Florida SBDC: A partner in your business success
Helping small- and medium-sized businesses grow and succeed is the mission of the Florida SBDC. Sometimes our mission is accomplished through our no-cost, expert business consulting, sometimes through our seminars and training, and then other times through our specialty programs for established businesses. The Success Stories shared below illustrate the difference we can make.
Boutique Medical Spa Owners Finds Success Starts with Streamlined Financial System
Having a great idea for a new business is only the beginning for an entrepreneur. Iris and Kyle Graham learned that first-hand when they founded Millefiori Medical Skin Rejuvenation, a boutique medical spa catering to a high-end clientele in Melbourne, FL. Millefiori offers aesthetic skin care services including facials, chemical peels and micro-needling for tattoo removal, as well as Botox, laser and injection treatments.
The Grahams were first-time business owners and were inventing their business as they went along. “We used to do everything on paper,” Iris Graham recalls. “We had a spreadsheet, and a ledger, and the checkbook. It was so redundant. I was telling people about the 30–35 hours a month we were spending on our financial system. And someone said that the FSBDC could help us systematize it and make it a lot quicker.”
The Grahams contacted Martin Duffy, the area manager and a consultant at the Florida SBDC at Eastern Florida State College, a sub-center of the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF). “Now we do everything electronically. Today we only spend 2 hours a month on our financials and all the information is at our finger tips,” Kyle says. "We’ve seen our business increase by 40% consistently, until this year when we have seen a 50% increase in revenue. We have been slammed!” READ MORE
Veteran-Owned Magellan Solutions USA Taps Into Government Contracting
Starting and growing a business is not an easy undertaking. It takes vision, perseverance and an oversized work ethic. That’s what Mark A. K. Dee, CEO of Magellan Solutions USA, had when he launched his outsourcing and call center organization in 2012.
After serving 20 years in the U.S. Air Force, Dee saw significant opportunity in winning contracts with the government. He took the opportunity to distinguish his company by obtaining verification from the U.S. Veterans Administration as a Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), and began working with FSBDC consultant Patricia Simpson. Simpson, an expert on the FSBDC’s Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) team, introduced Dee to a treasure trove of market databases, search engines and research tools to analyze the government contracting market and Magellan Solutions’ competitors. His business hasn't been the same since.
"Working with the Florida SBDC has been nothing but a positive experience," said Dee. "It’s been a lot of work, but we have received so much guidance from Patricia and we have learned so much. Before we started working with her, we’d been taking a shotgun approach to the market and wasting so much time looking for needles in a haystack. Now we are focused, we have a strategy and have started winning the multi-million dollar contracts we are bidding on."READ MORE
Aquatic Ecosystem Company Makes a Splash with FSBDC Support
Ten years ago, Laura Parkel founded Pond Science LLC, a Brevard-based company that combats threats to Central Florida's aquatic ecology by developing methods and equipment to better maintain ponds and water gardens. To ensure her business can continue to grow and develop in the years to come, Parkel turned to FSBDC consultant Marty Duffy for assistance. From seminars and consulting to marketing advice and financial planning, the services the FSBDC provided Parkel and her team have yielded real and tangible results.
My business has grown tremendously since we started working with the FSBDC," said Parkel. "We have doubled our revenues and been able to hire two new employees. I may be an expert in aquatic science, but on the business side, I didn't know what I didn't know before." READ MORE
Soup Entrepreneur Heats Up Business with Help from FSBDC at EFSC
When Julie Shipley's homemade soup business, The Soup Shop, rapidly began to expand, Shipley was surprised to discover that while sales were good, the business was proving less profitable than expected. Recognizing that she needed assistance, Shipley contacted FSBDC consultant Marty Duffy. Together, they built a financial management system for the business, and Shipley learned how to read and utilize the information it generated.
A new financial strategy was the final ingredient Shipley needed in the recipe for a successful business. Since its implementation, the Melbourne, FL-based Soup Shop has seen a 238% year-to-date increase in overall profits. “My company is a different and better company since I started working with Marty and the FSBDC," said Shipley. "They are an amazing resource and I wish I had known about them sooner!” READ MORE
Privateer IT Turns FSBDC Advice into Remarkable Growth
Doing business with the government isn’t easy. In fact, it’s challenging on multiple levels, especially for small businesses. Jerry Bennett, CEO of Privateer IT, learned that when his bids for government contracts received no response whatsoever. Jerry began working with Patricia Simpson, the government contracting specialist at the Florida SBDC at UCF in Brevard County, Florida. Together, they did an in depth analysis of Privateer IT’s current contract bidding process and filings and went to work to improve them.
All of Jerry’s work and Patricia’s assistance has resulted in remarkable growth. When Jerry reached out to the FSBDC in 2014, he had no sales to the government. That all changed. In the second quarter of 2015, Privateer IT won its first contract of $2,500, followed by a second for $20,000 in the third quarter, $1.2 million in the fourth quarter, and $3 million in the first quarter of 2016. READ MORE
Technology Revelations Scales Up as Government Contractor
Melbourne, FL-based Technology Revelations, Inc. (TechRev) and its CEO Michael Ballard, needed assistance with the basics so it could enter the government contracting business. The company had established itself as an innovative software and solutions provider that, up to that point, had assisted commercial organizations and, as a subcontractor, helped governmental units by rapidly deploying customized and quality products. Now they were looking for new business from the government.
TechRev turned to the Florida SBDC at UCF’s Government Contracting Service, which has a location in Brevard County. Members of the company’s team attended the FSBDC’s government contracting training and became familiar with proposal management, capture management, and marketing to the government. The team availed themselves of networking opportunities with other government contractors and began to build connections in the marketplace. READ MORE
InfoTech Systems: Expert Help with the 8(a) Certification Process
Vasu Vasudevan is president and CEO of Infotech Systems Inc., a developer of manufacturing & inventory control software and, more recently, a construction management company based in Melbourne, FL. Like most entrepreneurs, he was always on the lookout for new business opportunities and, based upon the success he was seeing others having with government contracting, he wanted to take his company in that direction.
“We’re a very small business,“ commented Vasu “and don’t have the staff to check all the numbers, cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s. But we knew from experience we had to get what we submitted to the government exactly right or we would be rejected. (The FSBDC was) very helpful in making sure we got it right, not just from a numbers perspective, but also in terms of the accuracy and responsiveness of what we presented." READ MORE
Business and Financial Planning Become Real for Space Coast Entrepreneur
Craig Chapman had it all going on. His was a simple concept: focus on family, food, culture and history to tell the story of a traditional food dish. And the concept was working. His company, Real Food Real Kitchens, had produced a successful television series. His magazine virtually sold out at Walmart, Target and elsewhere. And now he was releasing a Real Food Real Kitchens cookbook to an admiring public. But Craig was at the point where he needed help.
“I could be as creative as I wanted to be and make a really good TV show and more, but I needed more money,” Craig says. “I had invested all of my own money and a lot from family and friends, but growing the business would require more.”
That’s when Craig turned to the Florida SBDC at UCF’s sub-center at Eastern Florida State College.
“I recommend the FSBDC to all entrepreneurs. They gave me hope when I was feeling
Then they helped me see the promise in my concept and plan for the future, produce meaningful
financial projections and approach investors for the capital I need,” states Craig. “They have changed my
mindset. I now think of myself and operate as a small business, not just as a TV producer.” READ MORE