Travel Services Company Positioned for Post-COVID-19 Growth with Support from FSBDC at UCF – Kissimmee/Osceola County
January 26, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Hal Thayer, Communications Director, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or email@example.com
Rafael E. M. Pratts, Area Manager, FSBDC at UCF – Kissimmee-Osceola County, 407.847.2458 or RPratts@ucf.edu
Orlando – Making the transition from a corporate career to entrepreneurship and small business ownership is a significant life change, and one that is made even more complex if this shift includes a move to a new and unfamiliar community. But that is the challenge that Shari Vick took on in 2016 when she came to Central Florida and opened her travel service company, MemorableTimes LLC. Wisely, she soon turned to the Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) and its Kissimmee/Osceola County satellite Office for assistance.
As the name suggests, MemorableTimes LLC is in the business of helping sophisticated travelers choose, plan, and book memorable travel experiences. Shari Vick creates individually conceived and specially customized travel adventures for discerning clients. These can include river cruises, solo and group trips, romance travel, bike tours, and wine country sojourns among many other possible journeys to exciting destinations.
When Vick first started her business, she had a clear vision of the top-end, best-in-class travel experiences she sought to create for upscale, travel-savvy clients. These were never going to be those “everyday travel packages you can pull off the internet,” she says. But to achieve her goal, she realized that she would need additional help and so she connected with the FSBDC at UCF.
“Working with my consultant, Rafael Pratts, has made all the difference for me,” Vick states today. “He has guided me, supported me, held my hand, and introduced me to the different services and systems that the FSBDC has to offer. I benefited from their no-cost, one-on-one consulting; business seminars on budgeting, marketing, banking; and did an evaluation of my website that made me more competitive with my local and national competitors.”
“My experience with the FSBDC has been wonderful,” continued Vick. “It has been very helpful, especially because I was new to the area, with introducing me to the small business community. It has helped me develop professionally and to make better decisions. I now know my numbers, can make projections, and track my results. I am a better communicator with clients and vendors, which has helped save bookings and turn COVID-19-related cancellations into travel postponements.”
“With the help of the FSBDC, I have learned a great deal about being an entrepreneur and a successful business owner,” Vick went on. “And I have seen significant growth in my business since I started with Rafael and the FSBDC because I have learned how to manage my business better. In 2019, I saw an increase of more than 20% in my revenues. And I was on track for a better year in 2020 until COVID-19 struck. Even then, because of what I’ve learned, I was able to figure out how to survive.”
“If a business owner or an entrepreneur came to me to ask about working with the FSBDC, I’d say ‘Do it.’ Take advantage of all they have to offer. The services are available without any fees. Why wouldn’t you do it?” Vick concluded. “It has been great for me. I see no reason not to get on board with them. There’s no downside, only upside.”
For more information about MemorableTimes LLC, please visit https://www.memorabletimesllc.com/ .
— FSBDC —
About the FSBDC at UCF
Hosted by the University of Central Florida (UCF), and with its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF Office of Partnership & Innovation and the Florida SBDC Network.
The Florida SBDC at UCF provides aspiring and existing small businesses with no-cost consulting, low-cost training, and access to business data and research resources. In addition to its core service offering, the Florida SBDC at UCF also offers specialized services to qualifying companies, including capital access, market growth, government contracting, international trade, business continuation, cybersecurity, disaster planning and recovery, and more. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 9 service centers across Central Florida.
In 2019, the FSBDC at UCF served almost 2,500 entrepreneurs in Central Florida with consulting services, resulting in more than 10,000 jobs created, retained or saved; $1.2 billion in sales growth; $62.3 million in capital formation; $213.2 million in government contract awards; and 125 new businesses started. For more information, please visit www.sbdcorlando.com.
About the Florida SBDC Network
For over forty years, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance [Fl. Stat. 288.001], has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide existing and emerging small and medium-sized business owners with management and knowledge resources that enable overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for Florida’s economy.
In 2019, Florida SBDCs provided 114,064 of professional business consulting to over 12,500 client businesses, resulting in almost 38,000 jobs impacted; $4.4 billion in sales generated; $496.5 million in government contracts acquired; and $255.3 million in capital accessed.
A statewide network of over 40 offices, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network, headquartered at the University of West Florida, is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs and is a 2016 recipient of the President’s E Award for Export Service. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for individuals with limited English proficiency. For more information, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.