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How to increase the value of your business, grow it and sell it, with Andrew Cagnetta

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Transworld Business Advisors - Andrew Cagnetta

Andrew R. Cagnetta Jr., CEO of Transworld Business Advisors shares his insights on how to increase the value of your business, fatal mistakes sellers make, expansion through acquisition and franchising – and why it’s important to do charity work. Cagnetta joins Karl Barham and Rico Figliolini on the Capitalist Sage podcast. Recorded socially safe from City of Peachtree Corners, Georgia

Related links:
https://www.facebook.com/AndyCagnetta
https://www.linkedin.com/in/acagnetta/
https://twitter.com/acags

Finding the topic in the show via Timestamp:
[00:00:30] – Intro
[00:02:43] – About Andy and Transworld
[00:04:21] – Challenges of DIY
[00:05:27] – Impacts in the Value of Businesses
[00:10:07] – Growing through Acquisition
[00:13:11] – Buying Businesses
[00:16:54] – Funding Acquisitions
[00:20:02] – Supporting the Community
[00:21:57] – Diversity in Business
[00:34:41] – Predictions for 2021
[00:36:51] – Recommended Media
[00:38:42] – Closing

“I mean the perfect way to describe business brokerage is like a realtor. You hire someone to
help market and sell your house and deal with the buyers and take the whole process from start
to finish. We’re a lot like that. We come into a business owners world. When they think about
selling their business, we help them understand what they have to offer the marketplace and
what they might get in the marketplace.”

Andrew Cagnetta

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 and 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, how’re you doing?

Rico: [00:00:47] Hey, Karl. Good, thanks. Hope you’re well.

Karl: [00:00:51] Well, why don’t you introduce our sponsor before we get started?

Rico: [00:00:55] Sure. Our lead sponsor is Hargray Fiber. They’re a major Southeast company

that is involved in fiber optics and IT. They’re involved in the communities that they are in

completely. Like in Peachtree Corners, for example, they’ve been involved with Curiosity Lab at

Peachtree Corners, the Smart City activity that we do, and the work that people need to be able

to keep working. Whether you’re distance working like teleworking, or you’re bringing your team

together at your office and such. So anytime you need IT work, fiber optics, smart tools to be

able to do your work, fiber optics and all that, that should come from Hargray Fiber. They’re not

your typical cable company. You can find them at HargrayFiber.com/Business. Check them out,

they have a promo going on. It’s a thousand dollar gift card for those companies that qualify and

become clients of theirs. So great people. We appreciate them sponsoring us.

Karl: [00:01:51] Thank you very much for introducing Hargray Fiber. As we’ve all gone digital

this year, schools, work from home, having high speed internet at home is really super critical.

And we’re just glad we have great partners in the community that can help with that. Today’s

guest, welcome to the bring in Andy Cagnetta who’s the CEO of Transworld Business Advisors.

One of the world’s largest business brokerage firms and has been around for over 40 years and

built a great fabulous business. But the treat of today is, he’s here to help talk about how

COVID-19 and how small business owners can think about the value of their business, their

options on when they’re ready to exit for the business going into the future. Hey, Andy, how are

you doing?

Andrew: [00:02:40] I’m doing great. How are you both doing? Thanks for having me.

Karl: [00:02:43] Thank you so much for joining us today. I want to start off, why don’t you tell us

a little bit about yourself and how you got to be in this business brokerage industry?

Andrew: [00:02:53] I got to be in this business brokerage industry a lot the way other people

have gotten involved is they were in business for themselves. So I’ve had several businesses

and I’ve started a couple. I bought one and I sold one. And so when I decided to move to

Florida, my wife wanted to raise her family where she grew up, we decided to buy a business.

And through that process, I met Transworld and was asked to be on the staff and kind of the

rest is history. I bought the company two years later.

Karl: [00:03:22] Well, this, you’ve been doing this for quite a long time, and you’ve seen several

ups and downs in the industry in general. Why don’t we start off by talking about what is

business brokerage and what types of people benefit from their service. And we can talk about

how the economic impacts like we’re having in 2020 impacts those business owners.

Andrew: [00:03:46] Yeah. I mean the perfect way to describe business brokerage is like a

realtor. You hire someone to help market and sell your house and deal with the buyers and take

the whole process from start to finish. We’re a lot like that. We come into a business owners

world. When they think about selling their business, we help them understand what they have to

offer the marketplace and what they might get in the marketplace, as far as value is concerned.

We package up that business. We advertise it. We deal with the inquiries, we put meetings

together, and eventually we get a deal done and we earn a commission from that.

Karl: [00:04:21] Fabulous. So historically, if somebody were trying to sell the business

themselves, there’s some challenges to do that. What would be some of the typical challenges

people do when you’ve seen them try to do it themselves?

Andrew: [00:04:33] They don’t have the capabilities to do it in knowledge, right? So they really

don’t know what they’re doing. And it’s certainly not a time when you have your, maybe your

biggest financial transaction of your life at stake to experiment on yourself. You know, it’s kind of

like doing heart surgery on yourself. You really don’t want to do that. You know, one wrong step

with the right buyer. You’re not going to get a deal done. The second thing, the big thing that

business owners need to focus on, and we talked a lot about this in, you know, valuing your

business. They don’t have the time to do this. And if they take time away from their business

and focus on trying to get a deal done. The value of their business decreases very, very quickly

and they won’t get a deal done or, you know, they won’t get as much as they could have if they

would have focused on their business.

Karl: [00:05:27] Got it, got it. So this year, a lot of business owners have gone under, have

been under a lot of stress. COVID-19 hit, and the year 2019 was a great year for selling

businesses, for doing businesses. People were generating record revenues, profit, and then a

year like this happens. To the average business owner that took, you know, has been impacted

in this and is starting to come out, how does a year like this impact the value of their business?

Andrew: [00:05:59] So the, you know, the horrible news is right, this crisis has really hurt a lot of

businesses. And the only thing that I can urge business owners out there to do is try to survive.

Because if we get to the other side of this, if we get to a point where there is no COVID around

and business returns to somewhat normal. But let’s say it turns to 2018, 2019 levels, or even

less than that. You know, a little bit less than that. The values of our businesses will immediately

return. Because a business is worth what a buyer will make in the future. And if we could point

to the first three months of 2020, or even now, you know, like some restaurants are now

opening for the first time in a hundred percent capacity. So if they recover now, their business

will immediately be worth as much or even more. You know, I could see that the restaurants that

are better survive this and everybody starts to go back out once the vaccine comes along, I

think it will be, you’ll have a hard time getting a table at a restaurant. And they might even be

worth more. So, you know, the number one thing is you got to hang in there, right? And if you

hang in there, you know, the COVID crisis is like a lot of it. It’s a blip, you know, it’s a quick

downturn there will be recovery, or at least somewhat of a w. But, if they can hang in there, the

business value should return.

Karl: [00:07:30] That that’s a good point you’re making around hanging in there. But when

businesses have this lower period of demand, like over the month, if they’re not, what are some

things that business owners can do to make their business more valued when the clients and

the customers come back? What are things that they may not have had time to work on in the

past, but now they may have time to do? What would be some things that would help that

value?

Andrew: [00:07:55] Well, you know, we always say, I have this talk and we don’t have time for it

today, but the 12 ways to increase the value of your business. And three of them is to keep

better books and records. So if you did not, before this COVID crisis hit. This is a great time to

get your inventory into an inventory system, to get a point of sale system implemented. I was

just talking to a listing that I have now, for a restaurant that didn’t have a point of sale system.

And he’s like, maybe it’s time I do it. Yeah, maybe while it’s slow and you get all your menu

items onto a point of sales system, then you’re going to have great books and records. And

great books and records will help your business sell much easier. So it is a time to kind of

structure your business and get that inventory system or that project management system or

that POS going right now.

Karl: [00:08:53] One of the other things I think is often a chance is when people stay really busy,

they don’t focus on the people in their business, their managers, supervisors, and so on. Can

you comment on the value of having a really good Lieutenant or someone that can continue to

drive the business once you exit it from the perspective of a buyer?

Andrew: [00:09:14] Yeah. I mean, you certainly don’t want to be the chief cook and bottle

washer because if you’ve ever read the E-Myth book, what you want to do is you want to have

that systems in place that is going to continue to bring in that money and those earnings.

Businesses are based on value of earnings. And the buyer is only going to pay a multiple of the

earnings if they think it’s you gonna stick around. Well if you’re the whole reason why the

business goes. And you’re the, you know, you’re the marketing officer and you’re the person

who’s the sales person and you’re the operations person. Then buyers are going to be very

hesitant to take over that job. If you have good people in place where all a buyer has to do is

come in and basically be a management person and oversee a system that is, you know,

running like clockwork. That’s going to increase the value of your business immensely.

Karl: [00:10:07] I’ve been talking to a couple of business owners that’s doing something

counterintuitive. During this year they’re actually growing and they’re growing through

acquisition. We see a lot of businesses that are consolidating and struggling. What are some of

your thoughts of those that are able to grow through acquiring other businesses during this time

or be beginning to scale? How does that impact the value in the future of the business?

Andrew: [00:10:32] Well, listen, you know and I know that businesses are valued based on their

quality and quantity of their earnings. So as a business earns more money, it’s worth a higher

multiple. So if a business earns a hundred thousand dollars, it may be worth two or three times.

If a business earns a million dollars, it could be worth three, four, five, maybe even six times. So

as the business grows, if you start acquiring people, and you get a hundred thousand dollars

here and $200,000 of earnings here. And you get those economies of scale and you get a

business that’s earning a million dollars, you’re going to make four or five times more. So this is

a great time to go around. And even, you know, I though that would be much more opportunity

for buyers, because I thought there would be a bigger COVID discount out there. I’m not seeing

it yet. I mean, you know, obviously earnings are down and prices may be down. But if the

business is currently making even 80% of what they used to do, or even, you know, 70%, those

businesses were still selling for, you know, good price.

Rico: [00:11:45] Let me ask you something. As you were talking about multiples and

acquisitions, what hit me was, does it, is it more, is it easier? Is it a better investment to

purchase multiple franchises let’s say if the, obviously of the same business in a variety of areas

than it is for a company that’s a sole owner looking out for similar types of companies to bring

them in under their fold. So, you know, if you’re a franchise owner buying more or if you’re a

single, you know, dry cleaners looking for other neighborhood dry cleaners. I mean, where

would the best investment be?

Andrew: [00:12:22] Well I, you know, listen I, the franchise system usually is a good system

because you know, what we try to do at Transworld is we’re building out infrastructure so people

don’t have to build it out themselves. So if you could buy a multi franchise units, you know, that’s

a great investment, right? So, you know, you always want to spread out your risk. So if you have

one unit that makes a lot of money, you know, it could be inherently risky. I mean, something

could go wrong in that town. Something could go wrong on that road. I mean, I’ve seen

businesses being on a road and they’d decide to redo the road and it’s you know, it’s closed or

almost closed for six months and it just ruins the business. So, multiple locations in any

business might be a better risk, so you can spread out that risk.

Karl: [00:13:11] I want to flip over to the buyer side. If you’re a person out there, maybe you

were in corporate America, maybe you’ve got an entrepreneurial itch that you want to scratch.

What would be some advice you’d give to folks when they’re looking for business so that they

actually get to the closing table and get the deal done?

Andrew: [00:13:29] You know, don’t have paralysis by analysis. And it’s, you know, you could

dive into these things, try to set up eight billion spreadsheets, and you could try to figure out

what the exact value of a business is. But I always laugh. The value of the business is going to

be determined by the sellers you know, factor of how bad they want to get out, right? I, you

know, I spoke to a seller yesterday. They had a business that’s earning $350,000 and we told

them, our franchisee told them that it was worth 700 and he says, get 450 and get me out quick.

Some buyer is going to get a great deal on that business. And so it’s always a factor of what the

seller will take to leave. But you know, if you’re going out there to buy a business, I would just

say, you’ve got to go do it. And number two is you’re not going to find the perfect business. If

you’re looking for that perfect business, that dots all the I’s and crosses all the T’s, you’re not

going to. As I say, it gets an ‘A’ on it’s report card in every single subject. That’s not going to

happen. There’s no perfect business out there. So, you know, what you want to do is you want

to buy a good business at a great price and make it great by bringing your talent to it.

Karl: [00:14:44] I’m talking to a lot of private equity and family and all these different types of

investor groups that are looking at business. And one of the things that’s always a challenge, I

could literally guess what they’re going to ask for in their business. They send the sheet in and

they’re looking for something with X amount of cashflow. They want it to be pretty much

absency run. There’s this laundry list of stuff, but they’re industry agnostic and they don’t have

an industry that they care about. What advice would you give to those types of folks to be more

successful in their search? Often they’re searching for three, four years and no deals have been

done.

Andrew: [00:15:25] Yeah. I mean, you know, I’ve talked to some private equity groups and they

told me they look at it, and I think it was on our podcast they were talking about, they look at, it

was something ridiculous, like 1,200 deals a year or two thousands of deals a year. And they

transact on two. You know, they’re very picky. I would tell them that they need to be less picky.

We had a, you know, there’s these guys who come out of very smart business schools, Ivy

league and things, and they start these pledge funds where they get their friends, families, and

people they’ve met along the way. And even bankers that like these MBAs coming out of these

high end schools and say, if you find a deal, we’ll back you. Well, we did a deal with these guys

who they bought a painting company that was earning over a million dollars a year, almost $2

million a year. But what private equity group do you know, would buy a painting contractor? Not

many. So these two young kids, one of them, Harvard grad, I forget where the other one

graduated. Bought a painting contractor almost $2 million. And I think they bought it for like less

than 6 million. So here’s a great deal, but it’s going to be a little bit. You know, it’s not going to

be the easiest business to run. And that’s be their first deal. You’re know, then they’ll go into

something else I’m sure. So if you’re a family office that just got their money because you’re

patriarch or matriarch of your family died, you’re not going to be able to be that picky.

Karl: [00:16:54] I’m curious this year, there’s been a lot of stress on the lending and banking

with SBA between the CARES act, PPP, EIDL Loan, they got backed up. How are you seeing it

now for acquiring funding to purchase business and what should business owners now start

thinking about as options to fund acquisitions if lending isn’t as readily available?

Andrew: [00:17:19] Yeah. We saw this in 2009, in 2010, when we’re in Florida, we did, you

know, we were doing about 20% of our deals with SBA lending and then the next year, which

equated to about 50 deals, 40 deals. The next year we did two deals with SBA lending out of

hundreds. So the problem with that is the banks get scared of course. They’re not going to fund

the business that has falling revenues and profits. They’re going to want to see it be able to turn

around. I think it’s a little different this time. In the fact that we really didn’t know when the 2009,

2010 economic downturn would end. This one there’s a little bit more certainty. I know there’s

uncertainty, but we all believe that this is going to go away by mid next year or even 2022. So I

think if a business can show and everybody’s asking for the latest financials, don’t talk to me

about March and April. Show me you’ve done this summer. Show me what you did this last

quarter through September 30th. If they can show that they’ve somehow pivoted, recovered,

you know, right-sized the ship so they have earnings, I think you could get financing. But if you

can’t, which is going to be the majority of the businesses, you’re going to have to have seller

financing and earn outs. And you know, that’s a bad word to sellers, but it’s just the reality.

Karl: [00:18:46] For those that may not know the difference between a seller finance or an

earnout, can you share what that is for business owners that may not?

Andrew: [00:18:55] Sure. A promissory note or, you know, seller financing is a certain amount of

money. Say I got, you know, I got $500,000 or a million dollars for my business with half down,

or half and the rest of it in promissory note. The promissory note would say, when you get your

payments, how much the payments are, and you know how long the note is. If you get an

earnout, the earnout it’s going to be contingent upon the business metric. Whether it be sales,

earnings, gross profit, we like gross profit. And we can talk about that someday. But so, but it

can be variable. And a lot of times this works for sellers and buyers, because if there’s this

inherent risk in the marketplace and the seller’s like, listen, if I just had more cash then I could

get to 2022, this business is going to take off again. I really deserve more value. Well, okay.

Well, if you’re right in 2022, it’s 2023 and even 2021, if it’s going to go up, I’ll tell you what, I’ll

give you 25% of the profits, you know, based on this. So it’s variable and it can not happen at

all.

Karl: [00:20:02] There’s so many creative ways to construct a deal that could work for both

buyer and seller. If I could ask you a little bit, one of the things that you shared with, with Ann

and I is, as a small business owner in the business, you’re in being involved in the community

and getting involved with different organizations and that. Can you talk a little bit around some of

the things that business owners can do to help support their community, especially in a year like

this?

Andrew: [00:20:33] Yeah, I mean, listen, the great, one of the greatest things I ever did was sign

up to join the board of the local soup kitchen called LifeNet for families. And it’s literally changed

my life. And what people want to see in a person to do business with, people want to do

business with people they can trust and that they like. And to show that you’re trustworthy and

show that you’re a good person and become a trusted advisor in your community on anything,

people are gonna do business with people that do good. And I think that joining a board or

volunteering for a board or getting involved in whatever, you know, whatever cause you want to

get involved, it can really show the community that you’re willing to be a good partner. And I’ve

certainly chosen who I’ve done business with based on their nonprofit activities and them

helping, you know, be a good part of the community. So, yes, I’ve been involved with the junior

achievement and the United Way most recently, I was just rolled off as the chair of the United

Way. And it’s been an honor and I’ve learned so much from it. I have so many great friends and

I’ve gotten really good business and I didn’t start by saying, Hey, I need to give back to my

community because I want to do more business. That wasn’t the start, but it certainly has been

very valuable to us.

Karl: [00:21:57] This year I know, there’s a lot going on when it comes to diversity and social

justice issues out there in the community. I’m curious from your vantage point of looking at

business brokerage and so on, I’ve noticed that there’s a lot of brokerage firms that don’t have a

lot of diversity, a lot of women in it and so on. What are some of the things that are, that

might’ve been driving that and what are things that can be done to help improve that going into

the future?

Andrew: [00:22:27] It comes down to education and opportunity and giving people opportunity. I

have a great partnership with a friend. He’s the president of Broward college here, which is one

of the top community colleges. And he has a thing called Broward up and he realizes that, you

know, as a young man and he grew up in New York, he didn’t hear about college until he was

like in high school. And you know, other kids grow up knowing about college and other kids

grow up knowing about entrepreneurship and investing. And I think the big thing that we can do

is try to, you know, encourage those communities, give those, encouraging those communities,

exposure to our you know, exposure to our marketplace and opportunities out there and show

them out to do it and encourage them to do it. And there are going to be, I think, opportunities

moving forward for people. I think this is a great awakening of our society to say that, you know,

not everybody had an equal leg up. Part of why I’m involved in charity is because I do believe I

had privilege. My college was paid for, I was, you know, I was never discriminated against really

in my life. I mean, and so I want to be able to give those opportunities other. And I think that

Transworld, you know, we already have models of it, right? Just think about the immigrant

populations and what they do. They’re buying the convenience stores, they’re buying the hair

salons, they’re buying these small mom and pop businesses. Maybe, what we need to do is go

in show others that they can do that, even people who aren’t immigrants, and teach them how to

grow and multiply those businesses. Perhaps like we were talking about earlier franchising.

Karl: [00:24:17] Absolutely. I think that’s a great point. I think giving access to opportunity and

knowledge about the option is a great point to start at. But then even continuing that further. You

described several things people need to know to acquire a business, how to get a loan, what

comes first in your search, what you can look for. Outreach to different groups of people with

that knowledge could self close the gap. But I think we’ve got 20 years in which people have

gotten more education, people of color, women, graduating with degrees, graduating from the

Harvards and the Yales of the world. They’ve worked in corporate America for 20, 25 years.

They’ve accumulated some capital, but that last leap of jumping into entrepreneurship might be

the next step. And sometimes it may take mentorship or sponsorship or just someone that can

guide them down the path a little bit further if we could do it. If there was one thing you can

magically do to help really drive that change in society. What would it be? Where would you

start?

Andrew: [00:25:19] You know, think about all the things that have been successful. Like pell

grants and getting people small business loans and minority statuses for businesses. I think we

need to take all those things and we’ve got to multiply them by 10, right? I mean, and you just

said it, you know, there’s been opportunities over the last 20 years for some people to break

through that we have to take those examples and we have to multiply by 10 and we have to give

awareness. You know, I’ve been on, one of the things that I want to do moving forward for

Transworld is be a part of that. Be a part of that, you know, fight against structural racism and

understand how do we beat that? How do we help those communities, you know, become

entrepreneurs? You know, there’s all these things, you know, that your success has a lot to do

with what your zip code is. I mean, just crazy things, and your color, as far as opportunities,

what your name is when you put your resume in. All these things we have to battle. And I think

at Transworld, we can be a part of showing people how to take opportunity. Educate them.

Because I think still, as we talked about earlier, growing your business through acquisition or

becoming an entrepreneur is still one of the best kept secrets. And one of the best investments

you can make, that’s really, people don’t even understand.

Karl: [00:26:45] I was on a conference call, go ahead Rico.

Rico: [00:26:47] I was going to say, I wanted to build a little bit about what your, what you were

saying before too about immigrant population buying into small businesses, about teaching and

mentoring. You know, my father came from Italy and he bought his own business. He worked

hard. But he worked hard before he bought that business, right? And I’m thinking, what people

need maybe is a little bit more, not just education, but that mentoring part, almost that

handholding, if you will. Because you find that in a variety of ethnic communities, right? I know

several friends in the Asian community where they help others within their community, actually

walk them through buying or setting up their own business, getting their finance for that

business and actually walking them through the whole process. And then bang, they open the

door. I mean…

Andrew: [00:27:38] You think about some of the ethnic communities that have come into certain

businesses and done well and you see that. And sometimes it’s a lot of businesses that people

don’t want to be in. The carwash, and sometimes it’s out of necessity. There’s you know, there’s

all kinds of studies about food deserts and things like that. But you think about those under

served communities, right? And you think about people like Magic Johnson going into those and

opening Starbucks and opening movie theaters and giving opportunities. But you think those

places needed small markets. So you know, out of necessity people can’t get jobs. People can’t

get food. They’re starting these small little businesses and we need to give them power. We

need to give them the ability to go to a better neighborhood and open up another business like it

and do well. You know, just think of all the, you know, the food and the service businesses and

you know, that they can do well. And you see pockets of that and we need to multiply those

efforts. And you’re right, Rico, my you know, my grandfather came from Italy as well, was an ice

and pole man. He had his own truck. And they worked really hard, but you know, I do think that

there was a difference. You know, we’ve been able to blend into the community and I, you

know, sometimes black and brown people do not have that opportunity, as we did.

Rico: [00:29:05] For sure. And I think also when you’re facing discrimination. It’s easier, I think if

you had your own business and empowered that way. Because you’re already past that point,

right? You don’t have to worry about discrimination and someone’s going to promote you or give

you more money for your job. Maybe you’re being paid less than the guy or girl next to you, for

whatever reason. But you’re making it on your own, right? You’re empowered to be able to,

based on the hard work you do and how smart you are.

Andrew: [00:29:36] I mean, here’s the really good news. I think, the really good news. I think it’s

easier to become an entrepreneur than ever. Just think of all the gig economy jobs that are out

there. And I just saw an article that somebody emailed me because of one of my, I had 20

predictions for the 2020, the next decade. I did not predict the CoronaVirus, but one of the

things I did predict is that the gig economy would eventually start selling their businesses. That

you know, that an influencer on Instagram could eventually sell her business or, you know,

somebody on tik tok will be able to sell their business. And, you know, I think that we have to,

we have to embrace that too. Right? And it has to start in elementary school and colleges. We

have to embrace, we have to teach people how to become entrepreneurs.

Rico: [00:30:36] For sure.

Karl: [00:30:38] I think you’re raising a good point. One of the things that I’d add to that, a

mentorship helps. The other thing is eliminating barriers. There are so many things structurally

in place that prevents people, whether it’s lending and getting SBA loans, whether it’s finding

and sourcing deals. When a good deal comes up, you have to know someone that knows about

the deals, make friends with a broker. So he’s going to follow him near his good deal. There’s

people that have that access to talent. Good employees. Good systems. And then there’s also,

there’s community too, sometime it’s the business associations, chambers of commerce, where

they network and a lot of information is shared. And access is given. And opening that up so

more people are welcomed or brought into those things so those opportunities are shared

among a lot more. So there’s definitely a lot of work to do, but I love that I’m starting to see

people become awakened to that. I see leaders like yourself, Rico. We’ve done several

podcasts about justice in the community and you did a fabulous job with the Peachtree Corners

magazine talking about diversity in Peachtree Corners. And we’re starting to talk about it.

People are starting to behave differently and reach out and start understanding people

differently. And I’d share with you an interesting opportunity that came through. And a business

owner came into my office. And didn’t know if his business had any value. And we did an

analysis and I said, you know what? He was contemplating shutting it down and retiring. 66

years old, ready to retire. He’s going to send out a letter to his customers and say that he’s

going to head out, you know, retire. But instead we said, you know, this business has value, it

generates a cashflow. And it’s a good, it’s a gig business, a gig economy business that he built.

And he only worked maybe four to five hours a week in the business. It sounded pretty good.

We helped him put it on the market and guess what? We got a couple of offers on it, but the

person that purchased it was a person of color. In the corporate, works for a corporation, but is

starting to think about that entrepreneurship. And helping navigate him through the path. We

ended up closing on that he’s able to own the business. But the interesting thing when they

came back, the two of them, one gentleman was black and they became good friends talking

afterward during the transition. And this is the first business this gentleman’s going to buy. He’s

going to buy others over time. And that’s sometime, it’s getting that first one under your belt.

Learning from the process and then being able to replicate that. And the best part is at the

closing, I got a picture of the buyer and seller, the buyers kids were there. So he’s setting the

example for his kids about entrepreneurship. And more of that needs to happen. We just need it

to happen faster.

Andrew: [00:33:31] Yeah. I mean, I think that’s exactly it. We have to multiply that by thousands.

And so I, you know, and so I think it’s kind of like what Broward college is doing instead of

expecting people to come to college, they need to go into the communities and bring the college

to them. And I think we as business brokerage community and as entrepreneurs need to bring

those opportunities to those neighborhoods. I mean, whether it’s talking at high schools,

whether it’s having buyer seminars, seller seminars. I mean, but just giving people those

opportunities, you know, right where they live. So…

Karl: [00:34:10] Well, I know in our community, both Transworld and business brokerage in

general, we have a lot of people out there that have the knowledge and skill. It’d be great to see

as more get involved in their community organizations. How can we help bring more people to

the table as part of that? So that’s going to be an interesting challenge that we could take on

and help this bigger picture as a country. So thank you for that.

Andrew: [00:34:39] Yeah, no, I agree.

Karl: [00:34:41] So predictions for 2021, Andy. If you were a business owner right now, when do

you start planning on selling your business and what are the things you should be doing fourth

quarter of this year, assuming that this will, this period of the world’s history will pass and we get

a vaccine and businesses start opening up. What are some of the things you think folks should

do this quarter to be ready for 2021?

Andrew: [00:35:11] You know, if I was wanting to sell my business in 2021, I would do

everything I could to acquire new customers. And you know, it is an opportune time. Just think,

you know, say again in the restaurant business, I would do anything I could to acquire new

customers. And I think you can, because if 20 or 30% of the restaurants that are closed right

now are never going to reopen, that means that there’s people out there and they’re finally

coming out of their houses. So I would immediately do anything I could to get those people and

get those revenues and earnings up. I mean, we have a restaurant for sale right now that’s

doing better than before the COVID crisis, because he has been marketing and doing a lot of

takeout and did the right thing. So I think there’s opportunities for any business owner to

continue to get more business. So number one, get more business and number two, have the

capacity to bring on more business in 2021. Because again, we’ll want to buy on the upswing

and no better time to have an upswing than when you had it. Well, you know, the chart can look

good over the next. I mean, if March and April were disaster for you, the rest of the year could

look good. And then into 2021 could look great. And that’s what I highly urge people to do. Like

Rico was saying earlier, you know, it might be a time to hire. It might be a time to hire that new

person that’s going to put you on social media for the first time ever. You know, it’s time to have

growth strategies. Certainly not to put the brakes on and put your head in the sand.

Karl: [00:36:51] You mentioned earlier the book, ‘The E-Myth’. Are there any other books you’d

recommend for business owners as they’re going through the journey? Especially if they’re

thinking about exiting in the next three to five years.

Andrew: [00:37:03] You know, I have my favorite negotiating book, which is ‘Never Split the

Difference’ by Chris Voss. And I like his style because if you think about selling your business

and you think it’s this high powered, ridiculous back and forth, you know, bloody negotiation, it

can’t be. I mean, it takes a long time to sell your business. It’s your baby. You’re selling it to

somebody else who wants it to be their baby. You can’t beat each other up through the process.

And we’re there to kind of referee that. So that’s one book I would suggest that they read. So

they don’t have that mindset that it needs to be this hard fought. It needs to be a good deal for

people.

Karl: [00:37:43] Oh, fabulous. If you wanted to learn more online, is there, how can folks learn

more about this process and just, you know, buying and selling businesses in general for folks

on either side of that equation?

Andrew: [00:37:58] Yeah, sure. There’s a lot of stuff out there. I mean, you know, I know we’d

like to plug our podcast too, The Deal Board. We have almost a hundred episodes now and, you

know, it’s a great place to learn the ins and outs of buying a business. Obviously our website as

well, and you know, I’ll just throw it out there that we’re willing to sit down with people. We,

again, we want to be trusted. We’re here for the long term in your communities. We’re not here

just for transactions. We’re here to watch people be successful and help them be successful. So

just include us in your plans. Let us sit down with your investment advisor and your accountant

and your attorney and let’s plan out how we’re going to exit you over the next two, three years.

Karl: [00:38:42] Excellent. Well, Andy, I want to thank you so much for sharing a lot of great

wisdom. We covered a lot of terrain in this conversation today and, just really good to have

someone like you give your perspective and insight into what’s happening this year. And if I take

anything away, I think people should be optimistic about it. I think we’ve navigated the toughest

part of this, as a country, as a world. And if you own a business, it’s about putting your head

down, grinding, getting customers back, building your business into the future. And for those

that may, you know, be struggling or may not be able to open up. It’s a great time to find a new

business to buy or to invest in if they could. So I want to thank you for that. What do you have

going on? Do you have anything going on in this fourth quarter as we’re rounding out the year?

What’s keeping you busy?

Andrew: [00:39:35] Well, I, you know, I do have our big charity events, so my wife does one

called Peace Rocks. And so we have a kickoff for that. And again, we’re, I think this year we

usually have wide bands. So I think we’re doing a drive in theater this week. And tonight at the

same time, as that kicks off, I have my pasta dinner meeting, which usually happens in the first

quarter. We had a thousand people last year, we raised $268,000 for the soup kitchen. And

we’re just trying to decide how we’re going to do it next year. But you know, we’re going to do it

and we’ll figure out a way. And looking forward to that night. I just want to give you kudos, Karl. I

mean, the amazing thing that I had through my business journey is for great people to partner

with us. And I’m honored to have you and join in our franchise and, you know, amazing and take

what we believe is, you know, doing good deals for good people to other communities. So thank

you Karl, for being a great part of that and Rico, thanks for having me on. I appreciate it.

Karl: [00:40:36] If folks wanted to reach you Andy, what’s the best way to reach you?

Andrew: [00:40:41] Just at TWorld.com or AC@TWorld.com. It’s that simple. I’m all over the

place. So I’m sure you could find me. But, happy to talk to anybody.

Karl: [00:40:51] Well thank you again for joining us today. So that’s Andy Cagnetta. He’s the

CEO of Transworld Business Advisors, one of the world’s largest business brokerage firms, and

for over 40 years been doing good deals for good people. And just wanted to share insight on

what business owners can start thinking about as they’re going into 2021. Positioning

themselves for a successful exit, if they’re ready or even if they’re ready, acquire more and

become bigger and get that multiple up on their business. So thank you for that. I’m Karl

Barham with Transworld Business Advisors of Atlanta Peachtree. Our business is here to help

people, consult with them, help them figure out how to exit the business when the time is right.

And if you’re looking to improve or grow or through acquisition, feel free to reach out to myself or

anyone on my team. KBarham@TWorld.com is the best email, but also find us

www.TWorld.com/AtlantaPeachtree. And Rico, why don’t you tell us a little bit about what you’ve

got coming up?

Rico: [00:41:54] Sure. First I want to say thank you for bringing on Andy because dealing with,

you know, talking with you as a cohost on the show for what 50, almost 50 episodes. About 47,

48. I’ve learned a lot. So, and I’ve even adjusted my business a little bit because of what we talk

about on a weekly basis. So all good stuff. As far as what’s going on with Peachtree Corners

Magazine, we’re at deadline. We’re working through this deadline this week. It goes to the

printer on Monday. So we have quite a few articles and there’s some major stuff on backyard,

great backyard retreats, pets and their people. We just finished the giveaway we just had. So

we were going to be announcing the three winners on that. And we have a feature in there

about, thankful things. Things, people are thankful for. Messages from a lot of students, a lot of

parents in Peachtree Corners, that’s going to be a cool thing. Then, you know, we’re planning

the next few podcasts, certainly with Capitalist Sage and, city manager, and Peachtree Corners

Life. So there’s that. And of course, if anyone needs marketing, digital marketing, online content,

videos, you know, product videos, podcast production. Feel free to reach out to me. You can

reach me at Rico@MightyRockets.com or check out Rico figliolini if you could spell that on

LinkedIn. I’m sure you’ll, if you search it on Google, you can’t miss me. It’ll pop up somewhere

I’m sure. But LivinginPeachtreeCorners.com is the magazine website. You can find all the

podcasts there as well and everything about Peachtree Corners. So this is the place to go. And I

want to thank you again, Hargray Fiber for being a lead sponsor with us.

Karl: [00:43:32] Thank you everybody for tuning in. We got more great episodes coming up. Be

safe out there and get ready for the fall. It’s here. Take care everyone.

Rico: [00:43:42] Bye everyone

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Business

CMX CinéBistro Reopens. Popcorn time!

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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!

Join us for an experience we know you’ve missed this holiday season! To receive more information and details about the precautionary measures in place, click here.

Source– Press Release by Peachtree Corners Town Center

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City of Peachtree Corners Receives Silver Award for its Business Newsletter

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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.”

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Choosing, planning and Growing a Business, with Barry Adams, owner of Peachtree Awnings

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The Capitalist Sage podcast

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.

Related Links:

Websites:
https://www.peachtreeawnings.com
http://www.tennesseeawnings.com
Facebook:
Peachtree Awnings
Tennessee Awnings
Phone Number: (770) 409-8372

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

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 co-host is Rico Figliolini with Mighty Rockets Digital
Marketing and the publisher of the Peachtree Corners magazine. Hey Rico, how’re you doing
today?
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.
So cool.
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
business owner.
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
tough sledding.
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,
so.
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
you?
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
people?
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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