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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

Gwinnett study to establish redevelopment plan of Gwinnett Place Mall

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The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners last week agreed to a funding agreement with the Gwinnett Place CID for a Livable Centers Initiative study of the Gwinnett Place Mall site and surrounding areas. The Community Improvement District has contracted with Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc., to conduct the study.

The LCI study will establish a plan to guide the redevelopment of the Gwinnett Place Mall area. It will consist of public outreach, strategic development and preparation of final deliverables.

The LCI grant helps cities and communities with plans to connect residents to activities by walking and bike trails. The hope is to ease traffic on roadways.

The study is estimated to cost $275,000.00. The Atlanta Regional Commission awarded the Gwinnett Place CID an LCI grant for $220,000, with the estimated local match of $55,000 being split between the CID and the County. Each party’s share of the local match will be reduced equally should the total study cost less than estimated. 

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Gwinnett Partnership, It’s Influence, What Trends they See, and Resources to Empower Businesses [Podcast]

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Partnership Gwinnett is the economic development initiative behind some of the most exciting business ventures that have started or relocated to Peachtree Corners. Brian Dorelus, project manager with Partnership Gwinnett, is our guest on today’s episode of the Capitalist Sage. Join Karl Karham, Rico Figliolini, and Brian, as they discuss what exactly Partnership Gwinnett is and does for business in our community.

Resources:

Website: https://www.partnershipgwinnett.com
Brain’s Email: BDorelus@ParntershipGwinnett.com

Timestamp:

[00:00:30] – Opening
[00:02:14] – About Brian and Partnership Gwinnett
[00:03:29] – How Partnership Gwinnett helps Businesses
[00:04:34] – Why Businesses Choose Gwinnett
[00:05:47] – Industries that are Thriving
[00:06:59] – Activity in Peachtree Corners
[00:08:12] – Bringing Startups to Peachtree Corners
[00:15:02] – Resources that Partnership Gwinnett Provides
[00:22:12] – Closing

“Partnership Gwinnett is the economic development agency for Gwinnett County. So it’s our job and our privilege to wake up every single day to recruit, retain, and expand industries in our five target sectors… And so what we do every day is just provide resources and be a one-stop shop for companies big and small, so they could continue to grow in our community.”

Brian Dorelus

Podcast Transcript

[00:00:30] Karl: 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 Corner Magazine. Hey Rico, how are you doing today?

Brian Dorelus

[00:00:48] Rico: Hey Karl, great. Looking forward to this interview right now with Brian.

[00:00:53] Karl: Absolutely. We’re going to talk about what Partnership Gwinnett can do for businesses locally here in Gwinnett county, and Georgia overall. But let’s talk a little bit about our sponsors today.

[00:01:04] Rico: Sure. So Peachtree Corners Magazine is supporting this podcast along with the family podcasts that we do. And we just put our last issue to the printer. It’s coming out in about two days. So keep an eye out for it. Go to LivinginPeachtreeCorners.com and you’ll see the digital version of that print edition that will be coming out this week.

[00:01:24] Karl: Fabulous. Great job with the Peachtree Corner Magazine. Lots of great articles in there, keeping up with what’s going on locally. So I really appreciate all that information that’s shared through that. Today we are going to talk about what Partnership Gwinnett, one of the organizations within Gwinnett county can do to help business owners, large and small. Help drive economic development within the community. Today I’m honored to have Brian Dorelus, who is a project manager with Partnership Gwinnett to talk a little bit about some of the mission of the organization, some of the successes and some of the things, resources that are available to business owners to help them with their businesses. Hey, Brian, how are you doing today?

[00:02:09] Brian: Doing good. Just trying to stay dry in today’s rainy weather, but doing good.

[00:02:14] Karl: Absolutely. No, I appreciate you joining us today. Why don’t you start by introducing yourself to our audience and tell a little bit about yourself and what you do with Partnership Gwinnett.

[00:02:25] Brian: Of course. Thank you. So once again, my name is Brian Dorelus. I’m the project manager for technology and life science with a focus and concentration in entrepreneurs and small business here at Partnership Gwinnett. And Partnership Gwinnett for those of you who might not know is the economic development agency for Gwinnett County. So it’s our job and our privilege to wake up every single day to recruit, retain, and expand industries in our five target sectors. And then as I mentioned, I lead the initiatives for technology and life science, but my counterpart leads the manufacturing and supply chain sector. And our leadership leads the kind of bigger corporate headquarters relocation projects. And so what we do every day is just provide resources and be a one-stop shop for companies big and small, so they could continue to grow in our community. And then prior to this, I was actually a Peace Corps Volunteer at the Republic of Moldova doing very similar work. Doing economic activities with a local mayor focusing on infrastructure and capacity building with the local village that I was stationed at.

[00:03:29] Karl: Oh, that’s fabulous. I’m going to jump in with the first question and thanks for the introduction for Partnership Gwinnett. Can you describe a little bit about how you work with business owners? And I would also guess some of the other city economic development departments, to help support thriving businesses in our communities.

[00:03:48] Brian: Yeah, definitely. So one thing we do is we try to give a concierge level service to businesses and companies in our communities, within our 16 cities. So typically on average day I work with the local economic development managers or city managers in each one of our beloved cities. And just hear about some of the issues that some of our businesses, large and small, are facing and trying to connect them with resources that typically they might not be aware of. And one of the good things about Partnership Gwinnett, is that all of our services are free and complimentary. So if you’re looking for research data, or looking to get connected, or even needing help with business plans or getting exposure. If we can’t do it, it’s our job to hunt down a person who can do it for you.

[00:04:34] Karl: I’m curious, when you think about Metro Atlanta and Gwinnett County, what’s the selling point for businesses to come and thrive here in this community? What have you found to be some of the things that really attract large and small businesses to Gwinnett?

[00:04:50] Brian: I think typically we have some, big pieces of infrastructure and systems in place that make businesses thrive. One obviously being the airport. Being the busiest airport and being two hours flight from all major airports, it really helps the interconnectivity between us locally and internationally, between places of business. But on a more maybe personal and cultural aspect, one thing that Georgia has and in Atlanta that really stands apart is that we are just pro-business and a friendly environment. Ironically, I had a lunch with a couple of international prospects. They literally said the first thing they said that to other international companies is that Georgia is nice. Which you would think is a weird selling point. But I would say as a community, we really have thrived because we’ve worked together really well with other partners within our community, within our cities, and across the Metro Atlanta region.

[00:05:47] Karl: So, when you think about Atlanta and how it’s grown since the Olympics over the last 20 odd, 20 plus years, where do you see industries that are really starting to thrive in the Metro Atlanta region?

[00:06:01] Brian: Just a little more about my background, I went to Georgia State University downtown. I was able and fortunate to see that growth happening almost before my eyes. And so some of the industries that just appeared and blossomed, we can’t talk about Atlanta without talking about FinTech. The financial technical center, it’s called the FinTech capital of the world, just because there’s so many FinTech companies located here. So when you think about entertainment, FinTech, conjoining with the tech ecosystem here, it just became a natural boom. Because I guess before, if you look at Georgia and in Metro Atlanta, we was a huge manufacturing sector. And we still are. When you think of Georgia, you cannot not highlight some of the manufacturing pieces. But within the past 20 years, you’ve just seen a huge boom and kind of major corporations coming to find that talent for that tech pieces and engaging the new generation. With just the amount of startups that are appearing and them just engaging into the market.

[00:06:59] Karl: So I know locally here in Peachtree Corners, Atlanta Tech Park, and in this area there’s been a thriving tech community that’s been developing here. Can you tell us a little bit about some of the past and current activity you’re seeing in this part of town?

[00:07:17] Brian: Yeah, definitely. One thing Peachtree Corners has done really well, is really brand themselves as a city of the future. And a city to engage the technology, not existing today, but existing or will be in a market 10, 15 years from now. So when you think about Peachtree Corners in particular, and some success stories, they’ve branded themselves as I mentioned that city of the future by engaging with that 5g technology or the internet of things. Which is the interconnection between everyday appliance into the interweb. And just because they have made themselves the centerpiece and the tip of the spear in that, now companies are searching and looking to be a part of just kind of the platform and the energy here. And that’s not even talking about that autonomous vehicle track that’s been deployed in Peachtree Corners and what they’re doing with electric vehicles and self-driving cars.

[00:08:12] Karl: Yeah. I know that we’ve heard an announcement about a company that’s really expanding in the surgical, medical space here. Can you share with us just a little bit about that and how does something like that come about? And what role does Partnership Gwinnett play in helping make things like that happen?

[00:08:29] Brian: Yeah, definitely. We were brought in very early into their project as the company Intuitive Surgical was looking to expand and grow. And for those who might not be familiar, Intuitive Surgical is the creator of the DaVinci robot. The small robot that does surgery on individuals. And I’m not gonna lie, I will be the first to admit that I was hesitant to think about having someone perform surgery on me that isn’t a human body. But once you’ve seen the application and seen the success rate and seen what they’ve developed. You just wouldn’t go back to human hands. And so Partnership Gwinnett, in collaboration with the local city administration in Peachtree Corners, and then with our state partners all worked together, hand by hand. And kind of stepping forward, of bringing the company here. And just kind of doing what we do every day, is telling the story of Atlanta and Gwinnett County. Explaining that the workforce here, one thing that’s great about Metro Atlanta, is that we actually graduate more engineers than any other region. So telling them about the great work that’s done at Georgia Tech and Georgia State and Kennesaw, and SCAD. And then combined that with the quality of life then a few corners in the, some, the other innovation hub across the street, across Wynette county, it was a no brainer. And, we really just work well with our community partners, with the local administration. And we brought all the resources kind of bundled together and made a compelling case that, eventually, they decided that this is where they want to be their new home. So it was our team in congruence with everybody else. And we worked hard for this past summer to land a plane. And we’re proud to say that they’ve opened and it’s one of the largest projects in Gwinnett County history.

[00:10:05] Karl: Wow. That’s fabulous, the work that’s being done and seeing so many people playing a role, working together to make that happen. If I could ask a little bit around your area of specialty, when you think of startup companies, technology companies, and so on. What are some of the things that you see that can help bring more of that? How does that work to get more of that ecosystem developed here in greater Atlanta and Gwinnett County in specific.

[00:10:33] Brian: I think when people typically think of startups, there’s a little divide and there’s a lot of misconceptions on what startups will need and what they’re looking for. And the first thing that startups themselves and other people sometimes get wrong. Is that they’re looking for capital, they’re looking for funding. And everybody’s looking for funding. But one thing that we have here in Atlanta that really pushes the needle for these startups to grow is something that I mentioned earlier, it’s that just the interconnectedness between all parties and that mentorship and exposure. We’re in an ecosystem where generally speaking it’s pretty close knit. Even from Gwinnett to Atlanta or from Gwinnett to our community partners. It’s a small knit community where transportation time isn’t that far. And so when talking to these startups thinking about relocating or growing, we just tell him like, Hey, this is an area where innovation is booming fast. Innovation comes from areas where there is a problem and there’s someone looking to solve. And Gwinnett County has set themselves apart, being that problem solution for a lot of the world societal problems. And so these startups, they come here and they find a lot of success and become leaders very quickly because of that.

[00:11:42] Karl: Can you tell us a little bit about any specific startup that you’re watching, some exciting stuff that’s going on? Just to give people a feel of the activity that’s happening here.

[00:11:54] Brian: I could tell about some startups, but even some innovation hubs that we have where these startups are breeding. If we’re looking back on in your neck of the neighborhoods in Peachtree Corners, there’s a lot of startups that are focusing on 5g and cyber security. And one of them that their common conversation is Smart Eye Technology using that retina scanning to scan for security purposes for documents or providing cybersecurity solutions to municipalities. And especially with security and data breaches being something that was talked about maybe 10 years ago, but now being a necessity, these companies, these startups are becoming the face of what it means to protect yourselves in a new digital age. Kind of as you go up Gwinnett County, you have the water tower, which is a water innovation hub. Innovation hub, actually more of an innovation campus, if you really think about it. It’s an area built solely for the innovation of water development technologies and water workforce. And there’s just so many exciting water startups there from providing clean water to the masses using hydro stations that could tell you, not only the level of certainty how clean it is, but pull data about your current water usage and scan for that. To even some startups working on trying to gather water from solar panels. And then if you kind move across from the water tower, up north all the way up through 16 is kind of the biggest and largest innovation hub, which is called Rowan. Recently in Gwinnett county just purchased 2000 acres to build this kind of life science community. Life science community focusing solely on renewable energy. That life, science, and agriculture. And you can most accurately think about it as like adjacent or something very similar to what you see at the Research Triangle Park. And there’s something so similar that we’ve actually hired the COO of Research Triangle Park to run the Rowan foundation, to lead to that development. And so while the development is still ongoing, since it’s such a massive project for Gwinnett County, we’ve just engaged a lot of startups and larger corporations.

[00:13:55] Karl: Gotcha. I’m curious when you’re talking about some of these innovation hubs and so on, what are some of the things that make us more attractive than other cities around them? What infrastructure is in place that entrepreneurs and tech folks can come to Gwinnett County and leverage?

[00:14:13] Brian: One of them is just the level of service that we offer here at Partnership Gwinnett. As I mentioned a little briefly, we like to call ourselves, community connectors. So they’re kind of, the one-stop shop. So we have partners at score or SBDC or SBA and ACE capital who are willing to sit down with these entrepreneurs on one-on-one, and give them that service and that training they need to find capital. To find exposure, to find that mentorship that could really take them to the next level. But also we’ve got some, a lot of resources just around a region that provides that same level of service at very little to no cost. And one thing that’s, the best thing about Gwinnett that’s also sometimes may be the worst thing about Gwinnett, is that it’s so big that entrepreneurs don’t know where to go. And so we could help them point to that direction.

[00:15:02] Karl: Now I wanted to talk a little bit of specific resources. So if I’m thinking of starting a business, whether I’m a CEO of a large company looking to expand into the Southeast, or I’m a tech company, that’s looking to establish operations here locally, what are some of the specific resources and tools you have that I can come to and get help with that most people may not know about?

[00:15:25] Brian: And if you, as a small business, I would actually first you come to me as the, kind of the first level of inquiry, just get some general questions. And then what we’ll do from that process is kind of. direct you to the next staff. And you could think about this as almost as stages. So first the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce would be the first step, just to network. The community here and all the businesses that’s under that umbrella can really help you brandish yourself and find the market that you’re looking for. And then after that, we’ll probably divert you to Score. Which is an organization built from volunteers to help you with your business plan. To help you figure out what your target market is, what’s your SWAT analysis, who are you trying to aim for and kind of really solidify and drill down your kind of needs for your business. And then depending on your type of business and depending on if you’re a startup, we also have an Angel Investment Network. Where, similar to what Shark Tank has become, you can apply and pitch to Angel investors who are looking desperately trying to invest in startups in the region. To kind of find that next unicorn status startup. So there’s just a bunch of resources here between a lot of the agencies here that can really help you go to the next level.

[00:16:40] Karl: What if I’m a large company and I wanted to move here locally? What are some of the tools and resources available for people that are helping with that type of search?

[00:16:49] Brian: Well, if you’re a large company, the first thing you’re looking for is space. Where am I going to have my production facility? Where am I going to house my employees? Even though you might be an office, there’s the trend of working from home. You want a place where you can build that company and culture. And so one of the things we do is connect you with, well first find a property that kind of fits the parameters of your needs and connect you with our network of brokers. And then after that, pull some data and research into, where’s the best place for you? Are you looking for somewhere close to the airport or close to a major interstate? Or are you looking for a place where the city is, has a lively festival culture? And so we really work hand in hand to make sure that we find a facility for you. And then after that we pull research, we pull our state partners to help with the tax incentives that companies all often qualify for creating new jobs in our region and putting in capital investment. And then after we kind of helped you relocate you, your company, your employees, and their families. We like to do a grand opening and press release to kind of welcome you in the community. And we’ve seen some press releases that have gone and grand openings that are just minuscule. They just want to let the community know they’re here. And then we’ve also seen ones that want to do a whole festival. They want to have a ferris wheel and a barbecue. And what we try to do is have the elected officials, key stakeholders, people in the community that fits the needs and people that you want to get in front of, all at your grand opening. Just to show that the community is here for you. And then after that, it’s not after you’ve landed that we’re just done with you. One thing we always say is that one of the good things about us, that once you find us, we’re always going to be contacting you. So you then after kind of move into our retention program, where we have our director for business retention and expansion kind of keep our eye on you. Do checkups and just make sure that you’re growing and expanding. One of the services that we offer of course, is helping with permitting needs. So if you’re a company here located and you have some permitting concerns, or it’s just trouble getting someone in contact, or you need a Fire Marshall to do a quick survey of your building, we can help facilitate and expedite that process for you.

[00:19:03] Karl: If there was one thing that you, from your perspective, would really leapfrog Gwinnett County into the clear leader for companies of all sorts. What kind of infrastructure improvement would you say would need to be here, put in place so we could develop over the next five to 10 years to really become that easy decision for businesses to come and play here?

[00:19:29] Brian: It would be hard to say, because I feel like a lot of the things that Gwinnett County is already working on. So one thing typically that we’ve talked about internally in our offices, that quality of life piece. But one thing Gwinnett County it’s already one step ahead of me. Is that, you know, one thing of our 16 cities is all of them are developing their downtown area. Downtown Suwanee is very different than downtown Peachtree Corners or downtown Norcross or downtown Lawrenceville. But they all have bubbly activity. And it’s those little key pieces that are really important to the companies that are relocating. Because you have to remember, they are people too. These companies are comprised of people and of employees. And after work, they also want to unbutton their shirt and grab a beer or go to a beer garden. So just having a community that has activities, not only for the older generation, but even for the millennial generation as well. So for them to build their families. And Gwinnett County has led the way in developing that. So I would say, as for Gwinnett County it has continued to grow, we have almost a million people as a population is just to further develop. And redevelop. Which has become a huge thing in economic development, it’s redevelopment. And it’s something Partnership Gwinnett has now taken a role into is redeveloping old areas that have been long forgotten and making those areas of attraction and beauty and entertainment. Where family meets, and friends, and coworkers, and millennials, all alike can kind of enjoy the services.

[00:20:58] Karl: You know, reinvention is always a key part of rebirth. Reinvention, being able to do that. I’m curious, Brian, is there anything coming up that, what are you working on? What are some of the things that are coming up where people can engage in the community around Partnership Gwinnett?

[00:21:14] Brian: Yeah, definitely. One thing that I’ve been working on with my team is how to provide more resources to entrepreneurs. There seems to be a little bit of a gap between small and medium sized businesses and entrepreneurs to the larger corporations. So one thing that we’re working on is how to bridge that gap. How to match make where, a small business can apply to be a subcontractor for a larger company and incorporation. And see, that’s the thing that we’re hoping to try to roll out as a program or a database where larger corporations, not only in Gwinnett County but in general, a large corporation can have our RFI and these small businesses could apply. Can go to the website, apply, and to be awarded I guess a small subcontract work where they could work and kind of bridge the gap. As one thing, working in technology innovation is, innovation definitely comes from within. And it also comes with collaboration with other partners. So we’re actively looking at different ways and methods for that to happen.

[00:22:12] Karl: Oh, fabulous. Well, Brian, I want to thank you. How can people reach you? If they wanted to reach you, what’s the best way to contact you?

[00:22:19] Brian: Yes. Best way to contact me is go on our website, www.PartnershipGwinnett.com, going to teams and under my profile of Brian Dorelus. Or you can go on LinkedIn and reach me there. Or you can reach me by email at BDorelus@ParntershipGwinnett.com.

[00:22:38] Karl: Oh, that’s fabulous. Well, you know what, I want to thank you, Brian. For everybody that is joining us midway, this is Brian Dorelus of Partnership Gwinnett. Sharing some of the exciting things that are happening here in Gwinnett County, and Metro Atlanta, and here in Georgia. From on the small side entrepreneurs, startup community, the resources and the help that they’re bringing to the local cities as well as business owners. But also how they’re bringing large companies into the areas, working collaboratively, across many different stakeholders to make those things happen. Thank you so much for sharing some of the insight and introducing yourself to the local business community. Thank you, Brian. Thank you very much. And I’m Karl Barham with Transworld Business Advisors of Atlanta Peachtree. Our business advisors are available to help consult business owners, connect them to folks like Brian and other people in economic development. And if you’re looking for real estate, commercial real estate, et cetera, we have a network of folks that can help people. And also if you’re looking at planning for your business growth through acquisition, if you’re looking at doing something else, we help with business sales and business exiting planning. If you want to contact me, you can reach me at KBarham@TWorld.com. Or visit our website, www.TWorld.com/AtlantaPeachtree. We’re here in the community to help. Rico, why don’t you tell us a little bit about what you’ve got coming up?

[00:24:04] Rico: Sure. Sorry about, I’ve been acting more as an engineer on this episode than anything else. But we just went to press with the printer in Monroe, Georgia. To do a shout out to Walton Press. They do a great job of printing the publication. We’re at 88 pages this issue, the largest issue we’ve had since we started over two years ago. Lots of stuff in it. And the lead feature story is actually about the people that run the day-to-day activities, the five department heads of the city of Peachtree Corners. So it highlights them. Also, Judy Putnam is profiled in there. She’s the communications director who’s retiring. And we have a new communications director that will be taken over shortly. And a lot of other stories in there along with photographs from Peachtree Corners Photography Club. They did a great fall-ish photo spread for us. And it’s also the pet issue. So lots of pet pictures and the end of the giveaway that we’ve run for the last four or five weeks. So check that out and you can actually see the digital edition online at LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com. Other than that, Mighty Rockets is my company as well. A publisher of Peachtree Corners Magazine, the purveyor of these podcasts and other marketing and product videos that we do for clients. So check that out. And if you need to reach me, it’s Rico Figliolini on LinkedIn. You can get me there. I’m probably the only Figliolini short of two others that are my siblings, if you find them. So Figliolini just checked that out and you can reach me.

[00:25:32] Karl: And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention, if you want to keep up with what’s going on locally, multiple ways to follow us. Follow us on Facebook. What are some of the other ways that folks can hear the podcast and follow what’s going on locally?

[00:25:46] Rico: Sure. So the video podcast, if you go to Peachtree Corners Life on Facebook or the Capitalist Sage on Facebook, there’ll be streams. We always stream those as a simulcast live stream. Search YouTube channel for Peachtree Corners Life. You can subscribe there and you’ll get notified when we go live on the simulcasts. And if you’re looking to audio podcasts, anywhere that you find the podcast, right? I Heart Radio, Spotify, Apple. Anywhere that you find audio podcasts, you can find us. Just Google the Capitalist Sage Podcast and you’ll pick up all sorts of resources that way.

[00:26:19] Karl: Absolutely. Thank you for that. And the last thing I’ll mention, if you have ideas for stories and articles, is there a way for folks to send that in to you Rico?

[00:26:29] Rico: Great, great question. Thank you. You can send any story, any ideas that you have suggestions to Editor@LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com. And if you’re thinking it’s going to be a great subject matter for the Capitalist Sage Podcast, certainly reach out to that email as well. And we’ll be able to talk to you a bit about that. And quite frankly, let me do this as well. If you’re looking to advertise or be a sponsor of the family of podcasts that we do, which includes the Capitalist Sage, Peachtree Corners Life and Prime Lunchtime with the City Manager, which is a monthly podcast, reach out to me at Editor@LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com.

[00:27:08] Karl: Excellent. How many homes do you reach currently with the magazine?

[00:27:11] Rico: We mailed 19,700 homes, households, get the magazine. And then another 1200 out to about a hundred locations.

[00:27:20] Karl: Lots of reach there.

[00:27:22] Rico: Oh, for sure. And more online because of the digital edition as well. And the weekly newsletters and website and all that, sure.

[00:27:30] Karl: Absolutely. Well, Rico, thank you very much. And for everybody that joined us today, thank you for supporting and watching the Capitalist Sage. We’re going to continue to have great topics for business owners and for people in the community. Let’s talk about business. Well everyone have a great day. Take care.

[00:27:46] Rico: Take care guys.

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Business

French-American Chamber of Commerce Moves In and Brings More Opportunities to Curiosity Lab

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Pictured (left to right): Bertrand Lapoire, VP FACC-Atlanta, Michael Gerebtzoff, Consul General of Belgium, Consulate General of Belgium in Atlanta, Kirk Duguid, Acting Consul General, Consulate General of Canada in SE, Mayor Mike Mason, Vincent Hommeril, Consul General of France, Consulate General of France in Atlanta, John Parkerson, Honorary Consul General & Foreign Economic Counselor of Hungary, Julie Lambotte, Executive Director FACC-Atlanta & Office Manager, French Tech Atlanta, City Manager Brian Johnson

Photos by Jason Getz– Instagram @jasongetz11

A bold initiative involving the French government and its newly unveiled technology consortium, the city of Peachtree Corners and its Curiosity Lab has been launched.

About 100 officials and community members were on hand for a recent ribbon-cutting celebrating the French-American Chamber of Commerce’s move from former offices in the Atlanta French Consulate to the Peachtree Corners lab, where it’s expected to play a key role in helping French technology firms relocate and expand here.

As La French Tech Atlanta President Sebastian Lafon put it, the move will “enable French startups to collaborate with many innovators and prove out their technology in a unique and live environment with real city-owned connected infrastructure that can’t be replicated in a laboratory.”

La French Tech Atlanta is an alliance of start-ups, investors, executives and community builders which is expected to work with the city in helping French firms develop technology in the Lab’s innovative testing environment as they seek to grow their North American footprints. The Atlanta outpost of the consortium was awarded accreditation by the French government in April.

September 9, 2021 – Peachtree Corners, Ga: The French-American Chamber of Commerce moves to Curiosity Lab Thursday, September 9, 2021, in Peachtree Corners, Ga.. PHOTO / JASON GETZ

Member of an exclusive club

City Manager Brian Johnson, who attended the ceremony, said the Corners joins a rather exclusive club, as French officials chose only a half-dozen spots in the U.S. for the venture. Other La French Tech programs have landed in such places as Austin, Texas and North Carolina’s Research Triangle.

Speaking on the “Primetime Lunchtime” Podcast, Johnson said, “It was a competitive process, and we threw our hat in the ring.” He added that officials not only leveraged the technology testing environment of the Curiosity Lab, but also pitched metro Atlanta and Georgia’s advantages as well, including state economic development incentives and the availability of such institutions as Georgia Tech as a resource.

Mayor Mike Mason, who was also on hand, said the initiative will be a signature resource for French firms looking to launch products in the U.S. with its laser focus on smart city technology, intelligent mobility and self-directed vehicles. That seems a hand-in-glove fit with the Curiosity Lab, which encourages companies of all sizes to test and deploy technology using such amenities as a three-mile autonomous vehicle test track.

Mason said a related hallmark of the lab is its ability to create partnerships with private firms and other entities, with more than a dozen current research projects underway there.

“Curiosity Lab has been influential in convincing several large companies to locate here. The old axiom of economic development is that activity creates more activity. This is a real plum for us.”

French business opportunities

Although no French tech firms have made commitments to work with the associated partners yet, French-American Chamber Atlanta Executive Director Julie Lambotte feels that day is coming.

“We are in discussion with a few companies, but there’s nothing definitive yet,” she said, adding that agriculture tech companies and various technology service providers are on the ‘possibles’ list.

The start-ups they’re looking to incubate at the lab complex will join an already respectable list of French firms doing business in the Peach State, Lambotte said. Some 254 firms from the European nation have already set up shop in Georgia, 135 of them in Metro Atlanta, she said. Lambotte noted that those firms are responsible for more than 18,000 jobs.

She indicated that building awareness of Atlanta and its suite of economic offerings among her countrymen has been challenging. “You probably noticed that when you talk to a French person, it’s not the first destination you have in mind when you talk about moving to the U.S. What we are trying to do with the chamber and La French Tech is to put Atlanta on the map,” Lambotte said.

And it’s not just the French who are sniffing around. Mason said that officials from other consulates such as Belgium and Canada attended the ribbon-cutting and officials from Germany and India want to tour the place.

Johnson said “portals” like these create possibilities that wouldn’t have existed otherwise and that the river can run both ways, with American companies establishing partnerships with French firms or perhaps opening facilities in that country.

“The sky is the limit right now,” Johnson said.

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