Outsource Equipment Company

Small business owners will often admit, when they are being brutally honest, that running a company can be a lonely undertaking. After all, when you are up against the daily challenges of satisfying customers, motivating employees, and outperforming competitors, no one at the office or at home wants to hear about your worries. It would only scare them. What to do?

For Mark Smith, founder and president of Outsource Equipment Company, a materials handling equipment distributor, the answer was found in two programs offered to second-stage companies by the Florida Small Business Development Center at The University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF): the Advisory Board Council (ABC) and the CEO XChange, both of which surrounded Smith with multiple knowledgeable and expert voices to coach him forward.

Outsource Equipment Company (OEC) provides material handling equipment and solutions for warehouses, distribution centers, and even the factory floor. The company offers both new and used equipment from the finest manufacturers, and it engineers results that save customers time, money, and space. Specialties include vertical lift modules, conveyers, pallet rack and shelving, mezzanine systems and much more. “We specialize in just vertical storage systems,” Smith explains, “so we have gotten very good at it. It’s a niche that we’re very happy to be the best in.”

As a client of the FSBDC at UCF, Smith had benefited from its no-cost, expert consulting; business training; and market research services. Through these resources, he learned about the FSBDC’s award winning ABC and CEO Exchange programs and signed up. The FSBDC at UCF’s Advisory Board Council, led by FSBDC Associate Director Jill Kaufman, provides no-cost, customized boards of volunteer experts specially selected to address the specific needs of the FSBDC client by providing advice and counsel to help the business grow. CEO XChange is an executive roundtable program serving progressive chief executives and business owners in Central Florida. Facilitated by FSBDC consultant Hal Thayer, it offers a confidential setting for top executives to discuss vital business issues, opportunities, and trends with a group of peers and provides opportunities to broaden their business perspectives and gain new knowledge by engaging in collaborative thinking and problem-solving.

“What I like about the CEO XChange is I get to hear from a lot of different CEOs from different companies in different industries with different ways of doing business with different kinds of customers,” remarks Smith. “It’s really helpful to me to get a well-rounded approach to doing business well.” Continuing, Smith recalls, “As a member of the CEO XChange, I noticed other companies in the group who had been in the Advisory Board Council program, and they seemed to be doing really well. I applied and was accepted. Once involved, it really helped us to get direction, to focus on what we are good at, and to get some financing. Acting on what we learned from the ABC advisors made us a much more solid business.”

“The FSBDC, CEO XChange, and the Advisory Board Council, and what I have learned from them, has had real positive effects on our business,” Smith concluded. “2022 was our best year ever, about 50% over what we did in 2021. We were able to do that by listening to other people on the CEO XChange and doing what was suggested by the Advisory Board Council, and just seeing it through. I would highly recommend any CEO to join the CEO XChange and look into the Advisory Board Council.”

For information about Outsource Equipment Company, please visit www.osequip.com .

Quickease Mobile Detailing

Quickease Mobile Car Wash

Rapid growth often poses a challenge for a small business, particularly when it comes to finding the capital necessary to fund expansion efforts. For Harley Davey, owner and founder of Quickease Mobile Car Wash and Detailing, customer demand for his company’s services was quickly rising and he knew that augmenting his business with additional vehicles and personnel presented a major opportunity to increase revenues. To finance these critical resources, Davey turned to the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) for assistance and he’s happy he did.

Serving the Greater Orlando area, Quickease Mobile Car Wash and Detailing is all about customer service and satisfaction. With an internally developed app for quick and easy online appointment booking and team members who come directly to the customer’s location at the client’s convenience, Quickease handles everything from quick cleanings to full detailing, all at reasonable prices. “We stand out above the competition,” Davey claims, “because we’re here to do great work while saving our customers as much time as possible. Our entire service is focused on convenience. It’s why we’ve become the highest rated mobile car wash and detailing company in our region.”

Quickease’s top-notch customer ratings have translated into a surge in demand for its services, so much so that the company was hard pressed to meet that growing need with the resources it had. “As with most small businesses, growth costs a lot of money and we are growing super rapidly,’” Davey explains. “We approached various organizations for help, the FSBDC being one of them. We asked for different options and some advice on how to get funding that would push us to or through our next phase of growth. Luckily, the FSBDC really connected with us and was able to point us in the right direction and give us a lot of super helpful advice that helped us get the funding we needed at the time we needed it.”

“My experience with the FSBDC has been phenomenal,” Davey recalls. Working with FSBDC consultant Margaret Incandela, Davey prepared a business plan and other mandatory materials needed for a competitive loan application package. “Maggie has been wonderful. She asked me a lot of questions about my business and gained a full understanding of what we do and what we want to do in the future. Then she explained how she and the FSBDC could help make those goals a reality. By the time we were ready to apply, we really had everything just right. At the same time, she also provided all sorts of resources and other connections that are of great benefit to our company,” Davey remarked.

In the end, Quickease was approved for the line of credit and vehicle loans Davey hoped to acquire. “Working with the FSBDC has helped our business in a number of ways,” Davey concludes. “We accessed the capital we needed and that allowed us to expand our service vehicle fleet by 60%. It also gave us the ability to hire on some additional team members who have been extremely helpful. The FSBDC has been nothing but supportive since Day One, and that has really helped with my confidence as a small business owner and my motivation to keep on pushing for more success.”

For information about Quickease Mobile Carwash, please visit https://www.quickeasewash.com/ .

Shadrach's Fiery Furnace Logo

Shadrach’s Fiery Furnace

Growth is almost always top of mind for small business owners. Ambitious and immersed in taking their businesses to the ‘next level’, their focus is locked on increased market share, greater revenues, expanded staffing and, most importantly, higher profits. Sarah Carney, Jack Carney and Nate Carney, the entrepreneurial, Millennial sibling team and founders and owners of Shadrach’s Fiery Furnace Pizza Company, were eager to take Shadrach’s to that “next level.” To make that happen, they turned for assistance to the Florida Small Business Development Center at Seminole State College (FSBDC at SSC), a sub-center of the FSBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF).

Shadrach’s Fiery Furnace began ten years ago as a traveling operation serving wood-fired pizza at music festivals, art festivals, and catering events across the state of Florida. Today, it is much more, having expanded into a brick & mortar restaurant with a fun vibe and a fantastic patio space in Mt. Dora, FL. “We’re a family-run business,” Sarah Carney explained proudly, “we are three siblings devoted to making a great product and serving it to cool people.” “What makes us special is our dedication to quality food and the good people we surround ourselves with,” continued Jack Carney. “The people make the patio and that’s paramount to us,” Nate Carney says, finishing his brother’s sentence. “We are cool people doing hot *&#@!” summarized Sarah, with a smile.

“The FSBDC was recommended to us and what they can do for a business is exactly what I was looking for,” Sarah shared. “I needed tools, I needed resources, and I needed an adult in the room and that is what the SBDC has provided to us.”

“When we started our journey with the FSBDC and its no-cost consulting, we were struggling to build the infrastructure to take the next step in our business,” recalled Jack Carney. “What the counseling from our FSBDC consultant Monica Williams did was help us organize our thoughts, organize our plans and gain the tools we needed to grow into what we are now,” he continued.  “The FSBDC was especially instrumental to us through COVID by helping us to access and correctly apply for funding through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the Restaurant Revitalization Fund and then for forgiveness of the PPP Loan,” Sarah highlighted.

“We’re finally in the position where we have the opportunity for growth and now have the infrastructure to handle it,” remarked Nate Carney. Jack Carney went on to say that “since we started working with the FSBDC, we have opened our restaurant; we have expanded our mobile operation; we have extended our catering; we have more employees than we’ve ever had; and we’ve got a litany of other opportunities on the horizon.” Best of all, that growth has translated into terrific business results. “We’ve set back-to-back monthly sales records,” Jack reported. “And we’re finally in the black after years of work, for the first time ever.”

“If I had to describe the FSBDC in one word it would be ‘vital’,” concluded Nate. “Vital as a resource to small businesses that don’t have the tools to grow.” “Vital as an organization with cool people who want to help make their community better,” added Sarah. “And vital to us in our business by positioning us for the next step.”

For information about Shadrach’s Fiery Furnace Pizza Company, please visit www.shadrachsfieryfurnace.com.

Trapline Pest Solutions

Trapline Pest Solutions

Starting and growing a new business can be dauting for even the most accomplished entrepreneurs and small business owners. The journey can sometimes feel isolating, with only a dream for the venture and one’s own persistence to rely upon. Gladys Salicrup, Owner of Orlando, Florida based Trapline Pest Solutions had a vision, a sense of determination, and more but it was her resourcefulness and willingness to seek help that made the difference when she found and became a client of the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF).

Trapline Pest Solutions is a pest control firm that provides services in general household pest control, commercial pest control, pre-demolition inspections, termite treatments and wildlife nuisance removal. Trapline is a family-owned small business operating in Central Florida since 2005. With their trained and knowledgeable staff, they are committed to doing the job right the first time by providing their customers with the safest and most cost-effective treatments.

“Why should you trust Trapline?” asks Salicrup, “It’s simple, we genuinely care for our customers, and our goal here at Trapline is to build trust and to maintain long term positive customer relationships. We encourage feedback from our customers and respond to feedback as quickly as possible. Our customers have direct contact to the owner(s), we walk our customers through the process of the work to be performed from beginning to end, we would never sell them a service that they do not need. We take such great pride in our work, that we guarantee it!”

“I sought services from the FSBDC because starting and growing a business can be challenging if you don’t have the right people with the correct knowledge and expertise in place,” says Salicrup. “I was extremely impressed by the organization, the staff and the programs that FSBDC had to offer. If I could shout it out on the rooftops to all the entrepreneurs and small business owners out there on how the FSBDC helped paved the way to my business growth, I would! this organization is extremely valuable to have. There are not many places out there that would offer such superior programs and services as the FSBDC.”

“My journey with FSBDC has been phenomenal,” Salicrup continued. “Starting out, I didn’t know left from right. There was a wealth of information to learn about how to start and run a successful business.” Working with FSBDC consultants Jairo Batista and Pauline Davis, Salicrup received business assistance across a wide range of important levels of success, including but not limited to accounting, website analysis, HR compliance, taxes and licensing, creating a business plan, applying for SBA loans, staffing, paycheck protection program, ERC Tax Credit, and social media marketing.

Going a step further, the FSBDC enrolled Trapline in the FSBDC’s Small Business Institute® (SBI®) program which connects local small businesses to the resources and management expertise of UCF’s College of Business Administration and the FSBDC at UCF by offering confidential and professional management assistance to small businesses through consulting projects performed by UCF MBA students. “My SBI® team actually took a deep dive into my business and presented me with a plan for further growth in my business which I implemented with great results,” Salicrup recalls.

“Since I have been working with the FSBDC, Trapline has grown exponentially,” Salicrup shared proudly, “We have experienced an increase in revenues of approximately 45% because of the programs they introduced us to and by the improvements made to our digital marketing strategy that they suggested. If you are looking for an organization that you can trust to help you start and grow your business, then the FSBDC is there for you to back you up and support you in achieving your goals!”

For information about Trapline Pest Solutions, please visit https://traplinepest.com/ .

Messina and Associates

Messina & Associates

Orlando, FL – The motivations behind entrepreneurship can come in many forms. Inventing a new product or service, identifying an unmet customer need or deciding they can deliver results for clients superior to those of their current employer are just a few examples of the drivers behind new business creation. In the case of Victoria Messina, founder and President of Messina & Associates, a wastewater treatment solutions firm, the entrepreneur in her saw ways to serve customers better than the companies she had worked for during her career and decided to strike out on her own, turning to the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) in Lake County for assistance.

Messina & Associates provides wastewater treatment systems and products to contractors, municipalities and builders throughout Florida and the Caribbean. It sets itself apart from its competition by offering customized service to every client. “I personally take time to understand the customer’s requirements,” says Messina. “We listen, provide thoughtful feedback, and interpret the customer’s needs. Then we offer site-specific designs and solutions. It is one of the things I enjoy most about my job: providing solutions for customers who maybe thought there wasn’t one available.” The company also supplies products that are hard to come by. “We stock a lot of specialty products; our customers appreciate the short lead times and prompt service we offer,” she added.

“I originally sought out assistance from the FSBDC because I knew that there were items I needed to learn but didn’t know,” Messina recalls. “In essence, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I’d been in business for a long time but not personally as owner and I wanted to know what the parameters were for success and needed assurance that I was headed down the right path.” Fortunately, Messina found what she was looking for in the no-cost, expert consulting; business training and seminars; and access to market data she found at the FSBDC.

“My experience with the FSBDC has been fantastic,” Messina says today. “I really enjoyed working with John Doramus (FSBDC consultant in Lake County). I attribute a lot of my success to his assistance. I can’t say enough about his willingness to help me with anything and everything that I asked for. I took classes and went to seminars on doing business with the government that were incredibly valuable.” Doramus and the FSBDC also aided in finding, evaluating and securing financing for the company’s current facility in Tavares, FL.

“Since I started working with the FSBDC, we have seen growth in our business of at least 25 – 30 percent,” Messina concluded. “I would describe the experience of working with the FSBDC as nothing short of miraculous. It was an incredible resource. To be honest with you, I don’t even know how I found out about the FSBDC but I sure am glad I did. As a small business owner and an entrepreneur, I would highly recommend them to anyone.”

For information about Messina & Associates, please visit https://messinaassociates.com

Baby Fairy Tale

Baby Fairy Tale

Doing anything for the first time can be challenging and, for a small business owner who has her or his company’s future on the line – navigating new possibilities for expansion is no exception. For Diana and Tim Willis, owners of Baby Fairy Tale – a unique mother-to-be ultrasound video studio that captures enchanting, magical pre-birth baby moments in 3D/4D/HDLive – there were growth opportunities in unfamiliar territory before them, so they called upon the Florida Small Business Development Center at Eastern Florida State College (FSBDC at EFSC), a sub-center of the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF).

Baby Fairy Tale is an ultrasound clinic specializing in recording magical moments for the expecting mother and her loved ones. Beyond being a wonderful and unique way to make memories, what makes Baby Fairy Tale exceptional is its offer of a spacious theatre setting in which the mother-to-be and her family and friends can experience a remarkable and special moment. “Everybody leaves Baby Fairy Tale happy,” says Diana Willis proudly.

Customers have been flocking to Baby Fairy Tale and the Willises saw opportunity in expanding to a second location. “But how do we do that?,” they asked themselves. Their search for assistance led them to the FSBDC. “I had heard of the FSBDC but wasn’t sure what they did,” recalls Tim Willis. “So, I looked them up and got in contact with Robin Braswell (EFSC sub-center Director and FSBDC consultant),” he went on. Braswell described the FSBDC’s services: no-cost, expert consulting; business training seminars and webinars; and access to expansive market research and databases. “She’d send me emails about the different programs and projects that the FSBDC was doing around here,” Tim says, and it piqued his interest.

“We got more involved with the FSBDC when we decided to purchase a piece of property for a second location,” Tim Willis continued. “I contacted Robin and she immediately started sending me resources and recommendations. She connected me with an SBDC consultant who is an expert in capital access and loans, Maggie Incandela. She helped me write a business plan for Baby Fairy Tale and that business plan helped us to acquire a loan to buy the property for our second location.”

“It’s been wonderful working the FSBDC,” Willis shared. “Whenever I have a question or thought or doubt, I would write Robin and she would either answer that question, direct me to the right person or resource, or give me ideas. The other thing that’s really cool about working with the SBDC is they have meetings, like a lender’s panel, and different seminars that are super informative and helpful to grow your knowledge as a business owner.”

“The FSBDC has been very helpful” Willis concludes. “Since we started working with them, we’ve done a lot of things; the big one is starting to open a second location — getting the loan, buying the property and working on it. We’ve hired a second employee and now we’ve started on getting a loan for a second ultrasound machine. I would recommend the FSBDC to any business. I mean, why not? To get some free help, that’s awesome.”

For information about Baby Fairytale, please visit https://babyfairytale.com/home .

SNA Software

SNA Software

Success as an entrepreneur is built upon the knowledge, experience, and leadership skills one brings to the venture. The principles and values that Nick Pisano – founder, president, and CEO of SNA Software LLC – developed as an active-duty United States Naval officer placed him in a good position to lead and grow his business. Taking his company to the next level was his latest challenge and for that he turned to the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) and its award-winning Advisory Board Council (ABC) program.

SNA Software is a veteran owned technology company specializing in data transformation and open systems business intelligence and application configuration. The firm’s customers consistently rate its software and customer service as exceptional. This is because SNA Software’s technology is a cut above the rest and its technical personnel are subject matter experts in the same business domains as their customers, ensuring that they understand the customer’s needs and are committed to their clients’ success.

“SNA Software is dedicated to the proposition that the customer should ‘Own the Data®’,” states Pisano, “and that is why our solutions support open systems, data democratization, and data transformation into open systems with powerful visualization based upon establishing a single, trusted point of information.” It’s how they successfully deliver organizational efficiency, cost savings, and organizational transformation to their customers.

Growing in the world of government contracting, earning large US military, civilian federal agency and corporate IT projects, is an immense undertaking. Pisano sought guidance to help steer through and excel at the challenges and opportunities facing his company and called on the FSBDC and its ABC program for help. Directed by program manager Jill Kaufman, each advisory board is a customized, no-cost panel of experts providing advice and counsel to help businesses grow. The FSBDC acts as a matchmaker between established local small businesses like SNA Software and area professionals who volunteer their expertise as members of an advisory board, with each advisor purposefully selected to address the specific needs of the FSBDC client.

“The Advisory Board Council was extremely valuable to us,” explains Pisano. “It acts as a Board of Directors and as such asks a lot of the hard questions that need to be asked of a CEO. The composition of the Board provides you with a unique breadth of expertise you otherwise would not be able to access. You get a holistic and broader view of how you should run your business, navigate the rocks and shoals of the day-to-day business and do what you need to do in order to make your business successful.”

“Working with the FSBDC has been fantastic. It’s really a pleasure dealing with Jill Kaufman and the FSBDC. They’re always there to help and assist you,” concluded Pisano. “The level of expertise that we’ve been able to draw upon from the FSBDC has, in a very real way, increased our business over 100% over the past 3 years. In addition, our customer base has expanded greatly and our effectiveness on the job has also improved qualitatively as a result of the assistance from the FSBDC. The value of their support to our business was, in one word, invaluable.”

For information about SNA Software, please visit https://sna-software.com/.

National Center for Equity and Agency

The National Center for Equity and Agency (NCEA)

It’s a simple adage: you don’t know what you don’t know. Recognizing and addressing this fact can easily become a major hurdle for entrepreneurs and small business owners who work tirelessly using every minute of every day to build their businesses. Asking for help can also be difficult but – for those who do – the rewards can be immense.

Dr. Laura McGuire

Dr. Laura McGuire (they/them or she/her), the founder and principal of The National Center for Equity and Agency (NCEA), had built an impressive knowledge and experiential base in their calling as a consultant focused on the intersection of sexual misconduct, trauma-informed care, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. By their own admission, however, they did not have the same command of what it takes to build a successful business and turned for assistance to the Florida Small Business Development Center at Daytona State College (FSBDC at DSC), a sub-center of the FSBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF).

The National Center for Equity and Agency is the only consulting firm in the nation to be fully focused on sexual misconduct and diversity and inclusion. This leads the organization focus on a wide range of topics including Title IX, consent, sexual harassment, domestic violence, restorative practices for offenders, trauma-informed care, and more. The NCEA is also the only firm to be comprised of graduate-level social scientists, offering a unique perspective that is research-informed and based upon lived experience. NCEA goes far beyond box-checking compliance in the form of transformative and cutting-edge workshops, trainings, keynotes, and consulting packages.

“As much as I know my field, I know my subject matter inside and out,” explains Dr. McGuire, “The ins and outs of business – marketing, sales, finance, how to really get the attention of potential customers – was the area I was going to need support in.” And that is what the FSBDC’s no-cost, expert consulting; business training seminars and webinars; and access to extensive market research resources and databases could provide.

“I’ve used consulting by a couple of the people at the FSBDC and that’s been really helpful,” Dr. McGuire remarked, working most recently with FSBDC at DSC Sub-center Director Trecia Marchand. “Talking to multiple individuals and getting their unique perspective has given me the holistic picture of what it means to succeed and really presented us with a solid foundation to launch from and then move forward from,” they continued.

“We went from just putting the first messages out there and existing to being a globally impacting, six-figure organization,” Dr. McGuire states proudly today. “And that is due to a lot of this mentorship and support and information that we wouldn’t have had otherwise or we would have had to pay a lot of money for. I think the FSBDC being this really approachable, easy-to-get-into place where anyone can ask questions, get resources, get support feeds into the bigger message of creating an equitable environment for all entrepreneurs across the country.”

For information about The National Center for Equity and Agency, please visit https://equityandagency.com/ .

It's a A Dog's World. t's A Dog's World delivers all inclusive experiences for doggies and their parents living in Lake Nona, Saint Cloud, and Harmony to name a few.

It’s A Dog’s World

Orlando, FL – For many entrepreneurs, a great idea for a new business may not be enough. Finding guidance, expertise, and support is often essential to get the business off the ground and started successfully. When Zorayma Barnard decided to launch her new business – It’s A Dog’s World – with support from husband Andrew, she turned to the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) and its office in Kissimmee at the Osceola Chamber of Commerce for that assistance.

It's a Dog's World's Zorayma Barnard and FSBDC' at UCF - Osceola County's Rafael Pratts

It’s a Dog’s World is a family-owned, family-run business dedicated – as they like to say – ‘to inspiring joy for doggies and their parents’ by creating safe, enriching experiences for those doggies. “What makes It’s a Dog’s World unique,” says Zorayma, “is that we provide exclusive field trips, play dates, adventures, and overnight stays for dogs in the south Orlando area. We will pick up your baby at your home and bring them to our new, private and over two-acre playland where they can run and splash and play.”

When they are tuckered out, says Barnard, there is an air-conditioned tiny home ‘doggie house’ for their R&R. And then the opportunity for more play. “At the end of the day, we bring them home happy, exercised and tired,” says Barnard. “It’s great for the busy pet parent who doesn’t always have the time to get to the dog park but loves their pet and wants to provide an awesome experience for them.”

When It’s a Dog’s World was still just an idea, Barnard applied her vision, sense of purpose, laser focus, and boundless determination to finding guidance with starting her business. “The reason I got involved with the Florida SBDC is because I saw there were no-cost consulting resources, webinars and all kinds of great tools available for entrepreneurs,” she says today. “I knew I needed support; I needed advice; I needed direction. When I saw the FSBDC had a local office, I reached out and it’s been a great partnership ever since.”

“My experience working with the FSBDC has been awesome, and fun,” Barnard continued. “My consultant Rafael Pratts brings a lot of great insight and thoughtfulness to our conversations. He provides me resources. He dares me to think outside the box. He’s just very innovative and it challenges me to be thoughtful and creative too.”

“I’ve seen great business results since I’ve been working with the FSBDC,” Barnard says today. “Since we started working with them, we were able to purchase the land we are on and the tiny home that we’re sitting in right now. We were able to open in July 2022 and already have repeat, loyal customers and a lot of happy doggie parents. We have achieved great success because we’re a place where dogs are always welcome and always loved.”

“I would definitely recommend that any entrepreneur, any future entrepreneur, anyone thinking about the possibilities in starting a new business to reach out to the FSBDC,” Barnard concluded. “They are open and honest and genuine people who are teachers who provide a lot of help and support, and just want to help you grow your business.”

For information about It’s a Dog’s World, please visit www.itsadogsworldpark.com.

Blue Heron CPAs

Blue Heron CPAs

Smart, savvy, and experienced entrepreneurs understand that going it alone is a losing proposition. Finding no cost or low-cost mentors, advisors, partners, and resources is the strategy that can make the difference between success and failure when starting a new business. Nathan Gauger, founder and managing partner of Blue Heron CPAs based in The Villages, FL, fully appreciated this fact and turned to the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) in Sumter County for help.

Blue Heron CPAs provides personal and small business tax services, as well as bookkeeping and general business accounting services. With an office in The Villages and full-service satellite offices in Leesburg (Lake County) and Ocala (Marion County), Blue Heron was built to serve the needs of its local communities. “We truly intend to provide a consultative component to all the services we provide,” Gauger says. “We sit down with you, talk you through your situation. Our goal is to inform you on what is truly happening in your business or your personal finances associated with your taxes and your financial information.”

Opened in 2021, Blue Heron CPAs sought assistance from the FSBDC when Gauger observed new opportunities for his business and his clients’ businesses. “Everybody likes to take advantage of government assistance when it’s available,” Gauger claims. “We found that opportunity with the FSBDC.” Working with Jamie Mead, consultant in the FSBDC at UCF’s Sumter County Office; Phil Geist,  consultant from the FSBDC at the University of North Florida; and Jairo Batista, consultant at the FSBDC at UCF’s Orlando Office, Gauger received the support he needed in multiple ways.

“With the FSBDC, we have been really fortunate to use Jairo for all our Search Engine Optimization (SEO) needs,” Gauger shares. “Jamie was extremely informative with all the demographic data that she offered. We also utilized the FSBDC at UNF for some of our clients in Marion County that were having trouble getting financing. Working with the FSBDC has been extremely pleasant. It’s insane how helpful they can be in all of the different facets of a business,” recalls Gauger.

“Working with the FSBDC, I have seen my business grow,” Gauger continued. “The SEO work that Jairo did means my websites now place high in the Google rankings. Jamie’s demographic databases allow me to target the right customers with positive messaging and bring them to our business. We also recommend the FSBDC to a good majority of our business clients, telling them to reach out because there is great opportunity and great resources to be had from them, and it’s at zero cost.”

“If you’re a new entrepreneur, if you’re someone looking to grow a business and you have not done this before, I advise you to get help,” Gauger concludes. “I would always start with the SBDC and fully utilize their services to grow your business. The one word I would use to describe the SBDC is ‘Passionate’; I don’t know one of their advisors – and I have now worked with four – that doesn’t have a love for actually helping people. That takes passion and that is an absolutely beautiful thing to have on your side.”

For information about Blue Heron CPAs, please visit https://blueheroncpas.com/.