In this series, ActionCOACH Mary Ann Hauser (MAH) and team virtually sit down with business owners to learn how they are working through COVID-19. Check out their inspiring stories for tips on how to cope with and successfully recover from this pandemic as well as ideas on how to avoid making common mistakes. And be sure to look at special offers from these businesses – we can all use a little extra help right now!
BKN: Coach Beverly Kiser-Nutt
EB: Eric Berg, owner of Apple Rock Displays - Greensboro, NC
BKN: What do you do and how long have you done it?
EB: I started this business in 1988. I really love the concept of an advertising agency. I wanted to be on my own and started the path on becoming an agency by doing video, print, brochures and layouts. The thing that caught my eye was creating events. I had a passion for creating events. One of my clients was an RV dealer and he was struggling. I suggested that we do an RV show. We put on an RV show and it was very successful. We grow the business by doing events. In 2020 we just got top 40 builder-- we have won a lot of awards. The ultimate award is what we have built here in the community. We have some great employees and love this community. What gets me up everyday is that, creative space coming up with ideas. We love being challenged to come up with great ideas. We have streamlined everything with events to make it a one stop shop.
BKN: Who would you say is your best customer or target customer?
EB: Our best customer is somebody who wants to break bread with us. They appreciate us and we appreciate them. There is a common collaboration it's not a vendor-buyer situation. They want us to service and they want us to do well. Our best customers are the ones that we are in a true partnership with us. This is a very important piece of the puzzle to our culture. We want to choose our customers as much as they are choosing us. Culture is very important.
BKN: What has been the biggest impact on your business with COVID 19?
EB: COVID has in a lot of ways has been a roller coaster. In about a 4-day period, our revenue has gone from millions to dollars a month to zero. No one would ever believe that would happen to their business. Jan/ Feb were our best months in 30 years, then come March 9th, we are at zero revenue and no events for the rest of the year. It's heart stopping, in one way it can break you or it can get you jazzed by trying to figure it out to navigate it. We have highly talented, adjustable, flexible people. Every decision that had to be made during the last 8-9 months have been the best decisions I have made. I would not have made them as fast or simply if there were doom-sayers around. You end up keeping your very best people and making the best choices.
BKN: What are some actions you had to put in place because of the Pandemic?
EB: On the 9th of March we adjusted and began creating PPE products. We were able to get big contracts pretty quickly. In about 20 days we were producing gowns for the state. We created a product OnCore Live for connecting people on video. We are making mask with logos, plexi items, retail solutions.
BKN: What has been your biggest learning since becoming a Business Owner?
EB: Be well capitalized to have enough money in the bank for things like this.
BKN: What do you find the most inspiring?
EB: I have found that for me...the inspiration has come from the faith of a lot of people. The positive vibe of not letting this get to you. People who are not quitting and are innovating and taking it on as an opportunity and helping others. I don't hold anything back. I always try to help others. We want to see as many people as possible to get to the other side.