Reopening, Loan Forgiveness, and Compliance - Shorr Solutions

In this episode of Shorr Solutions: The Podcast, “Reopening, Loan Forgiveness, and Compliance”, we welcome Alex Thiersch! As the founder and director of the American Med Spa Association (AmSpa), as well as the managing partner for the law firm ByrdAdatto’s Chicago office, Alex addresses liabilities to consider when reopening,  concerns with PPP loan forgiveness, and why sticking to protocols is so important. Tune in now to gain answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding reopening, loan forgiveness, and compliance!

00:00:05:09 – 00:00:45:08

Mara Shorr

Welcome to Shorr Solutions: The Podcast. I’m your host Mara Shorr. I’m a partner in the medical practice management company. Yes. Shorr Solutions. Who is the other partner, you may ask? Easy answer. That would be my father. Our founding partner, Jay Shorr. Together, we now have an amazing team and clients across the country. Listen as I chat, converse, strategize and commiserate with brilliant guests, colleagues, friends, clients, and influencers.

It’s time to listen, learn, and be inspired. Welcome to Shorr Solutions: The Podcast

00:00:45:10 – 00:01:29:02

Mara Shorr

And welcome back to another episode of Shorr Solutions: The Podcast on today’s episode, I have with me Alex Thiersch. This is gosh, I can’t tell you how many years in a row that we continue to see each other again and again. Alex is the founder and director of AmSpa, as well as managing partner for ByrdAdatto’s Chicago office.

His law practice focuses on representing plastic surgeons, medical spas and aesthetic practices in business and compliance matters. And we share so many clients and really are always happy to sit down and talk. So, Alex, thank you so much for agreeing to be on the podcast today.

00:01:29:04 – 00:01:45:16

Alex Thiersch

No, of course. Thanks for having me. It’s a privilege and I think I was sitting here trying to remember back when you were talking, when did we first meet? I mean, that was probably 2013, 2012 something like that?

00:01:45:18 – 00:02:00:10

Mara Shorr

Around that. You were you had recently gotten married? I was barely engaged at that point. And so we’ve both certainly grown because AmSpa was pretty darn new at that point as was Shorr Solutions.

00:02:00:12 – 00:02:03:14

Alex Thiersch

Yeah, yeah, you were just like a mini consultant at that point.

00:02:03:16 – 00:02:18:13

Mara Shorr

I was. And now I’m a maximum consultant, so I was just. Yes, Yes. Now I’m a mega consultant and we were actually I think it’s been two years now since we’ve been on your podcast.

00:02:18:15 – 00:02:33:16

Alex Thiersch

Yeah. We got to get you guys back on actually. I was just thinking that today. Oh, yes, I agree. That was that was fun. I was in Vegas right where we did that. VCS we were set in the hallway, which is usually the way that I prefer to do these podcasts.

00:02:33:21 – 00:02:49:17

Mara Shorr

In the hallway. Oh, well, it could be due to the joy that it’s social distancing right now. You are in Chicago. I am in Orlando. So we can find a hallway somewhere in between and do the next set. It may be a minute, but virtual. Yes.

00:02:49:19 – 00:02:51:11

Alex Thiersch

A virtual hallway. I gotcha.

00:02:51:13 – 00:03:08:02

Mara Shorr

Perfect. Alex, can you. Let’s start off the conversation by talking a little bit about your background in law. And so I’d love to hear how you got involved with ByrdAdatto and how you founded AmSpa.

00:03:08:04 – 00:05:03:19

Alex Thiersch

Goodness, it’s a long and torrid story. I’ll tell you that much I can tell you, though. So I am a lawyer, which hopefully folks don’t hold against me. I still have a practice, although I don’t really spend a whole lot of time practicing now. I spend all my time running AmSpa. But back in the day, gosh, those are probably 2008 or something.

I quit my job at a firm and decided out of my own business, which I thought would be a piece of cake. Right. And it was incredibly difficult. One thing led to another ended up getting into aesthetics because I could see there was so much craziness going on in this industry. There was, I think I had a nurse who was at our end who owned a medspa like in 2008, who was bringing in like two and a half or $3 million a year in revenues and what the heck is that?

But she was doing it completely wrong. So she was not in compliance. She had violated all sorts of ownership rules, supervision rules, and was being investigated by the state and was at risk of losing her license. And I saw you know, we helped her out and got her got her off. So she was she was safe and got her got her set up correctly.

But I, I saw that there was this incredibly lucrative business out there that had a lot of people who needed compliance help. And that’s kind of how AmSpa was born and I met ByrdAdatto kind of in the same way that I met you on the on the conference, we were on a panel.

Yeah, basically it was basically on a table. I met Michael Byrd and then we ended up having a bunch several beers and just kind of hanging out. And that’s when this whole thing was hashed. But it’s been a crazy journey. I’ll tell you this. I never thought I always make this joke when I’m giving speeches. I would say, you know, I always thought I’d be banging on the table in a courtroom saying you can’t handle the truth or objection, you know, doing some passionate acting on it.

00:05:03:21 – 00:05:08:06

Mara Shorr

I mean, yeah. If that makes you feel better. I could still see that being like, right by.

00:05:08:09 – 00:05:19:02

Alex Thiersch

But that’s not it. Now, I talk about, you know, bottox and vaginal rejuvenation and skin rejuvenation and all that’s that’s my life now. So, who knew!

00:05:19:04 – 00:05:45:24

Mara Shorr

It’s definitely a world that for those of us that didn’t, you know, either for those of us that didn’t see ourselves starting in the field, when you look at what is totally normal to us on a daily basis to have conversations about all of these things, it’s that’s a normal part of our day. And yeah, that didn’t exist.

I mean, I was in the nonprofit world, so I didn’t see myself starting there. But ten years later, here I am.

00:05:46:01 – 00:06:04:06

Alex Thiersch

I always tell people, you know, probably the most important skill that you can learn in business is just to keep your eyes open and to recognize opportunities when they come. Because most of the time you’re going to end up doing something completely different than you set out in the beginning.

00:06:04:08 – 00:08:09:04

Mara Shorr

I know, I know. And the world is constantly changing. So it is. The world is constantly changing. One of the things that in this era of era of COVID, right, everything is changing and everything continues to change on a recurring basis. And so you and I were talking a little bit before we got started and before we hit record and we were talking about the most frequently asked questions that both of our companies are getting.

So I have our obviously Shorr Solutions on our consulting company with Jay Shorr, my father and business partner, who everybody in the industry knows and loves. He is brilliant and has been so amazing to to partner with through this. But you know, and we have our team and then you have between AmSpa and ByrdAdatto and there have been so many questions that both of our companies have been getting again and again.

And so I wanted to kind of touch on a couple of those most frequently asked questions that we’ve been getting again and again. So and I know that AmSpa as well. So with that, one of the questions you and I were both talking is where can practices find the most reliable source about not only when they can reopen, but how they can reopen because it’s changing on a regular day to day basis and it’s obviously different state by state and practices that have either a medically essential and the non medically essential component.

They have a cosmetic and they have an insurance based component. They could be surgical and nonsurgical. And so we look at those things that the treatments they’re allowed to provide at different points in time are different. So where is the best place for them to work to get the most updated information on the exact treatment and when they can start to provide it and what they need to do?

00:08:09:06 – 00:08:26:17

Alex Thiersch

Yeah, that’s a that’s the million dollar question, right. I think you can make an argument that it’s hard to find just accurate information on anything, about Covid nowadays. It’s just that it’s become such a a circus out there. But it’s a good it’s a really good question.

00:08:26:17 – 00:09:01:16

Mara Shorr

And it’s conflicting. There’s so much conflicting information. And our clients will send us to different sources that came out on the same day and they’ll say, you know, and the same client will send two different things and they’ll say, I need to speak with you about this because I don’t understand what to do. And that’s when Jay will often hop on the phone.

Jay is brilliant when it comes to compliance, and so he’ll hop on the phone with them and he’s on the phone first thing and weekend mornings and late nights during the week and in between. And so what would you recommend when it comes to the best, most reliable sources?

00:09:01:18 – 00:10:00:15

Alex Thiersch

Yeah. So it’s it’s really different. The first thing I would say is that it’s difficult and nobody should beat themselves up if they if they can’t find the exact answer because most of the time the answer is not out. You’re dealing with government orders or orders from health departments or orders from medical boards. And we’ve seen this play out in Texas and in Illinois, where there’s just there’s there’s virtually no specific guidance.

And so to get in a situation where you don’t necessarily know what you can do is not uncommon. And it’s not I don’t… I feel like people get very worked up about that and they get nervous and upset. It’s really not uncommon at all. So the first thing you want to do is always make sure that you are following the rules of your particular state and locality.

It kind of goes up from there. So if you have a if your city has said something like, for instance, in Miami and Florida’s got different counties, right, for this kind of thing, they’ve launched different initiatives and.

00:10:00:15 – 00:10:11:11

Mara Shorr

We’ve been the one at last. But I mean, we are not exactly known for our everything running so smoothly, i.e. hanging chads and all of that during, you know.

00:10:11:13 – 00:12:49:02

Alex Thiersch

So always the first place is the state government and see what the government the governor has said about when things can reopen and then you’ve got to go to your local level, to your city, your county. And then nobody should neglect the medical board because with a lot of the plastic surgeons and cosmetic firms, they oftentimes will qualify as a surgical center or they’ll have surgical privileges and they can usually get shoehorned into some of these openings.

That way, although we’ve seen with medspas, is they tend to they’re not medically necessary. Like you said, they they don’t qualify as able to have surgery centers or do half of surgeries. So they’re really just doing voluntary, medically unnecessary cosmetic services. But, you know, I put a huge caveat on this because in my home state of Illinois, I just we’re dealing with this in real time because there’s there’s too competing orders out there, both of which address different segments of of health care and then spine cosmetics.

But none of them apply to medspas and medspas are kind of in this this tweener space where they’re not allowed to open yet. They’re not technically allowed to open when other businesses open because they’re not addressed. So I’m kind of telling people, well, you know, the best thing to do is to wait at least until the second step, because then you’ll be safer.

But right now, you’re not you know, you’re not technically allowed to open. However, with that said, I know people who are who are just like, screw it, I’m opening up anyway because I need to. And it’s unclear and I’m willing to take a risk. I wish that there was like a site that had all of the rules. You can find the rules, I think.

So the relative orders from a state and local, they are out there to be found. But that’s just the start. We always recommend reaching out to us, reaching out to someone like you, reaching out to a lawyer, a health care lawyer, and trying to get some real input because at the end of the day, it’s going to be an assessment of risk.

You know how much risk tolerance you have right? It’s not going to be you’re not going to get a clear cut answer because and this is actually really important to the thing that I that we’ve noticed more so in the last two months probably than any other time prior, although we certainly knew this before, is that governments, local governments, medical boards and state governments don’t understand how medical spas work.

They don’t understand where they are. They tend to automatically get grouped into the spa category because of the term medical spas.

00:12:50:13 – 00:12:54:15

Mara Shorr

Yes, and that’s been an issue for a long time with a lot of things. Yes. Is that…

00:12:54:15 – 00:13:04:16

Alex Thiersch

It’s coming to fruition right now because because we’re not able to. We’re a doctor’s office. That’s right. That’s what we are. They’re they’re medical facilities.

00:13:04:20 – 00:13:21:21

Mara Shorr

And we say it all the time, yeah, you don’t have clients. You have patients. You need to keep a chart on a patient. I mean, there’s it’s doctor patient company and confidentiality or it could be another mid-level provider, but that’s where it’s it’s a medical practice that must be treated as such.

00:13:21:23 – 00:14:17:12

Alex Thiersch

Yes. Yes. And I mean that’s that’s kind of job one for AmSpa, we’ve been trying to do over the past five years is just get everybody to understand that from the medical spas themselves, which sometimes they struggle to do that to the enforcement agencies. But what we’ve seen recently is that the state governments and the enforcement agencies don’t understand that.

So even if you’re allowed to open and you do open, you’ve done everything right, there is still a chance that you’re going to get a knock on your door because the state government agencies don’t understand what you’re kind of what you’re doing and how you’re supposed to be categorized. And so we’re seeing people get complained. We’re seeing investigations happen.

We’re seeing OSHA complaints and all sorts of other complaints against medical spas simply because they’re not educated on what we do. So it’s very, very important to have your house in order when you do decide.

00:14:17:14 – 00:15:42:00

Mara Shorr

And we have like I said, we’ve had so many conversations with our clients about that and helping them really navigate it, just like I know AmSpa has, I know Bernardo has. So you guys have had very, very similar conversations and a lot of it is helping navigate the most current, the most current status of what practices are and aren’t allowed to do.

And the next thing actually that this is a perfect segue into is one of the other things you and I said. We get a lot of questions about the liability when it comes time to reopen, right? And so there’s liability for two different components. What is the liability for your employees and what is the liability with your patients?

And we’ve been busy creating so many different consents for both employees and patients. You understand that by coming into our office, these are the, you know, the potential risks. We understand that, you know, you understand that this is a different way things will be done when you come back to the office, to come back to work. What is it that you would recommend and what kind of conversations are you having with your clients about those?

Because you mean your clients from medical spas and medical practices. So let’s talk about the conversations that you’re having as well.

00:15:42:02 – 00:16:08:16

Alex Thiersch

We get this all the time. How how do I prevent myself from getting sued? How do I protect myself? It’s a it’s kind of the, you know, the hot topic nowadays, I will say that my suspicion is that most of the litigation is a lot of the litigation that we’re going to start to deal with is going to come more from the employee side than from the patient side.

00:16:08:20 – 00:16:11:10

Mara Shorr

Employees suing their employer?

00:16:11:12 – 00:18:07:21

Alex Thiersch

Right? Exactly. So or being laid off or not, people are making complaints to OSHA or making complaints to the boards because patients, I mean, they want to get back in and they want treatments and they seem to under they understand kind of what’s going on in the world. So there’s there’s some common sense that applies to them. But with with employees, you have a duty as an employer to provide a safe work environment.

Right. And you can do, you know, all the consents and releases you want for your employees, but at the end of the day, you still have that duty under ocean, under local law. So you’ve got to be able to have proper protocols in place. And it’s and I can just see as time goes on, it’s going to be very, very easy for those to be missed or to take liberties with.

So but at the same time, you know, I think that the most important thing here is to use common sense and to communicate and communication is probably more important than it’s ever been in the just think it firm and then communicate to your employees, communicate your employees again and again and again and again to make them understand, you know, what you’re trying to do.

The more that you do that, the more that you put it in writing. So they see it and they understand it, the more you’re communicating with them, why you’re doing things and how you’re doing things, the better. I guess the other point and I know from Brad Adatto from ByrdAdatto, this is kind of where he lives on.

Osha. This is the one thing that we see people do that is troubling is they look they just take the approach that all I need is a policy or a written policy protocol. Stick it in my book, stick it on the wall, and I’m done. But it’s almost worse if you have that policy and don’t follow it than If you don’t have any policy at all, its form and substance have to be married.

00:18:07:23 – 00:19:31:23

Mara Shorr

No, I agree. I agree. And that’s where for us, it’s not just consents, but it’s the protocols. And what we’re saying is that we want to work with your team and we do this again and again, is that we’re working with our clients teams on this, about explaining this is why we do what we do, this is why this is important.

This is why it’s important to you. Everything from wipe down doorknobs, remove brochures from your reception area because you don’t want things that everybody is touching. This is why it’s important to properly wear your mask in the office. This is why you cannot skip a temperature check. And why are all of these things important? Because otherwise it becomes the equivalent of telling your kids.

It’s because I said so. Right. And nobody’s ever satisfied with. Because I said so. Because once you understand, you can’t put your hand on the stove and you will get burned, then at that point it’s, Oh, I understand the repercussion. Now I understand why I’m doing this. And so when our practices are opening back up, we are actually explaining to all of our clients that you need to take time to go through an all team meeting and explain all of the changes because the office that they left is not the same office that they’re coming back to. Everything is changed.

00:19:31:23 – 00:19:37:03

Alex Thiersch

Yeah, it’s totally different, a totally different environment.

00:19:37:05 – 00:19:40:13

Mara Shorr

And you need a team.

00:19:40:17 – 00:21:16:18

Alex Thiersch

Yes, and then the other thing that makes this so complicated is that we don’t even know the potential issues that are out there because it’s all novel. It’s all brand new. There’s nobody has gone through this before. So as a lawyer, I sit here and think about some of the possible sources of liability. And my answer to people is, look, I don’t even know.

I just don’t because we don’t know how this is all going to shake out if you’re a a surgery office or a medspa and you start testing people. Right. That’s great. But a lot of them are doing that. But what are you going to do when you come back with a positive test? What are what are your obligations to that particular patient, to your team, to everybody else who is coming in contact?

What do you do if you have an employee who tests positive? Are you now going to let anyone who they’ve come in contact know? And the truth is, there’s no clear cut answers on any of that. It’s just kind of using your common sense and then communicating. And the other thing and I think you and I are we’re symbiotic.

We were on that the other day on this is that to me there’s just a basic kind of human element to all of this. You should just do the right thing. Right. And if you if that’s your mantra, you’re going to do the right thing. You’re going to be helpful. You’re going to protect people. You’re going to you know, you’re you’re going to go out of your way to just make sure that everyone is as safe as possible and communicate.

Nine times out of ten, I think you’re going to end up on the right side of all of this.

00:21:16:20 – 00:22:36:06

Mara Shorr

I agree. I agree. I think that there are so many questions along the way. And that’s where, like I said, we’ve been getting so many questions and which is why the timing of you and I having this conversation and releasing it is is really, really perfect because it’s so many of the same frequently asked questions. And it’s there’s so much that goes into when a practice reopens and it’s how can they obtain enough PPE.

And that has been that’s something that our practices have been struggling with some more so than others. It depends on and honestly, geographically, for some of them, it depends on where they are because there’s been more cases. Obviously in some parts of the country than others. So some had more of a stockpile beforehand than others. And we have some clients that are surgical and some clients are non-surgical.

So with that, we’ve you know, and of course there are vendors that have a little bit more access versus others. And and as it starts to balance out, that’s been an ongoing conversation. And so at the end of recording, we’re recording this on May 19th. We know that those answers could change by the time this is released in just a couple of days.

So, you know, I never like to say, oh, this is the source, this is the go to source, because everything could change in just a couple of days, you know, And.

00:22:36:07 – 00:24:03:20

Alex Thiersch

It’s really it’s really difficult because there’s you know, it’s like everybody wants and needs PPE, but it’s like anything you see, and I get emails probably every day and calls from vendors who are saying, Oh, I would love to work out a deal and we’ll sell PPE together. And it’s just like there’s so much there’s so many snake oil salesman right now.

Yeah, but you got to be careful. Like it’s, it’s, it’s kind of a sad commentary that we have to go through that, but it’s the truth. So you just got to be really careful. And the one thing I always say to people is like, you know, move slowly, proceed with caution throughout, because when you’re when you are reopening, I know that we want to get back open and money is tight.

And there’s this there’s real consequences for not being open. But there’s also you know what? If you do one thing that ends up getting the attention of a local news reporter or the medical board or nursing board, and they come in and start poking around and you end up getting shut down again, you’re going to be in a way worse off position with you had just taken it slow one step in front of the other.

Make sure you have the right protocols, make sure you’re communicating to, you know, if you only can operate at 20% capacity for the first month, that’s fine. Don’t rush it like China sending goods to Russia.

00:24:03:22 – 00:25:37:21

Mara Shorr

I agree. And we actually collaborated with one of our colleagues, I think you know Lori Robertson as well. And Lori started the Aesthetic Immersion program and they have all sorts of online programs. We actually collaborated, Shorr Solutions, collaborated with them to have a package of downloadable protocols, scripts, checklists and all of that because we’re just we were finding we were getting the same questions again and again.

So for any of our listeners that are listening now, you’re welcome to, to go over to the Aesthetic Immersion website and those are all available there. But it’s just we keep finding have everything in place before you reopen because doing it the other way around, it leaves you open to just too many holes. There’s too many holes in the system.

And one of the things that actually made me think too is we were talking about PPP loans and we’ve had a number, I think at this point the majority of our clients have received PPP funding and with that it has obviously helped. It’s then and how they can use it has become a whole other conversation. But with that, by seeing are those loans forgivable?

When do they have to, as of now, what that conversation looks like? And how are you advising your clients when it comes to PPP, the payroll protection program and the funding?

00:25:37:23 – 00:27:30:24

Alex Thiersch

Yeah, I mean, that’s kind of we’ve moved into getting the funding and navigating that relationship with the bank. And to now how do you make it forgivable. They recently just released I think it was the SBA like last week or over the weekend, we released some guidance on the forgiveness application that’s going to be used. But ultimately it’s going to be up to the local bank to provide the application for forgiveness and to approve your forgiveness.

The thing that they were recommending is there’s no magic bullet because we never again we never dealt with this. But what we know is that you’re dealing with the federal government. And the federal government is they’re very remote in their analytics and how their procedures. So you need to make sure that you are taking copious rnotes. You are documenting everything that you’re doing with the money as it comes in to where it goes, what it’s being used for.

It needs to all relate back to, you know, the checks that you’re writing and your payroll is. This is not a time to play fast and loose with the rules. We’ve had some people ask us, Well, can I just give a big bonus to somebody to make up for the loss to get to that 75% of payroll threshold or whatever it is?

And, you know, they’re being a little squirrely with with some of the requirements. And I just recommend against that wholeheartedly. This is not a time to be aggressive with money, meaning it should be like business. And the whole point of this also was to help you get through this crisis. So your business needs should come first. There’s nothing else. This becomes a loan that you have to pay back, right? And that’s not the worst thing in the world.

00:27:30:24 – 00:27:31:17

Mara Shorr

It’s not.

00:27:31:17 – 00:27:32:05

Alex Thiersch

You know, that’s.

00:27:32:10 – 00:28:03:21

Mara Shorr

Yeah. And one of the things that we actually recommend to our clients is having an account just for that money so that every single thing, instead of lumping it in with your, your regular bank account, your regular checking account for the practice is that have an account just for that money and pay applicable expenses directly out of that particular account so that it keeps your accounting incredibly clean because that’s what we want.

We want really clean accounting here.

00:28:03:23 – 00:28:21:12

Alex Thiersch

And we’ve recommended that to It’s certainly obviously at this point in mind, there’s no rule that says you have to do that. But I think it’s good practice because it does exactly as you said, that it keeps that money in totally separate and apart from anything co-mingled necessarily.

00:28:21:12 – 00:28:22:02

Mara Shorr


00:28:22:02 – 00:29:26:20

Alex Thiersch

So, you know, I’ve seen people do it where they they have a separate account and they’re paying those expenses directly out of their account, meaning they change their payroll over to that account. They change their rent payments over that account. I’ve seen just reimbursing yourself for those expenses from that separate account, which is also fine, provided you’re you’re documenting and everything is very strictly invoiced and detail is in the end I think about this like you’re filing taxes.

It’s everything has to be documented and related back. And generally speaking, amounts of money that we’re talking about for our clients and for your clients, I’m sure not these companies that are getting tens of millions of dollars now that a couple of million dollars you’re probably not as much risk for for getting audited. But at the same time, like, there’s no reason there’s just no reason to risk it at all.

There’s just it’s this is we’re all in this trying to get through this. And that’s what this money is for. So let’s you know, if you have to pay some of it back, that’s that’s fine. Work some overtime.

00:29:26:22 – 00:30:05:05

Mara Shorr

Right? Right. No, I agree. And that’s where like I said, you know, for the conversations that we’re having, it’s how to be incredibly strategic about this because you want to make sure that you’re thinking everything through. And we all had had heightened emotions. And there’s for both negative. You know, when you are negatively affected, positive emotions when that money comes through.

Right. So when you when you get approved. So there’s been heightened negative and positive emotions, but making sure that every single really every single decision is made with a level head is incredibly important.

00:30:05:07 – 00:31:08:16

Alex Thiersch

And it’s got to be 100% and I mean, it’s great to have, you know, like you and your dad and your team on your side, I think would be would be great because it’s someone else to bounce things off. A financial consultant who helps with all of AmSpa finances and so it’s all being done in a very, very mechanical way.

But I think the key also is, is to make sure that your business decisions like here, like where you’re going with your business, are driving how you deal with this. I’ve seen people when they call me in a panic because they’re worried about not getting enough payroll for forgiveness. They’re not worried about this and their tails running the dog a little bit.

They were worried about how to pay back the loan or how to figure out where to put the money, as opposed to saying, look like this is your business, that you’re closed right now. I’m thinking, what do you need the money for? What is going to keep you afloat? This is survival. It’s all about survival.

00:31:08:18 – 00:31:49:21

Mara Shorr

It is. It is. And, you know, when we do, you know, just like you mentioned, you mentioned taxes, Right? Just like you keep accounting very clean for taxes. And Jay and I always say we say it on stage. We say it when we’re talking just to each other. So everything that we do is, you know, we won’t do anything illegal, unethical or immoral.

And we mandate that of our clients as well. And as far as they need to know, they need to be sure that everything they’re doing falls into that category. And if they’re doing something that’s not quite right, but they don’t know it, we help them navigate through it, fix it, and then we move on. But we’re not somebody that goes, Oh, I’m just going to turn the other cheek when you’re when you’re violating.

00:31:49:23 – 00:31:52:02

Alex Thiersch

But what a good time to do that.

00:31:52:02 – 00:32:40:06

Mara Shorr

It’s not. It’s not. And one of the things that when you it’s a tax is it even made me think of that as a small business owner, which you and I both are and that they you know, we know that there are certain things there are certain lists that are they’re tax exempt, right. Certain expenses. So and some of those may be items that we wouldn’t have necessarily thought of otherwise, magazine subscriptions.

And, you know, I mean, like odds and ends of things that are perfectly legitimate with the with some of these loans. Is there anything that does fall into that category? But people may not they may not think of right off the bat, but but is legitimate. Like I’m not looking for anything too creative here, but anything that people don’t think of right off the bat.

00:32:40:08 – 00:35:05:15

Alex Thiersch

Well, so, yes, I’m not I don’t know a ton of the specifics on that. But I will say that the way the PDP forgiveness section is, is put together, you know, it’s payroll and expenses. Right. And it’s the way that the expenses part is drafted. It’s meant to be rent, you know, Internet, things like that. But in that in that in that group of things with with your cell phone perhaps rent all the office supplies like there’s there’s a bunch in there that you can probably include.

The other thing I would keep an eye out for is, you know, this is both unfortunate and I think ultimately will be will be to our benefit, though this is very much a moving target because they keep changing the rules. And the rules have followed, you know, taking a few weeks beyond kind of every benchmark to come out.

And that’s understandable because this is being done on the fly. But at the same time, it’s been frustrating because it’s very difficult to know what qualifies as a forgivable expense and what doesn’t. My strong suspicion is and we didn’t just kind of reading the tea leaves and some of the things that have come out, some of the comments from SBA and from some of the bankers that I am in touch is  that I’ve heard that a lot of these things are going to be worked out through the rule-making process.

And as time goes on, I mean, it’s confusing right now and we’re going to be getting out, you know, a month from now or less. We’re going to start bumping up against that 8-week period where these funds have to be spent. My suspicion is we’re going to get more guidance in the next couple of weeks. That’s going to clear some of these issues up.

That’s going to have a real hard and fast like this is what qualifies. Here’s the thing. And also it wouldn’t surprise me, I don’t know this for sure, but it wouldn’t surprise me that there’s a bit of an extension of a period. So that that so that it doesn’t need to be certain that eight weeks I don’t know that for certain.

I can tell you was too excited about it but I definitely think that that’s coming. So you just have to pay attention that SBA actually has done a pretty good job of publishing Q&As and information. They’re always late and it’s confusing, but they do do a good job of getting it up there.

00:35:05:17 – 00:35:46:04

Mara Shorr

I agree. I agree. And it’s it’s knowing where to turn and I truly encourage all of our listeners that if you aren’t already, this is actually an excellent reason to get on our email list for Shorr go to our email list and because we’re putting out rules, regulations, etc., Alex has an awesome system for distributing information as well.

I encourage you connect with the AmSpa team because they’re able to really assist you and help you look at state by state. What is allowed, what is not allowed, when, etc. So keeping in touch with everybody is also a really good thing.

00:35:46:06 – 00:36:17:10

Alex Thiersch

Yeah, much appreciated. What you guys are doing with the resources you have and you’ve I’ve, I’ve always been solid with compliance and combined so we have like you’ll be able to find the answers and we’re putting out, we’ve never put out this much content. We’re doing this every day and you guys are the same, I’m sure the same.

It’s just the information. Kind of being able to distill that information into understandable format is kind of all we do today.

00:36:17:14 – 00:37:40:07

Mara Shorr

Yeah we’re the same way. If it’s not podcast recordings, we’re creating video, we’re creating blog content, we’re writing articles for other publications, we are recording video for other, you know, other associates of ours. I mean, we, I did a video with Brad and Michael, with our, you know, with ByrdAdatto, with your partners as well. And Brad, you know, Brad Adatto was a guest on the podcast here.

So I mean like we’re all working together to get as much information out there. And it’s not just about sales it’s about because that’s really that’s not our our angle. You know, we would all make like $0.03 an hour at this point if that was all it was about. We’ve all been working our tails off just to get the information out there because it’s so important.

You know, as we look as we look at starting to wrap up our time together at the end of every podcast, I always like to ask three questions and I’m going to tailor them to be COVID related at this point. So. So yeah, the three questions I always ask are what is one thing that you’ve learned along the way that you want to share?

What is one thing you would do differently if you could do it all over again? And what is the thing either personally or professionally, that you are most proud of?

00:37:40:09 – 00:37:43:22

Alex Thiersch

Okay, You’re going to to remind me of the three, as we go on.

00:37:43:24 – 00:37:45:19

Mara Shorr

Yes, you got it! Got it.

00:37:45:19 – 00:37:47:23

Alex Thiersch

So now, do they have to be COVID related or not?

00:37:47:23 – 00:38:01:05

Mara Shorr

Not If you don’t want them to be. You could be most proud of your five rescue dogs if you want, Alex And I am totally cool with that. Who, by the way, they have been very well behaved during the podcast recording.

00:38:01:07 – 00:41:15:11

Alex Thiersch

Well, yes. I’ve also had to switch rooms and shoe out of two cats that have come and trained in the elevator. And so it’s a freaking zoo over here. So, you know, one thing that I would say, and this is not something that I’ve learned, I think everybody’s learned this. But, you know, I always knew this kind of lesson.

I always talked about it. But I’m not sure that I ever have experienced it quite as much as. But this is that is and that is, you know, what this whole situation has taught me is that you really need to be able to roll with the punches with your your business strategy and plan. And that we went from a, you know, AmSpa is a membership based organization that gets most of its revenue, 60%, 70% of its revenue from meetings and education, which we have had to postpone for the entire year.

So if you’re a company that all of a sudden loses that much of your revenue around you immediately, I’ve been meeting in Vegas. The next up show, which is coming up in January or February, it’s like who knows where that’s going to be in six months. But what we did and we did as overnight was decide, okay, what do we need to do to make sure that our our clientele, our membership is getting what they need, and that is what we’re doing online education, online information.

We became kind of an information purveyor and then an educator of how to help people get through this crisis. And I’ve always known that, like you have to you have to be able to pivot. But I think the businesses and you guys are doing this, too. I can just tell from all the companies you’re putting out, your you guys are doing the same thing.

Those companies that are able to pivot and and provide those resources to their clientele either through their clientele needs and wants in a way that they can consume it. You’re going to be fine. You’re going to get through this and you’re going to be stronger on the other side. I always think like there’s there’s different I mean, if you think of this like a like a movie, like there’s different versions of this story in how they end and there is an ending out there where you come out twice as strong as when you went into this thing because you built all of those kind of processes and you created other revenue streams and other

marketing opportunities and other, you know, you show up some of your your processes, so you’re like, if you’re not if you haven’t done that, I think those companies that that that didn’t take the time to use this time to improve their business and to and to be more nimble, I think they’re the ones that suffer like the thing that I learned more than anything that’s you know, for me, it’s all right.

After the recession was basically ending when I was a lawyer during the recession and I saw people go out of business. And so I always kind of had in the back of it when you have stuff happens, when it’s like this is kind of a slap in the face where we’ve really had to figure out how to survive. That’s all about your vision.

00:41:15:11 – 00:42:12:10

Mara Shorr

Yeah. And people ask all the time because we always we always preach about contingency plans and we always say, what is your plan if there is a natural disaster? What is there? What is the plan? If a partner or owner of the practice passes away, what is it? Right? And we go through all of the different scenarios. And so immediately when this happened, I had a couple of people that came and said, okay, so what is the what is the contingency plan?

I’m like, We didn’t have one. If a virus turned into a pandemic and took over and shut down the world like that was not something that we had planned for, we will now, but we didn’t before. So it is certainly preparing for the unexpected. So what you know, what would you do differently if you could either do COVID again or if you could, what would you say to your pre-COVID self as far as doing things differently?

00:42:12:12 – 00:42:33:01

Alex Thiersch

Oh boy. Oh, that’s interesting, because I have just been you know, I’ve spent so much time reacting to what’s been going on. It’s been a whirlwind. It’s been two months or whatever. It’s both flown by and seemed like the longest two months in the history of the world.

00:42:33:06 – 00:42:33:17

Mara Shorr

I agree.

00:42:33:21 – 00:42:34:20

Alex Thiersch

All at the same time.

00:42:34:24 – 00:42:36:11

Mara Shorr

I agree.

00:42:36:13 – 00:45:25:23

Alex Thiersch

So, I mean, you know, I think the thing that, you know, if I could go back in time, I probably would have spent more time in the past doing some kind of the logistical process oriented things that we’ve been forced to do now, kind of the things that you and your dad always preach, like have processes, scripts have all that stuff.

We’ve you know, we have some of that and we have focused on it generally. But having this happen and having to switch over to an entirely new business model and having to create those things for us in a different way has really crystallized. That’s like when you’re starting a business and you’re running a business and everyone that you represent are small business owners, same as us.

It’s like these are things that are going to happen and it’s like if you’re not prepared for it, if you don’t have the processes, the scripts, all that stuff in place, like it saves so much time when things start going south and you don’t know it until things start going south and then all of a sudden it’s like, Oh man, I really wish I had that that protocol in place for X, Y, Z or whatever it was.

You know, we’ve been able to weather that because, you know, we’ve, we’ve busted ass and just, you know, we’ve pivoted. But, you know, there’s a lot of places out there that aren’t going to survive this. And they’re not going to survive because they’re just not going to be ready from the financial planning standpoint. You know what? I kind of skip ahead to the third question that ties back to this.

What are the things that I’m most proud of? And this is because, you know, when I started off inspired by law firm after the recession, we were I mean, we had no money. We struggled and stressed and, you know, put stuff on credit cards. I got out of that over time. And when I got out of it, I almost had PTSD because I hated being in debt. I hated I wanted to have a cash reserve to make sure that we were comfortable.

And the company. So that’s what I’ve been doing for the past couple of years is we were sitting on a lot of. It’s not a lot. It’s all relative, but sitting on enough cash where we could get through six months, everyone tells you that’s what you should do. And nobody really ever follows that. Most of these businesses don’t have that much liquidity where they can get through the we did for a variety of reasons, and I’m so glad that we did because a lot of a lot of the businesses right now that are failing are ones that just they’re just can’t they just can’t make it because they don’t have enough money and that’s aweful.

00:45:26:00 – 00:46:49:20

Mara Shorr

It’s so true. Because and that’s one thing that we we’ve always said is that you need to have a plan for what happens if your practice needs to close unexpectedly for a period of time. And we we’ve seen all sorts of reasons over time. We haven’t obviously seen a pandemic, but we have clients who live in California and have had to close for a period of time because of the fires.

We are here in Florida and we have clients in Florida. And so there has been situations where due to a hurricane I live here in Orlando and when the pulse nightclub shooting happened several years ago, they closed down for several blocks because it was a crime scene and it was a massive crime scene. And so if you are on those blocks from your business, shut down.

And so if you were in medical practice, you were also shut down. And so it’s all of these things. I mean, our business was but was really launched on preparing for the unexpected. And so that’s where we were. We were founded as a company. And so for anybody that hasn’t heard our story, listen to the episode that we recorded, Jay and I recorded together because we talk a lot about how and why we were founded.

And so we’ve always believed really, really strongly in preparing for the unexpected. But this is a whole other shebang here. I mean, so.

00:46:49:23 – 00:47:02:09

Alex Thiersch

Yeah, this is and, you know, I wish we could have predicted this, I tell you back on the first of the year, because it’s so strange about this is our industry was just coming along.

00:47:02:10 – 00:47:03:11

Mara Shorr

It was.

00:47:03:12 – 00:47:20:10

Alex Thiersch

Growing at breakneck speed. All the companies were innovating. We were there is so many cool things that were being created and to have this be the reason that we go into a recession and all this happened, it’s just it’s kind of bonkers to think about, we never would have guessed.

00:47:20:10 – 00:47:44:06

Mara Shorr

I agree. And I saw a meme the other night, You know, we do a lot of hiring. And so we are interviewing all day long. And of course, that’s one of everybody’s favorite questions is where do you see yourself in five years? And the meme basically said, Anybody that was that answer the question in 2015, where do you see yourself in five years?

They were wrong. And I thought, Yeah, that’s fact. That’s pretty true.

00:47:44:08 – 00:47:46:16

Alex Thiersch


00:47:46:18 – 00:48:15:18

Mara Shorr

You know, there is hope out there and I really, really thank you, Alex, for coming on today’s podcast episode and sharing all of your knowledge, all of the answers that you have and your insight as well. And one thing that I always like to wrap up is how can our listeners find you on social media or online on the website?

How are they able to find you slash AmSpa for more information?

00:48:15:20 – 00:49:01:22

Alex Thiersch

Well, I appreciate that and thanks. Thanks so much for having me, I’m always happy to share. I love helping entrepreneurs. I love business owners who are growing. I think it’s one of the most exciting and invigorating and liberating things anybody can do. So anytime our website is always the best. So, this is where you can find us.

We are all over social media, particularly Instagram, and that’s amspa_americanmedspa. That’s that’s kind of our handles for all of our social media is you can always find us, find us there. But our website’s got pretty much all the information if you ever need anything.

00:49:01:24 – 00:49:06:09

Mara Shorr

Perfect. Thank you so much for being a guest. I absolutely appreciate it.

00:49:06:11 – 00:49:07:23

Alex Thiersch

Thank you for having me.

00:49:08:01 – 00:49:12:23

Mara Shorr

Yes, I will see you again in person in a hallway again one day.

00:49:13:00 – 00:49:17:09

Alex Thiersch


00:49:17:12 – 00:49:18:04

Mara Shorr

Thank you Alex!

00:49:18:06 – 00:49:27:00

Alex Thiersch

Thank you. I appreciate it.

00:49:27:02 – 00:51:09:11

Mara Shorr

Before we go, I’m sponsoring my own podcast because well what a smart business owner wouldn’t. We’ve recently joined forces with Aesthetic Immersion and are proud to bring you the content you’ve been asking for. Download checklists, phone scripts and get bonus pearls for your entire team, including what to do when reopening your practice after COVID and how to grow stronger than ever were before.

Visit Yes, that’s to learn more, plus use code. SHORR2020 to receive $50 off. Yes, that is code SHORR2020 to receive $50 off because something great is going to come out of this year. So that wraps up today’s episode of Shorr Solutions: The Podcast.

We hope that you’ve gotten as much out of this episode as we have. And if you have, I’d like for you to like it. rate us and share this episode with your friends, colleagues and the rest of your team. Remember to follow us on social media @Shorr Solutions and send me a message directly. I love hearing from you.

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