Doing anything for the first time can be challenging and, for a small business owner who has her or his company’s future on the line – navigating new possibilities for expansion is no exception. For Diana and Tim Willis, owners of Baby Fairy Tale – a unique mother-to-be ultrasound video studio that captures enchanting, magical pre-birth baby moments in 3D/4D/HDLive – there were growth opportunities in unfamiliar territory before them, so they called upon the Florida Small Business Development Center at Eastern Florida State College (FSBDC at EFSC), a sub-center of the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF).
Baby Fairy Tale is an ultrasound clinic specializing in recording magical moments for the expecting mother and her loved ones. Beyond being a wonderful and unique way to make memories, what makes Baby Fairy Tale exceptional is its offer of a spacious theatre setting in which the mother-to-be and her family and friends can experience a remarkable and special moment. “Everybody leaves Baby Fairy Tale happy,” says Diana Willis proudly.
Customers have been flocking to Baby Fairy Tale and the Willises saw opportunity in expanding to a second location. “But how do we do that?,” they asked themselves. Their search for assistance led them to the FSBDC. “I had heard of the FSBDC but wasn’t sure what they did,” recalls Tim Willis. “So, I looked them up and got in contact with Robin Braswell (EFSC sub-center Director and FSBDC consultant),” he went on. Braswell described the FSBDC’s services: no-cost, expert consulting; business training seminars and webinars; and access to expansive market research and databases. “She’d send me emails about the different programs and projects that the FSBDC was doing around here,” Tim says, and it piqued his interest.
“We got more involved with the FSBDC when we decided to purchase a piece of property for a second location,” Tim Willis continued. “I contacted Robin and she immediately started sending me resources and recommendations. She connected me with an SBDC consultant who is an expert in capital access and loans, Maggie Incandela. She helped me write a business plan for Baby Fairy Tale and that business plan helped us to acquire a loan to buy the property for our second location.”
“It’s been wonderful working the FSBDC,” Willis shared. “Whenever I have a question or thought or doubt, I would write Robin and she would either answer that question, direct me to the right person or resource, or give me ideas. The other thing that’s really cool about working with the SBDC is they have meetings, like a lender’s panel, and different seminars that are super informative and helpful to grow your knowledge as a business owner.”
“The FSBDC has been very helpful” Willis concludes. “Since we started working with them, we’ve done a lot of things; the big one is starting to open a second location — getting the loan, buying the property and working on it. We’ve hired a second employee and now we’ve started on getting a loan for a second ultrasound machine. I would recommend the FSBDC to any business. I mean, why not? To get some free help, that’s awesome.”
For information about Baby Fairytale, please visit https://babyfairytale.com/home .