Mickey Finn's Irish Pub

Mickey Finn’s Irish Pub

Imagine the excitement. You’re a small business owner and restauranteur who has returned to your roots, having bought a bar/restaurant after taking extended R&R in the Florida Keys. Your new place in Clermont, FL – Mickey Finn’s Irish Pub – has been open exactly one week, the customers are coming in, life is good. And then “Wham!” The Pandemic explodes and your business is shut down completely, for weeks. The excitement goes out the door and survival becomes the number one priority. Those were the cards dealt to Micky Finn’s new owners, Ron Greeley and his wife Pat. Fortunately for them, they turned to the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida’s (FSBDC at UCF) in Lake County and FSBDC consultant John Doramus, and that made all the difference.

Mickey Finn’s Irish Pub is the genuine article, right down to the bar itself. All of the furnishings and interior and exterior finishes, including the bar, cabinets, furniture, and décor are authentically Irish, imported from Derry, Ireland itself. The imported beers on tap and the old country menu further showcase the authenticity of the experience. “People come in here and have a real feeling of a pub rather than just a bar,” says Pat Greeley. “We serve the local community as well as international customers, including from the UK and Canada,” continued Ron Greeley. “Our slogan is ‘An Irish Pub with a Key West Attitude.’”

A great concept with a loyal following isn’t enough in the face of a pandemic. “We had first opened the pub in March 2020 and a week later we were shut down because of the COVID virus,” relates Ron Greeley. “They shut us down for six weeks and we lost just about all of our supplies and beer and food. We had to put an extraordinary amount of our own money into the pub just to stay afloat. Our funds were quickly depleted, and we turned to the FSBDC for advice. That’s when we met John Doramus. He is above all the reason we’re still in business.”

After meeting with the Greeley’s and assessing the challenging situation, the FSBDC’s Doramus got to work on finding and connecting them with resources and assistance. After limping through 2020 earning barely 25% of pre-Covid revenues, they started to see slight growth in 2021. Meanwhile, Doramus helped the Greeley’s receive funds from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program and its Restaurant Revitalization Fund. Then he went a step further, showing them the way to receiving Employee Retention Credit funds as well as how to implement a new financial management system.

“If it weren’t for John Doramus and his cohorts at the FSBDC, we would not be where we are today. I cannot thank them enough,” shares Ron Greeley. “John provided us expert advice as to what to do, how to proceed, how to get through the myriad of alphabet agencies that were providing economic disaster funding. John was the one glowing light in this whole dark episode of the Pandemic.” Concluded Pat Greeley: “I wouldn’t hesitate to tell anyone to go ahead and work with the FSBDC. We are successful now because we did.”

For information about Mickey Finn’s Irish Pub, please visit www.mickeyfinnsirishpub.com.

The Flooring Spot

The Flooring Spot

Growing and expanding a small business can be challenging in any economy, only more so during a pandemic. A crucial key to success for many entrepreneurs and business owners striving to reach the next level is and always has been accessing assistance and resources, preferably at no cost. Elizabeth and Juan Lugo, founders and owners of The Flooring Spot, sought the support they needed to grow their business at the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) and they are grateful they did.

The Flooring Spot, with stores in Ocoee and now Winter Garden, call themselves ‘your local flooring experts since 2005’. Specializing in the sale and installation of all types of flooring material for residential and commercial customers, they are family-owned and locally operated. The Flooring Spot prides itself in offering superior customer service and highest quality installation from a team with over 50 years of combined experience, and all at competitive prices. Top that off with a total satisfaction guarantee.

“What makes us different,” says Elizabeth Lugo, “is that Juan started as a subcontractor. From his years of experience, and his hands-on background and knowledge, we are able, and are dedicated to, providing each and every customer with the very best in service, quality, value and workmanship.”

“In the beginning, I went to look for training and information about how to expand our business and make it better,” recalls Ms. Lugo. “I found what I needed at and have utilized a lot of different services from the FSBDC. Our consultant, Jairo Batista, helped us in a lot of ways. I think we became almost like friends.”

The Lugos and their company took advantage of the FSBDC’s expert, no-cost consulting; business training and workshops; and access to extensive market research databases. The FSBDC presented them with multiple opportunities for funding to survive the pandemic, with the company eventually receiving financial support in the form of a State of Florida Bridge Loan, and from the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program loan and later forgiveness, and an Economic Injury Disaster Loan. Says Elizabeth Lugo: “The assistance they provided with capital resources and the many other things they were telling us really helped us keep our doors open and continue our business before everything started to pick up again.”

Beyond enabling The Floor Spot’s access to capital, the FSBDC has offered guidance and counsel focused on growing the company. “When we started seeking support from the FSBDC, our business was very small. We hadn’t even opened our first showroom location,” remarks Ms. Lugo. “Since then, we have come across so many different opportunities that they shared with us. From that point on and with the FSBDC’s help, our business has grown a lot. We have been able to open our new location, hire new employees, and expand our warehouse. We were able to continue to grow and get over the hump of the COVID times.”

“We have grown and continue to grow; our second store is doing great,” Ms. Lugo concludes. “All the support we have received from the FSBDC really helped us get there. It was excellent for our small business; it really gave us the push we needed.”

For information about The Flooring Spot, please visit www.theflooringspot.com.

A&G Marketing Group Powered by PROforma

A & G Marketing Group Powered by PROforma

Top line revenue growth is typically the highest priority for growing a small business but increasing productivity or reducing expenses can be crucial second and third choices as well. For wife and husband team Jennifer Herrera and Pablo Prahl, owners and directors of A & G Marketing Group Powered by PROforma in Lake Mary, Florida, the goal was to grow their sales and their business by improving their processes, increasing the efficiency of their operations, and enhancing the effectiveness of their internal and external communications. For guidance, they turned to the Florida Small Business Development Center at Seminole State College (FSBDC at SSC), its Advisory Board Council program, and its local consultant Monica Williams.

A & G Marketing is a full-service marketing agency providing innovative and cutting-edge promotional products and solutions to individual consumers as well as a broad range of commercial customers. Offering branding & graphic design; direct mail and digital services; printing and tradeshow displays; and branded merchandise and apparel, A & G Marketing takes clients from concept to delivery, all with a noticeable emphasis on customer service.

“Our name is A & G Marketing Group Powered by PROforma,” says Prahl. “What that means is we are a family-owned business that has the support of PROforma, a marketing and promotion company with more than 700 offices in the U.S. and Canada. It helps us be very competitive with our products and our services without losing the personal touch when consulting with our clients.”

“We sought assistance from the FSBDC because we wanted to know how to improve our internal processes and work together better to take the next step to growing our business,” continues Herrera. “Working with the FSBDC has been an amazing experience. It’s been incredible. As a small business owner, we can get too involved in our daily tasks and we do not take the time to work on our business. With the support of the FSBDC, you’re going to find the time and you’re going to see positive results.”

In the case of A & G, it was taking advantage of the FSBDC at SSC’s no-cost consulting services and its Center for Business Development’s Advisory Board Council program. In addition to general business consulting to help improve processes and procedures, consultant Williams introduced the DISC methodology, a personal assessment tool used by more than one million people every year to help improve teamwork, communication, and productivity in the workplace. The FSBDC’s Advisory Board Council provided a no-cost, customized board of volunteer experts selected to address A & G Marketing’s specific needs by providing advice and counsel to help the business grow.

“The improvement we have seen in our business since we started working with the FSBDC has been great,” Prahl concludes. “Our first year with them was 2020 and we did the same numbers that year despite COVID as we did in 2019, which was amazing. And in 2021 we had an increase of 30% which was a huge number compared to other PROforma offices. We even added a team member from Seminole State College who is working and growing with us. Working with the FSBDC and the advisory board has been just plain great for us.”

For information about A & G Marketing Group Powered by PROForma, please visit https://marketingbyproforma.com/.

CCI Group

CCI Group

The beauty of entrepreneurship is often in the creation it involves. The creation of building a company, of meeting customer needs in a new way, of creating new jobs, of contributing to the community. Indira (Indy) Vega, CEO of the CCI Group, an interpretation and translation company, has made all of that happen and credits the Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florda (FSBDC at UCF) with helping her.

The CCI Group provides interpretation and translation services with a difference. Offering in-person and remote service in over 200 languages, the company has used the quality of its team and today’s technology to transform itself and the immediacy of the results its clients can achieve. CCI Groups clients span the private and public sector, serving law firms, medical providers, and school districts across Florida. Recently, they have gone nationwide with new clients in Georgia and Texas.

“We do more than replacing words,” Vega says. “We enable true communications across languages and cultures. We can do so much. For example, we offer over-the-phone interpretations that allows clients access to an interpreter in as little as 48 seconds,” Vega is proud to state. “And with our remote simultaneous interpretation, you can make an event or webinar truly inclusive with a multi-language presentation, in English, in Spanish, in Creole, in Portuguese, all at the same time.”

Vega came to the FSBDC at UCF to take her company to the next level of growth. Offering no-cost consulting, business training and workshops, and access to expansive market research resources, she took advantage of them all. “I have used so many services from the FSBDC” Vega continued. “One of the programs was the Business Recovery Team (a CARES Act-funded consulting service) which was fantastic. They were with us six months. I think we had almost weekly meetings. They helped us with budgeting, with planning, with marketing. You name it. Every aspect of my company was touched by the FSBDC at some point. They were a game changer for us.”

“I can’t even describe the impact the FSBDC has had on the growth of our business,” Vega states. “I was a solo practitioner with one part-time employee when I started with the FSBDC. Now we are up to 10. Not just here in Central Florida but overseas. Its something I never thought I was going to be able to do. Recently, the company went on a company retreat to show our appreciation. It all wouldn’t have been possible without help from the FSBDC.”

“Th SBDC also opened my eyes to community involvement,” Vega went on. “I always thought that was only for the big boys.” But today CCI Group is involved with THE CENTER, a non-profit assisting the LGBTQ community, as well as the Orlando Center for Justice which helps immigrants here in Central Florida. “I think this is thanks to my involvement with the FSBDC.”

“My experience working with the FSBDC has been amazing,” Vega concluded. “If you ask me in 10 years, I will say the same thing: the FSBDC was part of CCI Group and we wouldn’t be here without them, that’s for sure.”

For more information about The CCI Group, please visit https://myccigroup.com/.

Puretopiah

Puretopiah

The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Alicia Sangster, CEO, founder, and product co- creator at Puretopiah, the maker of a unique, multicultural hair care system for children. Sangster encountered a problem, invented a solution, put the pieces together and then turned to the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) for assistance with starting up and launching her new business.

Alicia Sangster, a Jamaican immigrant, often found it difficult caring for her daughter’s thick, curly, multi-textured hair, made even more challenging by her child’s ultra-sensitive skin. With the help of her brother, a chemist for over 12 years, she began her quest for a natural, gentle, safe product that made it easier for children’s hair to look great longer, without frizz and with silky-smooth curls, all from a product made from nourishing, vegan ingredients. The result is a 4-step hair care system comprised of shampoo, conditioner, detangler and curling cream that is an easy to use, wash-and-go answer for intense hydration and longer lasting curls.

“Puretopiah is the first plant powered multicultural brand to give your kids up to four days of moisture and curl definition without the use of damaging chemicals or having to convince your kids to wear satin bonnets,” says Sangster proudly. “It makes it so much easier for us parents to care for our kid’s hair and make it look great longer. It’s why we like to say ‘Puretopiah. Your Beauty. Your Way. Naturally.’”

Sangster the entrepreneur had found the solution, but now wanted to share it and make a business out of it. That’s when she turned to the FSBDC at UCF. “I had seen articles where people shared their success stories from working with the FSBDC,” she recalls. “I decided to reach out for assistance because I didn’t want to navigate alone this landscape of starting a new business in a whole new industry that I wasn’t familiar with.”

“In working with the FSBDC, I have really experienced a lot of support,” continued Sangster. “As entrepreneurs, of course we rely on family and friends, but it helps to take it to another level where you’re getting support from someone who has been there and done that.” In fact, the FSBDC helped Sangster in multiple ways: setting up the business; developing packaging/labels/sales/website development. “What I really appreciated was that I could be myself in my interactions with my consultant Chuck Wheeler,” says Sangster. “Even if that day was a horrible day and I didn’t know if I was going to move forward, I was able to feel uplifted at the end of those sessions and keep going.”

“What I have achieved since working with the FSBDC is going from a mere idea to fully launching my business, which I did last week,” Sangster concluded. “There are so many things that you just don’t realize that you have to do as a business in order to launch and I definitely could not have done it without the help of the FSBDC, so I say: ‘Thank You.’”

For more information about Puretopiah, please visit: https://puretopiah.com/.

Lewis Home & Bridal; Lewis Home and Bridal

Lewis Home & Bridal

Dealing with adversity is a familiar challenge for all small business owners. Obstacles and setbacks can come from many places, at varying levels of intensity, and be expected or unexpected. For Debbie Lewis, the owner of sewing company Lewis Home & Bridal, trouble came suddenly, and she needed to make changes quickly. It was then that she turned to the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) for assistance.

Lewis Home & Bridal has been serving Lake County and Central Florida since 2009 with professional seamstress services, specializing in bridal and other formal wear as well as home décor and upholstery. Comprised of a team of seamstresses with decades of sewing experience, Lewis Home & Bridal offers a mix of old-school technique, skill, and quality assurance blended with a command of contemporary tastes and trends. Lewis Home & Bridal also partnered with several local companies to help design and manufacture the products they sell and has worked with most of the major theme parks in Central Florida.

“Our company is unique because we really take a personal interest in everyone we serve,” says Lewis. “We are focused on quality and excellence and integrity in everything we do. In the home, we help you bring the whole décor together, from window treatments to upholstery to accessories. On the bridal side, brides love coming to us. They love the personal, one-on-one attention. They’ll come to us with dresses that do not fit; we take care of every detail and make sure that when they come to pick up their gowns, they feel fantastic.”

In June 2020, Lewis needed help. “I contacted the FSBDC because I suddenly found myself as the sole provider for my family,” Lewis recalls. “I needed to take my sewing business from a side hobby to something that could support my family. The FSBDC helped me do just that. They were just this amazing group that helped me with every aspect of my business, from marketing to sales to the finances to the hiring, and firing, of subcontractors. I can’t believe how much they helped me.”

The FSBDC applied a team consulting approach, bringing in its own consultants – several of whom joined the FSBDC thanks to funding from the CARES Act – to address Lewis’s specific challenges. Subject matter experts in their respective fields, FSBDC consultants such as Steven South and Michael Townes brought their expertise in strategy, sales and marketing to bear. Other consultants, including Jose Molfino and Eric Moneyham, did the same, assisting with improving the financial picture by creating a budget and P&L as well as educating about cashflow management.

“I guess the biggest thing was that I felt very comfortable to talk to them, even though sometimes I didn’t know what I was doing, and they probably knew I didn’t know what I was doing, but they came alongside me anyway so I could grow,” Lewis remarks.

Since starting with the FSBDC, Lewis Home & Bridal has been on a winning streak and has achieved significant growth. It has added seven new employees, expanded its workspace and shop, and seen revenues almost double. Profits are up almost 60%. “I don’t think I would have taken the steps I did if the FSBDC hadn’t been there and encouraged me along the way. It’s just been amazing. It’s been great,” concludes Lewis.

For more information about Lewis Home & Bridal, please visit https://www.lewishomeandbridal.com/.

Board & Brush - Kissimmee

Board & Brush Creative Studio – Kissimmee

Going it alone is an easy mistake for a small business owner to make, especially if they have purchased an existing business or franchise and are leveraging the processes, procedures and tools provided by the previous owner or franchisor. Often, however, greater success and faster growth can be achieved with external help. It’s that opportunity that persuaded Kim Campanie, owner of Board & Brush Creative Studio, Kissimmee and Ocoee to seek additional assistance and turn to the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) – Osceola County/Kissimmee for its no-cost, expert consulting; business training and workshops; and access to extensive market research resources.

Board & Brush Creative Studio, Kissimmee offers three-hour, do-it-yourself wood sign workshops where guests can create any of 500 projects available in their online gallery. Catering to individuals; private, community and corporate events; and teen and kid’s parties, the emphasis is on creating, connecting with friends – new and old – and having a good time. As their website says: “Instead of do-it-yourself, let’s do-it-together. Experience not needed. Just bring your creativity and personality. We will provide the education, materials, and fun.“

“I originally sought out assistance from the FSBDC after I met my business coach Rafael (Rafael E.M. Pratts, consultant at the FSBDC at UCF’s Osceola County/Kissimmee satellite office) and he mentioned his role and the services he provides,” recalls Campanie. “From the moment we started talking, I knew he was going to be instrumental in taking me from novice business owner to an extremely successful one with his guidance and encouragement.”

“Over the last three years, I have taken advantage of so many of the amazing programs offered by the FSBDC, starting with my business coach Rafael who meets with me every month,” enthused Campanie. “He supports my marketing goals, provides resources, sets benchmarks for me. He holds me accountable, which no one wants done in business, but everybody needs,” she laughed. “It has taken me from start to finish in growing my business into the success we are today.”

“One of the areas where the FSBDC really has helped is with my online and social media presence, by diversifying beyond Facebook and making sure we have a strategy with Google, a presence on Instagram, and that I am utilizing my internal text and email resources,” Campanie stated. “Now we’re not just doing what’s easy. We’re encompassing an entire approach to make sure we cover all our bases with our customers.”

“The success that I’ve had since working with the FSBDC and Rafael has been immense. We have seen increases of 20% in revenue since we started working together – and that is through a Pandemic – which Rafeal was instrumental in guiding me through,” continued Campanie. “We certainly would not be here today having the success that we do, increasing the staff as we have, looking to grow to more locations as we are, without the support of the FSBDC.”

“If you are a business owner considering working with the SBDC, I say ‘Don’t wait. The Sooner the better.’” concluded Campanie. “The sooner you get someone in your corner who supports your goals, who understands where you are and where you want to go, the better off you are going to be.”

For information about Board & Brush Creative Studio, Kissimmee, please visit https://boardandbrush.com/kissimmee/.

Becca's Sweet Tooth

Becca’s Sweet Tooth

No matter how much confidence you have in your work, an extra pair of eyes is always a good thing. Rebecca Johnson, founder and owner of Becca’s Sweet Tooth in Bunnell, FL, is a firm believer that two heads are better than one, and that’s why she turned to the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) for assistance.

Becca’s Sweet Tooth is a bakery and café, offering cupcakes, cookies, pastries and biscotti, and featuring Caribou Coffee, a beloved and rare premium coffee brand. Their motto is “Making life a little sweeter, one cupcake at a time.” “Here at Becca’s Sweet Tooth, I make everything here in house, all made from scratch, and all made with love,” Johnson says proudly. “I feel like that really makes a big difference.”

“The reason I sought out help from the FSBDC was that, although I have a background in restaurant and retail management, I felt like I was missing a few things, maybe a few details” recalls Johnson. “I wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing any steps or forgetting to file any paperwork. It was great to have a second set of eyes looking over everything and reminding me of anything I might have forgotten.”

The services offered by the FSBDC to entrepreneurs and business owners include no-cost, expert consulting, business training and workshops, and access to extensive market research resources. In Johnson’s case, she turned to Michael Oppenheim, an FSBDC consultant located locally in Palm Coast, for assistance with turning her dream of owning and operating a retail bakery into a reality. Over the course of nine months in 2021, Oppenheim assisted with building code and permitting issues; build out, equipment and food expense planning; financial pro forma creation and forecasting; and marketing.

“It was really helpful to have consulting from Mike Oppenheim of the FSBDC,” states Johnson. “For instance, we used the pro forma process to make sure that all my numbers were in order, like was I going to be profitable, were my food costs and pricing in line. I didn’t want anything to be inaccurate and wanted to account for everything, all the expenses I needed to plan on. It was really helpful to have all of that.”

“Working with the SBDC was great because I had another person in my corner checking in and seeing how things were going,” Johnson continued. “Mike would reach out and say ‘What can I do? Where are we at?’ and that definitely kept things on target.”

“When I first started with the FSBDC, I just had a concept. I wasn’t sure it was even feasible,” Johnson concluded. “To go from a dream I have had for over a decade to putting together real numbers; to finding a store front and getting all the renovations and construction done; to sourcing my own supplies and equipment; to go from there to opening a business.”

“Now I’ve been open a month. Customers are actually coming in. I even have repeat customers. It’s just been a super experience.” And the FSBDC is proud to have assisted Becca in making her dream come true.

For information about Becca’s Sweet Tooth, please visit https://www.beccassweettooth.com/.

Skyline Attractions

Skyline Attractions

Entrepreneurs and small business owners do not have a lot of time and resources to waste – in good times or bad – but especially when times are challenging. When COVID-19 brought the theme park industry to its knees, Jeff Pike, President of Skyline Attractions, his partners, and the whole team wanted to determine the best available options to push forward and where to find critical resources to help the company get to the other side of the pandemic. They turned to the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) and its CARES Act-funded Business Recovery Team initiative for assistance.

“Skyline Attractions designs and builds fun things,” Pike is pleased to say. “We build roller coasters; we design and consult for amusement parks and their manufacturing representatives around the world. In fact, we’ve implemented or designed more than 25 major amusement attractions around the globe through Skyline and some of our partners. What makes us different is that we commit in our charter to bring something new to the amusement industry every year. And we actually achieve that goal, every year bringing a new attraction, something interesting, something fun; sometimes something huge, sometimes not, but always something remarkable and memorable.” Skyline’s promise to its clients is to take entertainment rides from imagination to innovation, and the company delivers on this pledge annually.

“We sought assistance from the FSBDC when we realized that, even with our strategy of producing something new every year, there would be times when we’d need to pivot or better use our talents when things weren’t running so well in the amusement industry,” recalls Pike. “When there’s a slowdown, especially like at the beginning of COVID, we needed to understand what our options were for marketing, for finance, for outreach. When we started working with the FSBDC, I was personally shocked at the breadth of knowledge there. We’d get on a call and there would be up to seven people all dedicated to just helping us with their unique knowledge. And we weren’t paying a cent for it.”

“This wasn’t a group of suits staring down their noses at you,” Pike continues. “It was a cooperative discussion that was really helping us figure things out. It was great.” Specific areas of FSBDC assistance included how to do business internationally; developing a marketing plan to reach industrial customers; and even producing a pitch for potential investors. “What was so refreshing was these were not ‘sit down and be lectured to’ type things. Our meetings were truly interactive and useful.”

“There was a period when, truth be told, it was a really difficult time for us both financially and as a small business owner because it affects you personally,” Pike went on. “But we got through that. We took the advice of the FSBDC on how to pivot, how to outreach and it brought us through. And today there’s good news! In the past month, we have booked another $3.5 million in contracts. We went from ‘not sure if we’re going to make payroll’ to bringing in the kind of business we know we’re capable of. The FSBDC helped us all along that way. It’s a free resource that was and is tremendously valuable to us. All I can say is it’s an extraordinary benefit,” Pike concludes.

For information about Skyline Attractions, please visit https://skylineattractions.com/

MamaBareSugaring

MamaBare Sugaring Studio LLC

For a small business owner, managing explosive growth can be as big of a challenge as finding ways to survive in a pandemic. For Amanda Yarborough, founder and owner of MamaBare Sugaring Studio LLC, her business was enjoying an exceptionally positive reception from customers and was succeeding beyond her expectations. How to best manage that growth was her biggest problem, and that’s why she turned to the Florida Small Business Development Center at Daytona State College (FSBDC at DSC), a sub-center of the Florida SBDC at UCF (FSBDC at UCF), for assistance.

MamaBare Sugaring Studio, with locations in Lake Mary, Oviedo, Ormand Beach and Port Orange, offers an all-natural hair removal process called hand method ‘sugaring’, similar to waxing but better. MamaBare’s sugaring specialists apply a honey-colored sugar-paste gel to the skin and remove unwanted body and facial hair. They specialize in sugaring, and sugaring only, while creating a welcoming environment designed to remove not just hair, but also the insecurities and anxieties that often accompany it. “It’s all about helping our clients feel their best,” says Yarborough.

All-natural hair removal as practiced by MamaBare has become hugely popular, so much so that Yarborough quickly wanted assistance. “I reached out to the FSBDC because I was experiencing a period of growth that I needed help with,” she recalls. “I really needed someone to guide me and walk me through what the next steps for my business looked like.”

“The FSBDC definitely helped me focus on the big picture,” continues Yarborough. “It helped me by exploring the market and connect with people inside and outside my industry. The group I am part of – the Growth XChange – has been so helpful to my business. I get insights from other business owners, feedback on issues, ideas for business processes and financing. It’s really great to be able to be around others who are doing what I am doing, working through the same problems I am.” (Growth XChange is a facilitated peer-to-peer coaching program offered exclusively by the FSBDC at Daytona State to qualified small business owners.)

In addition to participating in the Growth XChange, Yarborough takes advantage of the FSBDC’s no-cost, expert business consulting and access to market research resources. “I especially love the one-on-one consulting that I get with FSBDC at DSC director Tom Daly,” Yarborough states. “He’s someone you can always go to. I went to cosmetology school. I didn’t get a lot of formal business training. I’ve had to figure it out on my own. Having people to go to, to ask questions of, get feedback from, to know what the next step should be, has been a gamechanger for us.”

“I have experienced tremendous growth within the company and really learned so much about how to run my business and how to grow my business since starting to work with the FSBDC,” Yarbrough explains. “Our company has grown by two more locations and doubled our staffing to almost 30. And that is all due to the consulting I have received from Tom at the FSBDC. If you are an entrepreneur or business owner and you haven’t reached out to the FSBDC, I suggest you do so immediately. I only wish I had known about them sooner.”

For information about MamaBare Sugaring Studio, please visit https://mamabaresugaring.com/.