Sharvon Green on Adapting to COVID
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My name is Sharvon Green. I'm originally from a small town, right outside of Savannah, Guyton, Georgia. I'm an event photographer. We do, graduations, cap and gown portraits.
As you can imagine, I lost all of that income, um, um, um, at the beginning of pandemic, which is one of those things that I never even thought about. Anything that could actually affect that income, because everybody's going to go to college. You always have people going to college, you always have graduations. So, um, having something that came about like COVID-19 that, affected that business, that was nothing that I'm sure like everybody else I could not prepare for.
At the very beginning, once the events started getting canceled, I knew immediately that I had to do something different. And so, it's been a long time since I actually shot for myself because I was a contracted employee shooting for a company. So immediately I had to start generating business for myself.
And then the other part of that is, I am an independent auto dealer. And so I started that business at the beginning of the pandemic. And of course, last year I did this entire business plan for everything that I had hoped to do in 2021 when I started that business. And of course I had to revamp that whole thing because, I tell people when I kind of laugh about it because you have to kind of laugh to keep from crying. Sometimes I'm like nowhere on my business plan, did it have COVID-19 for that auto broker business. So, um, um, that has been extremely challenging. And, at the very beginning, when I started that business, I went to the auction for the first time and immediately the next week, the auction site foreclosed.
For the first three months I did actually put the business on hold because, um, um, one of the biggest challenges for me was, um, um, how do you do test drives when you have to be 6 feet apart from people? So that was one of the biggest challenges for me. It wasn't so much the simulcasts and having to look for cars online. But of course, being so new to the industry, um, being able to walk to the auction sites, see the cars, check them out, make certain that they were in proper working condition. And that was one of those things that I couldn't do. So I just had to rely on the information that was available to me online.
And, after about three months, once I took the time to actually revamp how I was going to handle the business, I had to go in fast forward mode by totally automating the business so that the sales for my customers, everything could be pretty much completed online. And that's what I did. I came up with a process for my customers to be able to complete at least 90% of their transaction online for the car sales. So, as far as PPP payments, I couldn't qualify for that because I didn't start the business in, prior to 2020, I started it in 2020. So I did not qualify for the PPP program.
So, change of course is one of those things that I always tell people that you have to be willing to adapt.
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