Local Business Owners and Entrepreneurs Praise Expert Business Consulting and Other Available Resources
Orlando, FL – Sumter County business owners and entrepreneurs are raving about the assistance and resources they have found at the local office of the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF). Since opening its doors in October 2016 to help local businesses grow and succeed, the FSBDC – in partnership with the Sumter County Office of Economic Development – has been providing no cost, one-on-one professional business consulting, value-added training and business information resources to its clients. And they are appreciating it!
Led by Neal Kimball, the FSBDC’s Sumter County Area Manager and an expert business consultant, local small business development center clients have come forward to recommend the assistance available from the FSBDC:
“Tremendously helpful to us and our business,” says Ellen Bachmeyer, LCSW founder of Aging with Heart, offering programs for people who want to live life whole-heartedly as they age.
“Has made significant impact on my business” says Kathleen Bogolin, President of Financial Legacy Builders LLC, a consulting firm focused on strategic growth and profitability.
“Proven to be a valuable business advisor helping me improve my processes and firm up my foundation for growth” says John McAuley, President of McAuley LLC, a healthcare safety and security firm.
Experiences like these are the rule at the Sumter County FSBDC office. The new sub-center, the FSBDC at UCF’s eighth, is located on the first floor in Suite 140 of The Villages Sumter County Service Center at 7375 Powell Road, Wildwood, FL 34785. The FSBDC at UCF – Sumter County’s direct line is 352-689-4449.
The FSBDC and its consultants provide confidential and customized consulting services in such areas as business planning, financial analysis, sales/marketing and many others. In addition, it conducts training seminars and workshops covering the basics of starting a business, marketing, financing, legal issues and writing a business plan. Finally, the FSBDC has access to major market research databases that provide information on customers (including prospecting data), competitors, and industries.
Kimball brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his role in Sumter County. He has extensive sales and marketing and small business experience. After an accomplished career in sales, marketing and business development for major consumer products companies including PepsiCo, McDonald’s Corporation and Miller Brewing, he most recently was founder, president and owner of a highly successful small business holding company with four separate operating units built around student and family educational services. His strong background as an entrepreneur and business strategist has made him ideally suited to consult with and assist clients in Sumter County as they navigate the challenges and opportunities faced by small businesses seeking profitable long-term growth.
FSBDC at UCF – Sumter County
John McAuley, President of McAuley LLC
As a small businesses owner dealing with daily challenges and long hours, it is difficult to find the time to devote to strategic planning. I am the president of two small businesses focused in healthcare but very different products and business models. When I heard of Neal Kimball and our local SBDC office I reached out to learn how Neal may be able to help me manage and grow my businesses. I made the time to go meet with Neal and tell him about my businesses and my struggles.
Our first session ended with Neal handing me a book and information on another book that he highly recommended. I purchased the book and read it. I was in the middle of designing a new website and new marketing message and after reading this book it changed my direction and I quickly made adjustments to my website and marketing materials to better relay my message. This one gesture of guidance allowed me to see through the fog and create a more clear message to my potential customers.
The next time we met, we tackled topics like hiring/firing, finding strategic partners, product videos and marketing opportunities. Neal continues to bring me ideas and research information that can help me with both businesses. I had an interested buyer who presented a letter of intent to purchase part of my business and I immediately called Neal and asked that he review the structure of the deal. He helped by pulling from some of his own experiences and ran the agreement by some legal and business experts that gave very important input that helped me reshape some language for my protection.
Again, as a small business owner it’s hard to find the necessary time for strategic planning. Neal has proven to be a valuable business advisor helping me improve my processes and firm up my foundation for growth over the next several years. We have created new jobs and new opportunities in the area and our growth will continue. I am very thankful for the SBDC and the service it has provided to me as a small business owner.
Ellen Bachmeyer, founder of Aging With Heart
Neal has been tremendously helpful to us and our business. We sought out help from the SBDC several months ago for 2 reasons: 1) to create a better, stronger, viable, profitable business and 2) to craft a strong marketing message.
In anticipation of changes to our existing business my husband, Tim and I had started another business in order to create other streams of income. Three years ago we founded The Windhorse Center. The WHC offers programs-seminars, courses and retreats for people in their 50’s, 60’s and beyond to discover meaning in a culture that believes you’re “done.” We also help people gain more insight on moving through the many challenges of aging. It has been a slow process because the name of the business and the message were not clear, and the ways I sought to get the message out was cost prohibitive.
This is where Neal came in.
The first task he had us do was to create a business plan using the Business Canvas Model. That experience was life changing. It challenged us to get more specific and clear. It has becoming our foundation for moving forward.
At Neal’s suggestion, we have renamed the business “Aging With Heart.” Now, a new web site is currently being developed. Text for the website has come directly from the Canvas Business Model. We are also creating a flyer for broader distribution in the community. Social media is not favored by many people of this age, so different avenues for developing a client base must be explored.
Neal’s approach is all about building relationships. He has shared articles to read that were excellent on the “why” of our product and relationship building. He is currently exploring where, how and who we need to build relationships in The Villages and on a larger national scale with online classes and other products. He is a great connector to people and community resources that might be of help.
All in all, we enjoy working with Neal. He works with us. He meets us where we are and gives us a larger context to understand the nature of business itself and how we increase our reach to the community in a profitable way.
Thank you, Neal.
Kathleen Bogolin, Principal at Financial Legacy Builders LLC
I first met with Neal because I was interested in growing my business.
I am grateful for the connection because he has made a significant impact on my business. He introduced me to the Business Model Canvas system and I am using it on my business as well as working with clients. One of my clients is using it to develop key partners in building her business. Another is taking a strategic approach to marketing, reducing expenses, and employee management.
More importantly, referrals from Neal have opened new doors to expand my business. Two of his referrals have led to additional referrals and the introduction to major opportunities. One of them is especially important because it links my passion for making a difference in the fight against cancer to my expertise in technology and helping clients take a strategic approach to increased profitability. I have come to enjoy the time spent with Neal and truly appreciate his valuable insights and great sense of humor.
Neal has been very helpful to me.
— FSBDC —
About the FSBDC at UCF
With its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF Office of Research & Commercialization and the Florida SBDC Network (FSBDC Network). The FSBDC at UCF provides business seminars and no-cost, one-on-one business consultation to emerging and established businesses. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 10 service centers across Central Florida.
In 2016, the FSBDC at UCF served over 2,400 entrepreneurs in Central Florida through consulting and training, resulting in nearly 6,700 jobs created, retained or saved; $980 million in sales growth; $92.7 million in capital formation; $154.6 million in government contract awards; and 120 new businesses started.
About the FSBDC Network
The FSBDC at UCF is a member of the Florida SBDC Network, a statewide partnership program nationally accredited by the Association of America’s SBDCs and funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners, with the University of West Florida serving as the network’s lead host institution. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for limited English proficient individuals. All opinions, conclusions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the she SBA or other funding partners.
For over 35 years, the FSBDC Network has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development organizations, dedicated to providing emerging and established business owners with management and technical assistance, enabling overall growth and increased profitability for the businesses and economic prosperity for the state. The FSBDC Network is a statewide service system of 41 centers with 60 outreach locations, including the FSBDC at UCF.
Since 2011, Florida SBDCs served almost 75,000 entrepreneurs and small business owners through consulting and training, resulting in 252,955 jobs created, retained or saved; $33.3 billion in sales growth; $1.4 billion in capital accessed; $2.6 billion in government contract awards; and 4,159 new businesses started.