This Episode was brought to you by
Gerald Griffith is the founder of Guide to 575 and has lived in Cherokee County since 2009 with his wife and kids. Since that time, he’s operated a local media services company and had the opportunity to connect with people and businesses around the community.
Gerald had the idea of starting Guide to 575 during COVID-19 as a way to connect people around the community with events, jobs, and information and he’s excited to share it with everyone.
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:07] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX studios in Woodstock, Georgia. It’s time for Cherokee Business Radio. Now, here’s your host.
Stone Payton: [00:00:23] Welcome to another exciting and informative edition of Cherokee Business Radio Stone Payton here with you this morning. Today’s episode is brought to you in part by Alma Coffee. Sustainably grown, veteran owned and direct trade, which of course means from seed to cup. There are no middlemen. Please go check them out at my alma coffee ecom and go visit their Roastery Cafe at 3448 Holly Springs Parkway in Canton. As for Harry or the brains of the outfit Leticia and please tell them that Stone sent you. You guys are in for such a treat this morning and please join me in welcoming to the broadcast with Guide to 575 Mr. Gerald Griffith. Good morning, sir.
Gerald Griffith: [00:01:10] Good morning, stone. And how are you?
Stone Payton: [00:01:11] I am doing well. It’s a delight to finally get you in the studio any time I traipse anywhere around Cherokee County for any event that is designed to support and celebrate the business community and the community at large. I see Gerald Griffith sometimes totally equipped with all of his toys to capture the moment, and sometimes he’s just there. And every time it’s a real, real joy to to see and hang out with you. This, this guide to 575 MAN What’s mission, purpose? What are you trying to accomplish with this?
Gerald Griffith: [00:01:50] Man Oh, I’ll tell you, some days I feel like I’m trying to put myself out of misery or something. But now the exciting part is, you know, this, this whole idea about the 575 is, is stemming from, you know, a desire to actually connect more with with what’s going on in this area, not just the city where I live, which is here in Woodstock or Canton or something like that. And so I started thinking, you know, how do I find out about other things that are happening up and down what I call the corridor? And the corridor runs the entire 575. That’s what the the name is all about, the interstate that we all share and and go up and down every single day. And so the guy was really, you know, the concept of creating a platform and space where you could now begin to learn and highlight and and connect with resources all up and down this area and know that they’re either physically located in this area or that the people running the business because there may be a home business or something. So they don’t have a retail location, but that that person not only services, but they are located within the area as well.
Stone Payton: [00:03:07] Well, it sounds like a noble pursuit. It also sounds to me like a lot of work. Where do you even start with with an effort like that?
Gerald Griffith: [00:03:17] Well, that’s the proverbial how to eat an elephant, right? So, you know, it’s one of those things. So, you know, by all accounts, we’re starting with the project. You know, it’s a new idea, a new concept. Initially, I’m looking for 250 businesses to put in our listing. But beyond just having a basic listing, we actually want to truly highlight these businesses. You know, I want to put their pictures in there, put their web, all their social media stuff in there, invite them into programs like this where they can talk and have that podcast and, you know, appreciate things like being able to embed that podcast into their listing so that they have something where people can actually learn more about the business.
Stone Payton: [00:04:00] Right there in the listing. They can listen in to to a media appearance, whether it’s on Business RadioX or maybe some other Oh, fantastic.
Gerald Griffith: [00:04:08] We can drop that in there. And because, you know, thing I could ask a lot of as well, you know, isn’t that something that Google or Yelp or some of the other things already do or aren’t there local magazines and things? And to me, they they they come at two opposite ends of the spectrum, right, where the Googles and the Yelps are very broad, but they can be very impersonal. You have the local magazines and things, they are offering more articles and things like that, but they’re more on the print side and they don’t necessarily have as much of a digital presence. So God, the 575 is a little bit of both of those.
Stone Payton: [00:04:42] Yeah.
Gerald Griffith: [00:04:42] And a lot more in terms of developing content and relationships with the businesses so that they have more reach. But they know that it’s targeted is very specific to the region because most people, if you’re a plumber, you don’t just service customers in Woodstock. Sure, you don’t just service them. Most of them, if you go to their website, they’re going to say, we do Marietta, Kennesaw, Acworth, Woodstock, Ball Ground, Holly Springs, Canton. Right. So God, 575 will be a platform where they can highlight their services and know that it’s regional focus.
Stone Payton: [00:05:15] So this is a great opportunity for me to plug my buddy and a guy I’ve come to trust and a great deal just to not. No red tail plumbing. But but but let’s play that out a little bit. So let’s say Justin becomes listed right in your directory. What are some some pro tips, if you will, for him to get the most out of his listing? Like, what should he do from there? Because I’m operating under the impression just putting yourself there is good, but there’s probably some other stuff you can do to kind of boost that in some in some way, like let people know you’re there.
Gerald Griffith: [00:05:51] Absolutely. Well well, that’s part of it, right? It’s like, you know, you can buy all the gym equipment you want and park it at your house, but it doesn’t get you in shape. Right. So you buy a website, it doesn’t automatically do something for you. And that’s what, you know, the guy aims to be a little different in terms of if your plumber contact there does a listing, we want to have a dialog with them to say, Hey, what is it you want your presence to do for you? Is it simply more customers? Is it more awareness? Is it more informative in nature? Do you want to be a subject matter expert? Maybe they want they write. So they might say, Well, hey, you know what? I’d love to submit some articles about plumbing or my experience or something like that so we can look for opportunities to highlight them and their service. Because to me, if all you’re doing is trying to give out 50,000 coupons a year, then yeah, that’s going to reach some people. But people also want to know that you care about your work because quality is a big thing right now that you’re going to show up on time, that you’re insured, that you’re all these different things and not be afraid to educate them on things, to not have them have emergency service calls all the time. So I would look for opportunities in addition to things like saying, hey, you know, did you already do your Business RadioX thing with stuff so that you can have a dialog like this? So we take his podcast, plug it into his page, list all his other social media things, and then also highlight who they are as much as what they do.
Stone Payton: [00:07:17] Well, I can see already that there’s a great deal more depth and breadth in in this kind of resource than your traditional garden variety directory, for example. And look, forgive me, I have a tendency to see everything through the Business RadioX lens, right? We’re going to solve world peace. But let’s say, Justin, we’re a client of ours. And one of the deliverables were that we set him up to do some commentary or like these protests around, you know, like just some stuff to be on the lookout for at your house, how to know when you need a plumber, whatever those things are. So if we were to capture that content here and then transcribe it and all that, to some extent we could at least, if not publish it on, on, on this resource, we could at least have something there that would point to where it is published.
Gerald Griffith: [00:08:06] Absolutely. Absolutely. We can.
Stone Payton: [00:08:08] Oh, wow.
Gerald Griffith: [00:08:08] We were making the thing shareable. We’ll be doing things like, you know, firing up our YouTube feed and things. So I may do something where it’s like, hey, you know what, Justin? Let’s set up a time where you can we can do a day in the life of or something, right? So we go out with you maybe on a few jobs. You can talk to us about what you’re doing, what you’re seeing, why you’re doing it, the customer relationships and things like that, and publish that out. We can even do some live stuff. So, you know, you know me from doing the live stream of different events in the area. Yeah. Yeah. So the more you can make it about who they are, how they work, versus here’s just another listing type of thing. Or on the flip side, people think, well, you know, I’m on social media. I’m like, okay, well, that’s great. Yes, I went there looking for a plumber, but I ended up spending a half an hour watching cat videos and arguing with some guy about the latest political spill. Right. So so I didn’t leave there feeling good. I left there kind of pissed off and defending 50 people. Right. So let’s let’s realize that not everyone is on the social media platform and not everybody wants to be on a social media platform. So how do we create a resource that’s accessible to people in this area? And they know that the resources there are focused on this area.
Stone Payton: [00:09:21] So at this stage of developing a resource like that, like this, is it a little bit of a chicken and an egg thing? Like, because once you get a certain degree of momentum, then more and more people just ought to start calling you. Right. But are you kind of in the early stages where you’re doing things like this? You’re you’re explaining it and you’re talking to the Justin’s and the stones of the world. Is there a little bit of that chicken? Absolutely.
Gerald Griffith: [00:09:44] Absolutely. Absolutely. And it’s one of those challenges in a way, because on one hand, you know, you need to be defined, but on the other, you need to maintain enough flexibility that you can adjust and pivot and change and speed up and slow down and things as you learn more things. So, for instance, because God at 575 is not city based. How do you define.
Stone Payton: [00:10:09] You.
Gerald Griffith: [00:10:09] Know, things about it, right? Because when I say the corridor, what does it mean to you? Well, it doesn’t naturally mean anything to people in this area until they catch on to the fact that when I say the corridor, it means everything from ball ground to Marietta.
Stone Payton: [00:10:25] Wow. That’s a that’s a lot of ground. But it’s but it still does have some focus.
Gerald Griffith: [00:10:29] Yes, it’s still it’s still focused because we all go up and down. 575, right?
Stone Payton: [00:10:33] Oh, yeah. I’m going to be in Canton tomorrow morning for a million cups thing and. Yeah, absolutely.
Gerald Griffith: [00:10:38] Exactly. I’ll be there as well. So so then and then we start to say, well, how do you how do you hone it down a little bit more? Right. So one of the things we’re developing and conceptualizing here is that there’s there’s a there’s a south which would be, say, four exit four down through Marietta. Then there’s Central, which would be maybe from exit four to to 12 or 14 or something. And then there’s north, so maybe everything north of 14. So now even when you start to work through it, you can say, well, hey, you know, that’s 575 North or central or south, but naturally we don’t think about it that way. So in addition to trying to put this resource together, you essentially have to create an entire ecosystem in which it exists because most people are used to thinking about things in terms of town, Lake Woodstock, Cherokee, right. Whereas 575 is North Cobb and Cherokee all combined and the city and the community and everything else. So you have to create an entirely new vernacular around how to talk about the space.
Stone Payton: [00:11:44] Yeah. So what are you finding the most rewarding? What are you enjoying the most so far about? About this project, the.
Gerald Griffith: [00:11:50] Lack of sleep. Now, I think for me, I think it’s a combination of things. One, I like meeting people, I like learning about their why, like why they do what they do, how they got there, what they find exciting. You know, some of it, some of the interviews like we’re doing here, but we’re out in the street, out in the field type of thing. And really also highlighting the fact that there are a lot of things that happen in this area.
Stone Payton: [00:12:20] Yeah.
Gerald Griffith: [00:12:20] And a lot of things, unfortunately, you don’t know about until well after it’s happened.
Stone Payton: [00:12:24] No, that happens to me way too often, man. I should have been there. Or in some cases I could have even been there and helped with a live broadcast or something. But in other cases, it would have just been cool to show up and be there.
Gerald Griffith: [00:12:34] Mm hmm. Yeah. And that’s. That’s what I found. Something like, you know, even, say, on the business side, so. Well, if you want to, you know, maybe you move to the area and you say, well, I want a network with some other businesses. Where do I go for some meetings? Well, most people can tell you about one or two, but there are probably about seven or eight at least or more that happen in the area, but there’s no central place to go find it. So if you go to got the 575, we actually have a business, you know, events type thing where it’ll show you a listing of all these different businesses.
Stone Payton: [00:13:09] Oh, that’s fantastic.
Gerald Griffith: [00:13:11] Happening in the area. You could even click on the Map View and it’ll show you where along the corridor those meetings take place.
Stone Payton: [00:13:17] Nice.
Gerald Griffith: [00:13:18] So there’s there’s that web piece of it. But eventually we’ll we’re going to start off with we’ll have a digital magazine version of it and then eventually we’ll probably have a print magazine version of it as well. Because the goal is that, you know, we well, I guess I look at it that those of us of a certain age, while we like technology, we also like being able to look through something peacefully. We like being able to hold something tangibly in our hands. And so all of these things kind of play together. And there was even one idea I was floating when I first started thinking about this over a year ago of even doing like an ongoing radio type program, you know, along the lines of Sirius or something like that where there was even music and different things playing, but it was all about stuff happening in this area. Maybe there was like talk shows or or things like that where it’s all highlighting businesses and maybe there’s, you know, particular day where you’re highlighting real estate and you’re just inviting in different real estate people or different businesses. Like I said, you know, business networks, you know, invite all the different leaders in and you’re doing ongoing talk throughout the day, just highlighting different groups. And people knew that any time you turn, turn to that or tuned into it, that it’s always about things happening within the area.
Stone Payton: [00:14:37] I can feel the passion, I can hear the vision. I got to know a little bit about the back story. How did you find yourself in this arena? Have you got a background in creating companies or projects? Tell us a little bit about about your career path, if that’s even the right word or you’re just your path?
Gerald Griffith: [00:14:59] Well, I I’m very much a people person. It probably has a lot to do with growing up. The nephew of a pastor spending most of your childhood in a church setting interacting with people. So I’ve always enjoyed working with groups of people in that regard, but I’ve worked in the media space and stuff and most people in this area know me have. Running a professional conference that I ran for ten years until this one, which is when I ended it for me, at least where I started with a simple meetup group. The idea there was to have ten people get together just because I was fairly new to the area at the time and said, Well, you know, if I could find some other people who are in the space and learn from them and grow. And that thing grew like crazy. You know, my goal of ten was blown away probably in the first day. Wow. And ten years later, I wrapped that thing up with with having nearly 1000 people coming in from from like, 20 different countries. And we were booking two full hotels down by the airport. And it was a great experience. Lots of ups down and you learn a lot about event planning and the ins and outs of working with groups. And so it was exciting, but for me a lot of it just still comes back to what does it mean to be a community, you know, what does it mean to actually be able to know what’s happening in that community? And I think the more people know about what’s happening in the world around them, the better.
Stone Payton: [00:16:31] Now do you envision above and beyond having your business listed? And I love that it’s more than just, you know, Stone Payton Cherokee Business Radio. Email LinkedIn link. I love the depth and breadth of it as we were talking about before, but do you also envision opportunities for businesses to sponsor somehow have some sort of sponsorship of the resource? Is that part of the equation or.
Gerald Griffith: [00:16:57] Yeah, there’ll be plenty of advertising and sponsorship opportunities there. I’m very sensitive to that in regards of I hate going to resources where you feel like it’s so ad driven that the content is just razor thin. You know, I think there has to be a balance because to me there’s there’s no bigger turnoff than right than going to something. And you feel like, oh my God, I can’t even find what I’m looking for because there’s 500 ads before I get to the first piece of content. So we’ll have some. But the goal is to make it more strategic in nature, make sure it always is, is adding value. And again, one of the catches with us versus some of the other platforms is that the business has to have a physical presence here or the people running the business have to physically be present.
Stone Payton: [00:17:48] Okay, now, now what compelled you to kind of draw those lines?
Gerald Griffith: [00:17:53] Well, because it’s got to 575 right now. Are there opportunities for things outside of that? Yeah, we have some banner ads that that people can can purchase. I don’t really have an interest. I don’t know if our will in the Google Sense and stuff because I think it just gets a little too broad with some of it, but. If you’re if you’re an advertiser and you just want to get a banner ad, you don’t necessarily have to be here because that’s more very strategically placed and they’re fairly limited. But most of it should be driven by organizations and resources that are specifically to this area.
Stone Payton: [00:18:29] Now, with your background and experience in events, are you thinking at all about tying in some events or visual events? I mean, I knew the ads I asked.
Gerald Griffith: [00:18:39] Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. In fact, the meeting I was at earlier, we were talking there were a couple of realtors there. And I said, see, you know, for me, there’s there’s different types of engagement. There’s an engagement where maybe I just sent someone a few questions. I answered back, and then there’s just a simple post, but then there’s maybe a podcast type thing where it’s a setting where maybe they come into a setting like this or, you know, I go and sit down with them and we just record a conversation about real estate. But then for me got 575 starts to take on more value when we coordinate maybe a quarterly town hall or something. And maybe that quarter we’re talking about real estate and we invite in four or five agents or brokers or something from all up and down the corridor to talk about the real estate market in the corridor, not just in one particular community, because they’ll all bring something different to the table.
Stone Payton: [00:19:31] Yeah. So a lot of entrepreneurs, a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs tap in to the business radio network, some of them to the Cherokee business radio show. And, you know, as an entrepreneur, I, I occasionally run out of steam, you know, I get fired up, but then I get a little burned out. And so I have my ways of kind of recharging places I go for inspiration. And it’s not necessarily a physical place. You know, it might be books or people or what where do you go when it’s time to recharge? Where do you go for for inspiration?
Gerald Griffith: [00:20:11] So the beach.
Stone Payton: [00:20:13] You’re a beach guy.
Gerald Griffith: [00:20:14] I’m a I’ll be more specific to to the beach. I like watching sunrises. Oh, at the beach. I find that it’s one of those places where when you look out over the ocean and you watch the sunrise, it’s the simplicity and the beauty of it that come together that that makes you just remember that no matter how much stuff is on the shore behind you, all the buildings and stuff. Yeah, yeah. That the world is actually a very beautiful place.
Stone Payton: [00:20:47] And that’s true.
Gerald Griffith: [00:20:48] So when I when I stand at the shore and I just look out over the ocean and I see the birds, I see the sand, I see the sun come up across the horizon. It just recharges me and I get excited by that. I take a lot of pictures of it, you know, after I kind of soak it up myself. But then.
Stone Payton: [00:21:06] You can go back to it, at least in a.
Gerald Griffith: [00:21:08] Way. Yeah. And I just find that there’s. There’s something about the beach that I just find refreshing.
Stone Payton: [00:21:16] So clearly your life learner and you have learned a lot of of what you know possibly from the school of hard knocks and experience. Did you have the benefit of any mentors along the way? And have you chosen to try to fill that role for other people at this at this stage of your life?
Gerald Griffith: [00:21:41] Yes and yes.
Stone Payton: [00:21:43] All right.
Gerald Griffith: [00:21:44] I’ve I’m the last of 11, so.
Stone Payton: [00:21:47] Wow, I’m surprised you’re this big Gerald’s Gerald’s full grown boy, but I’m surprised you had space at the trough, man.
Gerald Griffith: [00:21:55] Well, we’re pretty spread out. There’s 25 years between myself and my my oldest sister in the group, but I think I’ve learned something. I try to learn something from everyone and that someone coined the phrase once they said, everybody, everybody brings joy to a room. You know, someone they enter, someone they leave. I think you can learn something from everyone about that.
Stone Payton: [00:22:19] You’re going to hear that. You’re going to hear that again. And I’ll try to credit you. That’s fantastic. I love that quote.
Gerald Griffith: [00:22:25] So I do think you can learn a lot from people. And, you know, over the years I work a lot of odd jobs. Even when I served in the Army, I still have part time job rather or something. And I just loved being around people, dealing with them in different capacities. Sometimes it’s more fun than others, but in the end you find that all these different things you do along the way come back and they can serve you well. You just didn’t realize that it was, you know, 20 years earlier that you learned that lesson, that, yeah, 20 years later, that would be the very skill that you need to apply to that situation. But I try to share anywhere I go. I talk to a lot of businesses, business owners at these different meetings that you and I find ourselves at to talk to them about what what they need, what they’re trying to do, where they’re trying to go and really understand. Kind of where they are. More so from the. Mindset part of it a lot of times, because it’s not always the things people think that are holding businesses back. A lot of times it’s just that they haven’t really thought through a concept. They they’ve surrounded themselves with people who are. Yes. People or something like that. Or they’re just focused on one aspect of the business. But when they can have that conversation and know that it’s not about judging or anything like that, it’s just a conversation to try to find ways to help them grow.
Stone Payton: [00:23:49] Well, I’ll tell you, everybody. Gerald is quite sincere when he describes trying to help people and trying to help them think for themselves. I have thoroughly enjoyed attending the million cups since since I moved to town. And I enjoy hearing the entrepreneur and all that kind of thing. But the reason I show up as often as I do is I like to listen to Nick CARBERRY. And you ask questions because your questions are the kinds of questions that open the mind of the presenter and have them think about things differently. So I’m going to like the Gerald Nick meeting, and I just happened to have the added benefit of hearing of a new business idea or something. But, but no, you, you really do you you position questions in such a way that you’re not calling their baby ugly or anything, but you’re you’re having them sort of step out of the of the path they’re on and just and just take a little a little different perspective, a little bit of a different view. And it sounds like you’re offering that opportunity everywhere you go.
Gerald Griffith: [00:24:51] That’s right. And in fact, you touched on something there. Anytime I’m having a conversation with someone, the way I measure whether that conversation was was meaningful and effective or successful, as you might say, or something, as I listen for one phrase and that one phrase is this I’ve never thought about it like that before, because if you can get a person to think about it differently, you can get them to act about it differently. And if they can act on it differently, they can get different results than what they were getting before. So if they left that conversation thinking the same way, they’re probably going to act the same way and they’re probably going to get the same results. Right?
Stone Payton: [00:25:25] Amen.
Gerald Griffith: [00:25:26] So the conversation is never about winning anything. It’s about providing a perspective that they don’t possess.
Stone Payton: [00:25:33] Wow. I think we’re going to carve that little clip out and publish that separately. All right. So with regard to got to 575, what can we do to help? What should we be doing? Letting people know, talking to you? What can we do to help?
Gerald Griffith: [00:25:48] Well, right now, because we’re in this launch phase, I’m trying to find the first 250 businesses to just sign up for free premium account. It doesn’t cost them anything. It’s an entire year. If there’s no value at it, then it’ll just downgrade to a more basic level of it. But. But the goal is to not even have it have a cost or anything like that. I think I did have one thing where I put in a thing where if you signed up, it was like a $1 setup fee or something, even on the more more basic one. And that was only because spammers, you know, they always find a way to get in. So we were spending so much time eliminating people who were signing up from UK or Canada or something else. I don’t think they’re in our area. So usually people don’t want to put a credit card in, even if it’s for $1, if they’re just a spammer. Right. So we would have something like that in there. But the 250 people that we’re trying to put in there as businesses of all different types, we want to get to know them. We want to build up a great page for them. We want to make sure it looks amazing because the more amazing they look, the more amazing the resource looks, and then the easier it is to build. When people go to something and they know it’s thought out and it’s organized and it’s functional and we build on the enterprise platform. So this isn’t something that we just build over overnight and through together. No, this is this is an actual real platform that can support hundreds of thousands of users and things like that. So anything I work on, you know, the plus is that I give it 100% and then the minus is that I give it 110%. You know, it’s no, I just try to always put my best foot forward with it and put in the work and the time. And a lot of times that involves getting up real early, staying up late. But yeah, you know.
Stone Payton: [00:27:31] All right. So let’s leave our listeners with some coordinates that they’d like to reach out, have a conversation with you or somebody on your team, or if there’s some path that they can take to go ahead and get listed or at least learn about God to 575 whatever you think is appropriate, websites, emails, phone, whatever, whatever, LinkedIn, whatever works for you.
Gerald Griffith: [00:27:49] Okay, great. Well, one thing we are looking for as well is the listings are some content providers. We want some people who are in the area who write, who have some stories that they want to share or things they want to highlight because building that network is going to be super important as well. We want to make sure things are updated, but if they’re interested in that or they want to get a listing, they can visit the site. I believe that right now I don’t have a code set up for it, but I can put one in there that says Business RadioX and then they can get a free listing through that.
Stone Payton: [00:28:20] Mm hmm.
Gerald Griffith: [00:28:21] Or they can just email Gerald. Gerald at guide to 575. com. And that’s the guy the letter t05 75. com. And they can request one there. But otherwise we’re looking forward to getting this thing going and getting it ramped up. And you know, as much as right now, I’m like, we’ve got to get this built. I also realize that at a certain point I’ll be back in here meeting with you, like we’re trying to keep up with this stuff. But but that’s when, that’s when it gets exciting. And the most fun part is we start to highlight things that are happening in this area, which is an amazing amount of things that take place around here. And I can’t wait for people to start realizing like I never knew about that, you know, like I was saying, I never thought about that. I want people to start saying I never knew that was here. I never knew all those businesses were were in my area. I never knew all those restaurants were there. I never knew how those events took place. I never knew all those meetings were available because there is a tremendous amount of things out there up and down this corridor that we just don’t know about.
Stone Payton: [00:29:23] Yeah, well, keep up the good work, man. We’re going to continue to follow the story. Please don’t be a stranger. Let’s have you come back and periodically update us on things. And maybe, I don’t know. At some point we might even decide to build out some little series where we spotlight some of your premium members. There’s all kind of cool stuff we can do to work and play together.
Gerald Griffith: [00:29:41] That’s the fun of it.
Stone Payton: [00:29:43] All right. This is Stone Payton for our guest today, Gerald Griffith with Guide to 575 and everyone here at the Business Radio X family saying We’ll see you next time on Cherokee Business Radio.