Tag Archives: north carolina

Socializing in a Socially Distanced World

Socializing in a Socially Distanced World by Evan Shirreffs

As young professionals, most of us are getting our careers started, attempting to make new friends outside of work, and networking for possible job opportunities that don’t involve surviving at the bottom of the totem poll at a 9-5. A lot of this socializing would typically come at happy hours and on weekends with visits to our favorite spots, but a huge disruption to the young professional lifestyle came with the onset of COVID-19. Our time to let loose became a time of added stress as we were pent up in our apartments, or even back home with our parents, as we waited for any sign of times returning to normal. One thing became clear as week after week brought new broken promises and spoiled expectations: the end of this mayhem was nowhere in sight, so we decided to make do in the meantime.

At first, this meant getting together with a small number of close friends for what normally would be pre-games. These gatherings still somewhat involved social distancing as our parents warned us that we couldn’t see them when we traveled back home if we were stupid enough to see other people, but the seed of times returning to normal was already planted.

At some point in the terrible reaction to the pandemic, the FOMO took over. Our cravings for those social settings that we so dearly missed slowly outgrew our fear of the pandemic. Naturally, we wanted to meet people and we wanted to try new things. As places began to re-open, we scrolled through social media, witnessing our friends start to go out again. Sparked by distrust of the conflicting news we received day in and day out, we were all soon flooding the doors of any place brave enough to host us. Whatever was open, we ran to with hopes of getting in before they reached capacity. We watched our favorite dance floor at Gin Mill reopen before regulations forced them to do table only seating. We saw an earlier last call at Sycamore with each passing evening, leaving us scrambling for a new place to go. We were devastated by a curfew put on the few thriving spots like Hoppin’ after a promise of brewery and bar re-openings that clearly came too soon.

After hearing news the other day of an additional 5 weeks being added to the Phase 2 protocol in North Carolina, I thought of how everything has unfolded over the past few months and pondered the next moves for some of these affected restaurants, bars, and breweries. In my research, I came across this excerpt regarding the “Real Economic Support That Acknowledges Unique Restaurant Assistance Needed to Survive (Restaurants) Act of 2020” that truly puts into perspective what these businesses have been going through and why relief is needed:

“Recent surveys found that COVID-19 has forced operators to lay off 91% of the hourly workforce and 70% of salaried employees. Only one in five restaurant owners subjected to state mandated dine-in shutdowns said they felt confident they could keep their restaurants running. The National Bureau of Economic Research predicts that only 15% of restaurants will be able to stay open if the COVID-19 pandemic lasts six months. All of this in an industry that already runs on extremely thin margins.”

While the circumstances appear dire, there is always hope and opportunities hidden within even the most chaotic of crises. There are strategies business owners and operators in this space can and are taking to make the best of the situation.

Following online research into the subject, I wanted to take things a step further to develop a better approach in which to help these businesses. I decided to reach out to a few business owners (primarily in Charlotte) to see how they maneuvered the past few months, learn how imposed laws have affected their businesses, determine what tactics are working, and hear about their expectations for the future. More to come soon…

Evan Shirreffs, MBA is a Business Analyst with WIMS Consulting a full-service marketing and sales agency operating primarily in Charlotte, NC and Miami, FL. WIMS has a service line dedicated to assisting restaurants, breweries, and bars with growing and scaling called LDR BRD.

WIMS Client Spotlight Charlotte Phoenix esports

WIMS Client Spotlight: Charlotte Phoenix eSports

The Charlotte Phoenix are a professional eSports organization dedicated to enhancing the Charlotte eSports scene. Founded in 2019, the Phoenix have competed in several different video games and pro leagues. As a part of the CLT Esports family, the Phoenix value their surrounding Charlotte communities and support all efforts rewarding passions in eSports, gaming, art, and technology. Whether streaming games online or holding in-person LAN events in the Queen City, the Charlotte Phoenix are hyped to entertain their fans and fellow gamers.

They have teams for the following games:

  • World of Warcraft
  • VALORANT
  • Rocket League
  • Call of Duty (Challenger Teams)
  • League of Legends (Challenger Teams)

After rising #FromTheAshes with a brand-new look in 2019, the Charlotte Phoenix have spread their wings into more games in 2020, starting with VALORANT.

Visit the website and stay tuned to their social channels for merchandise deals, news on upcoming events, and exciting announcements throughout the rest of the year! If you’re interested in partnership or sponsorship opportunities make sure to reach out as well as it’s a truly unique time and opportunity as their audience and influence is growing rapidly.

WIMS Client Spotlight Close Off Market

WIMS Client Spotlight: Close Off Market

Charlotte-Based Real Estate Tech Startup Close Off Market, Inc. Launches New (Beta) Platform
Close Off Market is a unique technology platform that offers subscription-based access to off market commercial real estate deals in an efficient and user-tailored manner.

Close Off Market, Inc. and its team has been working tirelessly to solve a major problem facing the real estate community, tighter margins because of slowly moving deals and antiquated business practices. The platform leverages pre-existing technology, such as e-signature, CRM, ecommerce, etc. and then added its own proprietary algorithm on top to bring it all together. The business is built off the hypothesis that further enabling technology to add another layer of efficiency will help streamline the entire sales cycle and will make a tremendous impact on their users’ business.

If you’re in the commercial real estate industry you know how important getting access to the best possible deals at the best possible time can be to help increase the ROI on a potential transaction. Whether you’re a developer, investor, property manager, or otherwise having access to the best information, operating an efficient business, maintaining great relationships, and making timely decisions can make or break your organization.

Close Off Market has completely systematized the process to streamline the entire cycle and present its users with off market deals that are fully customized to their specific desired criteria.

Close Off Market’s co-founders are Clifford Blanquicet, Jr. and his wife Anna Blanquicet. Clifford is an entrepreneur and CEO of Blanq Real Estate, he’s also a commercial real estate broker, investor, and property manager. This problem is something he experiences daily and is extremely familiar with. Finding a way to solve it became a passion project of his that eventually led to the spin off and creation of the new entity.

He wanted a simple, automated, yet functional platform that expedited the commercial real estate acquisition process, while also providing invaluable insight into what his clients needed and wanted in their respective businesses. After searching unsuccessfully for such a platform, he noticed a void, and a potential opportunity. This led him on the path of creating Close Off Market.

After allocating the necessary resources and assembling a team, he and the company recently finished their internal development and testing phases and have now launched the initial beta platform to the public. While there is an extensive product road map in place that will continue to be rolled out in the near future, the existing iteration of the Close Off Market platform is ready for further user testing.

ABOUT CLOSE OFF MARKET
Charlotte-based Close Off Market, Inc. is a real estate tech startup focused on streamlining the process of commercial real estate acquisitions. The company offers a secure, cloud-based technology platform that provides subscription-based access to off market commercial real estate deals in an efficient and user-tailored manner. For more information, please visit: https://www.closeoffmarket.com/.

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The WIMS Guide CoVid-19 Edition Charlotte

The WIMS Guide CoVid-19 Economy Edition aka “The Charlotte Coronaconomy”

By now we’re well into the quarantine period and pretty deep into the business disruption that’s been the byproduct of the spread of CoVid-19/Corona Virus. At this point many of us are (at least relatively) beginning to adjust to the new normal and catch our breath in terms of what this means to our various businesses. Hopefully you’ve been able to strategize on potential pivots, are making the necessary adjustments, and are getting closer to finding a new groove for the path forward.

On the other hand, it would be naive to think that every businesses is going to make it through unfortunately. To think where we are now compared to even a month ago is pretty horrifying. But that being said, the ONLY thing to do now is continue to march onward with an unrelenting focus on doing whatever it takes (even if that means closing up shop and going in a different direction) to get through this. Looking forward is really all that matters now.

In that light I want to use my company’s (WIMS Consulting) platform, clients, partnerships, relationships, etc. to help share resources, ideas, insights, hope, strategies, etc. to help you and your business navigate these waters. I know a lot of people are doing this too and some of these things may be redundant, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t do my part and just let others do the leading during this time.

Considering the majority of our our business is based in Charlotte, NC and Miami, FL I’m going to create a page for each with specific local information in addition to the more macro/federal stuff. Further, I’ve volunteered to help lead the “South Florida Business Continuity Task Force” so will be sharing more information about that too as we launch the website later today (3.25.20). In Charlotte, we’re going to spearhead something similar via the Charlotte Business Group. Stay tuned!

In the mean time please reference the content below which I’ll be updating regularly. If you have anything else you’d like me to add please email me directly at msimmons@wims-consulting.com.

It may sound insensitive right now, but as the saying goes: “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” This is going to produce unprecedented opportunities if you look for them. Another extremely applicable quote: “This too shall pass!”

-Mike

 

Financial Support

SBA/Disaster Relief Loans:

By now just about everyone has been spreading the word on this. But this piece from the Charlotte Business Journal was really well done. “What small businesses in North Carolina need to know about SBA disaster-relief loans”.

IRS – Federal Tax Relief protocol.

North Carolina Department of Revenue CoVid-19 Tax Relief Guidelines.

Charlotte/Mecklenburg County:

Carolina Small Business Development Fund: Small Business Lending: COVID-19 Update from Our President & CEO, Kevin Dick

Mecklenburg County ​Office of Economic Development another incredible set of resources surrounding things not solely business related but also with an expanded scope.

How to Get Mortgage Relief (Investopedia)

 

Charlotte Impact/Next Steps

Charlotte Regional Business AllianceCoVid-19 Resource Portal this expands well outside just greater Charlotte too and includes resources for the much larger regional footprint. Check it out, extremely valuable. It even goes into the personal health side of things, again which is outside of the scope of what we’re trying to accomplish here but if you’re curious this is the place to go. This also includes guidance from lawyers, accounting firms, etc.

Charlotte Inno – Startup Related: “Coronavirus-Related Resources for Charlotte Startups” This is an incredible and robust list that gets into operational recommendations among others.

North Carolina Chamber Coronavirus Resource Guide including Small Business Resource Center.

Charlotte Inno“Amid Coronavirus, Charlotte Tech Leaders Talk Next Steps for the Business Community”.

Charlotte Business Resources CoVid-19 Resources.

 

Ideas/Strategies

65 Free Tools to Help You Through the Coronavirus Pandemic (Entrepreneur Mag)

On CRM: How Companies Are Leveraging Their CRM Systems To Help Navigate Through COVID-19 (Forbes)

Coronavirus: What Every Business Owner Needs to Know (Wix) great article with a lot of sound ideas, even if some are seemingly obvious.

Email Marketing: This was a great article from Fast Company, and insightful. Just because everyone else is sending emails doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do one too. Just make sure it’s really well done if you do and that it adds value to your audience (don’t be self serving).

List Of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Small Business Relief Programs (Forbes)

COVID-19 Will Fuel the Next Wave of Innovation (Entrepreneur Mag)

 

MORE TO COME!!

LDR BRD Level Up Your Business

Level Up Your Business: Introducing the Launch of LDR BRD

The LDR BRD Mission:

We help your business understand and connect with your customers by providing actionable intelligence on consumer behavior. We want you to really know your customers and your market. We give you the power to increase revenue, brand exposure, and increase market penetration by deepening your relationships with your customers.

Whether you’re in the early stages of the concept, have been around for a while, or are currently experiencing a wave of growth, we understand each business has its own unique set of challenges and opportunities and customize our approach accordingly.

We work with you to help reach your destination, while keeping in line with your unique brand, mission, and everything else that makes your restaurant, brewery, coffee shop, winery, retail location, etc. stand out!

What sets LDR BRD apart?

  • Created for the food, beverage, brewery, winery, hospitality, and retail industries.

  • Integrates with your existing systems (or we can help you create them).

    • Data collected from Web, Email, POS, Social Media, CRM, referrals, etc.

  • Tracks customer activity on-site and off-site.

    • ​Financial, Online, In-Person, etc.​

  • Data is then measured, run through filters, and used to identify your most valuable and loyal customers, how they interact with your business, and keeping them engaged with your brand long-term.

 

We have much more to come, but if you’re interested in learning more please visit our website and reach out to discuss!

The WIMS Guide Video Ep.11 Cali Trip and More

The WIMS Guide Video Ep.11 – Cali Trip & More

The WIMS Guide Video Edition is Back! I’m in Cali for the next two weeks. We came out here to close out my wife’s maternity leave with a little business and a little pleasure spending time with family and friends.

Today’s video I mainly focus on where I’m at her in Cali with a call to action for any potential meetups, introductions, connections, etc. I’ll be in Southern California until Sunday, February 23rd so please feel free to reach out!

The other topic is the Charlotte event I’m hosting on Thursday March 12th. I’m putting on an event for Charlotte’s best and brightest while also celebrating 6 years in business for WIMS Consulting. The event is open so please feel free to bring a friend!

After some extended time grinding in Charlotte for about 5 weeks, I head back down to Miami for the eMerge Americas conference. If you do any business in Miami of Latin America you’ve got to make it down here for this. It’s one of my favorites and I make it down every year specifically for it. Some friends and I are also going to plan a mastermind/meet up for those in town, we’ll share the details on that soon.

Also, I’m still putting together the content plan and doing outreach for additional posts and videos, etc. so if you’re interested in spreading the word about a specific business topic, your personal/business brand, etc. let me know!

Lastly, we’re going back to some of the CRM and business development topics we’ve been working through but I’m going to start adding a lot more structure and even a curriculum as well.

Thank you for your time, attention and support as always!

-Mike

The WIMS Guide Video Edition will focus on business topics such as Entrepreneurship, CRM, Marketing, Sales, B2B, Business Development, Web Design, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Machine Learning, and much much more. To learn more about Mike Simmons and his company WIMS Consulting, click here. 

The WIMS Guide Video Ep.10 Restarting the Streak

The WIMS Guide Video Ep.10 Restarting the Streak

Whelp I broke the streak! After literally 14 hours straight with a client firm there was a moment when I got back to the apartment around 10pm where I could’ve made the right decision and be Superman…but didn’t. Ugh!

Nothing like that bitter taste of blowing it to motivate you get back on track. Often it can derail someone and they spiral but I’m just going to shrug it off and get back at it. Especially considering that overall, yesterday was overwhelmingly positive and a major win. Spent the day with a law firm client talking business development and marketing strategy, doing some training, looking at the numbers, planning for the year ahead and really drilling down into the specific. Despite the unrelenting grind, the day absolutely flew by.

Now we just have to focus on making sure everyone follows up and is held accountable to the plan. Today, back to hustling in Miami. Carving out some time this am for billable work. Then have several meetings lined up and a networking event this evening as well. Onward!

The WIMS Guide Video Edition will focus on business topics such as Entrepreneurship, CRM, Marketing, Sales, B2B, Business Development, Web Design, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Machine Learning, and much much more. To learn more about Mike Simmons and his company WIMS Consulting, click here. 

The WIMS Guide Video Ep. 9 Miami Monday

The WIMS Guide Video Ep. 9 – Miami Monday

It’s Miami Monday!! Just arrived in the Magic City and I have an action packed week on deck.

Meetings with investors, clients, prospects, referral sources, friends, etc. Planning to hit a few networking events as well with the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and Miami Finance Forum among others as well. Not too mention have to keep up this routine and the gym streak. It’s going to be absolute chaos in the best way.

Industries I’m working with and targeting: Legal, Commercial Real Estate, Accounting, Finance, Tech, Health Care, and professional services are the primary on this trip.

My company is also launching a major campaign surrounding private equity, venture capital, family office, investment banking, and financial institutions who maintain equity stakes in a variety of portfolio companies. In conjunction with some key partners we’re putting together an awesome value proposition to not only help increase revenue via sales and marketing, but also streamline the accounting and finance functions as well all in a consolidated fashion. Much more to come, but this week really kicks off some of the necessary meetings needed before launch.

If you’re in town and want to try and get together definitely reach out!

-Mike

The WIMS Guide Video Edition will focus on business topics such as Entrepreneurship, CRM, Marketing, Sales, B2B, Business Development, Web Design, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Machine Learning, and much much more. To learn more about Mike Simmons and his company WIMS Consulting, click here. 

The WIMS Guide Video Ep. 8 Call to Action Friday

The WIMS Guide Video Ep. 8 – Call to Action Friday

Getting this in a little last minute today but keeping the streak alive nonetheless! Still in the mountains of Banner Elk, NC and wrapping up Day 14 of the fitness streak (only 90 more to go yet to meet my goal).

Again taking a bit of a detour with something that I make more of a thing going forward: Call to Action Friday. Wanted to shout out that I’ll be back down in Miami all next week. The schedule is already packed with client meetings, prospect meetings, networking events, and much more. I’ve said many times I’m ALL IN on growing the business more and more down there and this is another major step in the right direction. I still have some availability left but even if we’re not able to meet in person this trip please reach out and let’s at least set up a call and make a plan for the next time as I’ll certainly be back often!

Also, I’m still continuing to seek more and more content from entrepreneurs and professionals who are looking to create more whether written or video. If that’s a part of your strategy for the year please reach out and we’ll get something going.

Thanks for the attention while I keep getting these reps in and have a great weekend!

-Mike

The WIMS Guide Video Edition will focus on business topics such as Entrepreneurship, CRM, Marketing, Sales, B2B, Business Development, Web Design, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Machine Learning, and much much more. To learn more about Mike Simmons and his company WIMS Consulting, click here. 

The WIMS Guide Video Ep. 7 CRM

The WIMS Guide Ep. 7 – CRM: Gone Mobile

Today we’ve gone mobile, shooting from the mountains of Banner Elk, NC! It’s appropriate for today’s theme (we’re still drilling deeper into CRMs) about the mobile side of CRM.

Ideally, whatever platform you decide (or chose) will have a great mobile application as well. It can truly make a major difference with not only efficiency, but also with maximizing the program’s value. My go-to’s have great mobile apps of course (Zoho, Salesforce.com, HubSpot) but plenty of others do too.

It helps to be able to add notes/updates immediately after a coffee or lunch meeting, or after discussing an actual deal. I haven’t always been great at it either, but getting all the pertinent and timely data in the system ASAP really helps to ensure you don’t forget any of the crucial, and sometimes subtle details and information gleaned from those meetings. Further, being able to pull out your phone (when appropriate) to recall a key piece of intel can be valuable as well.

Why rely on your memory when you have a supercomputer in your pocket?

The WIMS Guide Video Edition will focus on business topics such as Entrepreneurship, CRM, Marketing, Sales, B2B, Business Development, Web Design, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Machine Learning, and much much more. To learn more about Mike Simmons and his company WIMS Consulting, click here.