Lake County Success Stories

Amanda Neil

Ultimate Health Direct Primary Care

Successful entrepreneurs typically have a spirit, an energy, a kind of determination that drives them to meet and overcome the many challenges faced when starting a new business. For Amanda Neil, now the owner and operator of Ultimate Health Direct Primary Care, LLC, it was the conviction that she had a great idea for improving the delivery of healthcare in Lake County, Florida that inspired her to pursue a new venture. With assistance from the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF), Neil was able to turn her idea into reality.

At Ultimate Health Direct Primary Care, Neil and her team do healthcare a little differently. Direct Primary Care (DPC) is a new and innovative personalized approach to medical care management. This affordable, patient-centric model gives members access to unlimited primary care. The focus is to provide every patient with individualized attention to meet his or her specific healthcare needs; 24/7; days, nights, weekends; and in whatever manner they choose: phone, telehealth, email, in office. And it’s all covered by a single, monthly fee.

Ultimate Health DPC’s monthly direct pay, flat fee is likely to cover 80-90% of the issues for which patients need to seek medical care, including: routine and preventative care; sick visits, weight loss management, and chronic disease management. Gone are the high costs of standard health insurance with traditional pay-per-visit doctor’s appointment co-pays, and expensive and often unnecessary visits to urgent care centers or emergency rooms. This model works well for patients and their employers alike, resulting in lower expenses and fewer sick days.

“At Ultimate Health DPC, we put the patient back in the center of care,” Neil explains. “Personal attention is what we offer. Our billing model supports that focus; it’s set up as a monthly membership model that offers patients unlimited, 24-hour access to me as their primary care provider.”

“When the idea for Ultimate Health DPC came to me, I approached my credit union for advice,” recalls Neil. “And they referred me to the FSBDC. I am a health care professional, not a businesswoman. At least I wasn’t a businesswoman until I started working with the FSBDC. With their help, today I am.”

“I just know I had an idea. With my FSBDC consultant Jamie Mead, she took my idea and helped me write my business plan,” continued Neil. “Then together we went after an SBA loan. The FSBDC helped me with everything the bank needed. We checked every box. Jamie made sure we presented a strong loan application and helped me educate our banker and answer his questions about our new cash-based, membership health care model. My consultant ensured we had the data, and that our story was iron clad. And we got the loan!”

“If I had to use one word to describe the FSBDC, it would be ‘partner’” said Neil. “The SBDC and my consultant Jamie took on my dream and made it her dream. And now it’s come true. We got the loan and now Ultimate Health DPC is off to a great start. We have only been open for 30 days, and we are already halfway to our first-year patient goal,” Neil shared proudly. “I think they like us” she concluded with a smile.

For information about Ultimate Health Direct Primary Care, please visit https://leesburgprimarycare.com/.

USO Biomedical Services Logo

USO Biomedical Services

Making the move from home school mom to day-to-day management of the family business is a major transition, especially if you don’t have experience running a small company. Cindy Brammer was willing to learn and accept that challenge when she took over as president of USO Biomedical Services (USO Biomed). She was also smart enough to know what she didn’t know and turned to the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida – Lake County (FSBDC at UCF – Lake County) for assistance.

USO Biomed services and repairs medical equipment, and they know that properly functioning medical equipment can be the difference between life and death. The company offers the best in medical equipment calibration, repair, and preventive maintenance in Florida, serving doctors’ offices, research facilities and urgent care clinics, as well as dental and veterinary offices.

What sets USO Biomed apart is that deploys certified biomedical equipment technicians (CBET) who calibrate to national and international standards, and is qualifying for ISO 17205 certification, internationally recognized as the highest standard for testing and calibration. USO Biomed prides itself in providing the quality service their clients deserve so they can give their patients the quality care they need.

Cindy Brammer joined her husband Wes, an expert in medical equipment repair, after he had successfully started the business and had it growing. Having left her position with a medial surgical organization to be a home school mother and now to be managing the family business, she was taking on very different responsibilities including sales and marketing, bookkeeping and many other duties. Unfortunately, not all of that work was familiar to her. That’s when she turned to the FSBDC at UCF in Lake County and Eddie Hill, its Area Manager and lead consultant.

“The reason I tried to find help and found it absolutely with the FSBDC is that I realized that I didn’t know all that I needed to know in order to make the company successful,” recalls Brammer. “I needed help, and I needed it quickly and that’s exactly what I found with the FSBDC.”

Brammer took advantage of the FSBDC’s no-cost, expert consulting, business seminars and workshops, and access to market research.  “The FSBDC has been a fantastic resource.  I was able to sit down for one-on-one consultation with Eddie Hill and, from Day One, it has been awesome,” Brammer continued. “He’s always there and he’s been able to give me the direction I needed. The seminars that I attended were incredibly useful. Eddie was also able to get me market information that was invaluable. And he put me in touch with a marketing firm that has been absolutely wonderful for us.”

On the strength of the Brammer’s hard work and with the FSBDC’s assistance, USO Biomed has prospered. “From when we started with the FSBDC, we have been able to double our client base and our gross revenues have increased 200% or more,” Cindy Brammer states proudly. “The FSBDC has been what I needed when I needed it.  They were there anytime I had a question, if I needed one of their seminars, if I needed information. They were there and it’s been fantastic.”

For more information about USO Biomedical Services, please visit https://usobiomed.com/.

Integrass Logo

Integrass

Taking a business to the next level of success is often a daunting task. With the start-up phase behind them, how can an entrepreneur best scale up their company from simple profitability to the second stage of significant revenues and a meaningful return on investment? COO & President Arathi Rajagopalan and CEO Vijay Krishnan, founders and principal owners of Integrass – an IT services, products, and solutions company –   found themselves asking that very question and discovered answers at the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) in its Advisory Board Council (ABC) program.

Since its founding in 2011, Integrass has grown from an IT services company into much more. Today the firm creates competitive advantage for organizations around the world by implementing customized, end-to-end IT solutions that help achieve business success, leveraging leading technology platforms in a global delivery model.

The Integrass company story is a good one. “We stumbled through the initial startup stages,” Krishnan recalls humbly. “By 2013 we had hit our first $1 million in revenue. But in a startup’s lifecycle, a million dollars is kind of just a starter. You can either become non-existent or you can grow and navigate the small business no man’s land to get yourself to the next milestone which is predominantly the $5 million revenue target.”

“What Integrass lacked at that time was the expertise, knowledge and guidance about how to build a company from $1 million to $5 million in revenues,” Krishnan explains. “And that’s why we got introduced to the Advisory Board Council at the FSBDC.”

Designed for established, second-stage companies, the Advisory Board Council provides no-cost, customized teams of volunteer professionals who offer advice and counsel to help small businesses grow. The program acts as a matchmaker between established local small businesses and area professionals who donate their expertise as members of an advisory board, with each of the volunteers purposefully selected to address the specific needs of the FSBDC client.

“The FSBDC meticulously crafted a Board which gave us expertise in the areas where we were lacking – financial management, strategic planning, marketing & sales management – and then actually guided us through the whole journey to where we could navigate ourselves and reach that $5 million target,” Krishnan states.

“The Advisory Board was a great forum to bring in our business challenges, big or small,” Rajagopalan remarks. “Then they helped me understand that I needed to be more focused on strategy and let go of operational tasks. It really helped bring out the better leader in me.”

In fact, since starting with the FSBDC’s ABC, Integrass has enjoyed impressive growth. “When we joined the Advisory Board Council, we were a $1 million-dollar company and looking for direction” Krishnan recalls. “Since then, from a metrics perspective, revenues have grown from $1 million to $7 million, the number of employees has grown from 25 to 105 and we have moved from a rental office to four locations around the world. Most important, we have built growth accelerators and created new products, growing from zero in the beginning to six today with plans for more in the future,” he concludes.

For more information about Integrass, please visit https://www.integrass.com.

Ringer's More Than Mulch

Ringer’s More than Mulch Landscaping Supplies

Access to capital – whether it be securing a loan, finding an investor, or tapping into personal savings – is often named as the No. 1 challenge faced by entrepreneurs and small business owners. It is precisely the barrier that Brian Ringer and his mother Deb faced as they contemplated starting a landscaping supplies business in Leesburg, FL. and why they turned to the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) – Lake County Office.

Ringer's More Than Mulch

Ringer’s More Than Mulch

Brian Ringer has almost 20 years of experience in the landscaping supply business and saw an opportunity to provide products to landscapers and homeowners in fast-growing Lake County.  Together with his mother, he registered Ringer’s More Than Mulch Landscaping Supplies with the intention of offering a large assortment of mulches, both decorative and commercial rock, and various soils and sands for all landscaping and gardening needs. All with an emphasis on fast, convenient and friendly customer service. “Thank You Very Mulch!” was (and now is) their motto.

Before they could open their doors, however, they needed to obtain funding. “We’d come to the FSBDC before to start a business but found we weren’t ready,” recalls Deb Ringer. ”But now we were ready and came back to them for assistance. And they started helping us the minute we walked in the door.”

“They asked us all the right questions and we had all the right answers,” Deb Ringer continued. “They told us we had a good idea and that they could help us get off the ground. We left that meeting with the confidence that we could do this, that we could start our business.”

FSBDC consultant and Lake County Area Manager Eddie Hill and program assistant Cesar Gomez laid out a plan with the Ringers, starting with preparation of a business plan. “They gave us an outline and we did a draft,” says Mrs. Ringer. “They reviewed it and we tweaked it. There were more drafts, more reviews and more tweaks. Then it was done, and we were ready.”

Once the business plan was completed, the FSBDC helped the Ringers find a bank who wanted to work with them and offered Small Business Administration (SBA) guaranteed loans. “We met with our banker, brought in our business plan that Eddie Hill had helped us write and it was accepted. The bank was astounded. They said they’d never seen a business plan put together so well” states Brian Ringer. “Our loan application was later approved and we were on our way.”

Ringer’s More Than Mulch Landscaping Supplies had their grand opening in early August and they are indeed on their way. Customers have been pleased with the family atmosphere, friendly service, and competitive prices. “We’re off to a great start,” says Brian.

“Our experience with the FSBDC was phenomenal,” concluded Brian Ringer. “These guys were on top of everything. They were always there for any question that we had. Actually, many times they knew the questions before we even asked them. Working with the FSBDC is a wise choice. They will take you in the right direction and show you where you need to go. We are forever grateful.”

For information about Ringer’s More than Mulch Landscaping Supplies, please visit https://ringers-more-than-mulch-landscaping.business.site/.

Kelani Kleaning

Kalani Kleaning

When you own and run a small business, you are a “CEO” as in “Chief Everything Officer.” After all, you are responsible for all of the functional areas of the business including sales, marketing, finance and accounting, customer service, human resources, research and development, production, and distribution. And you need to be competent in at least the majority of them to be successful. Often that last part is a tall order however. It’s why many small business owners turn to the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) for assistance.

FSBDC at UCF with Kalani Kleaning

John Doramus, Danylle Almas, Rosie Heim (L-R)

Danylle Almas and Rosie Heim are the owners and operators of Kalani Kleaning Services, a residential and commercial cleaning company in Lake County, Florida. They deliver a superior service because, as Heim says “we care for our clients’ homes the way we care for our own.” As a result, they’ve been running their business for seven years and have built a satisfied and loyal customer base. But, as good as they are at making their customers happy, they were not very good at managing their finances.

“We’re really good at cleaning, customer service and all the front end work,” says Almas. “But we’re not numbers people. We call ourselves ‘Not-business women.’ We’d gotten to the point where we were desperate. We were in a financial mess. When we suddenly found ourselves over-drafting our checking account, that was our sign. We needed help.”

Almas and Heim tried everything they could think of to straighten out the business. They read books. They hired a private, for-fee business consultant. They went online for webinars and blogs. It all helped a little, but not enough; Kalani Kleaning’s financial picture was still deteriorating.

It was then that they turned to the FSBDC at UCF – Lake County and its consultant John Doramus for no-cost, expert business consulting and seminars. “We basically cried when we found out what the FSBDC could do for us and that it was free,” Heim remembers. “We had an experienced and knowledgeable consultant who could really see our business for what it was and lead us, and all at no cost to us.”

“We don’t feel like we can take credit for where our company is now,” continued Almas. “John and the FSBDC came in and gave us a road map at a time when we were ready to call it quits.  He showed us light at the end of the tunnel. We didn’t know what step to take next, but he did. He built us a growth plan and we’ve stuck to it by meeting with him, monitoring our progress and managing our goals.”

“Since we started working with the FSBDC, we’re not bouncing checks anymore,” Danylle Almas says with a laugh. “Far from it. We’ve increased our client base by 30%, our revenues are up 80% and we’re preparing to hire our first employee. We’ve purchased a business model and rebranded, both of which will help us expand and scale the business. The FSBDC’s help has been like a miracle for us,” concluded Almas.

For information about Kalani Kleaning Services, please visit www.kalanikleaning.com.

Grumpy Bert's BBQ with FSBDC - Lake County Consultant Eddie Hill

Grumpy Bert’s BBQ

Owning and operating a small business are not for the faint of heart; anyone who’s done it will tell you it’s hard work. On the other hand, the rewards are immense: being your own boss, reaping the rewards of your hard work directly, turning your passion into a career and thereby never working another day in your life.

Pat and Gary Sorensen will testify to both sides of the small business ownership equation. They started and now run Grumpy Bert’s BBQ, a mobile barbeque kitchen a/k/a food truck based in Lake County, Florida that proudly tells its many loyal customers: “Shut Up & Eat. Food with Attitude” and features menu items like “Rub Me The Wrong Way Ribs,” “Surly Smoked Brisket” and “Petulant Pulled Pork”, not to mention “Bad Tempered Beans” and “Cantankerous Corn Casserole.”

The Sorensens will also tell you not to go it alone when launching a business. Grumpy Bert’s isn’t their first small business and from the start they knew they wanted to get help from the Florida SBDC at UCF – Lake County. “We’ve never done a food service business before,” says Pat Sorensen. “We really weren’t sure what we were doing so we wanted to get information on how best to get started and I knew the FSBDC would have answers for us and they did.”

The Sorensens turned to Eddie Hill, Area Manager, and Cesar Gomez, program assistant, both in the FSBDC’s Lake County office, for assistance. They took advantage of the FSBDC’s no-cost, expert business consulting and various business seminars, all of which set them up for success.

“From the beginning, the FSBDC has been a very positive experience. Eddie and Cesar have been so helpful,” continued Pat Sorensen. “They are like a one-stop shop where you have everything you need to run your business. They have so much information and so many people to help you be successful. It’s all in one place so you don’t have to go here for your business plan, and then over there for your marketing plan and then way over there for your financial plan. And when you have a question or just need to bounce ideas off an expert, there they are.”

“We knew it was going to be a lot of work and we were right,” says Gary Sorensen. “But it’s worth it. We start cooking and smoking the meat days in advance, and there’s a ton of prep work. But then there are the events, and they are easy and fun. Besides the many festivals and food truck rodeos we’ve done, we’ve catered an employee appreciation night for 700 at South Lake Hospital and worked for two weeks straight after Hurricane Irma serving the teams from the 200 FEMA trucks stationed here in Lake County.”

“if you’re considering starting a business., or if you’re further along than that and need help,” concluded Pat Sorensen, “the first thing you should do is go to the FSBDC. They have everything you need there, not just to start a business but also to help you to continue to grow. I would definitely recommend the FSBDC to any entrepreneur or business owner.”

FSBDC - Lake County Area Manager Eddie Hill with Citrus Hearing Clinic's Dr. Laura Bradley Pratesi, AuD

Citrus Hearing Clinic

Citrus Hearing Clinic is a small business located in Clermont, Florida whose owner and Doctor of Audiology, Dr. Laura Bradley Pratesi, prides herself on working in the community where she, her friends, and family live and socialize.

Dr. Laura Bradley Pratesi showing Eddie Hill audiology tests she uses for her clients

Dr. Laura Bradley Pratesi showing Eddie Hill audiology tests she uses for her clients

Founded by Dr. Pratesi, hearing impaired and a hearing aid user herself, Citrus Hearing Clinic aims to be a full-service audiology practice specializing in aural rehabilitation, balance therapy, pediatric testing, and patient education. They like to say, “We listen. You hear.”

“No one in the area was offering my services so I saw an underserved market in my own backyard,” Dr. Pratesi remarked. “Now I am working with local physicians, treating our shared patients and coordinating their care closely with those doctors, which is all important. Thanks to this community, I’ve become successful in my new office.”

Although enjoying a warm reception in Clermont, there were challenges faced by Dr. Pratesi on the road to opening her clinic. For many of those, she turned to the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida’s (FSBDC at UCF) Lake County office and its Area Manager and consultant Eddie Hill.

“I’m an expert in audiology but I’m not an expert in business,’ Dr. Pratesi recalls. “I know a lot of businesses don’t do well in the first few years. I didn’t want to be one of those; I wanted to be successful. For me it wasn’t just getting to practice audiology, it was also about learning to run a profitable business.”

And that’s what Dr. Pratesi did. She used the FSBDC’s market research services to conduct a risk analysis of the area. She attended the FSBDC’s online seminars to sharpen her financial and marketing skills. And she took advantage of the FSBDC’s no-cost, expert business consulting by meeting with Eddie Hill.

“Eddie was very helpful in developing a business plan and getting it ready to take to a bank,”says Dr. Pratesi. “I’d gone to a couple of my own banks and been rejected. They wanted me to put up my home as collateral and that made me nervous. But Eddie helped me find a local bank that would make a business loan to me.”

“And that was important to me. I liked getting a loan from a bank and not a particular hearing aid manufacturer, like many audiology businesses do,” continued Dr. Pratesi. “It means I am able to work with all the different manufacturers and free to always choose the best product for my patients. As someone with a hearing impairment, I have been in my patients’ shoes. I really like that I can help make the best, most well-informed decisions about their hearing and balance health care.”

“The FSBDC has been a wonderful resource. My experience with them has been overwhelmingly positive,“ Dr. Pratesi concluded.  “They helped me find a local bank who made me a loan that helped get me started. It was important to me to be independently owned and operated and I was able to do that because of the FSBDC.”

Popcorn Junkie, FSBDC at UCF, Lake County, Economic Development

Popcorn Junkie

Minetta and Neal Crosier were just such entrepreneurs. Building upon successful business careers and a passion for popcorn, they had a vision for a gourmet popcorn company like no other, one with extraordinary flavors found nowhere else, made with the highest quality ingredients, and handcrafted and made fresh daily. Their question was: where to start?

The Crosiers turned to the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) in Lake County, near where they lived. Minetta Crosier is a UCF graduate and had heard about the FSBDC’s  no-cost consulting, business seminars & workshops and market research resources, all focused on the needs of small-to-medium sized businesses. It was just these services that the Crosiers decided to access at the FSBDC.

Popcorn Junkie, FSBDC at UCF, Lake County, Small Business

FSBDC Consultant Eddie Hill (L) with Neal Crosier

It happens often. An entrepreneur has an idea but is uncertain about how to turn their vision into a real business. And then how to make that business a success.

“When we first started out, we had no idea how to do what we wanted to do or exactly where we wanted to do it. What we did know was what we wanted to do,” says Neal Crosier. “So we went to the FSBDC for help with taking our concept to an actual business.”

With their Lake County consultant Eddie Hill, the Crosiers rolled up their sleeves and started to work. They attended business education seminars about starting a business and using social media to market that business. The relied on Hill’s expertise and experience for business guidance and consultation. And, using the FSBDC’s databases, they accessed extensive market research and industry information.

Further, as the Crosiers progressed toward launching their business, the FSBDC helped them find professional assistance with retail interior design, branding, legal issues, bookkeeping and store build-out construction.

With the FSBDC at their side, the Crosiers were able to make major course corrections in their business plans. They abandoned their original idea of operating from a mall kiosk in favor of a retail store. They adjusted their choice of location from I-Drive in Orlando to the Church Street Station downtown area. And the results have been excellent.

Popcorn JunkieTM, the Crosier’s wonderful new store, opened on Church Street in May 2107 and has been enjoying terrific success. They have been helping customers from all over ‘Get Hooked on Good” with an amazing selection of gourmet popcorn flavors, featuring Classic, Cheese, Sweet, Nutty, Chocolate and Seasonal Varieties. They are close by the downtown sports venues and see extensive foot traffic on game days. And they are building a loyal downtown Orlando following in nearby office buildings and apartments.

“The FSBDC was there when we needed them,” Neal Crosier concluded. “I take my hat off to them. Every time I reached out to them, I received an immediate response or, if they didn’t have the answer, they found it for me fast. They gave us excellent, really excellent service. I didn’t imagine it would be that good. But it was, and helped us a lot.”

Villages-News.com; FSBDC; Lake County; Villages; Sumter County

Villages-News.com

There is no one formula for building a successful business. Certainly not one that creates the #1 digital news website in The Villages®, America’s premier active adult retirement community located in central Florida and the fastest growing metropolitan statistical unit in the United States.

And Meta Marie Minton and Jeremiah Delgado, co-owners of Villages-News.com, will be the first to admit it. When she founded the news site back in 2013, she understood how hard it can be to start a business. “When we started, I knew how to do the news but I didn’t know how to run a business,” she says.

The Villages-News.com provides news coverage of government, crime, classifieds, and local events for The Villages®, Florida and surrounding communities. It is the only source that provides “Real News, Right Now” to the largest retirement community in the United States. Stories from Villages-News.com have been featured in local and national news syndicates, including CNN, NBC, CBS, USA Today, NY Post, and Huffington Post, among others.

Knowing what she didn’t know, it was then that Minton contacted the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida’s (FSBDC at UCF) Lake County satellite office, now in Mt. Dora.  “A huge number of small businesses fail in the first year. I knew we had a tough mountain to climb,” Minton continued. “But if you have some direction, and some guidance, then you can make it happen.”

The first thing she did was take an FSBDC seminar about how to start a business. Then she began writing a business plan. Finally she met with one of the local FSBDC consultants, Stan Austin, to develop a strategy for making her business come to life. “I went to the FSBDC to take advantage of the resources they offer,” says Minton. “It was one of the first things I did when I wanted to start a company and was probably one of the smartest.”

An early step was finding and collaborating with Jeremiah Delgado, her co-owner and business development director. “I’m an old newspaper person. He’s got this great understanding of digital marketing. With the help of the FSBDC, together we have made Villages-News.com the success it is today,” Minton states.

Helping start the business was only the beginning of the ongoing services the FSBDC has provided. “Our FSBDC consultant helps us point our arrow in the right direction. He’s that outside person who has the experience and know how,” Minton went on. “He challenges us every step of the way, telling us we’re good, but not good enough; that we can do more; that we can do better. He has lit a fire that has pushed us to succeed. It’s been incredibly valuable.”

“With the FSBDC, we went from being a small-time business to being the leader in our industry and our area,” says Delgado. “We have a dominant social media presence and successful business because of help from the FSBDC. Our consultant gave us the insight and motivation to go out and succeed. The FSBDC is probably one of the best resources you can find for a small business,” he concluded.

FSBDC; Across Borders Management Consulting; Lake County

Across Borders Management Consulting Group

Humility is not a quality always associated with entrepreneurs. Especially if theirs is an IT services and solutions company with a goal of delivering “Innovation through Strategic Thinking.” But when a self-effacing attitude is present, it can be an important part of a formula for long-term success.

Vijay Krishnan and Arathi Rajagopalan, husband and wife and co-founders of Across Borders Management Consulting Group, recognized early on their situation as they sought to grow their company. Then they allowed their clear-eyed assessment of the challenges they faced in building their business to guide them to seek assistance from the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF).

“We didn’t know what we didn’t know” is Arathi Rajagopalan’s frank take on the early days of Across Borders. “We were a growing company with limited resources. That’s why we came to the FSBDC there we found a wealth of knowledge and services tailor-made for a company like ours,” she states.

“Since starting with the FSBDC, we have used every service they have to offer because they fit so well into where we want to take our business and how we want to grow. And all at little or no cost to the company,” Vijay Krishnan added. “It has made a big difference for us. We were a $1 million revenue company when we started with them; today we are closing in on $5 million.”

Both Vijay and Arathi Krishnan credit the FSBDC as helping shape the company that Across Borders is today. Initially they sought and received assistance regarding their sales and business development efforts from their FSBDC consultant Stan Austin. That was followed by an in-depth business and financial analysis by the FSBDC’s Roger Greenwald as part of the FSBDC’s Growth Acceleration Services. With that as a starting point, Across Borders was able to develop their first three-year strategic plan.

Meanwhile, the company and cofounders became part of the FSBDC’s Advisory Board Council program, a next-level, business-support service matching them with experienced business professionals with a diverse range of skills who volunteer and work together on a “custom-fit” advisory board. Further on, Vijay Krishnan joined the FSBDC’s CEO XChange, an executive roundtable program offering a confidential setting for top executives to discuss vital business issues, opportunities and trends with a group of peers. Most recently, Across Borders worked with the FSBDC’s International Trade Services team and gained a ready-to-implement Export Marketing Plan.

“Across Borders has done everything right,” remarked Stan Austin. “They are the perfect FSBDC client. They listen. They get involved. They make decisions. They implement. It’s no wonder they have been an Orlando Business Journal  ‘Fast 50’ growth company two years running.”

“The FSBDC has become a critically important strategic partner for Across Borders,” states Vijay Krishnan. “They have worked with us every step of the way. Their services are at the top-most professional level. And their only focus is on helping us grow to the next level. That is the best kind of partnership possible. We’re very happy and thankful for the FSBDC.”