“You don’t know what you don’t know.” That’s the mantra of many of the smart and successful small business clients that seek assistance from Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF). And all credit goes to those business owners; recognizing that they don’t have all the answers and that they can benefit from the FSBDC’s services, including its programs for established, second stage companies as well as its expert, confidential, no-cost consulting.
Jennifer Vargas, President, and Luis Vargas, Vice President, lead and are co-owners of Enviro-USA American Manufacturer LLC, the producer of environmental protection apparatus. It makes containment booms for the oil industry, silt or turbidity curtains for the marine construction industry, and seaweed barriers for the tourism industry. They had grown the business to more than $1 million in sales by 2016 but had hit a rough patch.
“We were at a point where we felt like we needed assistance,” recalls Jennifer Vargas. “Challenges were presenting themselves. Unfamiliar issues and problems were arising, daily it seemed. We knew we didn’t have all the answers and needed guidance. We needed professionals to help us move forward. That’s why we signed up with the FSBDC.”
Enviro-USA and the Vargases accessed multiple of the FSBDC’s services. They received in-depth marketing and financial analysis consulting from the FSBDC’s Eastern Florida State College sub-center. The local Procurement Specialist from the FSBDC’s Florida Procurement Technical Assistance Center at UCF (Florida PTAC at UCF) assisted with government contracting opportunities. And the FSBDC at UCF’s International Trade Program Manager Jill McLaughlin led in developing an export marketing plan for the company.
“The FSBDC is amazing to work with,” says Luis Vargas. “They dived deep into our issues. In the export marketing plan, we learned what countries to target and so much more. With our financials, they opened our eyes and pointed out where we needed to focus. On the marketing side, they got is down into the nitty-gritty to grow our revenues.”
If that wasn’t enough, the Vargases also joined the FSBDC’s Advisory Board Council (ABC), a no-cost board of volunteer experts, selected to address the specific needs of the FSBDC client providing advice and counsel to help businesses grow. “Working with the ABC advisors was so important and so valuable. They shared so much knowledge; about production, sales, human resources, business-to-business marketing. It enabled us to make so many better decisions at the company. And ABC Program Manager Jill Kaufman was instrumental in making it happen,” stated Luis Vargas.
The Vargas’s work with the FSBDC has paid rich rewards. Enviro-USA has achieved remarkable results since starting with the FSBDC: the company has been able to double its factory space, its work force and its manufacturing capacity. Revenues have increased more than 90% and profits have grown by 1,000%.
“You can’t go wrong working with the FSBDC,” concluded Jennifer Vargas. “You can only improve your business. You get experts to help you with every aspect of your business and it’s at no cost. They are there for you, to help you every way that they can.”
For information about Enviro-USA American Manufacturer please visit www.enviro-usa.com.