Good morning. Audience:
Good morning. Terri:
I am Terri Denison, Georgia District Director for the US Small Business Administration.
It’s my pleasure to open today’s National Small Business Week Event here at the Georgia
Tech Research Institute Conference Center. This year’s theme for National Small Business
Week is “Dream Big, Start Small”. Our vision for today’s program is a take on that very
theme. The greater economy, with all of its dynamics,
trends, development projects, and innovation set the stage for business opportunities for
businesses of all sizes, including small business. Today is about connecting small businesses
to what’s going on in the larger economic landscape. To set the tone for today, we are very fortunate
to have giving the feature remarks, our deputy administrative for the US Small Business Administration,
Douglas Kramer. After his remarks, Deputy Administrator Kramer will be joined by distinguished
panel of economic and business development professionals who have their fingers on the
pulse of the demographic and economic trends for armchair conversation about what’s on
the horizon for Georgia and the Southeast Region, and the opportunities that this presents
for small businesses. This afternoon, we will drill down even further
with concurrent sessions on 3 areas that we feel are the hot spots in the Georgia and
Southeastern economy: technology and innovation, the state’s growing film and TV production
industry, and international trade activity as it will be impacted by the Port of Savannah,
Savannah Harbor Deepening Project. I would be remiss in ending my remarks without
a few thank you’s. First, a very big thank you for these folks at Georgia Tech, Donna
Ennis and Ayesha Jones, for securing this great venue for us for today’s event; [Billy
Warden 2:20], the staff at the GTRI Conference Center for really working with us on setting
up the logistics for today. Then, of course, the SBA Georgia-based crew,
David Perry, who’s our Georgia deputy district director, who really did the lion’s share
of bringing this project together from an idea to reality that you will experience today;
regional communications director, Lola Kress; and Mark Gibson with our office of field operations
for helping us get the word out about today’s event. Then, of course, the Georgia district
office staff, many of whom you interacted with today to help you get to your seats and
to check in; and for those who are back at the shop, so to speak, holding the fort down
while we’re here. Now to provide remarks on behalf of this year’s
presenting sponsor for National Small Business Week, Chase for Business, is Mr. Mike Passilla,
who is the CEO of Commerce Solutions, Consumer and Community Banking. Mike:
Good morning, everybody. Audience:
Good morning. Mike:
My name is Mike Passilla. I’m the CEO of Chase Commerce Solutions, which effectively is the
division of JP Morgan Chase that runs all of the payments business across the United
States for us. I could not be more thrilled to be here as a representative of the organization. I’m personally incredibly proud as I am with
all my distinguished Chase colleagues in the audience to be the presenting sponsor of National
Small Business Week in partnership with Small Business Administration. This week helps everyone
shine a very appropriate light on millions of American small businesses, 4 million of
which we personally serve at Chase and millions of others that we’d like to get to know over
time. We’re joining the SBA at events all across
the country, like this one here in Atlanta, to celebrate and to bring appropriate focus
to business owners and to focus on tools and resources that they deserve. Chase’s support
of American small business is stronger than ever. Across the country, Chase serves over
4 million small businesses, American small businesses, including over 60,000 here in
the state of Georgia. It’s never been a numbers game for us, but
we do like the combination of the scale that Chase brings to bear, the ongoing investment
in technology, and our professional relationship management model that we think is a winning
combination. We try very hard to make it easy for business owners to control and manage
their finances so they can focus on what got them into business in the first place, and
that is running and growing their respective businesses. In fact, we have some of Atlanta’s
best bankers here today that will share some special offers with you over the course of
the day. Last Fall, we launched a new brand, Chase
for Business. It is a very intentional brand, with the idea that we want to support the
mission of being the bank for business. We took a hard look at the fact that we have
all the financial services with JP Morgan Chase that business owners need: transaction
accounts, cash management, lending, credit cards, payment processing, but we realize
that we can improve on how all of those solutions, all those products work together. Our focus
and our main focus has been bringing the parts of Chase together to make it easier for business
owners to do business with us. Beyond banking, Chase is very focused on supporting
the people and the organizations that support small business. That’s why we are the sponsor
in National Business Week, and we have programs such as Small Business Forward that help fund
non-profit incubators and accelerators across the country. You can read more about both
of those at Chase.com/business. Here in Atlanta, JP Morgan Chase has a commitment
to business, and has for years. My job happens to be a global one. If you ask my wife, I
spend too much time on the road, but that’s another conversation. Because I am a millennial,
as you can tell, I try to represent all of our customers. I will not relay that message
back to her. We have focus on making sure that Atlanta
and being a part of this program is so important to us, and that’s why I’m proud JP Morgan
Chase is here in a big way. Atlanta’s one of the cities participating in our global
initiative, our Global Cities Initiative, which is a joint program with the Brookings
Institute that helps metro areas around the world take better advantage of their global
commerce potential. We’re actively working with the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Just today
they released the foreign direct investment plan. Together, we’re reaching out to small
and minority-owned businesses so they also can become stronger importers and exporters. We’re also supporting the Chamber’s Atlanta
Metro Export Challenge, where 38 local businesses have already received grants of $5,000 in
the first round. Later this summer, those same business owners will have an opportunity,
and these businesses range from small ice cream makers to a developer of a cancer detection
technology, but those participants, 38 of them, have a chance to compete for an additional
$35,000 of funding. Congratulations to the SBA and everyone in
the business of small business. We’re proud to be a partner to this organization. As a
presenting sponsor, particularly for this week, we take it to heart and we take it very
seriously. Congratulations to all of you who own businesses or considering starting one.
From Chase, we applaud you, we thank you for making Atlanta, Georgia your home, and we
thank you for the ingenuity, the innovation, and the model of hard work that we can all
learn from over time. I appreciate it. Terri:
Thank you, Mike, for those remarks and for also redefining what a millennial is. I take
a lot of comfort in that. Thank you. Now it’s my pleasure to bring up, to make remarks,
and to formally introduce our deputy administrator, it’s my boss, our chief for SBA in the Southeast
Region, Cassius Butts. Oh. Oops, excuse me, retake. Oh, I left it out. I’m sorry. Actually,
before Cassius comes up, we have the pleasure of having our Georgia 2016 Small Business
Person of the Year, Catherine Downey with CATMEDIA. Catherine:
[inaudible 09:49]. Terri:
No chance. Catherine:
Hi, everyone. Being named the SBA Georgia Small Business Person of the Year is a huge,
huge honor. I’m deeply grateful for this award and the recognition that comes with it. I
just got back from Washington D.C. and had a wonderful time at The Smithsonian and the
Centers for Peace. I met the administrator, Maria Contreras-Sweet, who’s just amazing
– you saw her just a few minutes ago on videotape – and got to meet Mark Cuban and swim with
the sharks for just a minute. That was fun. Before I talk about my story, I would like
to personally thank the Georgia District Office for all their help. If there’s any of you
in the audience, would you please stand up. I know some of you are here. Come on. Georgia
District Office, please stand up. Thank you. I started my company 28 years ago, after my
first child was born, with nothing more than a legal pad and an answering machine. I didn’t
even have a desk. I worked at the kitchen table when my son slept. I was an expert at
advertising and I was an award-winning writer and director and producer, but I didn’t know
anything about running a business. Entrepreneurs like me, and many of you, were really great
at one thing. That’s why we went out on our own, but we’re not necessarily great business
people. Some of us struggle and flounder and often fail because we just don’t have the
tools and the knowledge base to run a business and grow a business. That’s why the SBA is so critical to small
businesses. They provide the toolbox and all the tools you need to succeed. Of course,
you have to have the vision and the hard work and the determination to use them. My involvement
with the SBA started 16 years ago, when I utilized SCORE to help me understand sales
and how to get customers, which led me to apply for the GSA schedule. From there, I
enrolled in the Small Business Development Center’s Fast Track Program and, after graduating,
was assisted in completing my 8(a) and encouraged in getting other certifications, such as Woman
in Business Certifications and getting involved with the Georgia Tech Procurement Center. During my 9 years as an 8(a), I attended many
classes and seminars held at the regional office. I always walked away with some new
piece of information that I could apply to my business. Every time I had a question about
the FAR, which, by the way, will put you to sleep if you can’t sleep at night, or a difficult
situation, I always got reassuring guidance. I’m sure many of them can tell you times that
I called up hysterical, not knowing how to handle a situation or a contracting officer
or a teaming partner or what the heck did this acronym mean. They were always there
for me, and calmed me down first and then talked to me about the issue. In early 2012, we utilized the SBDC again
for strategic planning. We really set some lofty 3-year goals. They were instrumental
in encouraging us to protect our intellectual property. As an innovator and entrepreneur,
I have had many ideas stolen from me … Borrowed from me from other businesses. The result
of that was that we were patent pending on 3 technologies. In the Fall of 2012, that’s really when everything,
all the strategic planning came together. We won our first huge contract with the FAA,
followed by 8(a) wins with the CDC, and our largest contract to date with OPM. I knew
I had to grow myself quickly because the person that starts a company with a legal pad and
no desk isn’t necessarily the person that can lead a $20 million, or our goal of $50
million, company. I had to grow up as a business leader and a business person even faster than
I was already growing. I applied for and was accepted into the SBA
Emerging Leaders Program and graduated as the class valedictorian in 2014. Through Emerging
leaders, I learned about the SBA 504 Program. I purchased a building, renovated and purchased
a building, which is now our Atlanta headquarters. Each class, each step led me to the next level.
Without the SBA, there is no way I could have built my company from employing 2 people to
employing 35 and engaging over 500 1099s. Sorry, I get emotional. From renting a small space, where we were
literally on top of each other, to buying and renovating a 6,000-square-foot headquarter
building in Atlanta and opening and staffing a D.C. sales office; from being a small, creative
services company to expanded offerings of e-learning, training, program management,
human resource management, marketing and advertising, starting an entertainment division, which
is in process of producing a full-length feature film and a documentary, and launching our
commercial division advertising agency; from going from gross revenues of under $500k to
approaching $18 million this year. Each step of the way, the SBA has been there,
providing me with the tools I needed to be successful. Thank you from the bottom of my
heart. The SBA is what makes small business work. The Georgia District Office is really
what helped my business work. Thank you so much. Terri:
Thank you, Catherine. Shame on me for almost skipping over that story because, at the end
of the day, we could talk about our programs and the services that we offer, but when you
have a business that has taken those resources and programs and put them into action and
then you see the results, that’s really what our job is all about. Thank you, Catherine,
for sharing that. Now I would like to bring up SBA’s leader for the 8 states of the Southeast
Region to introduce our featured speaker today, Cassius Butts. Cassius:
Good morning, everyone. Audience:
Good morning. Cassius:
Good morning. Audience:
Good morning. Cassius:
This is a wonderful day. I’m so glad that we are all together this morning because this
is a day that is not about really anyone of us, it’s about you. I first want to acknowledge,
again, our Georgia District Office, Terri Denison, David Perry, and the whole team.
Let’s give them a warm round of applause, let them know how we feel this morning. I think I got here maybe 7:00, 7:38, somewhere
around that time. There were some folks that were here, and they were here and they were
just making certain that they were a part of this. You got here before the folks came
here to turn on the lights. If you were here, stand up. Let us see. Come on, just stand
up. You were this morning very early … Yes, Miss [Carolyn 17:23], stand up. Who else?
In the back there, stand up. There you go, stand up. I want people to see you … There
you go. Thank you. We want people to know that we are encouraged,
we are excited, we are really looking forward to seeing the fruits of our labor because
today has really been about you. This is all about you today, but the best part about today
is that we have an opportunity to say thank you from a national point of view. I had to
first able to give a special thank you to Georgia Tech President Bud Peterson for hosting
this national live event. Please let him know how much we appreciate being here this morning. Georgia Tech is recognized not only domestically,
but internationally for producing great entrepreneurs and providing a superb entrepreneurial ecosystem.
We also would like to thank the National Small Business Week sponsors for making today possible
as well. Of course, Donna Ennis, thank you so much. Thank you. I often say it’s no accident when things happen.
They happen the way they’re supposed to. Sometimes there’s no accident why we’re here in Region
IV. We are very proud to say, for this past fiscal year, we backed nearly $5 billion of
loans to small business. I’ll tell you it really didn’t happen unless you heard exciting
stories like Catherine’s. I will tell you, Catherine, that you are one of our unsung
heroes. She did not tell you that, in 2014, she was a part of the Emerging Leaders Program,
where she was the valedictorian. When you have a CEO that comes back to continue
to absorb the information that SBA has to offer, she is a true testament that when you
put your effort where you want to be every single day and coming and letting us help
you on the government side. You can actually be very happy with the fruits of your labor.
Again, Catherine, thank you very much. Your story was so touching. Today we’re really excited because we have
a very special guest with us today. It is important for me because we had an opportunity
to witness small business happen, but our deputy administrator is here today to do this
firsthand. What I mean by that this is an opportunity for you to get to know him a little
bit better as well, too. I’m going to go right into some acknowledging who this great person
is to us. The deputy administrator was confirmed by
senate to this position last June, prior to that he held a variety of positions in President
Obama’s administration, including 4 years in leadership at the White House. As deputy
administrator, he is responsible for managing the agency and ensuring the efficient operation
of its programs. He works to make sure that the agency fulfills his promise to support
US small businesses. Please help me and please give him a warm Georgia peach round of applause
for our deputy administrator, Mr. Doug Kramer. Douglas:
[inaudible 00:20:30]. There you go. Wow! I don’t know what I have left to say anymore.
We had the video, we had all the remarks already. I can’t keep up with Catherine. That’s just
not fair to me, but I will do what I can. My name is Doug Kramer and, as introduced,
I’m the deputy administrator for the US Small Business Administration. On behalf of Administrator
Contreras-Sweet and everybody who works at SBA, I’m very excited to be here. This is
really our outside of D.C. kickoff of National Small Business Week. The administrator is
doing an event in New York tonight. We’ve both [been 21:08] going from there, but Atlanta
is our first stop. As we think about why we do this, I want to
spend just a minute and touch on that at the top because Catherine’s story exemplifies
that very clearly. It’s a great story. There are a number of them throughout the country
that are really the backbone of who we are and who our communities are, but each of them,
individually, don’t always get the attention that they need or deserve. National Small
Business Week, we try to galvanize through the media, through events like this those
stories to remind people about the power of small business. I’m going to talk a little
bit about that today. It also provides an opportunity for us at
SBA to talk about what we do and to amplify that in a focused way, because as I’ll talk
about in my remarks today, we do a whole lot of stuff, for a lack of a better term and
we do it an incredible scale, but we’re not always out front on that. We’re working through
our partners in the banks and our partners that run investment venture capital funds
and our partners in the federal government that give out contracts or give out research
and development grants. You don’t always see us out front doing that and may not understand
all the support that is out there available to all of you who are looking to start a small
business. That’s a bit of what I’m going to talk about today. Before I do that, I want to join everybody
else in thanking our host here at Georgia Tech. This is a great room, a great facility
for them to give us. I feel like we could launch a space shuttle from in here or something
the way this is all setup. Thanks for sharing that. Also, everybody in our local office, but specifically
to Terri and David and Cassius on the regional level, who have just provided extraordinary
leadership and results here in Georgia and in the entire region for our small businesses.
Then I want to congratulate Catherine for her win this year as Georgia Small Business
Person of the Year. I think she made it clear more than I ever could. It was a richly-deserved
award for her. Thanks to all of you for your participation in today’s event and in your
contribution. I want to start then with Catherine because
that’s what we need to do. As much as I will end up talking about SBA and what we do, what
this week is all about is the entrepreneurs whose innovations and persistence literally
make us the envy of the world. In this role, I do get to travel around internationally,
talk to people who try to do this, working in other countries. They’re desperate to figure out the secret
recipe that we have for our entrepreneurship and small business culture because they’re
trying to replicate it, and they can’t because it’s not just a series of policies, it’s not
just something the government can do. It’s built into our society and our country. All
we do is try to give it the support and bring it out. For example, I think entrepreneurs are probably
the greatest source of social mobility in America today. Some of America’s greatest
companies were founded by people who held steady 9 to 5 jobs or in between jobs that
they didn’t care about too much, but dreamt about spending their days doing what they
truly loved. Some of us were able to go to college because
our parents started a gas station or a corner store. Some of you may be doing a lot of that
same thing right now. Maybe you’ve launched an e-commerce business or a local moving company
with a truck and a couple of people with some strong backs. That’s what entrepreneurship
can offer you. If you want to stop dreaming and start doing,
you first have to make the commitment that you will be investing your own labor, your
mental health at times, and your own money, but please come talk to us at the SBA, because
for reasons that we will talk about throughout this day, I think there are a number of things
that we’re doing that can help make that dream possible for all of you. We have offices in communities across the
country, staff with dedicated professionals who have done this work and understand this
work, who are willing to help, able to help through services that are completely free,
whether you need help writing a business plan, finding research funding to take your dream
and get it to a proof of concept stage and then market viability, or accessing the credit
union, merely to make that first downpayment on getting your business off the ground. That’s
what SBA is here for. That’s how we came up very easily then with the theme for this week,
in National Small Business Week, “Dream Big and Start Small”. It’s more than a tagline. It really is the
American story. You can look back in our history and see the homesteaders who went out west
with no foundation, no idea what they were going to do, but they had this idea that they
would have the opportunity to carve a way of life for themselves and their families.
It’s the war time wives and the Rosie the Riveters who started out in a very patriotic
step of working in World War II and then found out that they could create profitable businesses
out of that experience. It’s the determination of a number of African-American innovators,
who overcame discrimination to pioneer advancements in agricultural chemistry, performing the
first successful open heart surgery, and even creating the first home computer. Today, as a demonstration, as to how that
is so woven into who we are in the American experience, I find it so fascinating that
entrepreneurship has even taken over our popular culture. You see books and movies all the
time about entrepreneurs, whether it’s Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg or Silicon Valley
on HBO, which if any one you watch, is both wonderful and terrifying at the same time,
which is a very apt portrayal of what it’s like to start a small business. I was taken yesterday, when we were at the
National Awards Ceremony in Washington and Mark Cuban was speaking. He pointed out that
Shark Tank is the number one rated show in the country for families to watch together.
Think about that. It’s not Spongebob, it’s not some singing competition, it’s entrepreneurs
talking about starting a business, a viable business, being challenged on where they’re
going to find sales and all that that families come together and watch and talk about. That’s
now happening in any other country in the world. I was surprised it’s happening even
in the United States, that something that substantive, something that weighty is the
sort of thing that families sits down and watch together. That is how firmly taken the
entrepreneurial experience, the small business adventure is in the American story. Entrepreneurship allows us to provide something
of value to society, in addition to what we get for ourselves. It does provide a better
future for ourselves and the people we love. If you succeed you’ll become a business owner,
but you’ll also become a pillar of your community in a much greater extent than almost any other
type of business, because local small businesses are the ones that sponsor little league baseball
teams. They donate profits to local PTA or any kind of services. They plant trees on
Main Street, they invest in the future of their neighborhoods, and bring people together
in the communities that all of us call home. Small businesses, and these are facts, donate
more of their funds to non-profit charitable organizations than other businesses. You also
find that more of the money you spend in a small business ends up staying in that local
community. People have a misconception, in addition to these small things we do around
communities, but people have a misconception that it’s really, though, the big corporations
that keep the engine of American enterprise and the American economy going and keep America
the strongest economy in the world, but it’s not necessarily the case. As we’ve already talked about this morning,
it’s actually small businesses that comprise, in the aggregate, the largest single engine
in the American economy. You can find them on Main Street, you can find them in malls,
and you’re finding them more and more all the time online. No greater an authority than
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has said that it was small businesses that powered
our recovery after the Great Recession. They create 2 of every 3 new jobs, they employ
half of America’s private sector workforce, and they produce close to half of the goods
and services that make up the United States economy. Today we’re here to celebrate their contributions
and their importance, the importance of people like Catherine Downey, who started CATMEDIA
back in 1997, as she explained. After years of work and sacrifice she built into a company
that’s been recognized by Inc. 500 as one of the fastest growing private companies in
America for 2 years. It’s not easy. Usually you have a spurt, you grow, and then you’re
off the list. To grow that quickly for 2 years is quite an accomplishment. She has a successful local business now, as
she explained, but she also gives back to those who are coming behind her, not only
by sharing her story today, but also by contributing to Georgia’s Small Business Development Center,
where she sits on the local state advisory board to make sure that other people have
the advantage to get the same counseling that she got. She’s certainly paying it back. SBA has helped to create stories like this
in every zip code in America. I want to make sure that you all have a sense of the different
resources that are available to you. I’m going to run through these pretty quickly, so as
not to bore you too much, but I want to make sure that everybody is aware of the variety
of services that we offer. One of the benefits I have of being deputy administrator is I
get to see all the good that the agency does. Not all of this will be relevant to each of
you, but if there’s something you haven’t heard about before and you’re interested about,
make sure you take the opportunity today to find out about them. I’ve got to put out there, too, it may not
be the first instinct; although all of you decided to come here today, but it’s not the
first instinct of most people in entrepreneurship to think that the place they need to go is
the federal government. If you take a deeper look, I think you’ll be surprised to see the
options you have. I should say SBA is not an oversight agency.
We don’t regulate, we don’t do enforcement. If you don’t want anything to do with the
Small Business Administration starting your business, that is your complete right and
ability to do. You don’t need any license from us to open a small business in the United
States, but, as Catherine’s already made very clear ways, there are a couple of billion
reasons why that might not be a good idea. We work behind the scenes, as I said before,
really to create an ecosystem for small business growth and development. We’ve done that for
more than 60 years. As the video demonstrated before, most of the really iconic brands in
the United States today grew through some help from the Small Business Administration,
whether it’s Tesla or Apple or Qualcomm, FedEx, Nike, and thousands more. We put a thumb on
the scale to make sure small businesses, who otherwise might have environmental challenges
to success, can be successful in starting their new enterprise. One of the first ways that happens is overcoming
the challenges that many small businesses have in obtaining the capital that they need
to start their business. That’s why we partner with banks to help them make small business
loans they otherwise might be a little bit reticent about making. We assume, for SBA
loans, the downside risk of about 50% to 85% of a potential default so that they will be
willing to make that loan. When President Obama took office back in 2009,
the economy was losing about 800,000 jobs a month, but what we’ve seen after the economy
stabilized and through the work of small businesses, is we’ve had 73 straight months of job creation.
SBA-backed business loans have supported 4.5 million jobs. Last year alone, we guaranteed
69,000 loans to American small businesses, totaling more than $28 billion. Although those are records by a pretty good
clip for SBA, we’re not happy with where that is right now because we want to make sure
banks have the incentives to make small dollar loans and really hitting at those early stage
small businesses who need that money desperately. The job market bounce back, conventional credit
to small business hasn’t completely, rolling at about 83% of the pre-recession levels,
which is a $58 billion gap. At SBA, what we’ve done is we’re trying to
fill that gap, especially in small loans. We’ve eliminated fees, we’ve automated our
loan application process for the guarantee to make sure it’s easier for more banks to
get that guarantee and get money flowing to small businesses. We’ve added new micro-lenders,
we’ve created new relationships with community banks and minority-owned institutions to improve
our network to make sure that we are reaching those folks in communities that were previously
underserved by SBA loans and the banks that partner with us. Once small businesses have the capital they
need, we also help them gain access to the largest customer in the world, because as
soon as you turn on your lights in your business, the next thing you need is find a customer.
There’s no bigger customer in the world than Uncle Sam. By statute, federal agencies are
required to spend about 23% of their spend with small and medium-sized businesses, but
that doesn’t mean that it was happening every year. There were several years or almost decades
where the federal government was falling short in that regard. I’m happy to say that over the last few years,
we’ve hit and now far exceeded that number. Last year, we did about 25.7% of spending
throughout the federal government with small businesses. In terms you all might find a
little bit easier to comprehend, even though it’s still pretty incomprehensible, that was
$91 billion in spending that went specifically to small business through the federal government
and their procurement process. We also have programs, as Catherine talked
about, to make sure that we’re providing preferred access to those federal government contracting
opportunities to businesses owned by women or service disabled veterans and Americans
from disadvantaged backgrounds. It takes more than just a great idea to start
your small business. It also takes execution. At the SBA, we tap into a network of people
who help provide the know-how in local communities, along with our in-house experts, to make sure
that you have the counseling and strategic advice you need to start your business. We’ve
done that to more than a million small business people every year. We do it through our small
business development centers, through women’s business centers, veteran outreach centers,
and SBA district offices. You can find all of those resources and the ones closest to
you on the SBA website at SBA.gov. We also work with seasoned executives through
the SCORE Program. They mentor small businesses in more than 800 different locations throughout
the country. We have a Boots to Business Program this Fall. We’ll have trained our fifty-thousandth
departing veteran who’s leaving the service and transitioning back home and giving them
the tools they need to start a business, if that’s what they want to do for themselves. One of the one I’m excited about, and President
Obama announced in his State of the Union Address this year, was the Startup in a Day
Initiative, which is challenging state local jurisdictions to amend their processes so
that a small business owner can walk into a city building in the morning and walk out
at the end of the day with every permit and license they need to start their business.
When I suggest this one … Thank you. This is one of those, when I mentioned this
to foreign leaders, they have no concept what I’m talking about. They have no way to comprehend
that system. There are even some mayors and state officials in the United States that
we called up and said, “Hey, are you ready to take the Startup in a Day pledge?” and
they’re like, “No, we’re not ready to do anything close to that.” I’m happy to say here in Atlanta, Atlanta
has taken the Startup in a Day pledge and has also received one of our $50,000 grants
– I think we only did 6 or 7 of them nationwide – to help them get in that direction. We hope
that Atlanta’s really going to be a leader, not only in making this pledge, but following
through to make sure that small businesses in this area can then get up and going right
away. As I mentioned before, we have our Small Business
Innovation Research, the SBIR Program, which makes sure that any federal government agency
that receives or is budgeted research and development funds has to take a certain amount
of those funds and dedicate them to small businesses so they’re not going to the same
large corporations all the time. Every year, we provide about $2.5 billion in seed funds
to provide those small businesses that are doing innovative, creative things. We help
them take their idea to concept and then learn how to commercialize them. We sponsor more than 130 high tech incubators
around the country so that people can find support for their businesses. That way and
importantly, we have licensed and leveraged more than 300 investment funds. This comes
a little bit later for small businesses, but it’s very important, that specialize in providing
venture capital, specifically to small businesses. Our holdings in these funds currently amount
to more than $26 billion. It’s a lot of money that’s been activated to make sure that small
and growing businesses can get to that equity event they need in their growth arc to go
from a really small business to the opportunity of becoming a huge one. These are a lot of ways that we can help you
help yourselves. If anything, I just rattled off … You’re probably a little exhausted.
I’m very exhausted. If anything that I just rattled off sounds like it is appropriate
for you or someone you know, identify someone that stood up in the room before, go to our
website and let us know. Let me be clear, though, the success of your
small business will depend upon you. We can’t build Catherine, we’ve tried. The lab’s always
screwed up one way or the other. We run a large government agency and we run it at a
very large scale. We know, at the end of the day, we can’t make you a success. We’re also
not the cause of your failure. That’s going to be on you. What we do do, and our whole
philosophy, is to make sure that you have all the support you need along the way. One of the things we like to talk about with
small businesses is that one of the major differences is what could be a fatal event
for a small business is something that, for a large business, just puts out a timeline
for 6 weeks, [or it’s 00:39:15] a little bit of a rounding error on a budgetary item, but
even small events. We talked about cyber security in D.C., yesterday, events that often cost
a small business $20,000 on average. Those events can totally ruin your small business
if you don’t have an ecosystem there to provide the support when those gaps in what you’re
doing arise. Whether it’s linking you with a bank, ready to do business with you, whether
it’s providing you with information and education that you need, to answer questions that you
have, or exposing you to a big customer that’s motivated and incentivized to work with you,
that’s what SBA does. We’re hoping to provide that opportunity for
every single entrepreneur who’s willing to take that risk. That’s where we get to today.
That’s why we’re encouraging all of you to dream big and start small, and to be a difference
maker in our economy and in your communities. Thank you. That’s the view from 10,000 feet
from Washington, whatever you want to call it. What I think we’re going to do now is
transition because we’ve brought some people from across the local economic small business
sector and ecosystem to talk specifically about what’s going on in this region. I’m
going to leave them a discussion. I’m going to invite them up to the stage at this point,
and we’ll transition into all of that. Thank you for your time and attention this morning. I’ve done a very lengthy introduction to this,
so I think I can just jump into a conversation with our group up here. What I think we will
… The only ground rule I will put out is I will try to avoid the abstract and the theoretical
and try to keep everybody on a very practical path, as we talk about opportunities that
are coming up. You get to be theoretical. You’re a fed, so you get to do that, that’s
your job, but everybody else. I want to talk about specific opportunities that people see,
specific concerns, and drive the conversation in that direction. I will provide a very quick introduction of
each of the 5 panelists, let them talk a little bit about themselves. Then, as a way of introduction,
I’ll give them each a question to start with, and that would be, in just a couple of sentences
or as long as you want to go, what is the number one most exciting thing going on in
this region right now, the opportunity right now that you think is something people should
be aware of, if they’re not already? Let me start with Jeff Patterson, who is the
district director for the local SBDC, the Small Business Development Center that’s located
over at Georgia State. Jeff is someone who has an extensive history in the financial
services industry, including working at several community banks in the area. I’ll just let
Jeff talk a little bit about himself and then answer my question. Jeff:
Yeah. I’ve been at the SBDC for about 3 years now, happy to be there, met a lot of interesting
people. The SBDC, if you don’t know, at least here in Georgia, we have 17 offices throughout
the state. We do toe-to-toe, nose-to-nose consulting. We are university-based here.
I’m not sure about throughout the rest of the United States, but you will find an office,
an SBDC office, throughout the United States. We teach the adult learners at night, or during
the day. We do workshops to help, but our sweet spot is to help small businesses like
yours grow. That could be whatever your pain point is. Access to capital is my niche. I’m
an old banker, so I speak banker-ese, but we do a lot of work with small businesses.
The most exciting thing that I think is happening here in Atlanta, outside of the film industry
and a little expansion- Douglas:
[inaudible 43:30]. Jeff:
I know, I know. Douglas:
You can’t chew up all of them as an aside. You just choose one and leave one at least
for the other four. Jeff:
All right. I’m going to go back all the way up to the headwaters here. I think there’s
a lot of synergy and excitement going on here in Atlanta with our women entrepreneurs, and
we want to get behind that. We do a lot of work in that space at my office. We’re excited
about that. Douglas:
Great. I’ve got to enforce the rules or I’ll lose control of the whole thing. Jeff:
Sorry. I get excited. Douglas:
Next I’m going to turn to Art Slotkin. Art is the director of the SCORE Chapter here
in Atlanta. I’ll let him talk a little bit about what that is for those of you that aren’t
already aware of the services they provide, but Art exemplifies what SCORE is because
Art worked for 34 years in the computer services industry, most significantly for SAIC, and
has now been with SCORE since he retired, helping other folks learn the ways to start
a small business. Art, do you want to talk a little bit about what SCORE does and then
give me your idea of what you think the best opportunity is in the area right now? Art:
SCORE happens to be the best kept secret that the SBA has because we provide services to
clients across the country. We have about 10,000 volunteers. I am a volunteer. I have
retired twice. My third job is a volunteer job. I hope I don’t fail that one, too. We in SCORE are people who provide free or
low cost services to our clients. We work as a resource partner of the SBA. We are located
… For example, here in Atlanta, I’m responsible for the State of Georgia. We have about 20
offices in Georgia in 6 chapters. Here in downtown Atlanta, as an example, we are in
the SBA’s office. Across the country, we are located in any of the SBA offices. [In Georgia 45:30], about 25% of our clients,
or actually 30% of our clients are actually brought to us by the SBA. We provide free
mentoring, that is counseling to either existing business owners or people who want to be small
business owners. We provide free or low cost workshops, seminars. We provide online webinars
that are all free. We have online templates that are all free. The most important thing we do is I like to
talk about the results. Last fiscal year, we follow the government fiscal, the efforts
of SCORE volunteers created 65,000 new jobs in the United States, primarily free services
and 53,000 new companies, new small companies, in one year alone. What we do is we help small businesses … For
all volunteers. We have a couple of volunteers here. We have … Ulrica Jones is the chair
of the middle … Dr. Jones is the chair of the Middle Georgia Chapter of SCORE, making
him one of our admins … He’s a volunteer office manager for the downtown branch. He’s
the chair-elect for the Atlanta Chapter of SCORE. We have lots of volunteers in Georgia,
about 175, and 10,000 nationwide. Douglas:
Next we’re going to turn to Lee Baker, who’s from the AARP of Georgia, obviously a very
large organization even in Georgia. I think more than a million members here. Also helpful
because his background prior to this, working as a financial planner and I think ran his
own firm, so has, I think, some background understanding the challenges of being a small
business owner. Lee, if you want to talk a little bit about what AARP does in this space
or any other thoughts? Lee:
Absolutely. I’ve been on the job with AARP as state president for about a month and a
half, two months. I’ve not had the opportunity yet to make my way across the entirety of
Georgia, but, as many of you are aware, AARP is simply huge as it relates to small businesses.
The focus, quite frankly, is on what we describe as encore entrepreneurs. The focus of AARP
is of citizens across the country and across America who are 50-plus. There’s a lot of
advantages there. I won’t go too deep into that, but, as Doug
said, my background is that of a certified financial planner, and I am still in business
and, quite frankly, work with a lot of small businesses from a client perspective. It provides
unique insight. We’ve got people who work closely with Miss Ennis, who have gone through
the program, developed well, and similar stories to Catherine. One of the things that I’d like to say is
it’s important when you have these opportunities, conferences come about that you look at all
of these organizations as great resources. You may not know on an individual basis who
you should pick up the phone and call, but I guarantee you that if you reach out to the
SBA, AARP, SCORE, all of us would be more than happy to help because there’s a saying
that a rising tide lifts all ships. That’s absolutely true. Douglas:
Then next is Tisha Tallman, who’s from the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, one
of the largest chapters, I think, of Hispanic chambers in the country. The other services
they provide, specifically provide, business and leadership development and other opportunities
for small businesses. Tisha, welcome. If you want to talk a little bit about what the Georgia
Hispanic Chamber does. Tisha:
… Having us. Is this loud enough? Okay. We are the fourth largest Hispanic chamber
of commerce in the nation, with over 1,300 members, which I think sometimes astounds
people, given the fact that we’re still considered … Southeast. Our infrastructure has existed
since … Either a lucky guess or extreme foresight on the part of our founders. Nonetheless,
we’re a strong infrastructure that has thrived during the Great Recession. We do service Hispanic-owned businesses. We
also service non-Hispanic-owned businesses who are interested in working in the Hispanic
market or being linked up with the Hispanic market. We also do international and domestic
programming. I’m very excited to be here, and I … Our members. There are so many exciting things going on
right now. Instead of focusing on an industry that might have some opportunities, I want
to focus on an area that’s important to our community and certainly our state and our
country, and that’s leadership. Anyone following the politics of this particular presidential
race, we can see that there is a gap in leadership generally. Specifically for our community, the Hispanic
community, we have an extreme leadership gap. While we lead in economic contribution, given
our numbers, we’re the sixth Hispanic market in the nation and the fourth fastest-growing
in the nation, we lag behind on the leadership aspect. There’s only one Georgia General Assembly
member. There are only 4 judges out of 1,400 across the entire state. We recognize that leadership void and we truly
believe that the leaders in our business community are going to drive leadership … Our community,
specifically in the Hispanic community and in the broader community. As we continue to
be one of the fastest-growing entrepreneurial segments, as well as one of the fastest-growing
populations in general, we really do need to step up and fill those leadership voids. We’re focusing on leadership that stems from
the business community, works on leadership skills within their particular industry, but
they also gives a call to lead … For the betterment of all of us … Leadership in
this country is going to be driven by business owners. Douglas:
Great. Thanks so much. Just to set the table, and I’ll get to you in a second, Todd, but
I want to setup everything here. Of the 5 members of the panel, the way we look at this,
we’ve got the SBDC and SCORE chapters, which is closely ingrained with SBA and our programming,
outreach partners that help us do all of that, but you can’t help but do that, as I think
a couple of them mentioned, without getting into the other community organizations that
are out there working with different segments because the small business area goes through
all of that. We have the diversity of that by the Hispanic Chamber and the AARP. Then we have Todd here who’s from the Federal
Reserve. He is … What are you Todd? You’re vice-president in the research department
at the Federal Reserve Bank here in Atlanta, which means Todd can then give us the long
term view and probably even a short term view about what the Fed thinks is happening in
the economy, what the environment is like, what existing small businesses should be prepared
to think about over the next few years, and what people who might get into business want
to do. Again, I probably should have set it up at the beginning, but I think we have folks
from at least 3 very distinct different backgrounds that I think will lend to a good conversation
here. Todd, if you want to talk a little bit about what you’re up to. Todd:
Thank you so much. Can you all hear me? Okay, great. Todd Greene, Federal Reserve Bank of
Atlanta. Many of you know that the Fed is responsible for our nation’s monetary policies.
It’s something that most impacts small businesses. The group that I am responsible for at the
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, and we look across the 6 Southeastern states, we focus
on Main Street issues. Our group focus is on issues like small business and entrepreneurs
… Housing, neighborhood revitalization, and [light 54:20] issues, for example. We
also look at issues like workforce development and human capital … Segments of the population
who may have … We also look at finance issues. We have a
broad portfolio about how we’re addressing things, but specifically within the context
of small business … Look at a couple of things. We work with organizations … Try
to understand where there challenges are with respect to … Also, look to take information
back, to hear from you and to hear from people like Terri and Cassius, who have done an incredible
job of sharing with us some of those challenges related to small business. We, in turn, can
take that back in consideration … Policies that we’re responsible for developing. The one issue that I think that I would just
really want to … Is an opportunity that I think is really incredible. We had a lot
of lack of investment around … Fantastic opportunities for small businesses. The airport
is going to get over $6 billion worth of investment. If you were not trying to figure out opportunities
that are associated with the Atlanta Airport, one of the largest economic engines in the
Southeast, I would encourage you to do that. I know we’re on live tape. In New Orleans,
they also have a very large infrastructure project through the airport. There are so
many different opportunities there. I’ll just leave it at that. I think that’s one right
in this region. Douglas:
You left it at that right before you would have taken my … I’m going to answer my own
question as well, but I think what’s going on in Savannah, with the port over there,
which I know there’s a session on that this afternoon, is a huge opportunity. I think
one of the things I’ve found since I’ve been in this position is I know that I did not
completely understand and respect the role that global supply chains, supply chains run
by very large manufacturers and very large companies, provide just great opportunities
for small businesses. As I look at what’s happening over in Savannah
and all the increased trade and just the operations and everything else, I can’t help but think
that there will be … In the same way you talked about the airport, there will be more
than enough to go around and a number of opportunities that a lot of small businesses would write
it off because, “Oh, that’s such a big thing. I don’t play in that space,” but the variety
of different opportunities you find with big infrastructure projects like that provides
a really good opportunity. Todd, I’m also going to pivot off of something
else you said, to go to the first general question – I’ll pitch this to Jeff and to
Art, but then anybody else can jump in – and that is getting a sense of the environment
right now coming out of the recession. On the one hand, there are certain standards
that have recovered. The stock market looks promising, the employment numbers look promising,
but there are still a lot of other indicators that are lagging, some on income and wages,
some other reports out there. The Washington Post has written a story on not all housing
markets have come back after the recession. With what you all are saying, Jeff and Art,
and the people that you are counseling and the way that you might compare what you think
folks are doing now, whether it’s small businesses or banks or whatever, compared to pre-recession
or now, on the one hand, do you think the environment is back? Do you think the environment’s
changed? What do you think the lasting impact of the Great Recession is for people who either
are trying to start or have a small business? Jeff:
I think the general consensus of the folks we see, they’re cautiously optimistic. Credit
is coming back. The access to capital is coming back. I think we’re dealing, though, with
a lot smarter clients now. I think they look around and see the environment a little bit
wiser now, if you will. We’ve come through, and those businesses that have survived are
fit now. They’re lean, they’re efficient. I think we’re poised for a good stretch here
to see our entrepreneurs grow. Art:
Similarly, we’re seeing optimism, but if you look at a micro point of view, which the State
of growing. If you look at a macro point of view, the state is growing. In a micro point
of view, there are depressed areas of the state, for example in Columbus, the cut back
of the Army by 29% caused a significant impact on the small business. Nevertheless, we’re
seeing an increase in the number of clients. We’re also seeing quite a few … Coming out
of the military, as Georgia is very heavily involved in the military in both the Boots
to Business Program and the … In Columbus, we had a Warrior Transition Program … Warriors.
We’re seeing a lot of soldiers going through those programs. Overall, our services are up by about 3% this
year and … Quite a bit of optimism as a result of the improving economy. I think Georgia’s
doing about 50% better than the rest of the country. We’re growing at what? 3%. We’re
better off in Georgia. Douglas:
Todd, I think it’s … Todd:
Yeah. Just to reflect on that from a national perspective, still seeing some weakness in
the small business … Small firms are really just still recovering from the recession … Firms
really take it on the chin during the … Look at employment. Thank you. When we look at
employment levels, at the height of the recession, this is mid-2009, small firms lost about 11%
of their employees; whereas larger firms lost around 7%. Larger firms have recovered and
have experienced gains. Small firms are still lagging. There are opportunities there. The other challenge is we’re seeing fewer
firm starts. Fewer firms are starting, and that is actually hurting the economic opportunity
for our country. Here’s the good news: profitability is up – the firms that we engage have reported
that they are more profitable – and revenue growth is up. We keep hearing about this financial picture
about access to credit. By and large, we are finding that firms are obtaining credit, small
firms are obtaining credit … Shout out to Donna and Ayesha, my former Georgia Tech colleagues.
I know that wasn’t part of the program, but I’ve got to do it. Tisha:
I can just add, too, Doug. Douglas:
Go ahead. Tisha:
From a chamber perspective, one of the things that was so incredibly important for us to
consult with our members about during the Great Recession was flexibility. We have a
heavy end of construction companies, and, of course, Georgia was hit the most … Hit
because of the construction industry … We have construction industry folks. We also
had IT folks. Of course, the IT folks were really thriving during that … Have an incredible
amount of growth post-recession as well. They’re some of the really high growing industry … On
the construction side, the flexibility, we came incredibly … There wasn’t work in some
areas. Folks were going into consulting. We had some individuals, because of their countries
of origin, because of their … Proficiency in more than one language, were able to go
to places like Panama, where there was construction going on … Had some flexibility with the
membership … But then we have the flexibility from the stand … During the Great Recession, there were opportunities
still in the federal government with recovery and re-investment, but there weren’t at the
state level. Those who were certified and had the ability to work with the federal government
were finding other opportunities there. Now some of that is coming back on the state level.
Flexibility has been the key … Our membership in various industries. While some folks weren’t
able to survive in, for example, the construction industry during the Great Recession, some
folks held on to what they could, given their position … Are now back to a more … We
certainly have seen a lot of businesses … And some businesses thrive based on making adjustments
within their company. Douglas:
Lee, I’m going to turn to you with a question next. I might actually suggest [inaudible
01:03:56]- Tisha:
This way? Douglas:
Seat where you’re looking out this way and then we can put the microphone over there.
Now that we’re all up here, I think we realized, but I think you’ve got it. Lee, let me ask
you this. We find a lot with small businesses, small business formation, that it often does
take a community of people or a group of people in some places where it happens better than
others. That’s why I think you see this incubator movement, where you have small businesses
side-by-side, rubbing off on each other. I’m going to put this question to you, but
Tisha also I’m sure has a lot to say about this because, on the one hand, we have found
that different immigrant communities in the United States have a level of entrepreneurship
that exceeds the average and you get communities where that happens. It certainly is the case
with a lot of Hispanic communities. As AARP is trying to do that with encore entrepreneurs
and create opportunities for that, what is AARP doing? What are you seeing that is working
for encore entrepreneurs, folks who need that support or push to do that? What’s the environment
like for that? Lee:
I think the environment is pretty healthy. We’ve done partnerships both with the SBA,
with SCORE, Art, we’ve done tele-town halls, where we reach out to … Again, here in the
State of Georgia, with more than a million members, those people with SCORE, and provide
opportunities that you might not normally have, where if you say, “Hey, listen, I want
to talk to a “expert”,” you’ve got the opportunity to dial into the phone, ask those questions
that you might not normally have the access to, so that if you’re wondering about where
you can go to get funding, get some ideas about different things, we’re making that
available to people. One of the things that I like to touch on
– again, a disclaimer, I’m a [rambler 01:05:42] right from Georgia Tech, so I love this place
– is you mentioned the term “ecosystem”. Getting into a healthy ecosystem is vital to your
survival. I don’t want any of you out there to make your ecosystem too narrow. Don’t make
it too narrow. Now I want to make sure that we understand
and explain the difference between saying, “Hey, I’ve got a narrow focus,” in terms of
the market or whatever type of business you’re in, but realize that the person you’re sitting
next to, who might be in a totally different field can help you thrive in your business.
Don’t be shy. We’re going to pick on Donna again. Go up to Donna. If you have not met
Donna, take the opportunity. Donna may be here until about 10:00 tonight, but I want
all of you to go up to her, introduce yourself, and make it available because there are people
here and resources that can help you get where you need. It’s incredibly important that we
do that. From an AARP perspective, we’re going to continue
to work with these different groups. Again, Jeff and I were talking earlier about some
of our shared history because there are those times where we go through things like the
Great Recession. It was particularly hard on banking and finance. He lived through it,
I live through it. In my house, my wife worked in the banking environment. You make those
connections. A background in commercial lending, it doesn’t matter what kind of business you
are. At some point, you want to talk to a guy like Jeff. The experience that he brings
in that area is vital. Before we got up here on stage, we talked
about ways that we can continue to work together and do more things together. That’s incredibly
important. Don’t miss this opportunity. Douglas:
Certainly from a macro-economic level, the American population is aging. There will be
more older Americans and all that. Have you found specific areas where encore entrepreneurs
have taken advantage of that macro opportunity in areas where they seem to be getting more
traction than other areas or anything like that? Lee:
I’d say, on an anecdotal level, it is interesting that there are aging entrepreneurs taking
advantage of the fact that we are aging. There’s a great quote by Wayne Gretzky that says something
to the effect of, “Good hockey players skate to where the puck is; great hockey players
skate to where the puck is going to be.” There are some simple things from a demographic
standpoint that tell you where opportunities are going to be. There was a war about 70 years ago. [Folk
01:08:25] came home from the war, celebrated. Then we had a whole bunch of kids. Those kids
have grown up. Their hair has gotten grey. They’re beginning to retire. There’s opportunity
there. You’ve got millions upon millions of people that have spent the last 40-plus years
in the work environment. What are those people going to do? We’ve not seen that in this country
before, not at this magnitude. We are living longer. I think about my mother, who was born in 1915.
She passed away in 2010. That population of people that are growing and living to be 90
and 100 years old is huge. What does that mean? We talk to people all the time about
caregiving. We need more people who are professional caregivers because we’ve got a much larger
population that’s aging. I experienced firsthand the ravages of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Again,
growing population. It’s increasing across all demographics. Interestingly enough, I read some research
that indicates the incidence of Alzheimer’s is higher in African-American and Latino population.
Also, oddly, even though it’s diagnosed later in the disease process, it tends to indicate
that you live longer in this disease cycle. What does it mean? You’ve got a large population
of people who are being engaged and, in many instances, ravaged by a disease that are living
longer. What are the possibilities to interact? There’s a lot of work and a lot of opportunity,
but again, one of the things we’re seeing, if it’s transportation of seniors, if it’s
caregiving, those sorts of things, it’s a huge opportunity there that will only continue
to expand for at least the next 20 years. Jeff:
Let me just say one thing to dovetail off of what you just said. We see a lot of … We
all know that boomers are transferring trillions of dollars to someone else, but I think a
little research we did showed that majority of those trillion of dollars are in small
businesses. They’re going to sell their small businesses. Mostly, what we find is happening
boomer-to-boomer. These guys have those skills that you talked about they’ve learned and
then they have a little bit of capital on the side. They know that they’re going to
take control of their own destiny, really. There’s opportunities there, boomer-to-boomer
and selling a business is a big niche, I think. Douglas:
Very good. Art, did you- Art:
Our perspectives are a little bit different because our average client is in their 30s.
In the State of Georgia, for example, our clients tend to be … 71% of our clients
[inaudible 01:11:06] Hispanic and Asian and African-Americans. We’re seeing a younger
… If you will. We’re also seeing people who are primarily going into the services
businesses. About two-thirds of our clients are pure startups, a third being existing
… We see the growth of small business, the growth
of services businesses, and one of the most exciting things for me, being a Georgia Tech
engineer, is we’re seeing a lot of technology startups. We’re seeing more of that in Atlanta
than we are elsewhere in the state. Quite a growth of our client base across the state. Douglas:
Good. A take on that, Tisha, and talk specifically about, in the Hispanic community, what are
the unique challenges or opportunities you think those folks give to each other? Tisha:
Right. Let me start with a little piece of data. In 2015, there was a report that came
out that Georgia, along with 6 other South Atlantic states … The second largest division
of Hispanic-owned businesses, of 963,000 Hispanic-owned businesses. They broke those down into 2 categories.
The largest category of the Hispanic-owned businesses were third generation or greater.
The second largest category were … Not US-born, had been in the country for 10 years or more
and prefer to speak Spanish … Incredibly significant … Who we service and who our
membership is. In the Hispanic immigrant environment in particular,
there are opportunities and … Some of the impediments are generally for Hispanic entrepreneurs
as well as immigrant Hispanic entrepreneurs … Talk about some of the opportunities first. Naturally, with the demographic shift in this
part of the region and in Georgia, in particular, with the exponential rise of our Hispanic
… Certainly opportunities to … Grow in segment … The demographic shift, there are
opportunities. There are also opportunities with the global environment because we’re
increasingly doing … Other countries. As Latin America continues … Focal point,
and President Obama had most recently made it a focal point with future trade opportunities,
the more opportunities that open up in South America, Latin America, the more opportunities
there will be for our members, who are proficient in Spanish … Culture, who that might be
their country of origin to do business in the global arena, but there are also quite
a few impediments. Resources is a huge impediment … Struggle
to be able to provide the information and resources to our members that are necessary,
fighting against this fast growth that’s happening. Like I said before, our economic contribution
is leading everything else. We’re trying to get resources as fast as possible. SBA and
SBDC and SCORE have been amazing partnerships in that. Indeed, we can’t service without
these amazing … Taken upon himself to come and do some in-house consulting with our members
and is constantly full … Helped with some of our outreach on radio and … We also face other impediments. There was
a struggle in the City of Atlanta that has recently been resolved under the leadership
of Caesar Mitchell, where Hispanic entrepreneurs weren’t allowed to bid on certain contracts
through minority business entrepreneurship, even though it was a legal mandate. There
are those types of legal impediments that have also impacted our Hispanic business community.
There are also laws in various jurisdiction that have impeded individuals from getting
business licenses because of immigration status. While we continue to have this increase in
demographics and this increased opportunity for individuals like our Hispanic immigrant
entrepreneurs, there continue to be impediments legally and resource-wise that slow down that
inevitable growth that we’re seeing. Douglas:
Very good. I want to switch the subject here a bit and go to another important issue that
I think, over the next 10 years, will start to be even more important to small businesses,
and that is the idea of exporting. I don’t think a lot of small businesses get into the
business thinking that they’re going to create a small business that prioritizes exporting,
but I think we’re seeing more and more all the time that small businesses are doing that
earlier than they expected. We’re seeing evidence that supports this is
not a flash in the pan. It suggests the [Trans-Pacific 01:16:46] partnership deal that’s now being
considered by Congress for the first time as a small and medium-sized enterprise chapter
to it. We know that 98% of all American businesses that export are small business. I always just like to think about it this
way: who would have imagined, even 10 years ago, but definitely 20 years ago, that a small
business would be able to plug in immediately to a marketing tool like Google that goes
around the world or Facebook, or plug into a payment system like PayPal, that would allow
them to get payment from anywhere in the world, let alone the shipping systems like FedEx
and UPS that get their services out there. When you think what a business needs to export,
there’s all of that infrastructure that’s been built up on open platforms that any small
business can use. I select the anecdote, last year’s National Small Business of the Year,
which just lost its crown yesterday, I guess, and we named a new one, was Missouri Star
Quilt Company, which was quilting company out of Missouri. It’s hard to imagine something
that is more localized and less prone to exporting than that, but they had a couple of millennial
children who came back and saw that their mother was this quilter. They put her on YouTube,
she got popular around the world, and they do all these business overseas, shipping to
70 countries or so. There are very good anecdotes. There’s a lot
of evidence out there suggesting this really is the wave for small businesses, and these
opportunities are not just fictional, but I’d like from all of your perspectives to
talk about what your experience has been. Have you seen that this is a real opportunity
that’s bearing fruit for folks? If so, how do you go about best positioning yourself
to take advantage of that opportunity? Art:
Jointly, with the SBDC, SCORE export workshop … Out of the SBA office downtown. We’re
seeing a number of small businesses that are doing export business, even if they don’t
intend to do export business. What’s happening is because when you setup a website … Now
have access to the whole world. Your website, you have to be careful about the name you
choose because there are other countries where people are using similar names. All of the
technology that is available to you exposes you to the whole world. There is increasing
amount of small businesses that are doing exporting when they might not have intended.
Then there are other businesses that are in fact starting up with the export as their
primary focus. Jeff:
Our research shows that if you’re doing business, just locally doing your thing, you can get
about 20% lift in your sales by going global. That’s pretty significant, particularly in
the past recession months, they would come through. The other thing to remember is the
SBDC, at least here in Georgia, has a whole division of guys that know where the rocks
in the road are, so to speak, doing business overseas. We’ve got 3 or 4 people in that
division. They’re happy to help anytime. Give us a call. Douglas:
Jeff, I sensed in the room, when you said a 20% lift to your small business, there was
excitement. When you say go global, what do you think the practical thing to make sure
that you’re online with international access, or are there other steps that need to be taken
to make sure that you can ship and receive payment overseas? Jeff:
Obviously, you need to do that. Again, I’m not an expert in that field, but just doing
business … Knowing where to do business, I think, is the main thing. When I engaged
the international guys that we have, they know where to go, what partners are overseas
that will not take advantage of you, so to speak. Just knowing who the players are and
who to call is a huge advantage. Douglas:
Very good. Thanks. Tisha:
It’s extremely viable. We’ve had plenty of members, in particular in the IT industry,
that export their services. We’ve had some start here, go to Latin America, some start
in Latin America, open up an office here. That’s an industry that’s incredibly viable
to export your service. We do see offices in various places. Law firms are doing the
same thing. We have a law firm in Mexico that works here and they work there. It’s just
extremely viable for the small businesses. It’s not extremely, depending on the industry,
capital-intensive. There are amazing amount of resources surrounding it. We do have one individual within our membership
who’s an expert, who goes to Metro Atlanta Chamber and Georgia Chamber and, of course,
speaks at our chamber as well, who does import/exports. He’s a broker and has a facility right by
the airport. We have a number of businesses that work out of the port and have large number
of containers going in and out with their Latin food distribution business. Incredibly viable. You just have to connect
up with the right resources. Of course, as Art stated here, SCORE’s an amazing resource,
but there are plenty of experts within the business community that can point you to the
right direction. Jeff:
A mentor would work good there, too, again, just logistically how to get stuff to the
port, off the port, on the ship, to the other side. Find yourself a mentor that’s already
doing work in that space and they will help you. Douglas:
I also want to highlight something you said that is a bit counterintuitive, where you
said it’s not particularly capital-intensive to do it. I think a lot of people get overwhelmed
by the whole idea of, “Going international is this whole other thing. That’s a big leap,
and I’m not ready to do it.” You’ve leapt, if I’m using the right past tense to the verb
there. All you need to do, in forming your business and get up and running. I’ve heard
this time and time again, the marginal cost of just targeting international sales of doing
that is not that big of an effort, even though it opens up. It’s so much of a greater market
that way. Any other thoughts on exporting, anything you folks want to share? Lee:
I’d just toss out that even if you are not thinking about exporting a particular product
or importing a particular product, think about opportunities to, again, I don’t want to overuse
it, but be a part of that ecosystem. As we deepen the port in Savannah, we’re going to
have ships coming in. Once they get off of the ships, how do you get whatever product
it is from the ship to Atlanta? I’ve done some work with someone who is focused
on trucking. Trucks are going to have to backup down to Savannah. They’re going to load those
containers and get them up here to Atlanta. There’s opportunities. Again, if it’s logistics,
you have to be involved in logistics to go global. Maybe, again, it’s not products, but
you’re an expert in supply chain. There’s opportunities there, but look at those opportunities
and see where you fit in. Todd:
I’ll just speak to this that remember I think, just to provide a little bit of balance here,
that exporting certainly adds to the marginal revenue. It is something that should be pursued.
The best number of businesses probably aren’t going to be in that situation. We have an
incredible market here. I do know that our economy is performing currently a lot better
than most other economies globally, diversifying and thinking about not being dependent upon
a particular country. For example, if you were dependent upon Brazil, if you exported
a lot of your product to Brazil then you might be in a bit of trouble at the moment because
that economy is suffering. We have a lot more stability here. There’s
a lot more volatility abroad. This is a suggestion that you shouldn’t do it, that perhaps you
should think about diversifying your eggs. Douglas:
That’s definitely good advice. I think, Art, maybe you mentioned this before, because we
are here and this is a regional conversation, and we’ll talk a little bit about the very
heavy presence of military work in the state and a number of veterans that are in the state,
I want to take at least a couple of minutes to talk about that. We’re seeing it’s a very
important initiative for the federal government right now to make sure that that transition
happens well for veterans. I mentioned before that some time this Fall,
we’ll hit 50,000 veterans that have gone through our Boots to Business training program. Again,
from on the ground and experiences that you all have had, when it comes to working with
veterans, helping them find opportunities or the particular advantage on the one hand
that they provide, or unique challenges that they may have. I’d be interested to hear from
any of you that are working directly with folks in this area, any lessons you’ve learned
from that. We are just starting to collect some data
on the follow on studies from Boots to Business. What we’ve found so far has been pretty encouraging
about their ultimate success in forming businesses. We’re trying to figure out why that happens.
I’d be interested to hear from all of you about what any experiences you have had in
those areas. Art:
As I mentioned earlier, we had both Boots to Business and a program we called the Warrior
Transition Program. The Warrior Transition Program was for wounded warriors at Fort Benning.
We provided a 5-session training at no cost to the wounded warriors. That program, thank
God, has ended because the number of wounded warriors has diminished. When we work with the military, we see a lot
of new startups, both from the officer corps and the enlisted corps. I was just rummaging
through our database yesterday to see what clients have talked to us last week. One of
them was a soldier who was getting out of Fort Benning. He’s already contacted other
company that he wants to offer a service. He came to SCORE to get expertise on how to
start his company. The service people, when they get out of service,
they tend to disperse across the country, so we have difficulty following them as an
individual, where other clients, they’ll stay locally, but we do follow them as much as
we can. They end up working with other SCORE chapters around the country. We’ve had great success both in Savannah and
at Fort Benning and at the areas offering Boots … Our Atlanta chapter that didn’t
participate in Boots to Business is now starting up a program for veterans of their own. We
have a new chapter up in Gainesville, and the American Legion would like to have us
do a program for veterans. There’s a great interest in doing this. With the military
experience … Small business owners. Jeff:
Let me speak to that, too. There’s a couple of things. We’ve already mentioned the leadership
gap. I think what we find is when our veterans come back, they got that covered. The other
thing is the execution piece, they can execute. It’s a really easy task for us to help coach
those guys and gals. We like the veterans, and have some successes there. Douglas:
As Art mentioned, when I was talking about our exit studies, [inaudible 01:29:07] one
of our challenges exactly, but where we do training for Boots to Business is usually
still when they … Before they have transitioned, they transition out everywhere and may lose
that tie, that connection. Any thoughts other than using our existing SCORE network and
SBDC network? Any thoughts or experiences on that, or just make sure that they’re plugged
in, not just Boots to Business, but they learn about SCORE, they learn about SBDC’s [crosstalk
01:29:33]? Art:
Yeah, we try to give them contacts in their local community. Because we have 800 locations
around the country, we have people in most locations. We also do email mentoring and
increasing … Email is decreasing and Skype is increasing. We are contacting these people,
trying to stay in touch, and offer them services. I could give you some anecdotal experience.
I was at a meeting and in walks in an officer … It turns out he’s getting out of the Army.
He’s an Army doctor. He wants to learn how to start a business. We’re seeing those kinds
of experiences as well as a young sergeant who’s getting out and wants to start a service
business. Douglas:
Great. We’re getting towards the end of our time here, so I’m going to put one more question
out and force all of you to answer it, whether you want to or not. This might be somewhat
in the spirit of … This week is the Kentucky Derby; although we’re not condoning better,
there’s a little bit of that in the air. We also cannot take any responsibility for any
advice that’s given here, if you follow up on that advice and lose all your money. With those disclaimers, I’ll ask you this:
if you were starting your own business in the next month, based on what you see, because
I think we’ve got a pretty good view of folks up here who see the landscape regionally and
see all the different things that are going on, if you were given $50,000, $100,000, and
then told, “Go start a small business and make as much money as you can with this,”
what industry, what business, what opportunity would you think you would walk straight to
and start knocking on doors to make that happen in this region right now? Todd already said
the airport, so I’m taking that offline, unless he’s got specific ideas at the airport that
need businesses. Since I surprised all of you with that, I’ll take volunteers before
I start putting you through the ring [crosstalk 01:31:32]. Todd:
I’m going to be like a famous politician; I’m not going to answer that question, I’m
going to answer a different question. That’s all politicians, by the way. The nature of
the beast. There are 3 things that I definitely want to leave you with that are on our minds
at the Fed. One, and I used to be a small business owner,
but managing cash flow, that has shown up as the number one concern of running a small
business. I think that that is going to continue to be an issue. I would just make sure that
… It’s one thing to know your product and to produce it well, it’s another thing to
manage your cash flow. I’d definitely brush up on that. The other aspect that we’re beginning to get
a better understanding on in some of our surveys is online lending. We are seeing a prevalence
in online lending. Our surveys are telling us that business owners are not very happy
with that as opposed to other types of lending, with respect to the terms, the repayment terms,
as well as the interest rate. I think this is a big trend as a small business. A lot
of small and new businesses are turning to that at an increasing level, but having some
level of understanding about what that really means. Quick and easy doesn’t always mean
the long term best thing. Then the last thing is that, this is true
of smaller businesses regardless of the age, and when we look at this, it’s the personal
financial well being of the business owner, making sure it’s very much connected to the
success of your business, your ability to obtain credit. A lot of the shocks that we’ve seen in our
economy, particularly in some of our communities, where unemployment is 40% and 50%, then having
that wherewithal to withstand that on our personal balance sheets and how we continue
to manage through these shocks is really going to be very critical to our own ability to
be successful as a small business owner. I know that wasn’t a specific [crosstalk 01:33:39]. Douglas:
That’s all very helpful, very helpful perspective. Todd:
Those are 3 things from the Fed. Thank you. Douglas:
Any other horse, or you’re sticking with the airport? Does anybody else want to do that
as well? Todd:
$6 billion to $8 billion is a lot of money. Douglas:
It’s very big horse. Todd:
I think I’m going to stick with that. Douglas:
Tisha, I think you [inaudible 01:33:51]. Tisha:
I think the entertainment industry. It continues to boom. There are a lot of incentives being
provided by economic development agencies in order to continue to bring those opportunities
here. In fact, our annual gala that’s going to be in a few weeks, that is our focus, the
entertainment industry. I think just an immediate opportunity, quick turnaround on investment,
there’s incredible amount of opportunity … Specifically right here in the State of Georgia. I also want to note a longer, more sustainable
approach would be anything that you have an expertise in … Oh, I tell people every day
there’s always opportunity for talent in this country. If you’ve got the talent combined
with the passion and the expertise, the sky’s the limit. There is a huge opportunity in
this country for creativity and innovation, and we see it every single day. Douglas:
Art? Art:
To follow up on my colleague from the Fed, I won’t answer that question, but I’ll answer
another question, which is no matter what business you’re starting or in, use technology.
If you’re not connected to the internet, if you don’t use social media, if you don’t know
what WhatsApp is, if you don’t use Facebook, you’re nowhere. You’ve got to start using
technologies. Every business, whether it’s a barber shop or a restaurant or a high tech
business, you’ve got to get on technology. It’s not difficult. You could start with the
SBDC or SCORE. We will help you. We have workshops, but … Douglas:
Great. Thanks. Jeff:
A quick answer there. You’ve got to hang out where your customers are hanging out. That’s
the beauty of social media. If I had some money to invest, I would go to those where
the lines are blurred a little with tech and medical. We’ve seen a big success. We’re all getting
older; you’ve already said that. We’ve seen a big success with a couple of our guys that
got out in the grey areas of both of those and made some good strides there. Their patents
are pending. They’re going to make these devices that really work that help us be more mobile.
That’s where I’d put my money. Douglas:
Great. Thanks. Lee, any thoughts on that? Lee:
Yeah. First of all, let me thank Todd for the unpaid commercial, make sure that you
find somebody to work with that will help you get your money right. That having been
said, I’m right there where if I were to invent something or think of a place where I’d go,
I’d want to go to the intersection of technology and aging, because, again, here in Atlanta,
we talk about ecosystems and, again, yeah, I’m a Georgia Tech nerd, but, again, lots
of opportunity, lots of support from a technological perspective: experience, tools, if it’s manufacturing,
printing, 3D printing, those sorts of things. Look at opportunities and try to find that
intersection of technology and aging. Again, I think things in that area will be absolutely
huge, again, for the next several decades. Douglas:
Good. With that, I think we’re going to draw this part to a close. I think the whole purpose
of this morning is to talk about doing the gospel of small business and set you out to
the world to remind people of its importance, remind people about the resources out there. I think this conversation has done a very
good job of demonstrating the way in which that is a very active, ongoing thing in this
region right now. Hopefully, out of the great contributions we had from these panelists,
you got at least a handful of ideas that will allow you to change the way you’re doing things
or to go out and start something in a new way. My thanks to all of you for your participation
here today because I think it’s something that was, hopefully, rewarding for everybody.
Please join me in a round of applause. Before I turn back around, we did intentionally
avoid … I very much wanted to ask questions about the Savannah Harbor I mentioned before
and the entertainment industry, which seems to be working here in a way that it’s not
… A lot of states were chasing that money. Georgia’s about the only one, and then Vancouver,
I think, that made it work. This is an unfinished story because I avoided those because I think
there’ll be very good conversations on those and other subjects this afternoon. Cassius:
Thank you. Thank you, Deputy Administrator Kramer. What a great panel. Do you all agree?
I actually could not have scripted those last few comments better to prepare us for this
afternoon because we’re getting ready to head into the afternoon sessions. As, hopefully, you all know, we have 3 concurrent
breakouts. One on Expanded Exporting Opportunities As A Result Of The Savannah Harbor Project.
We’ve got someone here from the Port Authority to speak on that, as well as Rick Martin from
the Georgia SBDC and a great panel he’s put together. We have a terrific panel on innovation
and how to take your product from concept to commercialization. Kevin [Mowbley 01:39:22],
who’s one of our Grade A firms; I don’t know where Kevin is. Ian Thomas’ group has helped
us assemble an incredible cast of experts in this area that will tell you step-by-step
how you do that and even where the money is going to come from. Then, finally, and this will take place in
this room, Judiffier Pearson with the Georgia Small Business Development Center is Become
An Expert On Doing Business With The Motion Picture Industry. She’s going to lead a training
and then a panel discussion on that. As I said, the motion picture industry breakout
will take place here. In Room B and C, which is right next door, the Technology Commercialization
breakout. Then in Room A, which is right behind where you registered this morning, that will
be the Exporting training. For those of you who are in export or innovation,
when you pick up your lunch, you can take it in and sit down and eat it there. For those
of you who are in here, you cannot bring your lunches in here, unfortunately. You’ll have
to find a place out in the hallway to eat. Then we’ll reassemble here as soon as everybody
can grab a lunch. Everybody got a yellow card when you came
in. We have plenty of lunches. Don’t worry about it. We did that just so we wouldn’t
have a riot over food. Please go get a lunch. Enjoy your lunch. We’ll see you in the breakouts
this afternoon. Male:
A pleasure to meet you, man. Male:
A pleasure to meet you as well. We’ll be sure to stay in touch. Male:
Yeah, please do. Male:
Thanks. Male:
I’ll … Judiffier:
Welcome to Small Business Opportunities in Film and Entertainment. I believe the class
was built as Hollywood of the South. As we progress through the program today, anyone
who hasn’t kept up with the activities and events over the last 3 to 5 years in the film
industry here in Georgia, you’ll definitely understand why we call it Hollywood of the
South. I will do a nice intro for you all, to catch
everyone up to speed on what the landscape looks like, here in the state of Georgia.
Even though we’re talking about film primarily, I am incorporating music, TV and digital to
this discussion. I have 3 panelists that will be joining us in the second part of this.
We get the band together because we get together quite a bit for panels like this. Some of
them have been to Athens with me, and to UGA, and some go all over Atlanta with me. This is a smaller portion of our panelist
group, but they are very well-respected, very versed in their individual areas of expertise.
Once I go through the overview, I’m going to let each of them introduce themselves for
about a minute or 2. Tell you who they are, what they’re up to, in the industry. That’ll
frame the discussion because you’ll actually have the opportunity to speak to them and
ask questions. Get clarification on anything it is, that you need clarification on. I want to frame the conversation again, with
the activity in Georgia, with the 4 areas that we’re talking about; film, TV, music,
digital media. Digital media also includes gaming, for those of you who don’t know. Digital
media also encompasses the platforms now, that we consume content. That’s anything with
a screen. Think of it that way. This is a flyer that I do have some copies of, today.
If you would like to take some with you. I’ll take them out and put them out before you
go, and you can grab one. You can also grab business cards and brochures about the Small
Business Development Center. What it is that, we do. My name is Judiffier Pearson. I’ve been with
the SBDC for almost 4 years now. The area of expertise that I focus on is, Film and
Entertainment businesses or what we call, Entertainment Adjacent businesses. All of
my clients are not creatives. Some of them, like Nelson who you’ll meet shortly, they’re
suppliers to creatives and to production companies. We want to make sure we cover the scope of
business opportunities available in this market and beyond. Outside of entertainment adjacent companies,
like all SBDC consultants, I do see clients outside of this industry. About 50% of my
clients are trucking companies and they have assisted living homes and all kinds of businesses,
you name it. What I found is that, we also in the SBDC, had to learn how to retool some
of our consulting skills and offerings, and tailor it to this market. The entertainment and entertainment adjacent
companies, they run businesses just like any other industry. It’s very important to understand
the nuances of those businesses. Heard the word earlier in a couple of the sessions about
ecosystems. The film industry, music, TV, digital media, they are very much, their own
little ecosystems. They’re oftentimes, very self-contained with subject matter experts
and suppliers and content creators. Then what we call, above-the-line people who tend to
work with the same groups of people quite frequently because they build relationships.
You can almost think of them as covenant relationships. It’s very important that the players that
are part of the ecosystem, that they each know what they’re doing. Anybody who’s ever
been on a production set, knows that incompetence, errors, mistakes can be quite costly. Jim
can speak to that in a minute, when he talks about what he does in the market. With this
flyer, I have some fiscal year 2015 statistics up here. I’m going to break them down a little
bit. For film and television productions shot in
Georgia, we’ve calculated that number at about 248 unique, different productions. Then we’ve
got a direct spend of $1.7 billion, which translates into a economic impact of over
6 billion. How many of you have heard those stats? The 6 billion, 6.1? I will tell you, when I first started with
the SBDC in 2013, that number was something … I started in 2012. In 2013, when I really
started looking at this market, that number was something like 3 billion. In 3 years,
that number in economic impact, has doubled to over 6 billion. That’s a huge, huge deal.
What’s spurring all of this activity? Primarily, it’s the Georgia television, film, television
and digital media tax credit. How many of you are familiar with that tax credit already? Basically, we’re going to go through some
of the steps of, what the production incentives are. There are incentives for production companies,
to shoot here in Georgia. That translate to savings on these production budgets, bottom
line. The beauty of those tax credits is, they are
resealable on the market. I think right now, it’s about $0.85 on $1. For Georgia taxpayers,
that can benefit from that tax credit, perhaps being held by a production company that doesn’t
file taxes in the state of Georgia. They don’t have a direct need for it, but another taxpayer
may. That’s the beauty of what the tax credit is starting to promote or significantly promoting
already, in the state of Georgia. One thing I want to jump ahead with is, next
year, we’ve already heard a lot of talk about there being a music tax credit. It’s quite
similar to this film, television and digital media one. I think that is a perfect setup
and a perfect storm for many, many more opportunities and what we call, a Creative Economy here
in Georgia. Keep your eyes and ears out for more information on the music tax credit that’ll
be introduced, I believe, next year in 2017. I gave you fiscal year 2015 numbers for those
industries. I just wanted you all to see a little bit of 2014, which breaks down the
numbers a little bit more, with all the creative economies in Georgia. Those will be some that
I didn’t even specifically talk about. If you look up here, it’ll give you the breakdown
by jobs, wages, the number of people self-employed, the total earnings, the revenue. Then you
see that $48 billion economic impact. That’s why, in the opening session you heard about
entertainment being one of the trending industries that you really need to pay attention to.
There are so many opportunities for you to be part of it. If your company has goods and
services, that will makes sense in terms of creating value for this ecosystem. Here’s the breakdown of the tax credit. It
starts at a 20% break on the tax credit, for qualified expenses for a production budget.
The minimum budget has to be $500,000 in a calendar year. That could be a combination
of projects or a single project. The budget has to be at a minimum of 500,000. Of that
money spent in the state of Georgia, they can get 20% tax credit on that. If you’ve
ever been to the movies, and at the end of the project you stay and watch the credits,
and at the very end you see the peach. It means that, that project was filmed in Georgia.
For productions that put that peach at the end of that project, they get 30%. It’s another
10% uplift. Now they’ve moved from 20% to 30% just by helping to promote Georgia in
the industry, and it works quite well. Very few films have I seen in the last year,
that haven’t had … Maybe because I’m going to see the movies that were shot here. I don’t
know. Very few don’t have that peach at the end. Now, my children wait very patiently
when we go to the movie theaters. They wait for the peach and they know why mommy is sitting
there, watching all the credit. I also look for clients sometimes, in the credits, just
to get that extra rush to see that they’re doing some great, amazing things. They get
to see the fruit of their labor. I like to just really pay attention to what’s going
on in the market professionally, with people I know, people I want to get to know, people
I’ve heard about. Just watching their names scroll, is quite, quite fulfilling. Now, you see this 40% hanging out there. You
heard a little bit about Savannah and Chatham County earlier? Unless something has changed
in very recent weeks, they have used some of their own local dollars, to add another
10% on top of the 30%, for productions that shoot in their locality. That’s awesome. I
think they do have a time limit on it. When I first heard about this additional 10%, they
were doing that to promote workforce development in the Savannah and Chatham County area. Also,
to create their own branding, messaging and their own ecosystem or cluster. I’m going
to talk a little bit about film and entertainment clusters in a moment, when we start to talk
about business opportunities to be on the lookout for, or to actually go in and create
for yourself, if you’ve been paying a lot of attention to the market. There are 4 Cs that we’re going to probably
talk about, in and out of this discussion, that I want to frame an outline for you. They
are, content, cash flow, craft, and corporate vehicles. For people who are on the outside,
looking in wondering, “I don’t even understand how this industry works. How the business
works.” I was looking at a Jay Leno clip about a week ago, and it was a flashback to a Prince
interview that he had done. They were talking about, at the time Mariah Carey striking this
$20 million deal with her record label. Prince must have made a face and Jay said, “What?”
Prince was like, “Oh, you’re feeling that? You think $20 million is a big deal?” They
go through this discussion. I found it quite interesting when Jay Leno said, “I don’t understand
how that works. I don’t understand the music industry. Forgive me, if I’m coming across
as ignorant, but 20 million sounded like a good deal to me.” I’m not going to go through the details of
that. Definitely go Google it. It’s quite interesting interview to hear Prince break
down the mathematics of royalties and so forth, for the music industry. A lot of people in certain aspects of the
entertainment industry, don’t always understand every aspect of it. It’s really important
to understand that target marketing, who you’re trying to go after, in terms of supplying
your goods and services. Is it a good fit for them? How does it work for you? Is it
win-win? Those are the kind of things that the SBDC, we try to make sure we discuss with
established businesses and larger companies who are already successful at what they’re
doing, but they want to expand their target market into something, entertainment adjacent. Those are the kind of discussions that we
have to make sure that they understand, is this going to be a easy retooling and crossover
for you, or is this something that’s so different, you’re going to have to make quite a bit of
an investment and building capability, and capacity and so forth? Let’s start with content. Most of us get it.
Content is the stuff that we consume, that we pay for, that we engage in, through all
those different media forums that I talked about; film, TV, music. Back in the day, I’m
not going to date myself, but I remember my uncles having 8-tracks that stood in the corner.
We had cassettes and albums, 45s and 33s. Then we moved over into CDs. Speaker 1:
Cassettes. Judiffier:
Yeah, I said cassettes. Then we moved over into CDs. Now the thing is streaming and downloading.
We’re in a very digital age, but that content is the same. It’s, how to we get our product,
which is the music, the TV show, the movie, the game? How do we get it to market? When
we’re talking about that content cycle, someone has to create it, someone is developing it
further. Maybe if Wendy and I have a opportunity during
our panel time, I got a chance to sit in on some development meetings with her team, a
couple of months ago, which was quite fascinating to see how much time and energy and investment
is just put into development. Those are the things that consumers never see that part.
That’s why, now I have whole new appreciation when I hear industry experts and professionals
and different people talk about development hell. It’s a process between creation and
getting it to market. Just even producing it and then getting it to market. After that, development which, in my particular
slide, my development includes production for some other reasons, for when I’m consulting
with my clients. The production process is the actual making of it. Is it studio time
for the song that’s being created? Is it being on set for the film that is being produced?
I think you all call it Principal photography. Wendy:
Principal photography. Judiffier:
The time that it’s actually being shot and filmed, not the post-production, which could
be part of that. I’m trying to think of 2 or 3 case studies that I was walking some
clients through, recently. Bessie. Do you all remember Queen Latifah’s project, Bessie?
How many of you know it took 22 years to make that movie? Wendy:
22. Judiffier:
22 years to make that movie. Some things move quite swiftly, some things sit on the shelf,
we got to come back to it, for whatever reason. That story is another fascinating story. They
won … What kind of award did they win for that? Wendy:
A Primetime Emmy. Judiffier:
They won a Primetime Emmy, so it’s well worth the wait. That’s an example of something being
in the development process for a very long time. For this slide, we’re talking about
the development in terms of the business planning and execution, the production, the post-production,
just getting it made. Once we do that, it has to show somewhere.
Every movie that’s made, every TV show that’s produced, doesn’t see the light of day. Those
that are, in 2016, we don’t consume them on the same type of platforms we did, not even
5 or 10 years ago. It used to be a time when getting a movie made, the goal was to get
it into a theater. Then we started hearing about stuff called Straight to DVD. Now we
hear stuff about Netflix Originals. Give me some more. Amazon. Wendy:
Amazon. Judiffier:
Hulu. That’s more of a platform, like Apple TV kind of thing. The distribution process
is quite diverse now. It’s not just, you go to a movie theater and you have a window of
time when it’s going to be in the theater, which if we’re looking at the ecosystem of
businesses, movie theaters, several of them are still alive and well, several of them
are not. It’s like when Netflix, I believe it was,
came on the scene, what happened with Blockbuster. You have to figure out, “Does it make sense
to stay in the same format, the same location that we were, 25 years ago?” We had a heyday,
we had a golden age. Do you have to learn how to twist and pivot and be nimble? I would
say, in a very innovative age. Daniel Pink calls this, the Age of Synthesis and the Age
of Design. It’s a very creative age that we’re in right now. It’s still being driven by the
information highway. You’ve got this digital age meeting a very creative age. It means
that you’ve got to be flexible. It means that you can’t be resistant to change. Change is
going to happen with or without you. The more innovative and nimble that you are in your
business processes, your target marketing, the development of your goods and services.
It makes sense, “Can we remain a movie theater or do we need to create another platform?” I was having a discussion about Walt Disney
acquiring a little … I don’t know how little it would be considered now, but Maker Studios.
If anybody’s into the digital media landscape, Maker Studio started off as a YouTube network.
I believe Disney bought it for $500 million. These were some really young millennials.
I don’t even know if they were using the term millennials when they started this company
a few years ago. They started these web series with YouTube
channels, and then they started acquiring other people’s YouTube channels being part
of their network. They just started building content and leveraging advertisement sales,
and a lot of really cool things that they did. They were running a company on YouTube
and got bought by what? Walt Disney. I think that’s absolutely amazing. That can only happen
in a digital age, where digital meets creativity. As we move through this cycle of development
to distribution, how are we going to consume the content? You’ve got publicity and you’ve
got exhibition, you’ve got creation. This distribution piece though. Most people think
about the exhibition. They know where they want it to play, but they’re not thinking
about the distribution, the brokerage between, “That’s where I want to play it, but is that
where it’s really going to end up playing?” That’s a whole boot camp of classes, sometimes. Actually, we’re working on a distribution
class in the SBDC, because distribution, wanting it on Netflix and Hulu or HBO or Showtime
or ABC or any number of things that, I could give you a list of. Do you have the relationships?
Is your product a good fit for that particular outlet’s target market? Their new direction,
if they’ve got a new target market strategy. Do they have a need for it? Is there a demand
for more content? Do they already have a supplier in the pipeline, totally filling that? You
have to wait your turn for a little bit. Any number of factors go into, how the distribution
strategy and agreements determine, whether or not there’s going to be exhibition in the
way that a creative or a production company sees that playing out. We call that, having
projects in the can, and they just stay in the can. They’re not being monetized. I meet
far too many filmmakers in that particular predicament. They’ve had projects completed
in the can, for 3 years, 5 years. Some of them, 10. Can you imagine? This is just an
exaggerated example. Can you imagine if there was a project finished, in the can, 15 years
ago, maybe even 10? Let’s just say you’ve got simple props in this content, like a cellphone.
What would that look like? Anybody remember … What was his name? He
did a Hollywood show for Robert Townsend? Do you remember the scene where the character
gets out of prison, and he’s been in prison since the 70s or 60s or something? It’s maybe,
like the 80s. He put the clothes back on, that he had on when he went into prison? Those
platforms with the goldfish in the hill. It’s this example of a age gone by. Time is of
the essence, which is why we spend a lot of time talking about distribution strategy.
For production companies specifically, and creatives, early on it should be part of the
business plan before principal photography ever starts. That’s just a little titbit there,
of how we get into the consulting with our clients. This cash flow cycle, let’s talk about this
for a second because this is really important segue into what we’re talking about. Someone
has to finance it, right? Where does the money come from? If I’ve got a budget and maybe
it’s a lower budget, 50,000, 75,000, 100,000. If I’m the filmmaker, do I finance it myself
or am I on the landscape of this business ecosystem and I bring in investors? Is this
inventor like Spike Lee’s first project, I believe it was his grandmother. I don’t know.
She might have had some interest involved. It could have been a gift. On today’s landscape, is it money from family
and friends? Is it your money or is it other people’s money? Once we start having a conversation
about investors, that’s a really strong financial game that we start to talk about, because
it’s important that they make their money back. The business people, whether they are
creatives or not, they figure out how to pay back their shareholders. That’s important. Somebody puts the money into this project.
Here’s a piece that very many people are familiar with, now because we spend a lot of time in
Georgia right now, talking about workforce development. We read quite a bit in the local
magazines and trade articles. We hear about it on the news all the time. We have quite
a few of our educational and government entities, rallying around workforce development. That’s
for the crews who get the projects made. We’ll go through a whole list of what some of the
crews are. That’s hair, make-up, cinematographers, carpenters. Wendy:
Dry-cleaning. Judiffier:
No, not dry-cleaning. We’re going to come to them. Just the people who work on the set.
Your average production in Georgia that’s qualifying for the tax credit, especially
your larger budgets, is usually 100 to 200 people on set at any given time. Which is
why you’ll hear terms like, “How many crews deep, is Georgia?” Are there enough professionals
for a full set, to service how many productions? 30? If you’ve got 100 people on 30 different
productions, is that where we still are? Has it moved up to we can service 80 at a time,
200 at a time? When you hear those numbers for workforce development, that’s what they’re
talking about. Do we have enough trained and qualified Georgia residents who can take advantage
of the jobs that these productions bring to our state or develop in our state, if they’re
already local? A lot of people get that piece. This is the
piece that I’m most passionate about, when we started talking about suppliers and vendors.
It flies under the radar. When Wendy was talking about dry-cleaners, carpenters, car rental
companies. I’m going to give you 3 case studies to see how much money was spent in Georgia,
on a small, medium and large production budget. It might be mind-blowing to some of you and
it might just be, “Oh, I knew that because I’ve been keeping abreast of what’s going
on.” This is the important part about recycling these dollars in Georgia, with our own companies. After the money goes out during production
for crew, for suppliers, then we start spending money or making certain deals or having a
cash transfer with distribution, exhibition, retailers. There’s still no revenue made at
this stage. The money is still going out of the production, from that initial investment.
The money starts to come back in, as they get licensing agreements, as they get consumers
buying the product, if it’s a download, if it’s a album. If we’re going into more live
entertainment stuff, which is not the scope of this. Even stuff like concert tours and
promotions, that kind of thing. A live performance is a type of service or good that’s delivered
out there and consumed. Those ticket sales will be, how that revenue stream is working. Until someone is going to consume it or the
broker in between, so that’s a network or if it’s a digital network. If they’re going
to pay for the licensing windows or whatever, that’s when the money is starting to be made,
not while you’re doing the workforce development stuff with your crews. Not while you’re paying
suppliers for the pizza, for the catering, for the cupcakes, for the Starbucks coffee,
for the lumber and the timber, and you name it. We’ll go through a list of what some of
that stuff is. Really quickly, this craft to company spectrum.
This is one of the target markets that the SBDC serves. People who’ve been working on
these sets for years, especially if they’re department heads and they see the invoices.
They start to see “How much money I’m influencing someone to spend at this particular vendor
location or in this particular shooting location.” A lot of craft people figure out, “I could
be running a company and have a second stream of revenue, not just my set hours. Why can’t
my company be a supplier? Why can’t I transition or retire out of this, and move into something
more business oriented, and go back and serve the ecosystem that I’m very well familiar
with?” They know what’s supposed to be on the invoices,
they’re familiar with the pricing, they know the performance of products. Some craft people
are some of the best people that could be entrepreneurs in this part of the ecosystem,
in the production world because they already know what’s needed. They already know where
they’ve been getting it from, so they’ve already got intel on who their competitors would be.
I call them eBiz pathway. Craft to company is one of the pathways that we serve. I have
quite a few of those clients. Then the corporate vehicles. This is very
specific to production companies, even though it does sometimes, apply to the craft to company
that I just talked about. There’s a dynamic that a lot of people don’t always understand,
especially emerging production companies and how they set these vehicles up. We call them
nested LLCs. There could be a production company … Mind if I use your company? Wendy:
Go ahead. Judiffier:
Wendy is the Principal at Auburn Avenue Films. She may have a slate of 20 projects in the
pipeline. Depending on what those projects are, those projects may be their own self-contained
companies, especially if she’s got partners on that specific project. That doesn’t mean
those partners have a stake in Auburn Avenue Films. They just have a stake in the content
or the intellectual property that’s part of that nested LLC. Does that make sense? That’s quite common in the entertainment industry,
for every project to be its own company. LLC is usually, the business entity of choice
for a number of reasons. In nested LLC, the project is nested into an LLC specific for
that project. Then a parent company could have several of those under their umbrella
or they just may have 1 every year, depending on how big their productions are and how busy
they are. Any questions on that, before I move forward because this is where I want
to make sure I don’t lose you. That, as we jump into conversation and we’re just chatting
it up, I want to make sure you all on the same page. Everybody good with that? Those are those 4 Cs. Now, another terminology
that you might hear which is really important, especially when we’re talking about the eBiz
pathway of vendors and suppliers. They’re not necessarily creatives at all. They may
just be people who do great business, and they supply goods and services to production
companies. This could be a transportation company, it could be an equipment rental company,
a lighting rental company, a caterer. It could be any number of things that may or may not
be creatives. They’re definitely not on the production set, to stay. They deliver goods
and services, and then they’re done, once they finish that piece of the supply chain
that they’re a part of. How that looks, depends on sometimes, if you’re
serving an Indie production or a studio film. I’m going to break this down, just in some
really basic terms because there are nuances to this. If you’re thinking about large studios
like Sony. Help me out, Wendy. Wendy:
Pinewood, Universal. Judiffier:
Marvel, Disney. Their production budgets, especially for Marvel. We’ve been shooting
quite … I live in Fayette County, about 5 minutes from Pinewood. There’s always activity
over there. I believe Marvel and Disney, least from the beginning … Wendy:
They’re one in same now. Judiffier:
I’m sorry? Wendy:
Marvel is owned by Disney. Judiffier:
Yes, yes. I believe, they leased for 3 years out the gate, 3 or 4 years because they knew
they had several productions that they wanted to shoot there. With that said, those budgets
are usually $100 million or more. If you’re supplying goods and services to budgets of
that size, that could be quite a good thing for you. We’re going to show you some stats
up here. If you’re working with Indie projects which,
there are some Indie projects that are pretty sizeable too, that can be in the millions.
Indie projects go all the way down the scale as well. If they’re really green production
companies and really small Indie projects, it may or may not be a viable client for you,
to provide goods and services to them. Then, if we’re talking about a $10 million
Indie project depending on what your goods and services are, that could be quite fitting
for you and for this target market strategy that you might have. The idea is, you have
studios that a lot of them aren’t here in Georgia. We know Disney is not permanently
headquartered here. You’ve got quite a few that are still … California is still home,
New York is still home, but they shoot here quite frequently. They have studio-backed
financing, studio-backed executives. They’ve got this pipeline that’s well-established,
a well-oiled machine for the most part. Being able to get in on that kind of a supply chain
can be quite fruitful for a small business. With the Indie productions, you have to navigate
that differently because you have fewer teams and large studio companies making the decisions.
You’ve got smaller filmmakers who are wearing 2 and 3 hats sometimes, or you might have
a smaller group of investors that are above-the-line, with your key creative team that are making
all the decisions. When Jim talks, he’ll be talking about unit production managers and
line producers and how they make decisions on how the budget is going to look like, in
the first place. Then, who they’re going to spend the money with. Especially with the Indie kind of projects
or smaller budget projects, my recommendation is, to get to know people like Jim. I want
to know who the Jim is, on every project that I’m targeting, or who the group of Jims are.
It could be a team of you. It’s important to know people like that. You might know the
Director, but if Jims are going to be making the decisions or influencing them, then we
want to know. We want them to know who we are. We want to engage with them and connect
with them. We’ll talk about that, in a little bit. I talked about the pathways. Those are the
4 that we serve in the SBDC. Our largest pathway is suppliers and vendors. Those are the businesses
that look more closely like what we’ve traditionally served. Then we do have these creatives. We
have these attorneys who have law firms that are wanting to get into entertainment law
or strengthen that part of their practice. CPA firms that are wanting to add production
accounting, which is an entirely different animal from GAP-type accounting practices. Project to pipeline, those are usually creatives
that are so focused on the project. I need them to get a bigger macro view and be focused
on the pipeline. I want to make sure that they’ve got a plan for revenue, for the next
3 to 5 years for their firm, and not this 1 project that’s become this baby, this passion
project that’s not producing revenue yet. It’s only producing a certain amount of revenue
that we know, is not sustainable beyond a 9-month window. I want them to be business
people. That’s what we spend time with, for that particular pathway. Then we talked about the craft to company.
Those are the 4 pathways that I typically see, that come through our office. I didn’t
mention it earlier. My office is actually on the Clayton State University campus. We
are the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center. It’s a group of 16 offices.
Some of the UGA centers are actually at partner schools or contract schools. My school happens
to be one of them. Most of the metro Atlanta offices, Georgia
State, Kennesaw State, they all have SBDCs. I welcome you all to visit me there at Clayton
State. If you fit one of these pathways and you want to take advantage of our consulting
services and our educational services. There’s no cost for our consulting. I sit down and
do these business planning sessions, these financial planning sessions, strategic initiatives
that’s at no cost to any people and any of these pathways. For my clients who are established companies
with their own offices, I spend quiet a time on the field. I go to them. It’s not always
easy, pulling 2, 3 hours away from where you are. If we can cut the travel time and I can
meet you there halfway, we do that as well. That’s part of, when they were talking earlier
this morning about SBDCs and scores, we’re the partners who are the arms and legs of
the SBA, to deliver these extended value created services for you. There are 16 different offices throughout
the state. If you just happened to travel here from some faraway place in the outskirts
of Georgia, there is an SBDC, probably much closer to you, than where I am. Definitely
go to our website at Georgia, spelled out, sbdc.org. You can see a full listing of all
of the resource centers available on our network. This is just a chart that we can email to
you, if you would like it. That column on the far left, those are some very typical
services that we lend to any business in the SBDC. Those columns and rows that you see
to the right, have become more of what I see for my entertainment adjacent companies. Yes,
they may need access to capital, but after they get funding and financing, they’re still
trying to figure out how to grow their companies with going from 2 employees to 5. From 5 to
10, from 10 to 25. That’s a process. For those that are already at 10 and 15 and
25, experiencing growing pains, we do a lot of HR reassessment and training and development
systems, and apprenticeship models and leadership development for their executives who came
in, entry-level, 10 years ago. Now they happen to run divisions. How do you get your team
ready for what the new part and the new leg of the journey looks like? We spend quite
a bit of time of that. You heard them talking about social media
earlier. What’s the digital marketing strategy for us? Does it make sense? Is that even where
our clients are? You’ll see a lot of marketing, a lot of organization, leadership development,
branding stuff that SBDC does provide services in those hard and soft skills that you will
need, as you journey through this whole entrepreneurial process. Until we’re talking about exiting and exit
strategies for retirement or selling, most companies tend to run the gamut of this, if
they have long-term relationships with us. Long-term for us can be many, many years.
I have clients who were clients of the SBDC, before I came. When they came on board with
me, I just picked up on the leg of the journey that they were on at that time, and we grow
together. You’re more than welcome to join our team and help us, let us help you on your
journey of growth. This is something that I promised you, that
I wanted to frame the conversation of dollars being spent in Georgia. That economic impact,
the directs spend, is what we can actually calculate on the tax returns, on the deduction
sheets, on the PNLs. That’s the direct spend. The economic impact is how it churns throughout
the state. If you’ve got people on payroll, that’s direct spend. Did they move here? Are
they paying taxes here? Are they eating here? Are they doing life, live, work, play, here?
Every time they’re spending dollars, that’s economic churn as a result of their employment
with that production company, if that makes sense. You see a little, small gamut. I have 4 pages
of Excel spreadsheets, of just business opportunities and products and services that are routinely
needed for film, television, music and digital media. I will say, those 4 pages are heavy
film. I could probably add 5 or 10 more pages if I just spent time going through the other
parts of the ecosystem that I shared with you. Where we’re talking about car rentals,
catering, dry-cleaning, hardware, hair and make-up, special effects. Let’s look at … These are some numbers that
were published I believe, in Atlanta Business Chronicle, a few months ago. This one to the
far left, this was considered a small budget. It was a $6 million film. Do you see how much
they spent on car rentals? $49,000. Lumber $88,000. Anyone ever heard of a company in Tucker called
Cofer Brothers? Cofer Brothers has beautifully carved a niche for providing lumber to production
companies. They really, really honed in on that, right in the middle of recession, when
most companies like theirs were going under because the housing market was crashing or
had crashed. They were already in a gain, but someone had the foresight to pay attention
to where their revenue streams were coming from, by industry and client category. Their
feature on a short video that’s about 5 minutes. If you go to Georgia.org. On their homepage,
if it hasn’t moved in the far right bottom corner, there’s a little video box right there.
You can watch that little video and it’s showcasing companies in Georgia. It’s about 3 years old.
Some of the numbers are little bit off because I’ve already showed you what fiscal year 15
looks like. Some of the numbers are smaller than what we’re actually doing now, but Cofer
Brothers is featured there and they tell you a little bit about their story. I would suspect that Cofer Brothers fulfilled
quite a bit, if not all of that 88,000. I don’t know that for a fact, but knowing that
they are the preferred game in town, in a lot of people’s eyes who make those decisions.
Do you agree, Jim? Jim:
Yeah. Judiffier:
I’m going to let Jim go into detail about anything you want to … Jim:
Just using Cofer Brothers for example. Home Depot, they said, “We sell wood as well.”
They built the actual facility on Pinewood Studio. They’re into that business, trying
to compete as well, as another vendor in the area of hardwood and lumber as well. Judiffier:
If you put in context, what Jim is saying. Home Deport is not a small business, by any
stretch of the imagination. Cofer Brothers is a competitor for that particular item.
That’s awesome, when a small business can create that kind of value in the marketplace.
That’s what we’re talking about. Being able to match, what you provide, with opportunity.
Timing is also really … That’s a really important factor. You don’t want to be too
late in the game and the market is saturated. Pay attention to where the gaps are, now.
If you already know that there are certain gaps in the marketplace and you’re primed
and positioned to fill them, that’s a great time to start developing a strategy on how
to do that. Let’s move to this second case study. This
was deemed, a medium production. It’s called Need for Speed. $15 million production. Catering,
$466,000. Would you all say, that’s a lot of money spent on that line item? Lumber again,
$285,000. Here’s an interesting thing though, that you see on all of them. You see that
other? It’s not defined here, what that is, but that’s another $2.8 million spent by that
production, somewhere. Hopefully, it was Georgia companies. Hopefully. There are still, quite a bit of revenue that
we don’t get to take advantage of, because if production companies have already had relationships
in other states, which many of them have, they’ve got vendor relationships or supplier
relationships in other states too. It’s nothing for them sometimes, to import that here. Meaning,
they will bring in the goods and services across the state line and pay for it there
because they haven’t identified the supplier or vendor here, that they deem prepared enough
to replace the relationships that they already have established. There again, there may not be gaps that you
can see with the surface, cursory view of what’s going on. Find out where these suppliers
are. If production companies are spending twice as much money than necessary sometimes,
because they’re paying a lot in shipping or a lot in delivery, could you come in and create
more value because you’re right here? Nelson can tell you a little bit about that, in a
little bit, if you will. Let me do this last one here. This was Marvel’s,
Ant-Man. You see the production budget, we would call that a large budget, $106 million.
Lumber, 11 million, wardrobe, dry-cleaning $488,000. That’s almost $0.5 million on clothes
and clothing related services. Car rentals, 1.48 million. You see that other, that 8.6?
Now, what I do know about some of these productions, they’re very heavy on special effects and
post-production. If you start to be part of the ongoing conversation, Georgia doesn’t
have a really strong post-production community yet. Wendy can talk to you a little bit about,
where and how that works. If you’re in the post-production game, I will say that’s an
area of opportunity to be paying attention to. Editing, audio, sound effects, color grading.
All the kind of stuff that happens after the principal photography is done. They’re spending
millions and millions of dollars, outside of the state of Georgia, quite frankly, on
post-production. Wendy and I, we’re optimistic. There will soon be a post-production community,
here in Georgia that can handle these kind of productions. It’s just a matter, who the
players are going to be and who’s going to be the first to market and be able to deliver,
the way they would get those goods and services in other places. This is just another little list, I won’t
go through it. This is still partial. Payroll services, florists, electrical and grip, recycling,
waste management, security services. All of those are line items for a production, small,
medium and large. This is those 4 pages of other stuff that I haven’t even talked to
you all about. I just wanted you all to see the landscape of what’s going on, right here
in your backyard. Are you going to be part of the game? Are you going to be on the sidelines,
watching it? Are you even going to have a position to play, once this continues to grow?
In 3 years, remember I told you those stats went from $3 billion in economic impact, to
6, over 6. Definitely, this is a growing industry. Me
personally, I’m a champion for as many Georgia companies as possible, being part of this
ecosystem, benefiting, not just from the revenue, but net profits. We want those financials
to be strong. Not just the money flowing through your company. We want you to be personally
benefiting from it, through wages and job creation and community revitalization. When
we have this conversation about community revitalization, which I’m going to join the
panel now, just mosey on over and have a seat. I want them now, each to tell you who they
are, what they do. I want to talk about 1, maybe 2, very specific areas in Georgia. Actually,
in metro Atlanta, where there is significant opportunity right now. It’s a matter of people
seeing it, making the investment and being on the front-end of that wave. We’re going to start here, with Wendy. Then
Nelson and then Jim. Wendy:
Hello, my name is Wendy Eley Jackson. I’m one of the Principals of Auburn Avenue Films.
We are a service television and motion picture company. We have only been around as this
particular company. I’ve actually run another company for over 15 years, but as things have
changed and Georgia has grown, we’ve retooled it. Affection for the city of Atlanta because
I’m a native, we have actually called at Auburn Avenue Films. Currently, we are filming 1
documentary, which most people think documentaries are cheap, but this one [inaudible 00:47:43]
about $1.5 million. Being presented by PBS. We’ll know by next week, in HBO, as an HBO
Doc. Then we’ve got about 7 other projects. 3 motion
pictures and 4 television series that are in development, 2 with HBO and 1 with FX.
We’ll talk about, what development really is and how much I’m graying up, under this
Wella hair color as a result of. Judiffier:
Very briefly tell them, what your documentary is about? Wendy:
We’re doing a documentary on Atlanta’s first African American Mayor, Maynard Jackson. It’s
not the typical look that you can read in Wikipedia, about Maynard. It is the man becoming
the politician that created the game changer. Now, I have to just do this shameless plug.
We found, a video was posted to YouTube that, on May 2, 1992 Maynard Jackson actually was
the first person to start the Atlanta motion picture and television commission. Most people
think this is new to Atlanta, but at that time in 1992, Georgia was making about $300
million in economic impact. What he was able to forecast … This is in
1992. Mind you, he passed away in the year 2003. His statement was that, Georgia would
become the third largest motion picture television state. That he felt like, it was an opportunity
for economic growth and labor force. All of this is being seen in 1992. Another reason why we’re making this documentary
is that, he was a man that could see beyond the time that he lived. Those types of individuals
are very, very different. My question, and I’m actually doing the Marion Barry story,
which is a completely different story and it’s scripted. The trend that you will learn
about Maynard was, his first love was for God, his second was for his family, but he
died building this city. A lot of the reason, the love that you love. If you’re not from
here, you’ll learn through the documentary, what drew you here was a vision that he started
having in 1968, when he ran for Senate. How he truly became a part of the fabric of this
city, to build every area for economic development which is why we’re all here. Judiffier:
For those of you who don’t know, our airport is named … Wendy:
Hartsfield-Jackson. Judiffier:
Hartsfield-Jackson, after our mayor, Maynard Jackson. The other Principal for Auburn Avenue
Films, she didn’t tell you, is Maynard Jackson III, who’s sitting down here. Wendy:
My husband. Judiffier:
It’s wonderful, when legacy and heritage can meet business opportunity as well. For them,
this is more of a labor of love because it’s a documentary, which is going to be used I’m
sure, in a lot of educational settings. For it to be part of the slate of projects for
Auburn Avenue Films is quite impressive, it’s quite impressive. Wendy:
I will say, one of our huge mantras that we want to … We do collaborative storytelling.
This particular, it is a motion picture, it is a feature film. We brought on a man by
the name of Sam Pollard. Whoever saw Slavery By Another Name or Spike Lee’s, When the Levees
Broke, 4 Little Girls, The election of Barack Obama for HBO. He’s had more Primetime Emmies
for documentaries, than anyone else. We’re excited that he’s actually telling that story. Judiffier:
Nelson. Nelson’s also featured in the Georgia Trend Magazine for 2016-2017. I’m quite proud
of his accomplishments and being one of our success stories. Pick up a copy of that, if
you don’t have one. He’s going to give you some first-hand information now. Nelson:
I’m living, breathing proof that you can be a goofball and still be a success. I have
a small business, affectionately known as The Engineer Guy. I was thinking about this,
as I was pulling into this building that, 2003, got started. The way I used to tell
people how to find us was that, “If you’re on 14th Street and you go West and your brakes
fail, you would get our building.” This is really home for me. I’m very happy to be back
in this area of town. We are almost 13 years old and we sell, as
I put it, stuff. If you want to make a mold of something, if you need to make a plastic
reproduction of something, you would come to us and you would buy those liquid plastics
and those liquid [rubbers 00:52:43] and so on. I got dragged, almost kicking and screaming,
by a guy … This was 6, 07, something like that, who was an Indie film producer on a
very small scale. If you [inaudible 00:53:03] zombie movie, Matt was the guy you’d go to
and he [inaudible 00:53:09]. Can everybody hear me all right? Speaker 2:
It’s going in and out. Judiffier:
Out. Nelson:
I must’ve gotten that microphone. Okay, is this better? All right, here we go. Matt said
something on the order of, “Man, you need to get in the movie industry.” I told him
he was nuts. Why would I do that? As it turns out, he was right. Our business grew and grew.
We moved out of the building on the end of the street, into 2700 square feet, over on
Farmer drive. That lasted for 3 years. Then we moved down by the airport, into 5000 square
feet. That lasted for, maybe 5 years. This past year, we moved to into 15,000 square
feet and actually, it is the same building. While we were still in 5000 square feet, we
got introduced to this stuff called make-up. In this particular town, there’s, I’m sure
make-up places all over, but you don’t see the places where you can buy the kind of materials
that they use in the studio. Again, dragged, kicking. Do I look like somebody who would
sell make-up? No. Fortunately, there are much better looking people who work there, than
I. Thank goodness for that. I got dragged into that, kicking and screaming and thank
goodness they were correct. We identified what these people needed and we started bringing
it in. Today we’re very fortunate to be one of, I believe, a grand total of 3 in the United
States, what are known as Kryolan ProZones. We have got a veritable boatload of make-up
in this place and we’re very, very happy to be in a supporting role for the industry.
Our next big move is hair. I know just as much about hair, as I do make-up. Again, thank
goodness we’ve got people. It’s working for us. I now have, I lost count, maybe 14 people
working there. Our business is continuing to grow. Our biggest challenge is trying to
keep up. I’m sure we’ll talk about that. It’s been a lot of fun, it’s been a lot of headache.
I would encourage you to get involved, but only if you’re willing to give up sleep. There
will be times. Anyway, thank you. Jim:
Good afternoon. My name is Jim Tripp and I’m a Line Producer, a UPM, a Unit Production
Manager and a, just production guy. I started in this business some 40 years ago, in radio.
As a result of that, they gave me my own dance show. I was the Don Cornelius of Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania. I was in a PBS station at the time, WQED. I said “Hey, I like this television.
What’s going on here?” As a result of that, I got involved in the training program and
became part of the Mister Rogers’ lighting crew. You all remember Mister Rogers, right?
That was my first television job, working on Mister Rogers’ neighborhood along with
Michael Keaton who is Batman. As a result of leaving Pittsburgh, I had got bitten by
the sitcom bug, so I ventured out west and I worked on shows, Moesha, Sinbad Show, Eve. Then I ended up going back to Pittsburgh.
I started Warner Cable system there. Then made another pit stop in Washington D.C.,
WHMM, where I was in charge of production of the PBS station at Howard University. Then
I went back to Los Angeles, started working on some other programs and other people like
Bill Duke and Steve Harvey. Then Steve Harvey brought me here to Atlanta,
when he came here to start his radio show. I was one of the producers within his production
company and I produced the “Still Trippin” for him, his DVD. While being here in Atlanta,
we did a show for BET which was basically his radio show. Then BET says, “Well, if you
stay here, move here, what we’ll do is, give you an opportunity to produce some of our
shows.” Working with BET, I produced a show called “Let’s Stay Together.” I’ve done several
pilots for them. Then, also being here in town, I’m the Production Manager for the Rickey
Smiley show. I’ve worked on a number of other projects with him, Roger Bobb at Bobbcat Films. Then at some point within those 4 years of
going back and forth, I made a decision to move here. I’ve been living here now, for
about 4 years, being a transplant from all these other cities that I talked about, to
be a part of this booming industry. The numbers keep changing. Earlier, Judiffier said 6 million.
Somebody told me it was 7 billion. I don’t know, but it keeps growing, is the point that
I’m making. I think that’s why we’re all here today. Judiffier:
Jim, can you talk to them a little bit about, what a Line Producer and a Unit Production
Manager, what they do? Why small business owners need to be connected to people like
you? Jim:
Okay, a Line Producer … A Line Producer and a UPM, depending on the budget, could
be interchangeable, could be the same person. The larger the budget, the duties split. Then
there’ll be a Line Producer as well as a UPM. Basically what the Line Producer does is,
manage the line item budget, the day-to-day operations of that particular project or show.
That person basically, hires everyone except the cast, the writers and the execs. What
a Line Producer will actually do is, sit down and read a script and then break down a script.
Then determine whether we’re going to shoot this on film or tape, 4 cameras, 2 cameras.
Whether we’re going to go on locations or we’re going to go ahead and do it in a studio
and those kind of things. Script the programming. That’s why you always
say “Script is king” because everything is referenced then, in a script. It’s day’s,
it’s night, it’s raining, it’s not raining. She ran in the door or she rode in on a horse.
Then, once you identify all these particulars in the script, which, what a Line Producer
then would do is, go out and hire the various department heads which are referred to, the
keys. From make-up, lighting, the Grip department, the wardrobe department, sound department
and what have you. Then, once you get all these people together,
then what you do is come to an agreement which is basically, time and money, based on a budget.
You come up with a budget and say “Okay, to facilitate this vision that somebody wrote,
what is it going to take for us to do that? How much time is it going to require? Can
we get it done, if we’re doing a TV show? What makes an episode? Can we get it done
in a week?” If we’re doing a feature film, is this a 15 or a 20-day shoot? Do we should
Monday through Fridays?” Maybe, based on us getting certain locations, when the stores
are closed or something like that. Now we may have to shoot Wednesday through Sundays.
Then Monday, Tuesdays are the off days or what have you. The script dictates, what it is that we do.
Then you assemble a group of people. I always admit that, I’m not the sharpest knife in
the drawer. What I want to do is, gather all these people around me that are expertise
in their areas, whether it’s in lighting, whether it’s in wardrobe, transportation and
what have you. Then we all sit around and come up with a plan that we can all agree
to. Say “Yes, we can do this on time and on budget. Then, this is the game plan on doing
that.” Then, that’s when you get a production schedule, production design, budgets and what
have you. Judiffier:
There are 2 things I want you to hit on, Jim. If you wouldn’t mind, share the story with
them, about the security firm that you hired. It was a small business, you had given a shot.
Share that story. Then there’s one more thing I’d like to ask you. Jim:
What it is, I knew this guy who was just starting out his company. I’m always trying to give
somebody a chance or an opportunity to do something. I said, “Let’s hire this one guy
and his company.” Then what happened was, that particular morning, one of his guys didn’t
show up or something, so he had to do a double shift. The Executive Producer who was also
the Director, happened to come to the set. He noticed the guy sleeping. We had all these
trucks out there, all this equipment out there and everything. He just walks up to the guy. He calls me and
says, “Who’s this dude? He’s asleep. They could’ve stole the cameras.” The cameras are
valued at 2, $300,000 and what have you. Then it was my job, after hiring somebody, now
I’m going to fire somebody. When I’m trying to give you a chance or give you an opportunity,
but you can’t be sleeping on a job. Especially having someone for me, to be responsible for
somebody else. That’s what happens in this business a Line Producer. Our production manager,
you want to give people chances and opportunities and what have you, but if you don’t do your
job, then we have a problem. Another situation similar to that. There was
an Executive Producer. He was actually the manager of one of the stars of the show. He
went to go get something from the catering area, craft service area. The caterer went
off on him, “You can’t have that. This is just for the crew.” She said that, based on
the way he looked. He came to me and he said “Hey, fire this person. She don’t know who
I am.” It’s your job to know who people were. This person is on the set everyday, but just
because he didn’t look a certain way, you can’t just take it upon yourself and deny
this person some food, where he felt that he was paying for, anyway. You got to know
your surroundings and know who you’re actually working with. Judiffier:
That’s a great story. We had a conversation, a few weeks ago and then we can all probably
chime in on this because now I’m going to start talking about specific opportunities
that I’ve noticed in certain geographic territories, with all the new sound stages popping up.
Then some sound stages that have been there for a while. Let me just make a clarification
point here. When we talk about sound stages, most of the sound stages in Georgia are not
also production companies. A Tyler Perry Studios is an anomaly in terms of the rest of the
sound stages in Georgia. Sound stages, think of them like rental companies or leasing companies.
They lease the facilities and amenities to production companies that create the content. Tyler Perry Studios happens to be one that,
they create the content and they have their own facilities. I think Triple Horse might
be one other that’s a similar setup. Pinewood, they don’t make the movies. They lease their
facilities out to other companies that do. Mailing Avenue, Eagle Rock … Jim:
Screen Gems. Judiffier:
Screen Gems. Those are sound stages. They do not do the content creation and the job
creation along the lines of what we’re talking about, in our conversations. They’re key in
the ecosystem, but it’s important for businesses and even people in the workforce to know the
difference because they tend to gravitate towards the name that they hear a lot, Screen
Gems. Eagle Rock, not Tyler Perry Studio, but the ones that are just leasing, they would
not be the go-to companies in the conversation that we’re having. With that said, we had a conversation about
… Weren’t you part of The Game? Bringing The Game to the East Coast from the West Coast?
That was a production that, I believe Kelsey Grammer’s company had, for quite a while.
Then it went off the air for a while and then BET brought it back to life. Then it started
shooting in Georgia and stayed here until it went off air. Jim:
Yeah, The Game was one of the first shows to actually start shooting at Screen Gems.
When we first came to town, we were looking to put this show like a turner. Then the producers
basically said, “Well, this isn’t a studio-based show. We need to go to different locations
and different other atmospheres and all, to actually produce the vehicle.” Then we went
over to Screen Gems at the time. Screen Gems was still boarded-up and there was grass growing
through the asphalt. They hadn’t even started any type of production. They assured BET at
the time that, they can have this facility up and going in 6, 7 months, which they did.
Then they went there and produced The Game out of Screen Gems for several seasons. Judiffier:
Here’s the interesting thing about what we’re talking about. He told you a little bit about,
what Screen Gems was looking like. For those of you native to the Atlanta area, you’ve
been here long enough. Screen Gems is located in the old Lakewood, where they had the auction
I believe. Wendy:
Lakewood Fairgrounds. Judiffier:
The amphitheater’s on the opposite side, where they still have the music festivals and concerts
and so forth. Behind there, if you all are remember a long time ago, it used to look
like an old kind of Latin village or something. Almost like going to “It’s a Small World 2”.
If you could fuse those 2 views. I remember being a little girl and it being closed most
of the time. I’m born and raised in Atlanta. Joe. Speaker 3:
[Circus 01:07:52]. Judiffier:
I don’t really know. Jim:
It was a amusement park at one point, too. They had a roller coaster there. Judiffier:
It had a heyday. For over a decade, it was vacant. He’s talking about the the grass growing
through the asphalt and that kind of thing. Screen Gems was located … Think of the anchors
in that area. You’ve got Atlanta Metropolitan College, Atlanta Technical College, you’ve
got I-75, I-85 in terms of some infrastructure. You do have a MARTA bus line, you’ve got a
very old community. Jim and I had a conversation about production budgets and how much money
iS spent outside of that community because there’s no Starbucks over there. There’s no
equipment rental company there. If you think about, if something happens on the set unexpectedly,
how much downtime is there, travelling somewhere far? Jim:
It’s a lot. Judiffier:
Talk about that, Jim. Jim:
I worked out of Screen Gems for several years and I had to bring additional people on board,
like PAs or runners and what have you. For instance, our talent will stay in Buckhead,
at the InterCon or something like that, where in turn that we had to then send transportation
to pick them up and bring them to the set. Then if one of the producers, one of the writers
or one of the talent wanted something to eat, then I had to send a PA to Camp Creek Marketplace
to actually get food or something like that because there was nothing in those available
areas. Then when somebody yell for, “Hey, I need
a PA on the set to do something,” I said, “They’re down at Captain D’s right now, getting
some food for somebody.” There was nothing really, in the immediate area. That’s what happens when you have to start
adding extra people to your crew. For us to be working out at that particular facility,
we basically had runners. Your job was to run and go get this lunch and that lunch,
go pick this up at this place, go to Home Depot and get this and what have you because
there weren’t a lot of things in those areas. Since then, I don’t know if you’ve noticed
over all the construction, but they’re building studios and stages all over town right now.
Shannon Mall, Doraville, there was a GM plan out there. They’re building up there. 85,
Jimmy Carter and what have you. They said, “If you build it, they will come.” It looks
like the people are coming because there’s production everyday. Today’s Tuesday. There
are 12 productions being shot right now as we speak, in the city. There’s only 6 prop
people here in town. That’s the one thing … Now what is happened, 4 or 5 years ago,
it was okay based on the number of productions because there was only 2 or 3 productions
at the time. Now when it’s 10, 12 and eventually 15 and
20, the shortage is people. There’s going to be people, vendor. It’s about being in
the people industry. There’s not enough people now, to deal with the supply and demand of
all the work that has come into town. Judiffier:
If I were a supplier, knowing that I have certain goods and services that were transferable
to this market, I would get a map and pinpoint where the key sound stages are. I would drive
through those neighborhoods and those communities, and pay attention and spend time on those
streets, which I actually do, quite a bit in southwest Atlanta. I’ll tell you about
that in a second. I would do that to see where the gaps are,
in the marketplace. How proximity can be saving money for production companies. Convenience
saves money. Nelson, when I bring him into the conversation in a few seconds, I want
you to share about the length that you go to, for your customers. Where proximity becomes
almost the opposite of it. He’ll talk about travelling across state lines sometimes, to
be able to get something fast and bring it back to a production company. You’re not far from Screen Gems, not as far
from Pinewood. You have a nice South-side proximity. You definitely are on the same,
I know, with a lot of the film and TV activity that’s going on. Talk about the centrality
of your location, pros and cons of that. How you adjust as a supplier. Nelson:
Being that we’re by the airport, [depending 01:12:41] upon traffic, we can be at just
about any studio, well within the hour. Of course, with the exception being 4:00 in the
afternoon when you can’t get across the street in an hour. At any rate, our location was
chosen because of the ease that we were able to get wherever we needed to be. This was
even pre-movie. It’s just so simple, to be able to jump on the freeway. We are only 10
minutes south of Lakewood. We are about 35 minutes from Fayetteville’s Pinewood. As these
new studios come online, so far the one that’s the furthest away that we are currently serving,
remains Pinewood. Everything else is actually closer than that. That works out pretty well. The thing about it, and when I know we’re
going to end up talking at great length about this. What will separate one company from
the next is, its ability to come through on what they say, they will do. When we say that,
this is in our wheelhouse, then it’s on us, to perform. Fortunately in most cases, we’re
able to do that. When we say that we can deliver, we can generally deliver, but just like anybody
else, you’re going to make a mistake. When you make a mistake, it’s what you do with
it. You suggested that, we could drive across
state lines sometimes, to acquire important goods for productions. I don’t always tell
the production, what it is that I’m doing in order to make this happen because that
doesn’t matter. All that matters is that, they got it when they needed it. How you get
there, irrelevant. Just get there. The big takeaway from that, and again, I know we’re
going to harp on this is that, this is an industry that is largely comprised of people
who count on you to do what you say you are going to do because they have these things
called schedules. Jim, you can speak to this at far greater length than I. What does a
day’s delay cost? Jim:
Thousands of dollars. Just to piggyback on his story. Mic works, mine doesn’t. It flashes
in my mind. We said that, we were building a stage, an actual stage in a warehouse. It
was supposed to be ready at a certain day and a certain time. Part of the stage was
being around these products called cheeseboros, which are couplings to put the pipe and all
that together. The person didn’t care about, there were no
more cheeseboros in town or what have you. I used them all up and borrowed them from
every other show that was shooting. I contracted a guy from Dallas, Texas to drive non-stop,
all night to have these cheeseboros in here, so I could finish the stage because I told
them it would be ready by Friday 9am. He didn’t know that, and he probably still doesn’t know
it. The mere fact was, you have to promise to get the job done. Whatever it takes, at
that point. You got to be on time, you got to be professional, but you’ve got to get
the job done. We have a lot of different variables sometimes. Judiffier:
What Nelson and Jim really are speaking to is, operational tweaks on the fly. Being nimble,
being innovative and not being stuck in a mold and in a model that has worked for your
company for the last 10 years. If you’re wanting to serve an entertainment-related market,
creating value for them means delivering, whatever it takes. Being open 3am, when your
doors normally close at 9pm. I use example quite frequently. If someone’s
shooting a Civil War scene and they’ve been shooting battles shots all day or all evening.
Call time is 8am the next morning, to start back. Maybe they’re shooting out a sequence
and the uniforms need to be cleaned. Some dry-cleaner is going to have to be working
around the clock, or dry-cleaners, to get these costumes back in the condition where
it would look like, for call time the next morning for whatever scene that they’re shooting,
where we don’t want mud and blood and rips. We need it to look like, they just got dressed
up that day for the morning. That’s an example of a dry-cleaner who will have to have a different
operational strategy than the one they would serve in the neighborhood, open 8am to 5pm
or something like that. I want to shift gears a little bit because
we’re about to close out this particular session. This Small Business opportunities and film
and entertainment is usually a 3 to 4-hour program, where we actually can really get
into the nitty-gritty of it. It feeds another program called Becoming A Camera-Ready Vendor
that I created for the SBDC a couple of years ago. We’re scratching the surface. Once we start
talking about, what does a Line Producer or UPM look for, in vendors? How do they create
their preferred vendor list? What does that mean, to be on one? Does a certification matter
or not? How do you network and build relationships with these people? How do you need to staff?
Do you need dedicated people in your firm who only do studio accounts? We get into a
whole lot more. We’re scratching the surface about, what could be. Once we know what could
be and what we’re going after in terms of journey management, that’s when the SBDC can
partner with you, to help you map out some of those moving pieces. Both Nelson and Wendy are graduates of an
executive development and business development program that we have for growth, called GrowSmart.
What I would like for them to do is, to take the last 5 minutes or so of this session,
and talk about their experience with GrowSmart. Particularly Wendy is both, creative and business
person because of the nature of her company. Nelson has already told you. His company’s
called, The Engineer Guy, so you get an idea he doesn’t consider himself a creative, he’s
a businessman at heart. He’s working in creative environments. You took GrowSmart back in 2012,
you took GrowSmart last summer, 2015. I’d like for them to talk about the time that
they took, to work on their businesses. Not just in it, but on their businesses and how
they maintained that discipline, moving forward and take advantage of the SBDC services. Let’s
start with Wendy, and then we’ll close with Nelson. Wendy:
I was introduced [inaudible 01:20:09] of course, through Judiffier. I had run a company prior
to that, for about 16 years. I started off with Sony Studios, but as an entrepreneur,
I had run my own business for about 16 years. Saw huge successes, but during the recession,
I saw huge losses. Did not really understand how to recover, how to retool, what were the
benchmarks I needed to be seeing? What SBDC was able to do is, to help me to understand
that I did not have a plan. I may thought I have. One of the great things that you learn
through SBDC and building businesses the correct way is that, you go from being self-employed
to really being a business owner. It’s like McDonald’s. McDonald’s doesn’t work
because it’s the best burger in the world. McDonald’s works because no matter, it creates
a system. SBDC helps you to create that system for your business and allows you to structure
it. No matter what happens. 15 years ago, with my film company, now I’m in the position,
I can actually sell my business to someone else, to be able to acquire it because I understand
what core values. What do core values mean? You hear corporations talk about that, all
the time. How do I go from a 1% increase to a 4%? What happens when I see my business
plateau? How do I get it out of that plateau? What are the importances of marketing and
PR and human resources and maybe, have the correct staff? SBDC has allowed, even … I need to share
this with you. Allowed us to grow from .. Remember, Auburn Avenue Films grew from January of last
year, to where we are now, over $100,000 excel from … I took the program in August? To
move it really, really fast, but it allows me to go back and forth between building.
We’re concentrating on, not just creating content, but now being in the game as a studio
provider of space. Screen Gems, it’s a huge warehouse and production
offices and things of that nature. If I didn’t have that infrastructure in terms of business
because I went to college, but I don’t have an MBA like this one over here. It gave me
finance 101 through 401 really, really quickly. It’s very intense, they last all day. I can’t
say that, I understand now, I’m at peace of how to take my company from where I am now,
to a guaranteed retirement. Judiffier:
Just to piggyback real quick, before Nelson starts to talk. I remember being a business
owner for 10 years, before I went and got my MBA. In my mind, I thought my MBA would
prepare me to be a better business owner, a better small business owner. It wasn’t clear
to me at that time of enrollment that, MBAs, we’re doing case studies and we’re studying
a whole lot more of corporate structuring and operations. We’re not really talking about
small business development in MBA programs. I remember the conversation where one of my
peers asked one day, “What’s a DMB number?” I remember the professor stumbling over it
and I thought, “Okay, I get it now. That’s why I’m still struggling with a few things
because everything wasn’t easily transferable from big business to small.” I did learn strategy
though, I learned strategy. While I was at Georgia State’s PMBA program,
I heard about the SBDC. Several years later, is when I came to work for the SBDC. I will
tell you, GrowSmart is the program I wish I had, when I started my first salon, my first
publishing company, my second salon. When I did a merger and my business partner and
I weren’t really clear on what a merger needed to look like. Then, when the divestment started
happening because we realized we weren’t culturally, a good fit. Her firm wasn’t running like my
firm. Her leadership style wasn’t like mine. I learned to appreciate things in context.
As we became facilitators of GrowSmart and consultants, which is actually where I met
Nelson. My first day on the job with the SBDC, was one of the last sessions of his GrowSmart
program. I think it was session 4 out of 5. We spent 2 great weeks together and then we
just never parted. We became strategic business soulmates. Would you call it that, Nelson? Nelson:
Joined at the hip. Judiffier:
We are joined at the hip. He’s taught me so much in terms of being a better consultant
and helping his company grow. I won’t give you the whole spoiler of his success story
in Georgia Trend, but I think you were at 1. something million, when we met. Then you
did, what, 3. Something, last year, 3.9, 3.1? Nelson:
I don’t remember which 1 point it was, but it was either 1.2 or 1.7. Then it was 2.2,
2.6. Judiffier:
That was in a 2 to 3-year period, he started almost doubling. I won’t share all your story,
but when he came up to me at Eagle Rock. We did a event at Eagle Rock Studios, a few weeks
ago. He gave me his milestone for the first quarter 2016. I will just say, he was knocking
out in 1 quarter, what used to take a year. I’m your biggest fan. I can’t pat myself on
the back, a little bit but. We work well together, we work well together. Jim and I work well
together because we have decided to co-craft this journey together. The accountability
that I’m able to give to them, I get my reward seeing them succeed and seeing them apply
these strategies and grow. Just take a few minutes and tell us, and talk about GrowSmart. Nelson:
I do not need to talk about GrowSmart, I really do not, because you folks have done it justice.
I want to put the little foundation underneath GrowSmart. How many folks in this room consider
yourselves to be entrepreneurs? Okay, so if you raised your hand, chances are good, you’ve
got this crazy idea that you want to work for yourself. Okay. Do you have another crazy
idea that says somewhere up here that, someday you want to hire people? Don’t, I’m kidding. No, here’s the thing. Don’t, for a second,
ever stop learning. That’s the big thing here because you can get buried. I don’t care what
business it is, you can get buried in it. It happens to me. I get on the forklift and
I just disappear. I’m a very happy person on a forklift because I don’t have to think
about all the other stuff. That’s how you get trapped. Don’t do that. You have to have
a plan. You have to work the plan. All the while, if you want to play in this movie business,
you’re going to have to be nimble. It’s weird, but you have to do it both ways. This is the big thing. Between the SBDC and
the other organizations that you heard about, just today, you’ve got a team of people who
can help you get where you need to go. Wendy:
For free. Nelson:
For free. Judiffier:
I do give homework. We, all of the consultants do, so be ready. Nelson:
That’s all I have to say about it. Wendy:
I have, just something. Are there any content creators in here? People that want to create
content? Okay. I want to just make sure I get you guys cards because there’s something
that you have to realize. We’ve been talking about Georgia Labor force. If you’re on that
content creative side, you have to join me in my bicoastal ways, and you have to understand
that those decisions, when they get to him, the decisions of what they want to do, have
already been made. That’s not made here. That’s made in Los Angeles and New York. Judiffier:
In closing. I would like to say that, the YouTube video that she talked about, it’s
still online was about Maynard Jackson predicting that we’d be number 3 in the market. Georgia
is number 3 in the market. We have been for quite some time. For those of you in business, I invite you
to come visit us at the SBDC. If there are some specific projects or areas of improvement
that you would like us to partner with you on, we’d be more than happy to serve you.
I’m at the Clayton State office. I do have cards and brochures about all of our offices,
so I’ll give you that if you would like that, before you leave today. Again, thank you for joining us. We’ve enjoyed
being with you. I have one question right here. Yes. Speaker 4:
[inaudible 01:29:16] Judiffier:
Okay. Speaker 4:
[inaudible 01:29:20] Judiffier:
Content, yeah. Wendy:
Right. Judiffier talked about platforms. There’s so many platforms and those platforms need
content. I’ll give you an example. BET is not a 24-hour network. That means they have
paid programming. There’s a guy named Robert Rosenheim that builds, and especially on Sundays,
religious programming. Probably, you can wake up and you can see Lifetime. They have paid
programs. That means, they don’t have programming around the clock. There are so many vehicles now, that need,
they’re looking for content. I’m serving on 2 film festivals now. Here’s the thing. I’m
here to tell you, as a person that started off as an Executive Assistant to the Executive
Vice President of Sony, to being Vice President of movies in miniseries for Sony. There’s
a lot of bad contact. The best thing for you content creators, and we can talk about this
a little bit as a sidebar conversation is, make sure you understand story and structure
and things because that helps to develop budgets. We’re doing something now, that’s a period
piece for 1921. If I were to hand that script over to him, he’s got to say, “I’ve got to
take this, all the way back into 1921.” That’s costuming, that’s cars, that’s sign, it’s
everything. Judiffier:
What you have just uncovered is, the need for another class. Wendy:
That’s another class. Judiffier:
Jim and Wendy. I think that will be a awesome class on budgeting and script development.
Based on the script, what the budget looks like, that kind of thing. Even the network.
We talked about a distribution class being in the works. We have more to come for you.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Stay connected with us on georgiasbdc.org. That’s
G-E-O-R-G-I-A, and then the letters S-B-D-C.org. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be adding more
training and development programs. Connect with us at any time. We’d love to see you
and have you in our audience. Thank you. Wendy:
Thank you.