RTW Photography

RTW Photography

Three friends came together, each with different backgrounds, to start RTW Photography. One was an engineer, another a CPA, the third an educator. None had owned a business before, but they had goals and aspirations to become entrepreneurs and photography was their calling.

The company enjoyed early success but the partners – Derrious Robinson, Founder & Director of Business Operations; Lavell Monger, Director of Marketing & Communications; and Walter Tre Idlette, Director of Finances – wanted more, and sought ways to grow and expand. It was then that they turned to the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) and its affiliate, the Florida Procurement Technical Assistance Center at UCF (FPTAC at UCF), for guidance.

RTW Photography is a full-service photography and videography company serving individual, commercial, and government clients. “What separates us from our competitors is that we offer so many services within the camera photography world,” says Monger. “Videography, photography, photo booth, live screens – we capture anything and everything that can be captured in front of a camera, and we do it with style and professionalism.” There are many satisfied customers who will testify to their high-quality work.

Seeing opportunities to grow is one thing, knowing how to implement is another. For that reason, the team at RTW approached the FSBDC for its no-cost, expert consulting, business training, and access to market research. In addition, they called upon FPTAC to assist with obtaining government contracts.

“The main reason we reached out to the FSBDC was for guidance and mentorship,” recalls Monger. “In fact, the FSBDC has been instrumental in helping us grow our business,” adds Idlette. “They have helped us with organizing our finances, pursuing government contracts as well as marketing our company.” Further, says Robinson, “we realized that, in order to be really successful, we needed to figure out a long-term plan for how we could grow our business. Working with the FSBDC has been a real partnership doing that. They have been there guiding us on how to chase government contracts, grow our commercial client base, redesign our website, budget and forecast our finances. We’re very grateful to the FSBDC for that assistance,” he concludes.

With the assistance of the FSBDC and FPATC, RTW has achieved significant results. “We’re blessed. Our business is growing,” says Idlette. “With the Pandemic, we had a slow start but the FSBDC and team really helped us focus and prioritize on what to do next.” With the assistance of Kara Vernon, PTAC Specialist, RTW bid on and won a 10-year contract for school photography with Hillsborough County Public Schools and is positioned to bid on other government contracts. Thanks to assistance from an FSBDC Business Recovery Team of five consultants led by Pauline Davis, an Assistant Director and consultant herself, the company pivoted to focus on commercial and corporate clients and was able to grow revenues by 40% in 2020.

“It’s been a great partnership with the FSBDC,” founder Robinson said in closing. “We look forward to continuing to work with them as the years go by.”

For more information about RTW Photography, please visit https://ridethewave.co/.

Karina Lakefront Maintenance

Karina Lakefront Maintenance

Finding assistance, especially the right kind of assistance, can sometimes become challenging for a small business owner. There are numerous organizations offering help and resources, but some can be more effective than others. Ana Gabriela Roosen, co-owner and the business development leader at Karina Lake Front Maintenance and Renovation, was looking for help with growing her business and called on the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) for guidance.

Karina Lakefront Maintenance and Renovation manages aquatic environments. This includes conducting lakefront restorations, ongoing maintenance, and providing aqua scaping and erosion control services for residential, commercial, and government clients. Karina Lakefront also happens to be one of the very few companies doing this type of business while certified as an Economically Disadvantaged Woman Owned Small Business (ED/WOSB).

“What differentiates Karina Lakefront is our artisanal approach,” says Roosen. “We do our work by hand, promote native plantings, and use the least amount of chemicals and machinery as possible so as not to harm a lake’s ecology. We do all we can to improve the shoreline, the quality of the water and the overall environment.”

“We’re good at everything we do out in the field,” Roosen continued. “But when it comes to the marketing, the online world and social media and entering new markets, we needed some help and that’s why we came to the FSBDC. Before I found the FSBDC, I felt like I was reaching for help at places where I wasn’t getting results and I felt kind of lonely and alone. It’s hard to be an owner of a company without having that upper management guidance I was used to. After I had the FSBDC, it was like I had a guardian angel on my shoulder. Everything I needed; they were always there for me.”

Taking advantage of the FSBDC’s no-cost, expert consulting, as well as working with its government contracting affiliate, the Florida Procurement Technical Assistance Center at UCF (Florida PTAC at UCF), Roosen was able to find the support she was seeking. “Since the first meeting with my FSBDC consultant Jairo Batista, he’s been in communications with me. And he opened doors for me to many SBDC services: digital marketing counseling; SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tutoring; government contracting guidance and help with my capabilities statement for bidding; and support obtaining several Covid-19 disaster relief loans are some examples. You go there and ask them anything and they will have someone who can help you.”

Roosen and her company have enjoyed strong business results since she began working with the FSBDC. “We have seen financial increases of 15% due to how we are managing our social media based on suggestions from the FSBDC. We learned how to bid for government work and won a 3-year, $100,000 contract. And we were able to access those disaster relief loans,” says Roosen.

“If I had to use one word to describe the FSBDC, it would be ‘relief’ because that’s what they give small business owners: peace of mind and make them feel comfortable through the journey of owning a business,” concluded Roosen.

For more information about Karina Lakefront Maintenance & Restoration, please visit https://www.karinalakefront.com/.

Shelley Powell, Owner of Covenant Cleaning Services

Covenant Cleaning Services

Maintaining a growth path can present challenges for a small business in any economy, but even more so during a pandemic. Fortunately, there are resources and support available to help business owners navigate potential obstacles and capitalize on possible opportunities. Over several years, and especially during 2020, Shelley Powell, the founder and President of Covenant Cleaning Services, called upon the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) for its no-cost consulting services, business training, and market research support. And it has paid off handsomely for her and her company.

Covenant Cleaning Services – “Where Service is our Pledge” – has been providing honest and dependable residential and commercial cleaning services in the Orlando area since 1999. As its name implies, Powell believes her company makes a promise to her clients: to provide high quality people; top end equipment and supplies; and exceptional service. “We pride ourselves in our clients’ satisfaction,” she says. “Taking care of them and any issue that might arise is where we shine.”

Early on in her venture, Powell quickly recognized that caring for customers is one thing, but running a business is all together another. She notes, “when I first started my company, I realized there was so much more about business that I didn’t know, even though I had a background in bookkeeping and accounting. That’s when I turned to the Florida SBDC at UCF.”

“I have utilized a lot of what the FSBDC has to offer,” Powell recalls. “From initially taking classes, to receiving assistance writing a business plan and then getting help with filing for an SBA loan to purchase the property my business is in, I have gained a tremendous amount through the SBDC. For instance, for my loan, my FSBDC consultant Pauline Davis took my financial data and turned it into something of value that helped me get my loan.”

In addition to benefiting from the FSBDC’s consulting, training, and market research support, Powell has been participating in its Business Recovery Team (BRT) service. Intended to assist with revival after the unexpected disruptions of COVID-19 and to build sustainability thereafter, the program is designed to help companies develop and implement customized business strategies, realign their business models and adapt to a new environment. In the case of Covenant Cleaning Services, a team of six (6) SBDC consultants led by consultant Sharon Smith collaborated with Powell to build a new, 3-year strategic business plan, create a business resiliency plan, conduct new market research, produce a new marketing plan, and develop a 2021 financial forecast and budget.

“Since I began working with the FSBDC, I have had amazing, positive changes in my business,” Powell says today. “Everything from an increase in sales – as high as 45% in one year, to going from 23 employees to 38 today, as well as rebalancing our client base to 60% commercial/40% residential, and at the same time increasing our profitability.” All of those wonderful things have happened as a result of Covenant Cleaning Services working with the FSBDC.”

“If I had to use one word to describe the FSBDC, it would be “success”, concludes Powell. “Because that’s what the FSBDC has brought me: success.”

For more information about Covenant Cleaning Services, please visit https://www.covenantcleaningorlando.com/.

Qwalifize Staffing & Consulting

Qwalifize Staffing & Consulting

Turning a vision into a growing business able to win a multi-million-dollar government contract may sound like a daunting impossibility, but it is not. Lizbeth Walker, CEO and owner of Qwalifize, LLC has proven it and credits the Florida Procurement Technical Assistance Center at the University of Central Florida (Florida PTAC at UCF) with assisting her in making the impossible possible.

Doing business as Qwalifize Staffing and Consulting, the firm connects high-caliber companies with exceptional professionals. The business focuses on technology, human resources, and administrative roles that help shape organizations. With more than 20 years of extensive experience in recruitment, operations, and human resources, Qwalifize serves a client portfolio of Fortune 500 company employers in the Health Tech, Microelectronics, Aerospace, Defense, and Attractions industries. It can now add providing staffing solutions to government institutions and creating strategic partnerships to its “company resume” as well.

“Our mission is to prepare, attract and place professionals into jobs that are meaningful to them while problem solving the workforce issues challenging our employer clients,” says Walker. “What’s important is that we have integrity, transparency and reliability and we’re here for our clients, no matter what the problem.”

When she started her business, Walker had a vision and a plan in mind to achieve it. “I knew where my vision and plan could take me but I needed real world guidance about how to get there,” Walker continued. “That’s why I sought assistance from the Florida Small Business Development Center at UCF (FSBDC at UCF) and later from its affiliate, the Florida PTAC at UCF.”

“The FSBDC helped me create a stellar business plan and to think like a business owner, not just an employee. They set me up for success,” recalls Walker. “There’s so much I learned, especially about financial management, targeting clients, expressing what we do and our value proposition. They taught me what it takes to run a business.”

“And Kara Vernon, our PTAC Specialist, has been instrumental in providing me with focus areas, tools and templates that brought my government marketing strategy to life. And that helped us win a huge, 5-year transportation contract. I know without her help and all of her attention, that contract might not have been a possibility for us,” Walker added.

“We have achieved so many positive results with the FSBDC and PTAC. When Covid hit, we saw our commercial business slow down, so I opened my mind to government contracting. I relied on Kara and PTAC and, on our very first response to an RFP, we were able to win that 5-year, multi-million-dollar government contract with a major transportation agency here in Florida. It has been a game changer for us,” says Walker.

“If I had to use one word to describe the FSBDC and PTAC, it would be ‘winning’” concluded Walker. “Whenever I work with them, I know their goal is to set up Qwalifize Staffing & Consulting for success and for us to win.

To learn more about Qwalifize Staffing & Consulting, please visit qwalifize.com.

Knight Federal Solutions Logo

Knight Federal Solutions

   

External expertise and alternative perspectives are invaluable resources when you are growing a small business, but they are not always readily available or easy to find. Chris Baeten, CEO and owner of Knight Federal Solutions – and an Orlando Business Journal 2019 CEO of the Year – had the wisdom and foresight to go looking for them, and he found them in the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida’s (FSBDC at UCF) Advisory Board Council Program (ABC).

Knight Federal Solutions leverages its core competencies – simulation & training, cybersecurity, and intelligence analysis – as a trusted provider to industry leading prime contractors and Department of Defense and Intelligence Community customers, having established strong standards and practices to ensure execution and mission delivery. Their motto says it all: “Armored in Excellence. Driven by Results.”

“We take that commitment very seriously,” says Baeten. “If we have not done so already, we aim to hire the highest level of subject matter expertise in our core competencies. Most importantly, we are driven by our results, and delivering for our customers.”

Baeten’s pursuit of excellence was a motivator in approaching the FSBDC and ultimately participating in the Advisory Board Council Program. FSBDC’s Advisory Board Council provides no-cost, customized boards of volunteer experts selected to address the specific needs of the FSBDC client by providing advice and counsel to help the business grow.  “I didn’t have a strong enough accountability mechanism,” recalls Baeten, “so, I turned to Jill Kaufman, the FSBDC’s ABC program director, and decided an advisory board would be beneficial for my organization.”

“The Advisory Board that the FSBDC provided me had six individuals who had very different backgrounds across multiple specialties, including expertise in marketing, finance, and the law. I also had people from my industry who had experience helping small businesses grow. They were able to provide support in areas we weren’t focused on.”

Working with this team of volunteer advisors, Knight Federal strengthened its capital position and worked to bring its back office in line to be compliant for DoD contracts. They addressed legal issues that a small business might not ordinarily consider. Additionally, according to Baeten, “Most importantly, we were able to put together a marketing and public relations plan that gained us exposure locally and nationwide that has really paid dividends for us. We have been recognized with numerous awards, including being named to the Inc. 5000 (ranked #261 in Florida) and as one of Central Florida’s Top 25 Modeling, Simulation & Training Companies by the Orlando Business Journal – both for two consecutive years.

“With the plans we put in place, including the marketing, business development and building our pipeline, since we first started with the FSBDC, we’ve grown our business by almost 56% over the past three years,” remarked Baeten. “I think if anyone is given the opportunity to work with the FSBDC and have an Advisory Board Council, they should look at it as a blessing and a privilege. I didn’t quite understand until I got in the middle of it just how beneficial it could be.”

For more information about Knight Federal Solutions, please visit https://knightfederal.com/

Genesis Water Technologies

Genesis Water Technologies

International expansion can be a tall order for a small-to-medium sized enterprise. Understanding the basics of world trade; assessing your company’s readiness for exporting; conducting market research to identify market opportunities; and producing a viable and effective action plan for implementation are just a few of the crucial steps that are necessary to be successful.

Nick Nicholas, Technical Director and owner of Genesis Water Technologies, Inc. (GWT), recognized that his company would require additional resources and expertise to expand his business into new global markets. For that reason, he turned to the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) and its International Trade Services.

Genesis Water Technologies is an award-winning leader in specialized drinking water & wastewater treatment and reuse solutions, targeting various industries and water utilities across the world. Nearly 15 years ago, GWT began to tackle the issues of water scarcity and inadequate water treatment with innovative and sustainable water & wastewater treatment solutions and services tailored to serving communities and industrial clients.

Members of the FSBDC’s International Trade Services Team, including program manager Jill McLaughlin and international trade specialist Nerine Elattar, delivered Nicholas with one-on-one consulting services and other assistance including the development of a customized Export Marketing Plan for GWT.  Provided in partnership with Enterprise Florida and the U.S. Commercial Service, the Export Marketing Plan (EMP) focused on overseas growth strategies and supplied a roadmap for the company’s international expansion, including accessing trade mission services from the U.S. Export Assistance Center and trade promotion support from the State of Florida.

Beginning in 2013, GWT began implementing this comprehensive and action-oriented Export Marketing Plan. The company soon achieved its desired results, so much so that Nicholas asked for and received updated customized market research in 2019. “Since starting with the FSBDC we have been able to see some definite growth,” says Nick Nicholas. “The creation of a solid Export Marketing Plan enabled us to expand from the few countries that we had worked with before the FSBDC to today when we are able to sell our products, services and systems in over 43 different countries.” In fact, on the strength of this success, Nick Nicholas was recognized as the Small Business Administration’s national 2020 Exporter of the Year.

In addition to the FSBDC’s International Trade Services and the EMP, Nicholas and GWT have and continue to take advantage of other FSBDC programs and affiliates. Beginning in 2012, the Florida Procurement Technical Assistance Center at UCF provided the company with various federal agency contacts and bid opportunities, resulting in contracts with the Navy and Air Force. In 2019, GWT began benefitting from the FSBDC’s Advisory Board Council program, which provides a custom-fit advisory board comprised of volunteer independent business professionals to help accelerate GWT’s business growth.

“The FSBDC is a resource that is capable of serving businesses by supporting both export marketing as well as providing other services,“ Nicholas concluded. “The staff is excellent and the resources you can obtain for a reasonable or no cost are the best in our book.”

For more information about Genesis Water Technologies, please visit https://genesiswatertech.com/

Memorable Times Logo

MemorableTimes

Making the transition from a corporate career to entrepreneurship and small business ownership is a significant life change, and one that is made even more complex if this shift includes a move to a new and unfamiliar community. But that is the challenge that Shari Vick took on in 2016 when she came to Central Florida and opened her travel service company, MemorableTimes LLC. Wisely, she soon turned to the Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) and its Kissimmee/Osceola County satellite Office for assistance.

As the name suggests, MemorableTimes LLC is in the business of helping sophisticated travelers choose, plan, and book memorable travel experiences. Shari Vick creates individually conceived and specially customized travel adventures for discerning clients. These can include river cruises, solo and group trips, romance travel, bike tours, and wine country sojourns among many other possible journeys to exciting destinations.

When Vick first started her business, she had a clear vision of the top-end, best-in-class travel experiences she sought to create for upscale, travel-savvy clients. These were never going to be those “everyday travel packages you can pull off the internet,” she says. But to achieve her goal, she realized that she would need additional help and so she connected with the FSBDC at UCF.

“Working with my consultant, Rafael Pratts, has made all the difference for me,” Vick states today. “He has guided me, supported me, held my hand, and introduced me to the different services and systems that the FSBDC has to offer. I benefited from their no-cost, one-on-one consulting; business seminars on budgeting, marketing, banking; and did an evaluation of my website that made me more competitive with my local and national competitors.”

“My experience with the FSBDC has been wonderful,” continued Vick. “It has been very helpful, especially because I was new to the area, with introducing me to the small business community. It has helped me develop professionally and to make better decisions. I now know my numbers, can make projections, and track my results. I am a better communicator with clients and vendors, which has helped save bookings and turn COVID-19-related cancellations into travel postponements.”

“With the help of the FSBDC, I have learned a great deal about being an entrepreneur and a successful business owner,” Vick went on. “And I have seen significant growth in my business since I started with Rafael and the FSBDC because I have learned how to manage my business better. In 2019, I saw an increase of more than 20% in my revenues. And I was on track for a better year in 2020 until COVID-19 struck. Even then, because of what I’ve learned, I was able to figure out how to survive.”

“If a business owner or an entrepreneur came to me to ask about working with the FSBDC, I’d say ‘Do it.’ Take advantage of all they have to offer. The services are available without any fees. Why wouldn’t you do it?” Vick concluded. “It has been great for me. I see no reason not to get on board with them. There’s no downside, only upside.”

For more information about MemorableTimes LLC, please visit https://www.memorabletimesllc.com/ .

Florida SBDC at UCF

Freeway International Logistics

“Big business starts small” is an aphorism taken to heart by many when launching a new venture. As aspiring entrepreneurs grapple with the challenges and risks of starting a new business, starting strong with as much information and support as possible is always a critical best practice.

That is why, in 2018, Erik Sharpee first connected with the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) for assistance with opening his new business, Freeway International Logistics LLC, a third-party transportation logistics provider that helps move products around the country and around the globe.

Sharpee is not a novice in the third-party logistics arena; he had been doing it for 25 years while working for world-class companies. He learned that there is only one thing that’s important in the world of transportation logistics: everything. Because the industry is dependent on both shippers and carriers, Sharpee knew there was opportunity in building a business focused on being fair to both and “trying to do the right thing,” as he likes to say, in all aspects of a transaction.

“What are the steps to starting a business?” he asked himself. That is when he turned to the FSBDC at UCF and its consultant Chuck Wheeler. “I’ve been doing this business my whole life,” Sharpee recalls. “But I didn’t have any experience getting into business, any knowledge about the state requirements, the taxes and fees, the right steps to take. It all seemed overwhelming. So, I got in with the FSBDC and Chuck was super helpful.”

Taking advantage of the FSBDC’s no-cost, expert consulting services, business training, and seminars, Sharpee moved ahead with launching his venture. “It turns out it’s not as scary if you know what you’re doing,” he continued. “Sometimes the best thing you can do, if you’re not sure about what you’re doing, is to find someone who does. And Chuck was that man for us.”

“I would absolutely advise an entrepreneur or small business owner to go to the FSBDC,” Sharpee says now. “The truth is: you don’t know what you don’t know. The FSBDC has been a valuable resource in answering all our questions and helping us understand the pitfalls of our starting a business.”

“I don’t think we’re inventing anything unique at our company. But what we do have is a group of good people who care about what they do, who have relationships with our customers, and we share a commitment to always try to do the right thing,” Sharpee says.

And doing the “right thing” seems to be working for Freeway International Logistics. They have grown from two employees and $25,000 in monthly revenues at the start to 19 employees and $13 million in annual revenue today.

“If I had to use one word to describe the FSBDC and what it does for you, it would be ‘empowering’ because they empowered me to have the belief that I could start something and get it on the right path while having someone to turn to if I had questions,” concluded Sharpee. “Going from $25,000 to $13 million in 2 years is pretty good.”

For more information about Freeway International Logistics, please visit https://www.freewaylogs.com/ .

AceApplications

As almost every entrepreneur or small business owner will tell you, building a growing business takes focus and accountability. They will also tell you that they are sometimes inundated with new challenges that pull them away from addressing the key issues that contribute to long term success. It was when Courtney Powell, President and founder of AceApplications, LLC felt caught in that snare that he turned to the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) for assistance.

AceApplications is a technology solutions provider for businesses, schools, and government agencies delivering custom software and web development, cloud applications, business consulting and technology solutions. What makes Powell and his team at AceApplications unique is their core background as engineers who are able to design and build customized IT solutions tailored to their clients’ needs. “Our motto – ‘Technology Solutions for Business Success’ – is our mission for our clients,” states Powell.

As strong as Powell’s commitment is to client success, so too is his desire to build a successful long-term enterprise. To achieve this, however, he felt he needed help. “Early on I recognized that, to grow my business to the level I wanted, I couldn’t do it alone,” he recalls today.

“I’m an engineer. I don’t come from a family of entrepreneurs. Almost everything I’ve done I had to learn on the job or do it solo,” Powell continued. “So I sought assistance from the FSBDC. I tapped into their folks and many services. They helped with all the areas that are important to growing a business: marketing, accounting, operations management, and sales.”

FSBDC services and programs that benefited AceApplications included its no-cost, expert consulting; business training; specialty programs for growing second stage companies like the Advisory Board Council and Small Business Institute®; and the FSBDC’s government contracting affiliate, the Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC.)

“My experience with the FSBDC has been great. It’s been wonderful,” says Powell now. “Like a lot of entrepreneurs, I had a bad habit of working ‘in’ the business, and not ‘on’ the business.  They showed me how to step back from the day-to-day and think about the long term. The FSBDC, and especially my consultant Pauline Davis, helped me to ‘keep it real’ and look at the business from a practical standpoint such as managing cash flow, price setting, measuring profitability, walking away when the margins weren’t there.”

“I would highly recommend working with the FSBDC to any entrepreneur or small business owner. A new level of focus and accountability is one of the things that came out my work with the FSBDC, and it’s made a big difference in my business. We’ve increased in size; added employees; and won some new, long-term government contracts. And we are on the cusp of exciting new opportunities in the smart city/smart transportation infrastructure/smart car world,” concluded Powell.

Importantly, it was on the strength of his accomplishments resulting from his evolved focus and accountability that Powell was named the U. S. Small Business Administration 2019 North Florida District and State of Florida Minority-Owned Business Person of the Year last year.

For more information about AceApplications, please visit www.aceapplicatons.com  or call (877) 499-2231 x101.

Fix-It Accounting

Building a successful small business and managing its development is not easy, whether there is a pandemic or not. Finding advisors, mentors or others who have dealt with or can assist with the challenges inherent in growing a business can be equally as difficult. Fortunately, there are excellent options for business guidance and assistance available in Central Florida, which is what Nancy Benet, president of Fix-it Accounting, Inc., found at the Florida Small Business Development Center at Daytona State College (FSBDC at DSC), a sub-center of the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida.

Fix-it Accounting serves a state-wide client base, specializing in IRS problem resolution in addition to offering bookkeeping and tax preparation services. “We are all about solving our client’s problems,” says Benet. “Resolving issues with the IRS is like solving a puzzle by putting all the pieces together. And that’s what we do. We help our clients get things right and put themselves back into good standing with the IRS.”

Like all business owners, Nancy Benet wanted Fix-It Accounting to be successful and has ambitions to make it a national firm. She also recognized it is harder to achieve those goals if you go it alone. “All great athletes have a coach. And every business owner who wants to be successful needs one too“ Benet states. “Along with leveraging their consulting, training, and market research resources, I sought out assistance from the SBDC to connect with other entrepreneurs and business owners through the FSBDC at DSC’s Growth XChange.”

The Growth XChange offers a confidential setting on a monthly basis for business owners to discuss vital business issues, opportunities, and trends with a group of peers.  By engaging in collaborative thinking, learning from subject matter experts and group problem solving, business owners are able to lead their companies more effectively to the second stage.

“The Growth XChange is a group of small business owners and entrepreneurs just like me,” continued Benet. “I’ve really benefited from it. It’s just blossomed. I’ve gotten a lot of help, a lot of peer-to-peer coaching. I really wish I’d done this years ago because I think I’d be a lot further along now.”

In addition to the Growth XChange, Benet has taken advantage of the FSBDC’s no-cost consulting and market research resources, working directly with the FSBDC at DSC’s Director Tom Daly. “Working with Tom and the SBDC has really allowed me to expand my business,” says Benet. “To have access to those services and that sort of expertise has been just amazing.”

“Since joining the Growth XChange and starting with the FSBDC, I have been able to achieve a lot of growth – about 40% per year – without expanding my team,“ Benet concluded. “We were also able to obtain funding to purchase a 11,000 sq. ft. office complex that will be our new headquarters. I don’t think I would have had the confidence and certainly wouldn’t have had the access to the right people to help me do it without the Small Business Development Center at Daytona State College.”

For information about Fix-It Accounting, please visit www.fixitaccounting.com.