For some small business owners, explosive growth – in revenues, employees, locations – can be an exciting yet daunting challenge. No one wants to miss an opportunity, but the fear of overextending and moving too fast can hold you back. Kelly and Scott Seidl, founders and owners of Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream, recognized that ‘they didn’t know what they didn’t know’ as they sought to manage their rapidly growing business. To gain the perspectives and guidance they wanted to confidently push forward and nurture this growth, the Seidl’s 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.
Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream is a Cinderella story. In 2014, the company started its journey as a simple ice cream truck. Today Kelly’s has five scoop shops and three counters inside a partner’s coffee shops with plans to expand to two new locations shortly. Their success is a testament to the appeal and popularity of their local and handcrafted product. “We make all our ice cream inhouse,” Kelly Seidl states proudly, “using the highest quality ingredients and dairy from Florida. What makes us exceptional is we have uniquely created flavors, with over 100 recipes of seasonal and featured flavors that are rotated throughout the year. We cherish being part of the community, stay involved with the local schools and strive to give back to show our gratitude for the support we have received.”
“We originally sought out assistance from the FSBDC because our business started to grow and we needed mentorship,” Scott Seidl recalls. “Kelly is a registered nurse by trade, and I am an accountant. We had never started or run a business, so we needed help. The Advisory Board Council was the service we used the most at the FSBDC and it’s been extremely helpful.”
The FSBDC at UCF’s Advisory Board Council 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. In the case of Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream, Jill Kaufman, ABC program manager, recruited advisory board members whose expertise
would be beneficial to the organization and would help the clients to explore and evaluate new opportunities as well as plan for the infrastructure that would be needed to support those developments.
“It’s a group of advisors that have a lot of different industry experience and they’ve been great mentors,” says Scott Seidl. “For example, our board had a member with a lot of food production experience which was knowledge we didn’t have. We can bounce our ideas off of them and get the feedback we need and know that they will challenge us. It has really helped us step back from the business and work on the business, not just in the business.”
“Since we started with the FSBDC and the Advisory Board Council, our revenues have grown over 100% and our staff has more than doubled. We had 3 locations, now we have 8,” Kelly Seidl concluded. “If I had to use one word to describe the FSBDC’s Advisory Board, it would be ‘Family’. I have trust in them and that they give us confident, knowledgeable answers that have helped us grow and manage that growth successfully.”
For information about Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream, please visit https://www.kellyshomemadeicecream.com/