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/.