LaThesia Hardy – everybody calls her “Te” – is one of the smart ones: she knows what she doesn’t know. She knows she has a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry. But now she’s been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and she didn’t know which way to go or even how or where to start.
So “Te” decided to start at the beginning. That’s when she found the Florida SBDC at UCF s office in Kissimmee/Osceola County. She attended the seminars and workshops offered by the FSBDC about starting a business and business fundamentals. As a result, she built her competence and confidence in her abilities related to the many facets of running her own business that she did not know.
Building from the base she gained in the seminars, she engaged with one of the FSBDC’s consultants and took advantage of their confidential, no-cost, expert counseling. Together with her consultant, she tackled putting together her ideas for the company she wanted to start and addressing the multiple questions about her start-up that would need to be answered.
“My experience with the FSBDC has been tremendous,” “Te” says. “It was great to go to the seminars and learn what I needed to learn and then have access to high quality consulting and mentorship outside of the seminars.”
As with all entrepreneurial endeavors, there were bumps in the road. “Te” was comfortable with writing her business plan because her vision for her company was clear and she knew she’d be able to articulate her goals and plans. But then there were the financial projections. They brought “Te” to a standstill. Without a background in finance, the prospect of doing sales and revenue and expense forecasts was daunting for her.
And so she turned again to her FSBDC consultant for assistance. “I was able to complete most of my business plan but I wouldn’t have been able to do the financials, “ “Te” acknowledged. “But with my FSBDC consultant Chuck Wheeler’s help, I was able to understand the financial end of my business, what I could afford and not afford and how to make reliable projections of my company’s financial performance.
All of “Te”s hard work and wise use of the FSBDC enabled her to launch her company, Chill Pop Lounge, in July of this year on N. Narcoossee Rd. in St. Cloud, FL. The Chill Pop Lounge specializes in gourmet frozen treats, with specialty ice cream choices this year and innovative – as well as gourmet and fabulous – ice popsicles starting in 2016. The business is off to a great start, and “Te” is looking forward to expanding and bringing new employees on board in the next few months. Her brother, Reginald Adams, who is retiring from the military, will co-manage the Chill Pop Lounge starting in January 2016.
“I would say to any would-be entrepreneur out there: use the FSBDC’s services!” concluded “Te”. “They have everything you need to start a business, write a business plan, and understand finances. If being an entrepreneur is not necessarily your forte, the FSBDC is the place to be.”