The Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) provides a broad range of services: expert, no-cost business consulting; training and seminars; access to extensive market research resources; and specialized services, for example how to do business with the government.
Behind all of these services, however, the FSBDC often plays a role that turns out to be critical to the long-term success of entrepreneurs and small business owners: that of being a mentor and partner. Building upon their experience and expertise, FSBDC consultants understand the challenges their clients face and have the answers clients need to make their businesses grow.
K. Lamb, the founder and principal of JDI, LLC, found a partner and mentor when he came to the FSBDC. Actually he found several of them. JDI is a consulting firm that specializes in helping organizations analyze and optimize their operations, and become high performance companies. It is not in the business of business start-ups however.
“I came to the FSBDC because I needed someone who knew more than I did about starting a business, and then managing and growing a start-up business” Lamb says. “I started with FSBDC consultant Pauline Davis, who helped me develop my business plan and understand my financial standing. Then I worked with FSBDC’s Government Contracting Services through its Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) to understand the government market, what I should be doing, what I could be doing.”
“We small business owners go through a lot, a lot of pain points and challenges. What we need most is someone to talk to, to talk through the problems, experts who understand small business. Steven South, my current FSBDC consultant, brings a wealth of information and experience to my situation. He’s gone beyond being just a resource to being a partner and a mentor,” Lamb states.
Early on, the FSBDC recommended that JDI, LLC become verified as a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) to enhance its opportunities in the government contracting market. At first, Lamb was hesitant. “I had this irrational belief that everything is difficult with the government, that I’m too small to get over the hurdle and win contracts,” Lamb recalls.
“Well, I got over the hurdle thanks to help from the FSBDC. I got approved,” he continued. “And then everyone said it would be years before I won my first contract. Well, they were wrong. I actually won my first contract in just over a year. And, now, two years later my firm had its first contract renewed and has won its second contract both worth over $1 million.”
“The changes in my business since I started with the FSBDC have been transformational,” concluded Lamb. “They provided the consultative advisory services that my business needed. Today it is a corner stone component to making sure I’m doing the right thing and covering my blind spots. I know I can rely on the FSBDC to help me and be there for me.”