FSBDC, UCF, Business Consulting

SBDC at UCF’s CEO XChange Program Connects Executives, Cultivates Leaders, Improves Results

image (2)Being a small business owner or leader can have many rewards — professional independence, individual accomplishment, financial success to name a few. But it also has many challenges, including limited opportunities for skill development, a circumstantially-narrowed business perspective and the isolation that comes from being alone at the top — all of which can negatively affect the business results and success of the small business entrepreneur.

Building on a growing body of research that has shown the value that peer group coaching brings to developing the skills and effectiveness of entrepreneur business leaders, in 2010 the Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (SBDC at UCF) launched the CEO XChange program, a monthly executive roundtable serving progressive chief executives and business owners that offers a confidential setting for top executives to discuss vital business issues, opportunities and trends with a group of peers. Designed for those at established, second stage companies, CEO XChange brings together successful entrepreneurs eager to increase their effectiveness as leaders and grow their companies. It offers top executives the opportunity to broaden their perspective and gain new knowledge by engaging in collaborative thinking and problem-solving – giving them the ability to more effective lead their companies.

The monthly CEO XChange meeting is organized and run by L. Harrison ‘Hal’ Thayer, a professional facilitator with extensive business and small business consulting experience. With a BA from Amherst, an MBA from Columbia Business School and facilitation training at General Electric’s Crotonville, NY executive training center, Thayer is a marketing professional who has held corporate positions at Time Warner, GE and Liberty Mutual. More recently, he has worked as a general manager for and consulted to small business. Beyond strong facilitation skills, he has a breadth and depth of business experience and knowledge that enables him to add value in many ways to the CEO XChange conversation and process.

Collective Problem Solving and Knowledge Expansion

The CEO XChange process is straight forward, and is strengthened by its simplicity. A group of CEO XChange’s chief executives come together for a presentation of an issue, challenge or opportunity facing one of their peers. Over the course of the meeting, all of the attendees contribute by brainstorming and problem solving together, all with a goal of solution identification. Over the course of the meeting, and as a result of the diverse points of view around the table, there is an inevitable expansion of member’s knowledge and understanding. Everyone benefits from leveraging the experiences of other CEO XChange members and having a multi-talented sounding board to bounce ideas off of. Freed of their own day-to-day concerns, the leaders avail themselves of the opportunity to think outside their box and engage in an often rewarding creative thought and analysis process.

As one CEO XChange member, the president of a hi-tech, multi-million dollar security firm commented recently about the knowledge gained in the meetings, “The CEO XChange aggregates decades of professional experience into a single, dynamic resource.   The safe environment promotes both relationship and rather candid discussion, so the movement from issue to solution is catalyzed dramatically.  The healthy group setting is cathartic for peers and, regardless of our respective ability to teach around an issue, we always learn”. 

Another CEO XChange member, the president of a multi-million dollar educational services company who has been recognized by the Small Business Administration as the Regional (8-state southern region) Winner of the 2012  Entrepreneurial Success Award, focused on the problem solving assistance he gains from the CEO XChange program when he said, “Many times I’ve been able to share challenges faced by my companies with the CEO XChange, and I’ve always received real world peer feedback from members that has revealed the solutions needed for my companies to grow so quickly.” 

Camaraderie and Decision-making Confidence

Beyond the benefits of collaborative problem solving and knowledge expansion, members of the CEO XChange also profit from the camaraderie and mutual support that comes from the relationships and network that evolve over time in the meetings. They learn that they are not alone in the challenges they face. This in turn has contributed to building the executives’ confidence in their decision making and validation of their strategies. As one member, president of training company has said about the CEO XChange, “It’s given me a wider perspective about the issues facing not just me, but the small business community in general.  It’s also given me confidence and some new business connections.” Or, as another member, the owner of a product assembly and manufacturing company, has said of the CEO XChange, When I first started out a few years back I was very apprehensive that the decisions I was making were really going to get our business somewhere.   To know that you’re on the right track really is a load off your back”.

Better Business Results

By helping small business owners and leaders solve problems, broaden their perspectives and build confidence in their decision making, the CEO XChange program has helped its members better manage their companies and optimize their business results. For FY 2011, the 16 member companies in the CEO XChange saw their revenues increase by more than $10.5 million, created and/or retained 24 jobs, raised almost $3.4 million in capital and won more than $6.8 million in government contracts. For FY 2012, member companies saw their revenues increase by more than $8.9 million, created and/or retained 1121 jobs, raised almost $4.9 million in capital and won more than $9.7 million in government contracts.

The SBDC at UCF’s CEO XChange program does indeed connect executives, cultivate leaders and help its members improve business results. A further, significant indication of the value its members place in the CEO XChange is the almost 90% of members who renew with the program year-over-year.

The CEO XChange program currently has memberships available and welcomes applications. For information about qualifications for the program and administrative details, please visit our website at www.sbdcorlando.com/CEOXchange. For questions, please feel free to contact Hal Thayer, CEO XChange program manager, at 407.420.4850 or email at hthayer@bus.ucf.edu.

FSBDC, UCF, Business Consulting

Kings Service Solutions Gains From SBDC at UCF’s Advisory Board Council

imageBecomes a Local Job Creation Success Story

April 9, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Hal Thayer, Communications Director, SBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or hthayer@bus.ucf.edu

Orlando, FL – In late 2009 President Yanet Herrero and Vice President Arnaldo Herrero of Kings Service Solutions, a fast growing Central Florida building maintenance company,  first approached the Small Business Development Center at UCF (SBDC at UCF) Advisory Board Council Program Manager Jill Kaufman about their interest in becoming a client of the program.  At their first meeting, Arnaldo laid out his goal, “We want to begin taking the proper steps to become your next success story.”

It took them just three years to achieve this milestone.  In that time their janitorial and commercial maintenance company has made a dramatic transformation and experienced extraordinary growth.  According to Yanet, “I felt the SBDC at UCF was the right organization to pair up with to set our company’s vision on the right course.   I wanted to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the company and have access to experts’ knowledge and ideas to develop our organization.”

In 2010, Kings Service Solutions (KSS) was accepted into the SBDC at UCF’s Advisory Board Council (ABC) program and an advisory board was formed to address the company’s needs.  Experts in human resources, accounting, strategic marketing, business development and law comprised their board.   “We had the best of the best on our advisory board team,” remarked Yanet.

Kings Service Solutions acted immediately on what they learned from their advisory board. The board helped them put in place an organizational structure, systems and processes to better manage the company and facilitate their growth.  “We learned how to make the organization’s mission and vision come alive and become part of the company culture,” explained Yanet.  Among the biggest benefits coming out of the board’s recommendations included improved financial management, HR policies, quality control and risk management.   “I started with an idea for what my business could be and by the end of the term in the ABC program it was so much more than I expected,” said Yanet.  “The Advisory Board Council program gave me the tools to attain what I wanted for our company.”

Beginning with the simple idea of providing high quality and reliable commercial cleaning and facility maintenance services, KSS has grown to serve industry leading companies throughout the state of Florida such as Trustco Bank, Florida’s Blood Centers, and Lamm and Company Partners.   KSS has instituted innovative business processes and the latest janitorial management software to increase their organization’s efficiency and quality control.  In fact, KSS was recently chosen to be featured by MSNBC in a television segment on how technology is helping small companies.

When KSS became a client of the Advisory Board Council in early 2010, the firm had a staff of 6 full time and 37 part time employees and leased a 1,700 sq. ft. office.  Just three years later KSS has grown to be a company of 87 full time and 162 part time employees.  Annual revenue jumped 270% from 2010 to 2012 and the company now owns its 3,500 sq. ft. office and warehouse suite.   Importantly, Arnaldo and Yanet also strongly believe in giving back to the community and KSS is a devoted supporter of a number of worthy organizations such as Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Florida.

On the strength of its founders’ determination and the external assistance they were savvy enough to bring in, including from SBDC at UCF’s Advisory Board Council program, Kings Service Solutions is now that “next success story”  that they wanted to be. “I would recommend the Advisory Board Council to any entrepreneur that is ready to realize their vision,” remarked Yanet.  “The process will transform your business culture and inevitably your business success.”

–UCF–

With its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center (formerly the Disney Entrepreneur Center) now located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (SBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF College of Business Administration and the Florida Small Business Development Center Network, providing business seminars and no-cost, one-on-one business consultation to small business owners. The SBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains seven satellite service centers. In 2011, the SBDC at UCF helped entrepreneurs create or retain 1,517 jobs, win contract awards worth $28.9 million, acquire $17.7 million in capital formation, and increase sales by $51.9 million. The SBDC at UCF is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

SBDC at UCF | 3201 E. Colonial Drive | Orlando, FL 32801 | p 407.420.4850 | f 407.420.4862
sbdc@bus.ucf.edu | www.sbdcorlando.com

FSBDC, UCF, Business Consulting

Advanced IT Concepts: A Small Business Success Story

imageSBDC at UCF Programs Support Rapid Growth

March 28, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Hal Thayer, Communications Director, SBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or hthayer@bus.ucf.edu

Orlando, FL – For most small businesses, their greatest challenge is stable and continuous growth, and the faster they can achieve that growth, the better. Advanced IT Concepts, Inc. is a central Florida company that has, on the strength of its founders diligence and hard work, and  with the help of the Small Business Development Center at UCF (SBDC at UCF), turned their company into a small business success story.

Lieutenant Colonel Gabriel (Gabe) Ruiz retired from the U.S. Army in 2006. Since then he has leveraged a military career in information technology and an entrepreneurial spirit as owner and CEO of Advanced IT Concepts, Inc., which provides IT consulting services and value added resale of computer hardware and peripherals to both the government and private sectors, into a fast growing small business.

AITC, Inc. was not an overnight success, however; Mr. Ruiz spent four years as a consultant assisting telecommunications companies do business with the DOD, and concurrently engaged with CDW (an $8 billion business-to- business technology infrastructure and computer resale enterprise).

Blending his military, consulting and corporate experiences, Gabe and his wife Sandra founded AITC, Inc. in 2010; AITC, Inc. is a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business and has recently earned its 8(a) certification.

Since incorporation the company has achieved outstanding results with sales exceeding $1.5 million in the first fiscal year. Year two was a breakout year which saw sales nearly double with a net profit margin exceeding 12.5%. Sales in this current year will again double exceeding the $5 million milestone. In the three year period (2010-2012) the company has added 11 full time employees reaffirming the fact that “small business” is this country’s economic engine.

The company’s rapid growth has been accompanied with business challenges and Mr. Ruiz turned to the Small Business Development Center at UCF, in particular its Growth Acceleration Services program and its Advisory Board Council program.

In Mr. Ruiz’s words; “The SBDC at UCF has been a true and invaluable partner to AITC. From our first meeting with Growth Acceleration Services consultant Roger Greenwald who showed a true caring attitude and superb business knowledge we have received expert advice in areas such as Marketing, Business Development, Budgeting and Forecasting, Operational Effectiveness and more. Additionally, the SBDC at UCF has facilitated AITC’s participation in the SBDC’s Advisory Board Council program which has provided a team of senior business experts that provide guidance in all business areas. Today, we are a much improved, stronger and better positioned company due in great part to the outstanding support and guidance provided by the SBDC at UCF”.

The Small Business Development Center at UCF’s (SBDC at UCF) signature Growth Acceleration Services program is designed to do just that: accelerate business growth for emerging and growth businesses. In the program, professional business consultants deliver the tools, strategies and expertise businesses need to move ahead and grow.

Applying proven methodology, the SBDC’s Growth Acceleration consultants help businesses understand their market and uncover new opportunities; assess their cost structure, budgets and financial situation; uncover hidden profits; and recognize the issues necessary to create sustainable growth and access capital. Then, after producing results-driven recommendations, they work with the business to implement detailed parts of the business plan. All at no cost to the business.

In addition, Advance IT Concepts participated in the SBDC at UCF’s award-winning program, the Advisory Board Council. The Advisory Board Council aims to facilitate business growth through the use of advisory boards for established Orange County companies. The program acts as a matchmaker between established businesses and professionals who volunteer their expertise as members of a ‘custom-fit’ advisory board.  Founded in 2003, the SBDC at UCF’s Advisory Board Council is an economic development program funded by Orange County Government. Since its inception, the program has assisted 125 companies and has had more than 450 area professional volunteers.

–UCF–

With its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center (formerly the Disney Entrepreneur Center) now located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (SBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF College of Business Administration and the Florida Small Business Development Center Network, providing business seminars and no-cost, one-on-one business consultation to small business owners. The SBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains seven satellite service centers. In 2011, the SBDC at UCF helped entrepreneurs create or retain 1,517 jobs, win contract awards worth $28.9 million, acquire $17.7 million in capital formation, and increase sales by $51.9 million. The SBDC at UCF is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

 

SBDC at UCF | 3201 E. Colonial Drive | Orlando, FL 32801 | p 407.420.4850 | f 407.420.4862

sbdc@bus.ucf.edu | www.sbdcorlando.com

FSBDC, UCF, Business Consulting

Small Business Institute® Honors UCF’s College of Business Administration Students and Faculty

imageMarch 14, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Hal Thayer, Communications Director, SBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or hthayer@bus.ucf.edu

Orlando, FL – The Small Business Institute® (SBI®), the premier professional association of small business / entrepreneurship educators and researchers involved in student analysis projects, recently announced that a student team from the University of Central Florida’s College of Business Administration (UCF CBA) under the supervision of faculty and staff was a winner of its annual Project of the Year (POY) competition, taking third prize in the 2013 ‘Graduate Business Plan’ category. The UCF CBA team of graduate students Shannon Corrigan, Brett Penta and Lindsey Powers, under the guidance of the UCF CBA SBI® Program Director Dr. Lloyd Fernald and Faculty Supervisor Kathie Holland, produced a winning business plan for their client, Electronic Creations, in competition with MBA teams from across the country.

In addition, the SBI® announced that the UCF CBA’s Small Business Institute® program has been named the winner of the 2013 SBI® Showcase Award. The award is made annually to the SBI program and its Director in recognition for innovative development or management, or because their SBI® efforts contributed to a true small business client success story.

“It’s another great day for UCF’s College of Business Administration’s students and faculty,” said Dr. Paul Jarley, dean of the UCF CBA. “Even as we celebrate the College of Business Administration’s 50th Anniversary, we are looking ahead to make the changes we must so our school and our students stay relevant to our communities and our stakeholders. The SBI® program is a continuing step in that direction; it’s emphasis on experiential learning working with local businesses demonstrates not only our commitment to our community but also to preparing our MBA students with hands-on experience that will make them successful in a tough job market.”

In the SBI®’s 2013 Project of the Year competition, the UCF CBA students worked with Orlando-based Electronic Creations (EC), a company engaged in the installation of automation systems, home theatres, audio systems, appliance controls, security systems and a variety of technological improvements to homes and commercial businesses. Working closely with EC’s President Robert Levy and Vice President Robert Foust, the student team’s consulting engagement and assignment was focused on preparing a business plan for the launch of a new subsidiary aimed at serving the rapidly growing age population of individuals over 65.

Under the guidance of their UCF CBA SBI® Program Director Dr. Lloyd Fernald, Professor Emeritus at the UCF College of Business Administration, the student team oversaw and implemented extensive research and analysis to determine industry best practices; met weekly to understand company processes and procedures; and performed wide-ranging analysis of business and industry strategies and performance. As a result of their efforts, the students were able to provide a comprehensive business plan comprised of both a short- and long-term strategic analysis and set of recommendations.

“Thanks to our Small Business Institute® team from UCF, we have a much better understanding of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the subsidiary we envision,“ said Electronic Creations’ President Robert Levy. “This was a real value-added experience for us, and I am pleased that the national SBI® chose to recognize these students and the UCF CBA SBI® program for their achievement.”

The Small Business Development Center at UCF in conjunction with the UCF College of Business Administration manages the SBI® program locally. SBI® is a nation‐wide program that provides high‐quality business assistance to companies in need while providing an extraordinary opportunity for university students to learn through field case studies. Each project is led and conducted by a group of students under the supervision of an SBI® Director or Faculty member. The experience is often cited by students as being one of the most rewarding of their academic careers. In today’s collegiate environment there is a strong emphasis on experiential learning, and the SBI® has been at the forefront of this movement for over thirty years.

At the UCF College of Business Administration, SBI® is a graduate‐level elective course within. Students enrolled in the class provide management consulting services to local small businesses. Each student team has direct contact with the client and produces a professional case report. The report is the ultimate product of the program and is tailored to each business. Case study reports have included market research, marketing plans, competitive analysis, advertising strategy, customer surveys, strategic plans, financial analysis, human resource manuals and business plans.

–UCF–

With its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center (formerly the Disney Entrepreneur Center) now located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (SBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF College of Business Administration and the Florida Small Business Development Center Network, providing business seminars and no-cost, one-on-one business consultation to small business owners. The SBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains seven satellite service centers. In 2011, the SBDC at UCF helped entrepreneurs create or retain 1,517 jobs, win contract awards worth $28.9 million, acquire $17.7 million in capital formation, and increase sales by $51.9 million. The SBDC at UCF is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

SBDC at UCF | 3201 E. Colonial Drive | Orlando, FL 32801 | p 407.420.4850 | f 407.420.4862
sbdc@bus.ucf.edu | www.sbdcorlando.com

FSBDC, UCF, Business Consulting

SBDC at UCF in Palm Coast Helps Benchmark Glass and Mirror Grow

imageSmall Business Development Center at UCF

January 29, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Hal Thayer, Communications Director, SBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or hthayer@bus.ucf.edu

Orlando, FL – The decision to start a business was an easy one for Tom Bird, an experienced installer of shower glass, decorative glass, sliding doors and mirrors. Finding customers proved more challenging.

By the time Bird visited the Small Business Development Center at University of Central Florida’s office (SBDC At UCF) in Palm Coast last May, he was feeling discouraged about the future of his business, Benchmark Glass and Mirror. “Nothing seemed to be working in finding customers, so I thought it couldn’t hurt to seek another point of view,” Bird said.

“Tom was questioning his own commitment to his business and was having difficulty finding customers, and by the end of our session, Tom seemed overwhelmed by the tasks at hand,” said Joe Roy, area manager of both the SBDC at UCF and the Palm Coast Business Assistance Center (BAC), of their first meeting.

Benchmark Glass and Mirror’s problem was not one of growth, but rather one of survival. That day, Roy outlined the steps Bird needed to take. Six weeks later, Bird returned to the SBDC at UCF with more information. Benchmark Glass and Mirror was having some difficulty understanding job costing, selling strategies and value for service. It was clear Bird was offering a quality product and service, Roy said; hence, “there was a good foundation on which to build this business.”

By early July 2012, Bird returned again to the SBDC at UCF, now fully convinced his strategy of building his business by providing quality products and service at affordable pricing was the right one. Bird began to understand how his costs affected his selling price. Rather than raise prices, Bird found ways to reduce his costs while increasing his productivity – allowing him to keep his selling price very competitive.

Working with the SBDC at UCF, Bird created a sales strategy to increase his success rate of quotes provided to customers. Now better equipped to understand his costs, Bird increased his customer quote success rate from 3 per 10 quotes to 6 per 10 quotes – a 100-percent increase.

Benchmark Glass and Mirror has added one part-time position and is on track to grow sales revenues by 50 percent compared to 2011. Since meeting with the SDBC at UCF, Benchmark Glass and Mirror has developed a business plan including a marketing and sales strategy.

“I’m now better equipped to grow my business,” said Bird. “I’m far more focused on my costs and my customers than at any time in my business. I can’t believe how much working with the SBDC at UCF has changed my outlook on daily operations.”

Benchmark Glass and Mirror represents both the challenges and opportunities faced by the small business community in Palm Coast, said Roy. “Tom has turned a corner and is now growing a competitive business providing exceptional quality products and service. You can see the passion in his eyes and it’s translating into a great customer experience at very competitive pricing,” he said.

If you have a question about your business, stop by the SBDC at UCF and meet with Joe Roy. Like Benchmark Glass and Mirror, your “Journey to Business Excellence” begins at the Palm Coast BAC and the SBDC at UCF.

–UCF–

With its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center (formerly the Disney Entrepreneur Center) now located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (SBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF College of Business Administration and the Florida Small Business Development Center Network, providing business seminars and no-cost, one-on-one business consultation to small business owners. The SBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains seven satellite service centers. In 2011, the SBDC at UCF helped entrepreneurs create or retain 1,517 jobs, win contract awards worth $28.9 million, acquire $17.7 million in capital formation, and increase sales by $51.9 million. The SBDC at UCF is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

SBDC at UCF | 3201 E. Colonial Drive | Orlando, FL 32801 | p 407.420.4850 | f 407.420.4862
sbdc@bus.ucf.edu | www.sbdcorlando.com

FSBDC, UCF, Business Consulting

SBA Launches Affordable Care Act Web Page & Blog

image (1)Release Date: January 28, 2013
Release Number: 13-05 NFL
Contact Kate: Sheehy (202) 205-6920
www.sba.gov/news

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) today launched a new web page and blog dedicated to educating small business owners about the Affordable Care Act. The new tools will serve as a gateway for small business owners connecting them with information provided by SBA’s federal partners responsible for implementing the law, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“The Affordable Care Act provides small business owners with access and opportunity to provide affordable health care options for their employees,” said SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills. “SBA’s new Affordable  Care Act web page and blog will serve as a resource for small business owners who want learn more about how to take advantage of these benefits.”

The Affordable Care Act has many beneficial measures specifically for small businesses, including slowing premium cost growth and increased access to quality, affordable health insurance. SBA’s new web page,www.sba.gov/healthcare, breaks down the key provisions of the Act based on business size in the following categories: self-employed, fewer than 25 employees, fewer than 50 employees and more than 50 employees.

The web page also provides links to other useful information for small businesses, including a glossary of key health care reform terms, an interactive timeline with dates for when certain reforms will be implemented, a state-by-state breakdown of health care options, and how to learn more about specific tax provisions and regulations. Additional resources will be added as they become available.

The blog, entitled Health Care Business Pulse (www.sba.gov/blog), will provide small business owners with continuous updates about the implementation of the Act. The blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal or tax advice. Readers should consult their legal or tax professionals to discuss how specific matters relate to their individual business circumstances.

FSBDC, UCF, Business Consulting

SBDC at UCF Helps Position Olde Hearth Bread Company for Continued Growth

imageSBDC’s Growth Acceleration Services’ Analysis Makes a Difference

Small Business Development Center at UCF

January 24, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Hal Thayer, Communications Director, SBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or hthayer@bus.ucf.edu

Orlando, FL – Central Florida has among the country’s most delicious, all-natural artisan bread and pastries thanks to The Olde Hearth Bread Company and its owner and hands-on manager, Shannon Talty. Like many entrepreneurs, Talty had started his business on the strength of his passion and talents, and as a result the business has enjoyed success. Even as the business thrived, however, Shannon Talty asked himself if there was more that he could be doing to grow his business. To help him answer that important question, he turned to the Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (SBDC at UCF) and it’s Growth Acceleration Services for assistance.

As a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America with experience at some of the finest bakeries in the country, Shannon Talty decided to bring high-quality artisan bread and pastries to Central Florida and opened Olde Hearth Bread Company in 1998.  As a result of Talty’s unwavering commitment to providing the highest quality, natural ingredients and old-world, hand-made processes, Olde Hearth Bread Company has come to provide its fresh-baked artisan breads and pastries to Central Florida’s finest hotels, restaurants and caterers. With further growth opportunities available for Olde Hearth Bread Company, Talty began working with the SBDC at UCF’s Growth Acceleration Consultant, Jill McLaughlin, to help devise plans to accelerate future growth.

The Growth Acceleration Services offered by the SBDC at UCF are designed to provide in-depth professional business consulting, at no cost, to qualified emerging and growth businesses in Florida by delivering the tools, strategies and expertise businesses need to accelerate the growth and success of their business. Talty recognized the value of the service right away, saying, “The Growth Acceleration service is exactly what a young entrepreneur like me needed. I had the dream and the skills to produce the products I wanted. What I was lacking was someone who could objectively look at my business and offer constructive advice and show me what I am missing. The program has shined light in areas that needed to be looked at and considered today, not tomorrow.”

The Growth Acceleration consultant provided an in-depth financial analysis of the business and identified key performance indicators to monitor performance, as well as identified strategies for new business development. According to Talty, “Before I began working with Growth Acceleration, my typical accounting procedures were to print out a P&L for the month and look at what jumped out at me compared to the previous month. The SBDC’s Jill McLaughlin used our financial results and her knowledge base to produce a report with financial ratio analysis that was interesting and eye opening. I had heard of a lot of these ratios but was unfamiliar with what they really meant. For her to explain their significance and tie them back to your particular industry shows you where you are doing well and where you are underperforming.”

Growth Acceleration Consultant McLaughlin recommended strategies and tactics to optimize cash flows and achieve financial goals. “Other than an opening budget, we have not been working off written goals. We have been more reactive than planning oriented. This is not the way to sustain success.  For 2013, the SBDC’s Growth Acceleration Services are helping us to produce a budget and identify accountability for our growth and success.”
With record sales in 2012, Olde Hearth Bread Company is well positioned for further growth. They will continue to work with the SBDC’s Growth Acceleration Services to implement their growth strategies.  Talty said, “One of the other great things about this program is they don’t just hand you a laundry list and say ‘good luck.’ They are here to help you achieve your goals.  I highly recommend all growing businesses reach out to the SBDC at UCF and the people who make up the Growth Acceleration program. When you see what they can do and realize there is no out of pocket cost, it seems almost too good to be true.”

The Florida SBDC’s no-cost Growth Acceleration services are available to companies throughout the state. To qualify for the services, the company must have growth as a goal, be in operation for at least three years, have annual revenues ranging from $500,000 to $10 million, and employ five or more workers. Florida SBDC Growth Acceleration consultants are available statewide to provide assistance to qualified emerging and growth business who are looking to advance. Specifically, the SBDC at UCF Growth Acceleration services consultants will provide high level consulting of 50 – 100 hours (fair market value of over $10,000) to help qualified SMEs develop sustainable growth strategies.

For more information about the SBDC’s Growth Acceleration services, contact SBDC at UCF Regional Director Eunice Choi at 407-420-4850 or echoi@bus.ucf.edu.

–UCF–

With its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center (formerly the Disney Entrepreneur Center) now located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (SBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF College of Business Administration and the Florida Small Business Development Center Network, providing business seminars and no-cost, one-on-one business consultation to small business owners. The SBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains seven satellite service centers. In 2011, the SBDC at UCF helped entrepreneurs create or retain 1,517 jobs, win contract awards worth $28.9 million, acquire $17.7 million in capital formation, and increase sales by $51.9 million. The SBDC at UCF is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

SBDC at UCF | 3201 E. Colonial Drive | Orlando, FL 32801 | p 407.420.4850 | f 407.420.4862
sbdc@bus.ucf.edu | www.sbdcorlando.com

FSBDC, UCF, Business Consulting

SBDC at UCF Regional Director Eunice Choi Recognized for Attracting $2.2 Million in FY12 Funding

imageDecember 10, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Hal Thayer, Communications Director, SBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or hthayer@bus.ucf.edu

Orlando, FL – Eunice Choi, Regional Director at the Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (SBDC at UCF), was recognized recently by UCF President John C. Hitt as one of UCF’s highest-funded contract and grant recipients at UCF who raised in excess of $1 million dollars in external Fiscal Year 2012 funding for the university and, in Ms. Choi’s case, its College of Business Administration, the sponsoring institution for the Small Business Development Center at UCF.

Each year, UCF’s Office of Research & Commercialization produces a tally of the funding received from external sources to highlight the magnitude of UCF’s efforts at attracting funds to support and expand services to help the state and the region’s economy. Entitled “The Millionaires Club” with tongue firmly in-cheek, it has recognized the university’s highest funded research and grant recipients since 2000. For Fiscal Year 2012, the university raised over $128.9 million to support its research and commercialization efforts, with 58 percent coming from the members of The Millionaires Club.

Thirty-five members of the university community were identified as research “millionaires’” for raising $1 million or more in funding for the fiscal year. Of that group, SBDC Regional Director Choi raised over $2.2 million, a 37.5 percent increase from FY2011, and making her 12th on the list of “millionaires.”

“Given the important mission of the SBDC at UCF to help businesses start, grow and succeed, attracting external funding is critically important to maintaining its momentum assisting small businesses in our region,” noted Dr. Paul Jarley, Dean of the UCF College of Business Administration. “Thanks to the diligence and hard work of Eunice Choi and her team at the SBDC in obtaining financial support,  UCF and the College of Business Administration can further their commitment to the economic well-being of the communities that surround them through the work of the Small Business Development Center at UCF and their valuable assistance to our small business clients.”

–UCF–

With its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center (formerly the Disney Entrepreneur Center) now located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (SBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF College of Business Administration and the Florida Small Business Development Center Network, providing business seminars and no-cost, one-on-one business consultation to small business owners. The SBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains seven satellite service centers. In 2011, the SBDC at UCF helped entrepreneurs create or retain 1,517 jobs, win contract awards worth $28.9 million, acquire $17.7 million in capital formation, and increase sales by $51.9 million. The SBDC at UCF is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

SBDC at UCF | 3201 E. Colonial Drive | Orlando, FL 32801 | p 407.420.4850 | f 407.420.4862

FSBDC, UCF, Business Consulting

SBDC at UCF Helps Solutions 1 Transport LLC Position Itself for Growth

imageSmall Business Development Center at UCF

November 16, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Hal Thayer, Communications Director, SBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or hthayer@bus.ucf.edu

Orlando, FL – The Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (SBDC at UCF) has partnered with Solutions 1 Transport LLC, an Orlando company, to help the company’s management obtain the information and know-how it needed to lead the company to a new level of sales and revenue expansion.

Solutions 1 Transport LLC specializes in transporting temperature sensitive products throughout the United States.   They move produce, meats, dairy products and other refrigerated products for some of the nation’s largest food growers, processors and sellers. The company operates by using a combination of company-owned vehicles as well as utilizing owner operators.
Timothy and Aseania Jones, both United States Army veterans, started the business 7 years ago as owner operator with a single truck.  They had a vision of hundreds of trucks with the “Solutions 1 Transport” logo on every major highway. Although the dream has been modified, their hard work and dedication has not.

Timothy Jones wanted to accelerate the growth of his company, but was not certain how best to make that happen. He contacted SBDC at UCF consultant Pauline Davis at the recommendation of his banker.  Although Mr. Jones had worked hard and built the business from the ground up, there were some skills he needed to develop to take the business to the next level. In addition, the economy was changing and so was the overall trucking industry.

Pauline Davis worked with Mr. Jones on in-depth financial analysis, cash flow projections, and budgeting.  She also recommended, and the company utilized, several services of the SBDC such as the Advisory Board Council, Small Business Institute® (SBI®), marketing consulting and website analysis.

Utilizing his excellent business acumen and the SBDC’s recommendations, Timothy and his wife Aseania developed a new approach to their business and are now seeing their expanded business strategy finally paying off.  They are now better prepared to take the business to heights not previously thought of.   According to Mr. Jones, “I have come to see and fully appreciate the value of my business. I no longer make decision without careful cash flow analysis, and fully embrace the phrase ‘cash is king’.”  He is very optimistic about the future of his business and believes he will exceed his 2012 sales projections.  “I am so happy I sought assistance from the SBDC. I truly appreciate their helping me put my business in a position to grow faster,” he concluded.

In addition to taking advantage of the SBDC at UCF’s no-cost professional consulting by certified business analysts, Solutions 1 Transport participated in the SBDC at UCF’s award-winning program, the Advisory Board Council. The Advisory Board Council aims to facilitate business growth through the use of advisory boards for established Orange County companies. The program acts as a matchmaker between established businesses and professionals who volunteer their expertise as members of a ‘custom-fit’ advisory board.  Founded in 2003, the SBDC at UCF’s Advisory Board Council is an economic development program funded by Orange County Government. Since its inception, the program has assisted 125 companies and has had more than 450 area professional volunteers.

Solutions 1 Transport also benefited from involvement in Small Business Institute®, a program offered locally by the SBDC at UCF in conjunction with the UCF College of Business Administration. SBI® is a nation‐wide program that provides high‐quality business assistance to companies in need while providing an extraordinary opportunity for university students to learn through field case studies. SBI® is a graduate‐level elective course within the UCF College of Business Administration. Students enrolled in the class provide management consulting services to local small businesses. Each student team has direct contact with the client and produces a professional case report. The report is the ultimate product of the program and is tailored to each business. Case study reports have included market research, marketing plans, competitive analysis, advertising strategy, customer surveys, strategic plans, financial analysis, human resource manuals and business plans.

–UCF–

With its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center (formerly the Disney Entrepreneur Center) now located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (SBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF College of Business Administration and the Florida Small Business Development Center Network, providing business seminars and no-cost, one-on-one business consultation to small business owners. The SBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains seven satellite service centers. In 2011, the SBDC at UCF helped entrepreneurs create or retain 1,517 jobs, win contract awards worth $28.9 million, acquire $17.7 million in capital formation, and increase sales by $51.9 million. The SBDC at UCF is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

SBDC at UCF | 3201 E. Colonial Drive | Orlando, FL 32801 | p 407.420.4850 | f 407.420.4862

sbdc@bus.ucf.edu | www.sbdcorlando.com

FSBDC, UCF, Business Consulting

SBDC at UCF Assists Certified Slings & Supply, Inc. Pursue New Export Markets

Export Marketing Plan Identifies Foreign Opportunities, Recommends Action Plans and Connects With In-Market Support

image

November 8, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Hal Thayer, Communications Director, SBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or hthayer@bus.ucf.edu

Orlando, FL – The Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (SBDC at UCF), through the new Export Marketing Plan Services, has provided Certified Slings & Supply, Inc., a Florida-based company headquartered in Casselberry, FL, with a plan for growing its business in foreign markets. With more than 70 percent of the world’s purchasing power outside of the United States, if a U.S. business is only selling domestically, it is reaching just a small share of potential customers.

Certified Slings & Supply has a strong tradition of innovation and service led by the Worswick family since 1978.  The company’s current leadership is made up of dedicated second and third generation family members with a combined 67 years of experience in the rigging, overhead lifting, load securement, and contractor supplies industry.  Certified Slings & Supply employs 110 full-time team members and operates independent Rigging and Contractor Supply service centers located throughout Florida:  Orlando, West Palm Beach, Miami, Tampa, Ft. Myers, and Ocala. The core business of service centers is the distribution, sale and manufacture of a variety of marine, mining, industrial and general contractor supplies.

Juan Jose Lopez, the International Sales Director for Certified Slings & Supply approached the SBDC at UCF with a goal of growing the company by increasing export sales. He had previously attended the SBDC’s Export 101: An Introduction to Exporting workshop in 2011. More recently, he had heard about Export Marketing Plan Services, a new program awarded through the State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) grant by the U.S. Small Business Administration.  It is offered in partnership with Enterprise Florida, Inc., and the U.S. Commercial Service to assist new-to-export manufacturers in developing their international growth strategy.

SBDC at UCF’s International Trade Specialist Nerine Elattar met with Mr. Lopez and Certified Slings’ upper management in order to gather information and understand the company’s short- and long-term international trade goals.  A customized export marketing plan was crafted for the company that included industry and customer analyses along with recommended target markets, overseas trade opportunities and an action plan.  The cost for preparation of an Export Marketing Plan is $3,000.  Qualifying companies are eligible for a $2,500 scholarship, making the cost to the company $500.

In addition to the plan, the company received an Enterprise Florida Gold Key grant to connect the company with potential buyers overseas.  Certified Slings & Supply will continue expanding in Central and South America and the Caribbean, and recently traveled to Trinidad and Tobago with the Export Sales Mission.  As a result of this, the company expects an increase of $120,000 in export sales over the next 24 months.  The SBDC at UCF will continue to work closely with Certified Slings to assist in implementing the recommendations from the plan.

“If your company is thinking about exporting products or services abroad, the first thing you should do is meet with a member of the SBDC,” commented Mr. Lopez.  “No matter how large or small your company is, an SBDC International Trade Specialist will be able to lay out a customized export marketing program personally designed for your company.  It will be filled with data, statistics and facts targeting any region your company wishes to do business with.  This is the best investment any company could make if looking for help with an international marketing program.”

–UCF–

With its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center (formerly the Disney Entrepreneur Center) now located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (SBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF College of Business Administration and the Florida Small Business Development Center Network, providing business seminars and no-cost, one-on-one business consultation to small business owners. The SBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains seven satellite service centers. In 2011, the SBDC at UCF helped entrepreneurs create or retain 1,517 jobs, win contract awards worth $28.9 million, acquire $17.7 million in capital formation, and increase sales by $51.9 million. The SBDC at UCF is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

SBDC at UCF | 3201 E. Colonial Drive | Orlando, FL 32801 | p 407.420.4850 | f 407.420.4862

sbdc@bus.ucf.edu | www.sbdcorlando.com