Owning and operating a small business are not for the faint of heart; anyone who’s done it will tell you it’s hard work. On the other hand, the rewards are immense: being your own boss, reaping the rewards of your hard work directly, turning your passion into a career and thereby never working another day in your life.
Pat and Gary Sorensen will testify to both sides of the small business ownership equation. They started and now run Grumpy Bert’s BBQ, a mobile barbeque kitchen a/k/a food truck based in Lake County, Florida that proudly tells its many loyal customers: “Shut Up & Eat. Food with Attitude” and features menu items like “Rub Me The Wrong Way Ribs,” “Surly Smoked Brisket” and “Petulant Pulled Pork”, not to mention “Bad Tempered Beans” and “Cantankerous Corn Casserole.”
The Sorensens will also tell you not to go it alone when launching a business. Grumpy Bert’s isn’t their first small business and from the start they knew they wanted to get help from the Florida SBDC at UCF – Lake County. “We’ve never done a food service business before,” says Pat Sorensen. “We really weren’t sure what we were doing so we wanted to get information on how best to get started and I knew the FSBDC would have answers for us and they did.”
The Sorensens turned to Eddie Hill, Area Manager, and Cesar Gomez, program assistant, both in the FSBDC’s Lake County office, for assistance. They took advantage of the FSBDC’s no-cost, expert business consulting and various business seminars, all of which set them up for success.
“From the beginning, the FSBDC has been a very positive experience. Eddie and Cesar have been so helpful,” continued Pat Sorensen. “They are like a one-stop shop where you have everything you need to run your business. They have so much information and so many people to help you be successful. It’s all in one place so you don’t have to go here for your business plan, and then over there for your marketing plan and then way over there for your financial plan. And when you have a question or just need to bounce ideas off an expert, there they are.”
“We knew it was going to be a lot of work and we were right,” says Gary Sorensen. “But it’s worth it. We start cooking and smoking the meat days in advance, and there’s a ton of prep work. But then there are the events, and they are easy and fun. Besides the many festivals and food truck rodeos we’ve done, we’ve catered an employee appreciation night for 700 at South Lake Hospital and worked for two weeks straight after Hurricane Irma serving the teams from the 200 FEMA trucks stationed here in Lake County.”
“If you’re considering starting a business., or if you’re further along than that and need help,” concluded Pat Sorensen, “the first thing you should do is go to the FSBDC. They have everything you need there, not just to start a business but also to help you to continue to grow. I would definitely recommend the FSBDC to any entrepreneur or business owner.”