19] – Connecting with Your Community
[00:25:03] – Keeping Your Head Right
[00:27:23] – Plans for the Upcoming Months
[00:28:40] – Closing
“Our slogan is connect and correct. If we can’t connect with you, then how in the world are we going to be able to help you? It’s not about us at all. It’s all about the person in front of us. Once we do that, we’re able to help correct whatever issues that they do have going on with their bodies.”calvin murray
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. My cohost is Rico Figliolini with Mighty Rockets Digital Marketing, and the publisher of the Peachtree Corners Magazine. Hey Rico.
Rico: [00:00:49] Hey Karl. Good to be here.
Karl: [00:00:51] Well, I know a lot of people are reading the magazine this month. I’ve seen it all over doing a great job of bringing stories to the community. Why don’t we talk about our sponsors today.
Rico: [00:01:02] Sure. Our lead sponsor is Hargray Fiber. They’re a fiber optic company that provides services in the Southeast, especially here in Peachtree Corners and Lawrenceville these markets, but certainly Macon, Tallahassee, a whole bunch of places throughout the Southeast. They’re dealing with small companies as well as larger companies that provide smart office, smart office technology, to be able to get people teleworking and corporates, corporations, to be able to do the things they need to do to be able to work smarter and fast in this environment. So they’re not like that the cable guy, these guys are out there, they’re in the community, helping out. Working with every place that they’re in, and they’re reachable and they’re always there for you. So check them out. HargrayFiber.com/business, and you’ll see what they have. They also are doing a promotion that, let me share that with you. It’s a thousand dollar gift card. So if you’d be, if you ended up doing a, put that out in front. If you end up calling them up or checking them out there’ll be able to, you might be able to qualify for that thousand dollar gift card as well. So thank you for Hargray to be our lead sponsor.
Karl: [00:02:12] Yes. It’s more important than ever that folks get their internet right and Hargray Fiber is here to help business owners in the community and residents alike, so thank you for them again. Today’s guest is a good friend, Calvin Murray. Who’s here to talk to us about how small business owners are managing COVID-19. Calvin is a co-owner of Egoscue of Atlanta based in Sandy Springs, Georgia. And he’s here to tell us a little bit about his journey to entrepreneurship. How he’s dealing with COVID-19 and some of the plans for the future. Hey Calvin, how you doing?
Calvin: [00:02:51] Karl, Rico, I’m doing great. Thanks for having me guys.
Karl: [00:02:54] Oh, no problem. Now I know for a lot of people, Egoscue’s going to be new to some people. So I’m going to ask you to introduce yourself, help them with the pronunciation and the spelling of it. And tell us a little bit about what you guys do.
Calvin: [00:03:11] Sure thing, so the Egoscue Method, is a different way of looking at the body. You look at the body as a whole, a lot of practitioners do. But for you in particular, Karl, if you said, Hey Calvin, my right knee has been hurting for five years. I haven’t been able to find the relief that I need. To me or to the Egoscue Method, we know that that right knee is a symptom.
There’s something else in your body that’s dysfunctional and that’s causing that right knee to hurt. And it’s our job to find that dysfunction in your body. You may be a dentist, or you may sit for a living, but that’s not the reason why that right knee is hurting. Something else in your body is the reason why your right knee is hurting. So we figure out what it is and we start to treat from that area and help you create balance and alignment in your body. What do you know that right knee pain just goes away. Egoscue of Atlanta is the name of our company. We’re a franchise and we are originally from out of San Diego. Pete Egoscue, that’s where the last that’s where the name comes from, his last name is how it began. He was injured in Vietnam and could not find the relief and figured that he had to do it on his own. He created the method and lo and behold, he’s doing great today. Pain-free and we helped so many other people live a pain free and active lifestyle as well.
Karl: [00:04:28] So tell me a little bit about how you and your wife came to this or chose this as an entrepreneurial venture for you and tell us how it’s been so far.
Calvin: [00:04:38] Yeah, funny enough. I moved here in 2004. I’m a Georgia native and I’m from Augusta, Georgia. Haven’t been back since all right, outside to see our parents. But I started in the security business, a great mentor in that business who is actually president of a large security company now, and still in my life as a mentor. And then I transitioned into the securities business while worked for a major broker dealer and really got a taste of what running your own business looks like. In 2011, my wife and I had an opportunity to franchise. And, a few years ago we decided, Hey, let’s serve in a different manner and let’s run this practice as a family practice versus us doing two different things. So we planned for it and early last year, we made the leap. And we both work together now. You know, one run’s therapy. And I run the operations and the marketing, as well as therapy.
Karl: [00:05:38] Oh, that’s fabulous. Well, as you started the business, over the last couple of years, what were some of the things that you learned about yourself and about business in your first few years?
Calvin: [00:05:51] I’ll tell you every, almost any question that you asked me about learning about myself comes back to it not even being about me. It’s about the people that work with you. And it’s about our clients. So what am I doing on daily basis to put them first, my clients and to put my employees first, and quite frankly, put my wife first as well. Once I started to figure that out, things really changed for the better for our company.
Karl: [00:06:22] Wow. So this year, 2020, I don’t think anyone could have predicted what 2020 would look like? I’m curious, when you first heard about COVID-19 and the pandemic, what were you thinking about it and how are you thinking about the impact on your business?
Calvin: [00:06:44] Well, when I first heard about COVID-19, it was still football season in 2019. So, I was more focused on that and we wondered, Hey, is it real? Is it a media deal? You know, what is it? You know, we just didn’t know, it wasn’t here yet back in December and November.
And by the time the new year came around, it started to get closer to home. Even in February, in March, it was closer to home but it was still a question of, you know, are we gonna, is it going to affect us here in the States? That went from about five miles an hour to a hundred miles an hour in about three days. We couldn’t believe how fast we were converting from having all our clients come into the clinic to saying, Hey, our doors, we have to close our doors so we can’t be in here. We can’t be around each other. We can’t be in groups. You know, we have to pull our children out of school. And just continue to fill in the blank. It happened so fast.
Karl: [00:07:47] Yeah. If you think about it, your business as a location where people would come in and you would, you know, hands on approach to helping people dealing with their pain and so on. When you closed your doors or knew you had to close your doors, what were some of the ways you were thinking that you could or have been able to pivot your business?
Calvin: [00:08:12] Karl, I have to tell you that we were super confident in pivoting our business. The unique thing about the Egoscue method, in our method for helping people get out of pain and stay out of pain is, we don’t touch you. We don’t have to touch you. So for us, changing from clients coming into our clinic to operating over zoom, operating over Skype teams, whatever it may be. We were able to do that quick, fast, and in a hurry. Now here’s the deal, we had already started to do that years before. We were doing therapy over Skype years ago. And about 20% to 25% of our business was due to Skype even before the pandemic. It was all about converting everyone from, you know, being in person to Skype or zoom. Going forward, that was a bit of a challenge, but we made it happen. Even to the point where some people say, look, we’ll never come back until your clinic again, I don’t have to sit in traffic. I just want to continue to do it from home.
Rico: [00:09:17] Did you get a lot of support from the corporate parent of the company?
Calvin: [00:09:22] Oh my goodness. Being in the Egoscue family is like being in no other family that I can think of franchise wise. Pete Egoscue every single Friday, we’re on a call with all of us from all the owners. But not only all the owners, all the therapists around the company as well. I mean, the guy’s a visionary and everyone’s found so much motivation in him calming the masses, throughout the entire country and the world because we have clinics in Japan. I just, I couldn’t be a part of a better family, a better franchise.
Karl: [00:09:59] Well, so a pandemic hits and leadership matters. Bringing people together and coming up with a plan to help support the whole network was a key bit of how you were successful. I’m curious, you’ve got young children, I know. How do you manage balancing the new constraints that so many people are facing? You own your own business and both you and your wife work in the business you’re kids, that you’re currently, you know, that have to, they can’t go to camps and different outlets. How do you find managing that? And how’s that impacted how you work?
Calvin: [00:10:40] I can’t say that I’m managing it well or balancing it well. It’s a, everyday is a new adventure. But it’s so much fun to figure it out every single day. With my wife and I, you know, we’ve created a pretty good system on teaching our children in the morning with digital learning. Or, and then, you know, getting work done in between time or we’re getting work done at the end of the day. So much communication has to happen within our household. Not only communication with her and I, but communication with our children and communication with our staff, as well as communication with our clients. It all has to be on par and it also, it all has to be up to date. And you have to be clear because time is of the essence with everything that we do. If it’s not clear, then we have issues.
Karl: [00:11:33] There’s an interesting thing that’s happened as we’re all leveraging technology to do work. And I understand a lot of knowledge workers make sense that they work, they can have access to their computer. In your type of work how are you able to service your clients through these different technologies and help them with their pain and posture. What does that look like?
Calvin: [00:12:00] I mentioned earlier that we operate over zoom, but we also operates under any of the different other ones that they feel comfortable with. A good amount of our clients are, 70 and older and not everyone 70 and older necessarily wants to deal with a computer or deal with zoom. But we’re able to help them navigate through that or help them just navigate through what they already have. So take for instance, a new client that calls in, Oh, hey, this is Sue. Sue, I see that you’re on an iPhone. Let me take a look at that. I can immediately hit FaceTime. And make it easy for her. All she has to do is answer the phone. If she’s on, if she has an Android, I’m able to help her download Skype or help her download zoom. Whatever it may be, we’re able to help them and walk them through the technology in order for them to use it. And in order for them to make it easy, not sit in traffic and not get out into the public where some people just prefer not to be right now.
Rico: [00:13:03] Has the technology helped you in other ways, like, analytics, maybe? I mean, what aspects that surprisingly has helped maybe in what you’re doing?
Calvin: [00:13:14] Yeah. We use quite a few different softwares in order to create data points so we can set metrics for ourselves. Quite frankly, all social media is one of them. Our social media, it gives us new data points in order to continue to push out content to people that is interesting to them in order for them to want to be, interested in what it is that we do. But internally, there are so many data points. We use MindBody for scheduling and revenue and things of that nature. We also use Constant Contact. There’s so many different data points that come from that, that allow me to create different metrics for our therapists, for follow up and also for projections going forward.
Karl: [00:13:58] You mentioned a couple of things there. How did you learn to use some of those tools yourself? Did you get help on constant contact, mind and body, some of the tools that you’re using in your business. How did you learn to come to master that.
Calvin: [00:14:17] It’s trial and error. If I say that I’m an expert in that, then I would not be telling the truth. And that wouldn’t be clear either. I’ve leveraged other business owners, and within our franchise. I’ve leveraged other therapists within our franchise as well, to help me walk through some of this different stuff, some of the software that we have. But the other thing about software is, you know, once you start play around with it, you generally are able to figure it out within the next 30 minutes to an hour or so.
Rico: [00:14:46] Is the, is the mind and body, is that part of the franchise setup or is it like a whole separate software outside?
Calvin: [00:14:53] It is. It is part of the franchise set up. So we all, you know, from San Diego to New York, to Atlanta, to Jupiter, Florida, we all, we all use.
Rico: [00:15:02] So let me ask this as far as business works, that makes it great for appointments for bookkeeping, for tracking hours of not only the members, but also the therapist that you have, I guess. Does it wrap all that together for you?
Calvin: [00:15:18] Wraps all of it together for us.
Karl: [00:15:20] Yeah, MindBody is one of the more popular systems that’s used in a lot of fitness, health, businesses, or for a lot of reports and data. Can you describe, how do you use data from something like that and other data points? What type of data do you use to help you make business decisions?
Calvin: [00:15:40] Well, before COVID we’d use it to project, what next year looked like, what the next month would look like. You know, and even what the next week should look like for better terms. These days, we’re trying to figure out what revenue looks like weekly you know, quite frankly. Now the good news is since March, I mean things have just progressively gotten better. And it’s all because of things that we decided to do, once COVID hit. One thing was, we felt super confident in our ability to pivot. So our ability to pivot did not take up so much time. With that I was able to start to build other referral alliances. I said, well, we have good referral alliances. This is a great time to build more. What can I give away to people in order to start building good referral alliances? During this time we start to coach our girls, coach our therapists a whole lot more. Because we started, we’re already showing our humanity with them. Because when you’re in a small company like us, you know, people want to know that you understand them. They come to work everyday and they loved the Egoscue method and they love to practice it with our clients that come in. But at the end of the day, I mean, I have a family at home. I mean they come in and they work, but they want to get paid. In the end they want to interact with people who get them. People who feel where they’re coming from. And during COVID, they want to interact with people who feel like they’re in the same boat. You know, just because I’m the manager doesn’t mean that I can’t show my humanity to them. So, coaching the
girls has become like the catalyst to the growth that we’ve seen. I owe that all to my wife. She’s a much better coach than me.
Karl: [00:17:39] You know, you’re hitting on a couple of things that I think I saw a lot of the more successful business owners doing. That shift you made with using data to start projecting and forecasting weekly was one of the things that people started doing to understand their cash flows and on the demand was coming in there and using information and data. But you spent time in the years before to prepare yourself, to be able to have that. You weren’t creating that all of a sudden, figuring out how to pivot. It would have been much harder, probably, for you to be able to go to online if that wasn’t being built years ago. The capability to turn that technology on and the systems to support that would have taken some people months, possibly, to do that and planning for that there. But one of the things that I’m really interested in with all the people, COVID-19 created a major behavior shift where people aren’t going into offices anymore. They’re working from home that may not have been optimized for working from a desk and so on, which may lead to new stresses on the body that’s happening there. What are areas where you think this could, the market may have changed and how are you reacting to meet as customer preferences might be changing or the demand might be changing?
Calvin: [00:19:10] Sure thing. In our clinic we’re starting, we were already seeing a lot of back pain. And a lot of neck and shoulder pain and hip pain. Now we’re seeing an increase in headaches an increase in neck pain and an increase in carpal tunnel and in elbow tendonitis. And we attribute a lot of that to people sitting at home, they’re working, they’re on their video games. They’re sitting, they’re sitting, and they’re sitting. And the whole common denominator I can put any numerator up there, but the common denominator more than likely will be that they’re sitting. And anytime you sit a lot, that’s going to change the position of your body. Positions create conditions. So if you sit for five years straight and then you start to develop carpal tunnel or hip pain, then the position that you put your body in for five years started to create a dysfunction that made that hip or that, or those hands to start to hurt. Not only that we’re seeing the mental shift not only in adults, but also in children as well. We are not therapists in our clinic. We’re not therapists at all and not qualified for that. I’ll tell you what, there’s a lot of people that come into our clinic and we offer such a safe and quiet and soothing place that they just come in and talk. Just wanna talk about things. And we’re there to listen. Our slogan is connect and correct. If we can’t connect with you, then how in the world are we going to be able to help you? It’s not about us at all. It’s all about the person in front of us. Once we do that, we’re able to help correct whatever issues that they do have going on with their bodies.
Karl: [00:20:46] Have you been able to leverage any of the government programs through this care act, PPP loan, EIDL loans, family first act. How have you interacted with those programs and has it helped you navigate through this past summer?
Calvin: [00:21:06] Yeah, part of being a leader is that was not my expertise. Going out and figuring out what the SBA looks like what a loan looks like. However, I did reach out to people who were experts. Quite frankly, Karl, you were one of those people that I reached out to. He
just volunteered so much information. It was so super helpful for me in our business and our family. So we were able to take advantage of the PPP loan. We were not able to take advantage of the EIDL loan or any other ones. But we were kind of late, not in getting to the party. We were early filling it out, but late receiving the funds. But soon after we received the funds maybe a month later or so, the policy changed. And so we didn’t have to use it in eight weeks. And that was great because we really didn’t want to use it in eight weeks that helps. That was great.
Rico: [00:22:01] That was a great change in that, right? Eight weeks versus what was it? 24 or 30 weeks later. I mean, if you had no customers those first two months, it’s kind of odd to like, figure that, right. I mean, not at your business, but certainly in other businesses it was like that.
Karl: [00:22:19] That’s one of the things that I saw really fabulous happening here in the United States, people were reaching out and helping. No one knew what the answers were. Hell, Congress didn’t know what the answers were. But quickly, business owners and neighbors started talking, communicating, helping people figure out what to do, because I remember that week in March, the president went on air on a Wednesday and said, we’re going to start needing, shutting down. And the state started shutting down all of a sudden. And I think it started was, you know, three to four weeks and we’ll be back to normal. And meanwhile, business owners have to make plans. Do I order more inventory? Am I going to be able to open? What do I do with my employees? And it was a really, really nerve wracking time. But I think the support everyone provided to each other really helped in those initial weeks and months. And now, you know, as we go into their future, what are some of your thoughts on how the areas you need to focus on over the next, you know, 6 to 12 months. Now we know this is going to be with us for awhile. There might be some vaccines coming in from various places, but we don’t know when and how fast. Are there things that you learned during this that you think could help you not just survive through the next 12 months, but maybe even really thrive and excel?
Calvin: [00:23:45] Sure. You know, the first part of your statement, it really hits home because, you know, with some friends, I would say, look raise your hand if you’ve ever led a business or your family or a government agency through a pandemic, civil and racial unrest, inside of an election year. Nope. No one in any room is gonna raise their hand. So I generally just hold, are there any other individuals who are in leadership roles harmless? Because those guys have never navigated through anything like this, and we’re all just learning as we go. That’s why it’s so important to ask advice. That’s why it’s so important to reach out to people in positions where you aren’t necessarily an expert in it. For us, I’ve learned that I need other income streams. There is an opportunity for us in B2B. We operate in a BTC format. And just talking with other business owners within Egoscue method, you know, we’ve come up with a different way to start a revenue stream outside of just the consumer, but with other businesses as well. And that will be just with other practitioners who decide to get on board with that.
Karl: [00:25:03] Oh, that’s fabulous. I think that’s the way to look at the future as where are your opportunities and putting together a plan and making a decision to prepare yourself, to be able to capitalize on it. And that’s where I see a lot of small business owners are figuring that out. And that’s probably the advantage of being smaller. You don’t have to go to a lot of people to get buy in. You can make those changes quickly and try to implement them within your business and in your organization. So I’m curious, you and I have known each other for a little while. And it would be hard for me not to mention that we are basketball players that play at a local game at the Y during the week. And I’m curious, you know, as this goes forward there, you know, how are you going to navigate, you know, outside of the work environment, keeping yourself fit? What are some of the other things you’re doing to keep your head right? Because if your head isn’t right, it’ll be hard to be a good business leader. It’ll be hard to be a good father, husband, et cetera.
Calvin: [00:26:11] You know, you just hit, you struck a chord with me, Karl. I miss playing basketball so much. I haven’t played basketball since March. And that was, that was my deal. There was a lot of our deals. I mean, we had like 40 guys that we played with off and on. Coming in and out of the gym. So I missed playing gaps with, I missed playing basketball with all those guys, except for Jesse. But other than that I totally miss it. But it’s funny enough with my son’s school. We, you know, they have PE inside the curriculum here at home. So we just all do it as a family. He’s six years old and he’s just a jock. If you asked the kid, you know, the other day he told me, Texas A&M beat Arkansas. This is this. I was like, no, I looked it up. I said, you gotta be kidding. How’s this getting know this, he’s six years old. So we play a lot of ball. He rides skateboards, he rides you know bikes, and guess who has to do it with him, this guy. So, we live in a neighborhood with a basketball court, tennis courts and a swimming pool and things of that nature. So, I’m able to you know, stay in a little bit of shape with that, but I can’t wait to get back out there on the basketball court.
Karl: [00:27:23] I know. So many people, whatever their passion or sport or activity was not only was it the physical exercise piece, but the community that that’s built around here in greater Atlanta, Peachtree Corners, all over, that people miss. So it’d be great to get back to that. So why don’t you tell us, what do you have going on in the upcoming months? Anything you have planned?
Calvin: [00:27:46] Yeah. We just started a second location. We are down in a neighborhood called Serenbe. It’s actually a community on the edge of Atlanta. If you head down, 85 South. Right there in Chattahoochee Hills is where you will find Serenbe. And this is a nice little unique community, and you can find us there on Wednesdays in the motto area of Serenbe. So just started that here recently. I was so grateful to be able to find the opportunity in the face of crisis. And not only that, we’re going to hold it an event where we’re offering a free posture assessment for people who are going through different chronic pain issues, doing that virtually. And we’re also doing it in the clinic and they can find the information on social media @EgoscueofAtlanta, on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Karl: [00:28:40] Why don’t you tell us the other ways if folks want to reach out and learn more about you, what’s the best way to reach you?
Calvin: [00:28:46] You can reach us directly at our phone number (678) 528-2393 and AtlantaAtEgoscue.com. And the way you spell Egoscue is, let’s see if I can do it phonetically. Echo, Golf, Oscar, Sam, Charlie, Uniform, and Echo.
Karl: [00:29:15] Oh, that’s great. That’s fabulous. Well, again, thank you Calvin Murray, co-owner of Egoscue of Atlanta. Just sharing, being willing to share your experience. It’s a scary time for a lot of business owners. And I know you’re very busy and you’re trying to navigate a lot of stuff, but I think you willing share that. Just know that other people are going through same thing you’re going through and they’re trying to figure it out and they’re going to be successful if they continue to do the things that have been proven to work, innovate, listen to your customers, adapt, do those types of things and also take care of yourself. Spend time with your family and do those things to make you the best business leader that you can be so I really appreciate that. I’m Karl Barham with Transworld Business Advisors this is another episode of the Capitalist Sage. Rico and I have been ecstatic to continue to share stories of local business owners here in the community that are doing just fabulous things in the community. Figuring out how to be successful and sharing those tips and advice with other people. At transworld, we’re continuing to grow and expand, helping business owners navigate the path to exiting their business or growing through acquisitions. A business brokerage is here to help people that are trying to figure out what’s the right path forward for them and their business. And you could reach us online at www.TWorld.com/Atlanta-Peachtree. Rico, why don’t you tell us a little bit about what you’ve got coming up?
Rico: [00:30:53] Sure. And before I even get to that I just want to. It’s always the same thing it seems. You know, the biggest thing that every entrepreneur and business owner shares with us is that they’re listening to the client right? Lori Denton did that on the last show, shared that with us as well. I mean, that’s where successes is, right? If you listen to the client, you’ll be able to, you’ll be able to do marvelous and miraculous things, both for your business and then for the client, it seems.
Karl: [00:31:22] Client and employees, the connection. I noticed that theme too. Connection with their employees staying through the crisis and beyond are going to help you be successful in the long run.
Rico: [00:31:33] Absolutely. And that’s, that’s where it’s at right? Cause otherwise, why are we here? Otherwise, we’re just working, right? You’re not building relationships. It’s not worth it. Mighty Rockets is my company. I also publish Peachtree Corners Magazine six times a year. the last issue just came out a week ago. It was a diversity issue on the cover story. In fact, Karl was one of our profiles and one of the seven profiles we did. It was a good issue. I think it’s been well received next issue is the October, November issue. So we’re working on that now. So that’s a pets and their people, talking a little bit about, you know, Halloween, Thanksgiving,
and probably the things we’re thankful for. I think that may end up being one of the major features in there, talking to different people and asking them what they’re thankful for this time of year. So we’re working on that. As far as Mighty Rockets, Social media marketing is what we do. Product videos, podcasts, a variety of things, managing social brands for companies. So reach MightyRockets.com. And as far as our lead sponsor, again, Hargray Fiber. I just want to say thank you to those guys for being a sponsor of the family podcasts that we do, and you can find out more about them at HargrayFiber.com/business. Let’s bring back in Calvin. Thank you. You’re just terrific. I appreciate you being on the show with us.
Calvin: [00:32:59] Thank you so much guys. I mean, this was awesome. Thank you for the invitation. I’m truly grateful that you invited me to be on.
Karl: [00:33:07] Thank you very much. You’re going to help a lot of people, especially after dealing with all those kids home learning. You know, a lot of people that’s going to have more than pains in their backs.
Calvin: [00:33:19] Yes, for sure. The other place. So I’m sorry, Rico?
Rico: [00:33:23] I was going to say, we’re at the end of our time together. So give us the last word there Calvin.
Calvin: [00:33:29] Guys, keep moving your body. Whenever you stop moving that that’s when you become sedentary, that’s when things set in. Even if you just get out and walk a half a mile, walk a quarter of a mile, do it once, do it twice, do it three times a week, whatever you do keep moving. So you don’t have to come see me.
Karl: [00:33:50] Thank you very much. Take care, everyone.
CMX CinéBistro Reopens. Popcorn time!
As if the holidays aren’t enough to look forward to, CMX CinéBistro at Peachtree Corners Town Center reopens on November 24! With precautionary measures in place and new policies implemented, CMX CinéBistro is excited to welcome you back from a safe distance.
The nostalgic experience of movie date nights, box office releases, the smell of movie theatre popcorn and the announcement to “sit back and enjoy the show” are all waiting for you. The lineup of movies you don’t want to miss include Let Him Go, Tenet, Freaky, War with Grandpa, Honest Thief, and Elf. CMX is offering new releases and holiday classics to make your return one to remember.
While you enjoy your movie, you can kick back with a classic meal or cocktail from CinéBistro’s new limited menu. As previews are shown, start with an appetizer such as the popcorn chicken or truffle tots. Once the movie begins, move on to your main course of a 14oz NY Strip featured meal or the house-made veggie burger paired with a mojito or beer on draft. As the movie comes to an end, end your night with bottomless traditional popcorn or fan-favorite movie candy.
Enjoy the magic of cinema with special savings! Come on Tuesdays to experience Tempting Tuesdays and save with $5 movie tickets and chef-crafted combos for $18. As a token of appreciation for all medical heroes, free movie tickets on Sundays are offered to all front-line workers. Can’t make it on Tuesdays or Sundays? Special prices for all weekdays are offered.
New age policies are in place such as guests 17 and under must be accompanied by a parent or guardian for R-rated films with ID required and children 12 and under must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times when visiting the theater. CMX CinéBistro is also offering private screenings to make your experience back feel as safe as possible. Bookings for a private screening for you and your loved ones to celebrate the latest occasion are available as part of CMX CinéBistro’s efforts to make you feel comfortable upon your return. You can begin booking now!
Source– Press Release by Peachtree Corners Town Center
City of Peachtree Corners Receives Silver Award for its Business Newsletter
The city of Peachtree Corners won a silver category award for its Peachtree Corners Business Newsletter project in the Magazine and Newsletter category of the International Economic Development Council’s 2020 Excellence in Economic Development Awards Program. The honor was presented recently at an awards ceremony during the IEDC Annual Conference.
IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year’s most influential leaders. Thirty-five award categories honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban, and rural communities. Awards are judged by a diverse panel of economic and community developers from around the world, following a nomination process held earlier this year. IEDC received over 500 submissions from four countries.
The city of Peachtree Corners started a monthly business newsletter in April 2020 during the
COVID-19 crisis to establish 2-way communication with the business community. The publication is in its fifth month and has already increased communication between the business community and the city. It is sent via email to approximately 4,000 business people in the city. People have taken the opportunity to ask questions about a variety of topics from alcohol licenses to special events at the Town Center.
“These challenging times require extraordinary effort to support the business community,
especially small businesses,” said Mayor Mike Mason. “The Peachtree Corners’ Business Newsletter was developed to address the current crisis and the city’s critical concern for the local business community. Kudos to Economic Development Manager Jennifer Howard for creating a very timely and highly informative resource that, we believe, has contributed to the sustainability of the local economy.
The newsletter highlights job growth, company expansions, and new businesses coming to town. In his column, the mayor speaks directly to the businesses, providing data, and some reassurance that the local governments are working to assist them.
“The winners of IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development awards represent the very best of
economic development and exemplify the ingenuity, integrity, and leadership that our profession strives for each and every day,” said 2020 IEDC Board Chair and One Columbus CEO Kenny McDonald. “We’re honored to recognize the more than 100 communities whose marketing campaigns, projects and partnerships have measurably improved regional quality of life.”
Choosing, planning and Growing a Business, with Barry Adams, owner of Peachtree Awnings
What to consider when starting a business. How to choose the business for you. How to consider when planning your first three years of business. In this episode of the Capitalist Sage Podcast, Karl Barham and Rico Figliolini talk with Barry Adams, founder, and owner of Peachtree Awnings and Tennessee Awnings about his experience in the business world. Barry shares some insightful tips and tricks to help any small or large business owner through their journey through entrepreneurship.
Where to find the topic in the show – Timestamp:
[00:00:30] – Intro
[00:01:58] – About Barry and Peachtree Awnings
[00:07:36] – Learning from Experience
[00:10:20] – Making Business Decisions
[00:12:26] – Impact of a Formal Education
[00:14:59] – Business Impact of COVID
[00:17:31] – How to Make Your Business Thrive
[00:23:08] – Making a Business Plan
[00:25:31] – Learning New Things
[00:30:19] – Looking to the Future
[00:32:44] – Innovations
[00:34:17] – Growing Through People
[00:36:55] – Helping the Community
[00:41:23] – Closing
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 co-host is Rico Figliolini with Mighty Rockets Digital
Marketing and the publisher of the Peachtree Corners magazine. Hey Rico, how’re you doing
Rico: [00:00:49] Hey Karl. Pretty good, beautiful day. Thank God the power’s on versus last
week. Before we get into the show, let me introduce our lead sponsor Hargray Fiber. They’re a
great Southeast company that works in fiber optics and IT management working to make you a
business sound and be able to communicate with the rest of the world. Whether it’s, you’re at
home teleworking employees or in office, cause COVID is still going on, right? So many different
people are working it differently. And here in Peachtree Corners, they’re very involved. They’re
involved with Curiosity Lab that Peachtree Corners. They’re involved with the city. They’re really
in tune with the community and that’s how they are with every community they’re in. So unlike
the cable guy, these guys are here right in the community that they’re working in. If you need
them, they’re there for you. So any business, whether you’re small or enterprise size, they can
work the systems for you, provide the office tools that you can work with as well. So visit them at
HargrayFiber.com and find out a little bit more about our lead sponsor. We’re thankful for them.
Karl: [00:01:58] Sounds good. Well, thank you Rico for introducing our sponsor. Today’s guest is
Barry Adams, CEO, and founder of Peachtree Awnings. Local, small business that’s located
here in Gwinnett County and one of the business leaders in the community that we’re glad to
have as a guest with us today. Hey Barry, how are you doing?
Barry: [00:02:20] Great Karl. It’s good to be here.
Karl: [00:02:23] Good. Why don’t you introduce yourself a little bit? Tell a little bit about yourself
and what you do.
Barry: [00:02:29] Yeah. I’m Barry Adams the owner of Peachtree Awnings and Canopies I own
the local shop and also Tennessee Awnings up in Nashville service and middle Tennessee up
in the Nashville area. So we are a manufacturer of custom commercial and residential awnings
of all shapes and sizes. We serve the local Atlanta area, but we go outside of Atlanta too. So
we’ve got a pretty good reach. And we’ve been in business for 15 years. I started the company
in 2005. And then acquired an existing awning company in Nashville in 2012. So I’ve had that
shop up there in Nashville for eight years now, and 15 years here in Atlanta. So it’s been a labor
of love. I can tell you that any small business owner, I think, would say the same thing is that,
you know, you do it and you do it because you really are passionate about your product or your
service and whatever you do. You gotta dig in everyday in kind of the same way.
Karl: [00:03:40] So I’m curious, did you grow up in a small business family? What was, what did
you do before?
Barry: [00:03:46] Well, that’s great question, Karl. Actually, my grandfather had the
entrepreneurial spirit because I think he had four or five businesses by the time he was in his
mid forties. A couple of restaurants to his name, ended up having a landfill. And this is all in the
Southern California area. And so he definitely had the entrepreneurial spirit. You know, my
mother’s side, my grandfather on my mother’s side owned a grocery store in the Southern part
of Illinois. And so he was a, both a farmer and a grocer. And so I think I come by it naturally, the
Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. So it definitely was in my genes, I think, to be a small
Karl: [00:04:33] So when you were deciding to start off, what were you considering and how did
you come to that decision? What were some of the factors that you considered?
Barry: [00:04:40] Yeah, I was, it was 2005 and I was in my MBA program, executive MBA
program at Kennesaw state and I knew I wanted to start a business and wasn’t sure exactly
what I wanted to do. I was working with a business consultant that was pointing me in different
directions. I ended up buying, actually buying a franchise business. I got close with several
businesses. I looked at sign businesses. I really tried to give myself a lot of green space, a lot of
greenfields to look at a lot of different businesses. I looked at non-invasive skin procedures. I
looked at a lot of different things and got very close with sign businesses, but I wanted
something a little bit more differentiated. And so they said, how about awnings? And I had never
thought about awnings, never had really even looked at awnings. But I’m an engineer by
education. And so the more I looked at it, I said, I think I can, I think I could do this because you
design the product that you end up building and installing. And so it fit my skillset particularly
well. And so there in January of 2005, we kind of set sail having never built an awning or never
installed an awning. I bought into a franchise business and they educated me about how to build
awnings and how to install awnings. We climbed that learning curve very, very, very fast. So it
was really a challenging time, that first three years of being in business. Of course, the
recession started at like two double ’09. So shortly after that it was, you know, it was a little bit of
Rico: [00:06:27] Well, I’ve got to give a little testimonial shout out to Barry because I must have
been one of the first of the half dozen of regional clients that Barry had. And it was beautiful. I
think it was a summer. It was definitely a summer day. And you put in the awning that I still have
15 years later. Still working, retractable working, and I’m not a maintenance type of guy. So the
cables might be a little rusted and stuff and the fabric might be a little bit dull, but it’s working
fine 15 years later.
Barry: [00:07:04] I can’t tell you how much we appreciate that too Rico, because at that stage in
our career, we, you know, in our business development, I didn’t have any orders and I didn’t
have any customers. So you were, you know, every time I came back to the shop and I had an
order, you know, it was time for celebration really. Because we didn’t, we did not have any
customers at that time. And every time we added one to our, you know, to our stable of
customers, we were really excited. So great times. Thanks for that.
Karl: [00:07:36] So I’m curious about that first year. Is there anything that you’ve learned that if
you wish you knew someone told you about in that first two to three years, about business,
about being a small business owner that you’d pass on to someone else starting on?
Barry: [00:07:54] Well, yeah, a couple of things come to mind Karl, one of the things is, I think
you can plan to be big, but think small starting out. Think small. I bought used office furniture. I
bought used trucks. People want to go, a lot of times they want to, you know, want to buy, have
the biggest, best or newest anyway, the newest and best of everything. And I would say think
small, plan to be bigger, but think to start out think small. Because you can always scale it up
from there. Based on your success or your, you know, your volume. The other thing is of
course, be a planner and I can’t emphasize that enough on the small business side. Be a
planner and always be thinking about that next step that you want to take. It doesn’t have to be
five years out there, but it definitely has to be 12 to 18 months out there. And then think about
that next step. Think about it like you’re, you know, crossing a river, a very, very turbulent river
and you have to step across those rocks very carefully as you cross from one bank to the other
bank. Now, once you start to cross the river, you can’t go back to the other bank, right? You
know, that’s not an option. So, you know, I often say it’s not about making all the right decisions.
It’s about making the decisions that you make right. Once you make a decision. Don’t worry
about whether you, well, have I made rights, make it, try to make it right. You know, and you’re
not going to make every decision 100% right. But I can tell you that if you’re making eight,
seven, eight, nine decisions out of 10 or 80 out of a hundred or 90 out of a hundred correctly,
you’re going to be in rarified air, right? You’re going to be among those small business owners
that are really, really super successful. So it’s not about making all the right decisions and don’t
agonize over. Wow, you know, once you have the information that you have and frequently it’s
incomplete, right. And we don’t have the benefit of having the whole, all the puzzle pieces in
front of us. But once you’ve got enough information to make that, make the decision and then go
about making it right.
Karl: [00:10:20] It’s actually, I can talk about decision-making even at the beginning. What would
you advise people that are struggling with making decisions. To get it right or wrong. But you
know, a lot of folks can’t even make the decision to buy that business, start that business grow,
invest, make that hiring choice. How do you get through that?
Barry: [00:10:42] Yeah, it’s that, you’re right. That is probably the toughest decision because
you’re now, you may be leaving something that’s safe and secure. You may be leaving an
income that’s a known quantity. Which I was leaving something that was very insulated and
insular and embarking on something that’s very uncertain and very unknown. And that’s a very
scary thing. You know, I think it’s important to make sure, obviously that you’re wall capitalized,
you know, that you are not embarking on something that you can’t sustain through the most
difficult period of your business tenure or your business career. And you got to make it through
that first year years. And I can tell you factually that I did take a plug nickel out of my business
the first three years that I was in business. Now that’s a very, very difficult you’re like, well, how
did you do that? Well, make sure you’re well-capitalized and that you can sustain yourself. You
can get real skinny, you know, for a period of time, but you’ve got, you still have to put food on
your table. You still have to pay your mortgage. And so you have to from a personal standpoint,
make sure that you can sustain yourself through those first three years. And plan, really, almost
to the effect that you’re not maybe not going to take an income for that first three years. What
does that look like? Can you sustain yourself through that first three years without taking any
money out of your businesses? There’s a likelihood that you’re going to have to, anything that
you make, you’re going to have to plow back into the business, particularly in that first three year
period of time.
Karl: [00:12:26] That makes a lot of sense. And that’s good advice for folks. You mentioned that
you got an MBA, what effect and impact do you think that that had? A lot of small business
owners don’t get that formal business education. Do you think that’s impacted how you
approach your business?
Barry: [00:12:45] Well, first of all, you know getting my executive MBA at Kennesaw was
definitely a catalyst to me starting my business. I think the Genesis of me starting my business
began as I embarked on that program. And so it was definitely a catalyst for me. I think you
know, I pull some parts or pieces of my MBA program every day, sometimes unknowingly. You
know, but I draw on that experience. You know, I think that the best life experiences, combine
that kind of formal education that you got in the classroom and you can go back as far as you
want, with the practical knowledge that you gained when you’re in the field or when you’re
practicing. And that goes for everything from, the first job that you may have ever had in a fast
food restaurant or cutting lawns. And so you learned something when you were in the
classroom, but that’s formal education without practical experience is almost useless, right? It’s
very antiseptic. It’s very institutional. And so you’ve got to combine the formalized, the education
and instruction that you get with practical knowledge. If you only have practical knowledge, then
it had no frame, right? It had no real design to it and it had no organization. It didn’t step you
through things sequentially. So I always like to think that my best, you know, my best
experience comes from the formalized education that I got and then the practical things that I’m
learning out in the field or through the school of hard knocks.
Karl: [00:14:33] I agree. I notice that a lot of folks, and I meet different types of business owners,
the ones that have formal education. What I notice is they’ve got, they avoid some basic mistake
things that helps kind of guide them. But also they also feel more confident and have a handle
on unknowns being thrown at them. So take 2020.
Barry: [00:14:57] Right. You know, you’re right.
Karl: [00:14:59] You’re running the business, things are going good. And then, how soon did you
know something was happening related to coronavirus and so on. And when did you start
thinking about the possible impact on your business?
Barry: [00:15:13] Well, I think everybody, you know, kind of woke up in mid March and said, my
gosh, what’s, you know, what’s happening? What’s happening here? And it was very uncertain.
We wanted to protect our associate base. We want to protect our families. And then early on, I
guess I would say, you know, in the first couple of weeks in April, about 30 days after we’d
gotten into the Corona or pandemic environment that we. You know, I pulled the audience, I
pulled my associates and I found that they really wanted to work. I mean, of course they really
wanted to work because they knew that their livelihood and income was at risk if we were to
stop, you know, stop work for any reason. We were fortunate that we had projects, orders to fill.
And so we had work that needed to be done. And so I can’t say it was business as usual, but
the word that I kind of continue to use with my team and with the people that I talk to is balance,
you know. I try not to be fearful of the current environment in that we still have a job to do, and
we try to press forward. But neither can we be cavalier about the threats and the things that are
happening out in the marketplace. And so we have to have our head up all the time. Just like
you’re on a ball field, you have to have your head up and on a swivel sometimes to make sure
you’re not going to get hit broadside from somewhere. But nor can you be redisant or you can’t
be fearful or tentative. And so we’ve tried to strike that balance. We’ve tried to protect our
associate base when we go out to projects, certainly for sure residential projects. You know, we
mask up and we go, when we’re in people’s homes or around people’s homes, we make sure
that we’re taking the proper precautions. It’s not business as usual. But we’re pressed forward
and it’s not easy. But I think that it’s suited my associate population that people really, really
want to work. And we’ve been able to make a lot of progress this year and that’s not been easy,
Karl: [00:17:31] We noticed a lot of, this year, at the beginning we talked a lot about a bridge
plan. And it was just simply when this hit a lot of businesses. What do you do to get through this
and empower through and excel? And in the bridge plan, it talked about, you know, making sure
you knew what your break even was and reducing expenses. How do we figure out ways to
pivot and increase income with your business as well as how do you communicate and stay
contact with your customers? But the last two, G and E, was around get working. Like just get
out there and start, you know, when other people are wondering what to do the strong, they’re
gonna figure out a way to do that. And hopefully it leads you to excelling. When you understood
what was happening, what were some of the things you decided to do in your business to try to
not just survive this, but actually to thrive?
Barry: [00:18:23] Well, you know, we did talk, we moved, actually moved our shop in this
environment. We moved up to Lawrenceville. We moved our shop from Norcross to the
Lawrenceville. And so we, there was an opportunity there. The SBA has been helpful. Gave us
a little bit of tailwind. I always say it’s all about the hustle. You know, it’s all about the hustle. You
know, and, I like to think when other people are at home with their feet up on the coffee table,
I’m making that last sales call of the day. And my team is making that last sales call today or
Friday when some people are knocking off at three o’clock, you know, I’m going from whistle to
whistle, you know, and I’m going to go all the way to five o’clock in the evening. And, it’s all
about work and hard work and sweat equity. And the gritty and gutty people in this world
survive. And that’s, I’m a grinder and I just don’t know any other way around that. And so, and in
this environment, I think you can just need to, you need to retrench and look for opportunities.
I’ve tried to be an opportunist and that’s a hallmark, I think of my business career is just trying to
be an opportunist. And so when other people, other businesses may be retreating, you know,
that’s a great time to forge ahead because they may be either pulling back from a marketing
standpoint or a sales standpoint. And so going forward, really charging forward or finding that
pathway is really, really important.
Karl: [00:20:04] It’s interesting. As you said that, I was suggesting to some business associates,
they had strong businesses going in, that it was a time to double down and reinvest and there
were some simple things. It might be training people. If you were shut down for a month, what
training did you never have time to do before that you could implement? Marketing. What a
better time to go talk to more customers, communicate, launch campaigns cause those
customers are out there. But when everybody was quiet, looking at charts every day, you know,
what messages were they thinking about as far as, you know, ways to have shade in backyards
and different things like that. And who’s communicating to them through that. What are some
other things you see people that have really thrived through this and are really poised for
breaking out in the future?
Barry: [00:21:00] Yeah. And you brought up some great, great things, Karl. You know, training
and education and reinvesting equipment. Of course, if I go back in my business career now,
this is not, I say this is not the first difficult economic time that I’ve encountered in the lifespan of
my business. Because as I said earlier, 2009, 10 and 11, we were in the throws of a real, you
know, real recession. And so, again, while other people were pulling back on marketing dollars,
I never cut my marketing budget, not one dime. You know, when other people were looking to
reduce head count, we never reduced. We never reduced head count. Take those people and
see where they’re going to be best utilized in your business. Be a planner, I’d make a plan.
Every single, business year I do not go into the ensuing year without a business plan. And so
this time of year it is the heart of my business planning period. And so November, December,
when I put my plan together for 2021. So I will not go into the ensuing year without a business
plan. And once I make that plan, while I do make some adjustments, some small minor
adjustments and tweak it, the plan is the plan is the plan. And I don’t very much for my plan
when I embark on a direction and I will tweak it, but I won’t make wholesale changes. I will not
slash dollars. You know, if I had set those aside, there has to be a real catastrophic event for
me to change my direction, based on my plan. And so I try to stick to the plan that I’ve created
and we’ll make some adjustments, but the plan is the plan is the plan. And I think to the extent
that you’re able to really stick to that, and that’s a discipline, by the way. It’s really, you gotta
have the discipline to stick to your plan. Especially when things get a little bit Rocky.
Rico: [00:23:08] Can I ask you Barry, what, you know, just to get into the weeds a little bit, just
the meat of it, if you will. So this way, because people hear plans and they’re not sure what does
that mean? You know, what’s involved? What’s actually in the plan, let’s say for example. So
could you give an idea of what that, you know, two or three points, what that means as what’s in
a plan for you? Is it a sales goal? Is it a dollar amount? Is it adding a truck? What’s in a plan for
Karl: [00:23:34] If somebody were to look at your plan, how would you describe that?
Barry: [00:23:39] No question. I mean, I think it starts with you know, it really does start with your
marketing and sales planning conjunction. You’re either going to, you’re going to look for
geographic extensions. You’re going to look for product extensions. So that’s going to drive your
marketing. So I’m going to advertise, or I’m going to push this product forward with my sales
team or with my marketing dollars. And then, so out of that marketing plan that comes from your
strategic goals that I want to grow in this geographic area, I want to grow in this product group, I
wanna, you know, I want to reach these customers, this and then you create a, you know, out of
that kind of marketing plan comes your sales plan, you know? And so now you’ve got, you’ve
kind of fleshed that out with your team. You know, these people are going to produce this
amount, you know, in terms of selling or sales dollars. And then rolling down from that,
obviously your expense model. And for us I say there’s not a lot of moving parts and pieces. It’s
gotten bigger. At first there was not a lot of moving parts and pieces. There’s more than there
was, but your expense model flows out of that. And so then, you know, this is not a difficult
equation, right? You have sales and you have expenses and that produces profits. You know, I
think Bill Gates said that originally, you know, it’s like, let’s not overthink this. The sales
expenses, the bottom line is profits. And that’s what we’re, you know, that’s what we’re trying to
drive. And so, but it kind of starts out of your marketing ideas and where you want to go
strategically. And then you can decide, you know, what kind of revenue, what kind of volume
you’re going to create from there and what kind of expenses you’re going to take on.
Karl: [00:25:31] I’m curious in your industry, typically I sort of look at where to market. How do
you learn what’s going on in your industry, your market, how do you know what’s going to be
things that you need to react to or things where there’s opportunities? How do you as you and
your team learn things?
Barry: [00:25:51] Well, I think you gotta be in touch with your sales team. First of all, it was to
start out with, it was just me. And so I had to be head up all the time active in my community,
active in the business community, active in my trade association, looking for changes. You
know, I really do think about it as a business owners, like a ship and I’m in the wheel house and
you know, I’m in the wheelhouse and I’m guiding the ship or the captain has gotta be
responsible to be looking out there and seeing what kind of weather conditions are changing,
you know? What’s changing and the tack of the ship and that kind of thing. And so as a
business owner, I have to have my head up and I have to be aware of industry changes, market
conditions and market changes and opportunities for us to, you know, to make hay while the
sun shines. And so, as an example, like home improvement in this COVID environment has
fared very, very well. People were home for months at a time, and they were not spending
money on vacations and going out to eat. Theater and concerts and ball games. And so they
looked for opportunities to improve their homes. And so as a result, that part of our business
has as flourished in this environment. So, as the captain, you have to be head up, looking
around, you know, active in your community. So many people, I think so many business owners,
they get stuck with their head on the desk, you know. Head up off the desk and eyes forward
and see what’s going on and being very much in contact with what is going on around me.
Karl: [00:27:45] There must have been a point in your business when you were doing
everything. And for you to start being able to work on the business and do that and keep your
head up. There was a inflection point where that sort of happened. Can you tell us what that
was like and how does someone else know when that’s happening and how to navigate that?
Barry: [00:28:05] Yeah, that’s great. That’s great Karl cause it takes me back to like 2007, eight
and nine. And I was literally on the ladder. I was on the ladder installing. You know, I think that
first year of 2005, I know I did 110, 109 or 110 jobs. And I installed all hundred nine or a
hundred and ten in that year. And I was on those first three or four years, I was on the ladder
installing the stuff that I sold, you know. I think Rico, I think I installed your awning as well. But,
you know, at some point I think it was long about probably 2008 and nine. I said, I can’t run my
business from the top of the ladder. And so, there’s that continuum, right? It starts out, operator
there’s operator on one side and there’s owner on the other side. And there’s this continuum
from operator, owner operator to owner. So many small business owners get stuck at that
operator phase. They never even, they can never even push the needle toward owner operator,
right. They just get stuck in that operator phase. And around 2008, nine was like, I can’t run my
business from the top of the ladder. And so I started to add head count. I added a sales guy, I
added an installer. And so instead of three of us, there was now five of us. And those are, you
know, those are steps that you make and you’ve got your plan. You’re planning for it though in
your business plan, you’re still like, do you know what. I think by the end of this year, I’m going
to get to five, you know, by the end of 2009. And it was at five people, you know, and I realized,
you know, with a drill in my hand, you know, and screws and hanging an awning over my head,
I was like, I can’t. It worked for the first three years that I was in business, but then about eight,
nine, 10, I was like, I need more help. And then you make those steps, but I can tell you that
that was that adding those heads was a part of my plan for that year.
Karl: [00:30:19] But that’s an important insight that it did definitely be highlight the first part that,
that strikes the rings so true. Those first three years. Let’s make no illusion right? It’s work.
You’re an operator. You’re doing all those. If you are operating a small business, that comes
with the territory of it. But then you have to have a plan to move away. It doesn’t happen
magically. Like people didn’t just drop into your lap and they changed. The best, make a plan to
scale that and start shifting through that. I’m curious, what does the future look like now that
you’ve gone this far along? How far do you look out and how do you start to figure out, you
know, what do you want to do? And what do you want it to be in five years, 10 years?
Barry: [00:31:05] Right, yeah. Right. Well, even in this environment, we moved into a brand new
30,000 square foot facility in Lawrenceville, Georgia. A lot of our product now has shifted from
fabric linings, which is what people think about when they think about awnings and canopies.
Though a lot of our work now is actually metal. We do a lot of metal architectural canopies. We
serve the general contractor trade now. A lot more of our work is B to B and not business, B to
C business to consumer, but B to B. And so, you know, we’ve migrated a good bit in the 15
years we’ve been in business, but we’re a brand new 30,000 square foot facility. We’re going to
add powder coating. I won’t get into the weeds with that industrial process, but it’s a painting
process. We have a lot of our product, metal product is powder-coated. We’re going to start a
powder coating operation, here in Atlanta anyway, into 2021. So that’s going to be a big part of
our 2021 plan is a separate business unit, Peachtree Powder Coating. It’s complimentary, it
dovetails in with Peachtree Awnings and Canopies as well as the operation that we have up in
Tennessee Awnings. So, we’re going to have a real robust plan and I’m not going to, I’m not
planning to retreat in 2021. We’re going to keep forging ahead. This will be a product extension
as opposed to the geographic, you know, organic growth that we, you know, we’ve talked about.
Karl: [00:32:44] I’m curious about technology and how is technology impacting your business
and how do you, you know, how do you incorporate some new technologies? When people
think of awnings, has there been a lot of innovation that we’re not aware of that’s happening and
is there more to come?
Barry: [00:33:01] Not a lot of, you know, our product is a very, very old tried and true product. I
mean, you know, awnings and coverage, it goes back to the time when somebody, you know,
made an umbrella or threw a bare cloth over their head to protect themselves from the
elements. And so our product has been around for a very, very long time. As I said a lot of the
changes and a lot of changes in the products and the materials that we’re using in our products.
A lot of the product, fabric is still is used, still widely used and you’ll still see that product out in
the marketplace. But a lot of it is now architectural metals. There’s been a lot of changes though
on the shop floor, things that help us become more efficient. Job costing pieces of software
there’s been a lot of software, you know, we do a lot of rendering now to help people visualize
that awning or canopy on their home or business. So we’re utilizing rendering software on the
sales side, we’re using the software on the shop floor to help us be more efficient and that’s
going to help us, I think, in the next year to a couple of years.
Karl: [00:34:17] Well, one more question. When you see most businesses grow, there’s an
element that they can’t be ignored when it comes to people. And what’s constraints growth very
often as people. How do you manage through that dynamic and grow your business with
Barry: [00:34:36] Yeah. That’s, you know, recruiting and selecting, I think is really at the heart
lifeblood of just about every business. Not just small business, but every business. And so, I’ve
tried to always make a part of my plan the people plan, the recruiting and selecting being a large
part of that. We were fortunate when we moved up to Lawrenceville now. There you go, we’re
five minutes away from Gwinnett tech. You know, Gwinnett tech is a great source of fabricators,
welders, people with technical skills and expertise. And so what did I do? First thing, you know,
within three weeks of landing up there. I was on the phone with the people in their fabrication,
welding department. And we had the first, I say student graduate, start this week. You know,
and I have another one lined up that’s gonna start in three weeks, so right before Thanksgiving.
So, recruiting and selecting, extremely important, not just at small business, but every business.
And that’s proved to be very difficult in this environment.
Karl: [00:35:47] So specifically, how do you find the right people in your organization?
Barry: [00:35:54] I always will say that the best people in our company will continue to come
from other people in our company, they’re already our company. So quite frequently, I think the
best people in our company come from referrals from associates that are already working for us.
That’s a tough sell. People are doing their jobs and they, you know, but if you could help them
for information. This young man who came to us from Gwinnett tech came from one of the guys
who works for us, who is a student at Gwinnett tech. He helped recruit this guy, helped us
create that little pipeline now. And so that’s going to be very helpful for us. I mean, you know, we
use some of the traditional methods too, like Indeed.com just to give them a plug. We use
Indeed.com and we get a lot, you know, we have a funnel. But we, I still think that the best
people in our company come from other people already in our company.
Karl: [00:36:55] So one last thing I wanted to ask you about just in the context, I know you get
involved in the community a lot. And what role as a business leader, are there things that you’re
passionate about or things that you get involved with? Just to help the community in general.
Barry: [00:37:13] Yeah, I can’t stress enough the importance of being a good corporate citizen
and pay it forward. And I think that we have responsibility as business owners to give freely to
others what’s freely given to us as a baseline. And so, I always try to approach my, I say my
philanthropic efforts, my, you know, my nonprofit efforts, with that as a backdrop. And it’s
important that you pick two or three things that your people can get behind. It doesn’t matter
whether it’s, you know, toys for tots or the Atlanta community food bank or the local chamber,
which will funnel you into a number of non-profit areas. But pick two or three and make a
difference, you know. You might say, well, I’m a small business what difference can I make. But
you can. You can make a difference and you can make a difference at a level that’s really
grassroots. Whether it’s a church or a school, one of the things that’s near and dear to my heart
is a school called the special needs school of Gwinnett. My youngest daughter, Megan has got
special needs. And so up in Lawrenceville is the special needs school of Gwinnett. And they just
built a brand new school, we’re providing coverage of their playground equipment, because a lot
of the kids that go to school there, they take medicine that’s sun sensitive and that may be, you
know, an issue for them. And so we are providing cover for their playground equipment and
that’s something that we’re doing.
Karl: [00:38:59] Well, you know, I want to say, thank you. You being part of community. And
when I see you, you’re always willing to give time and you’ll mentor in other businesses. Your
involvement in the Southwest Gwinnett chamber over the years has been, if there was one
thing, if you look at like, Southwest Gwinnett, some of the business that you think, as a
collective, businesses can do better to help the community. Is there anything collectively that
comes to mind that they could be a bigger role in the community?
Barry: [00:39:29] You know, get involved. Yeah, it doesn’t matter. I know that the large Gwinnett
chamber can be a little bit intimidating. It’s a big, that’s a big organization, you know, and I’m a
member of the Gwinnett chamber of commerce, but I’m also a member of the Southwest
Gwinnett chamber as you pointed out. And you know, get involved. It’s, I have a saying, you
know, it’s never too late to become what you might’ve been. You know, and we’re not dogs and
these are tricks, you know, that’s what I like to say that at work, you know. So we have a
responsibility to our communities. Give, get involved. Don’t sit on the sideline and say I’m too
busy to give back to my community or to be involved or to be active. And so I started that at a
very early part in my business career to see and be seen. And that’s not easy when you’re, you
know, we’re already working 12 hour days. But I carve out that hour and a half for the first, you
know, the Southwest Gwinnett chambers first Friday, which is this week, you know. And so I’m
gonna always make time for those community activities and those organizations, which actually
help you become more visible in the community that you serve. Before you can be a big deal
outside of your community, you’ve gotta be a big deal inside your community. Or you have to
get a little feel inside of your community. And if you’re active and looking for those opportunities
to get involved, you know, look for your local chamber. Look for your, you know, look for church.
You know, here in Norcross, Norcross cooperative ministry, you know, there’s lots and lots of
places. Lots of places to get involved, and that’s gonna help your networking overall as well, so.
Karl: [00:41:23] Well, I want to thank you for that. I’m curious, so coming into the holiday
season, the end of the year, do you have much going on either professionally or personally, how
do you plan on closing out this year?
Barry: [00:41:35] Well, we, you know, the fourth quarter is typically our slowest quarter of the
year, but we’re still blessed to have a lot of project business, and a lot of orders to fill. We’re
winding down. I think, you know, the city of Atlanta looks for any reason to take a holiday or take
a break. And so the, you know, that block of time, you know, right around Thanksgiving is a nice
period of respite for everybody. Certainly the end of the year, you know, we think of December
as having one holiday, but in fact it almost has two holidays because you take Christmas and
than immediately is New Year’s a week after that. So that the city slows down a lot between
Christmas and New Year’s and we’ll probably close down that week between Christmas and
New Year’s. I like to give our associates that time off paid and give them a chance to rekindle,
you know, restrike and refresh, and spend time with their families.
Karl: [00:42:35] Amen, after 2020 folks could be ready for that. How do folks reach out to you if
they wanted to contact with more of you know, what you do, and what’s the best way to get in
touch with you?
Absolutely. Karl it’s, you know www.PeachtreeAwnings.com or www.TennesseeAwnings.com.
Barry: [00:43:01] Both companies have independent websites. You can find us on Facebook at
facebook.com/peachtreeawnings or /TennesseeAwnings. You’ll find that we have a social media
presence there and you can see lots of pictures of our current projects. You know, we’re
obviously, you can find us, call us up at our new location. It’s 770-409-8372.
Karl: [00:43:27] Well, I want to thank you so much for, you know, just carving out time to just
share with The Capitalist Sage. Barry Adams, founder and owner of Peachtree Awnings, and
Tennessee Awnings. And you’ll always see him at our local Southwest Gwinnett chamber
event. You know, stop by say hi, see him there. And I just want to thank you so much for
sharing some of the insight on your journey to entrepreneurship.
Barry: [00:43:54] Thanks, Karl. Thanks, Rico it’s good to be able to spend some time with you.
Karl: [00:44:00] We want to thank everybody on with the Capitalist Sage podcast today, we’re
continuing to bring you local business owners, local leaders, people in the community that
impact the business community and be a place. I’m Karl Barham with Transworld Business
Advisors of Atlanta Peachtree. Our business is available to consult with business owners,
whether you’re looking to improve and grow your business through acquisition, through
franchising, or you’re working on planning your exit strategy, finding someone that could take
the reins of the business into the future. Feel free to schedule a council with us. I can be
reached at KBarham@TWorld.com or www.TWorld.com/AtlantaPeachtree. Rico, what have you
got coming up?
Rico: [00:44:49] Sure. Peachtree Corners magazine, we’re working on the next issue and the
cover story is actually going to be faces of Peachtree Corners. So we’re working through a list of
people and students and educators that’ll be on that cover story. And like every other issue,
there’s going to be a bunch of things. So we’re covering a variety of things that you can look
forward to. You can find out more about Peachtree Corners and what we’re doing at
LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com. Follow us on social media. We’re really big on Instagram and
Facebook. Just look for the Peachtree Corners Magazine or Peachtree Corners Life and
Capitalist Sage, where you can find the podcast on Instagram as well as our website. So, you
know, go out and look for that. We also have Mighty Rockets, so we do a lot of digital marketing,
I’m the creative director for several different companies. I have lots of things I do. So if you’re
looking for video marketing, photography, content online, podcast production, I was engineering
today’s podcast. Feel free to reach out to me, go to MightyRockets.com. So it’s easy enough.
Karl: [00:46:00] Alright. Well, thank you everybody for tuning in for the Capitalist Sage podcast,
stay tuned for more episodes. Have a great day.
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