The transition from entrepreneur to manager isn’t always easy. Especially when you have a company that, after hitting some early potholes, has hit its stride and is now growing fast.
But that’s the challenge that Janet Mckee was facing. Her company, Nutritious Lifestyles, Inc., provides nutrition and food service consulting services to the healthcare community, including skilled nursing facilities, long-term care facilities, rehabilitation facilities, hospitals, children’s medical services, behavioral facilities, assisted living facilities and more. Its combination of cost-effective solutions, superior customer service and positive patient outcomes has been winning new clients and fueling revenue growth in the past few years.
It wasn’t always that way, though. Early on, Mckee experienced major challenges. “I needed help,” she recalls today. “We were experiencing human resources problems. We had lost a lot of business. I’d gotten the company to a certain level but was uncertain about where to go next. I felt like I needed people who had more experience to help guide me.”
Fortunately, the Florida SBDC at UCF (FSBDC at UCF) had a program tailor made for established, second-stage companies like Nutritious Lifestyles and for CEO Mckee: the Advisory Board Council (ABC). The Advisory Board Council is a no-cost board of experts providing advice and counsel to help businesses grow. It acts as a matchmaker between established local businesses like Mckee’s and area professionals who volunteer their expertise as members of an advisory board, with the volunteers selected to address the specific needs of the FSBDC client.
“As an entrepreneur and the founder of a woman-owned business, I’d learned the hard way that you can’t do everything yourself,” says Mckee. “The FSBDC and the ABC program manager Jill Kaufman put together a board of advisors that was a great fit for my business. They were knowledgeable and experienced. I could bounce ideas off of them. I got honest feedback that I may not have always liked hearing but always helped me. But they guided me in setting growth parameters, establishing an internal infrastructure and forming my management team. From there, my board has helped me create plans to expand into new markets and facilitate further growth.”
With the assistance of the FSBDC and her Advisory Board Council, Mckee has embraced her role as a manager and taken Nutritious Lifestyles to its next level of success. The company has grown by 25% over the past two years. It is negotiating a contract with a new client worth almost $1 million. It is hiring and training new team members every day.
“When you are experiencing this kind of growth, you need to have people and systems in place to ensure the quality of the product and of your customer service, and that you are meeting or exceeding customer expectations,” says Mckee. “We’re accomplishing those goals today and I feel like the future of my company is very bright.”
“The FSBDC and my Advisory Board have been very helpful getting us to this point,” Mckee concluded. “They have been extremely flexible and a wealth of information and guidance, a huge resource. It’s been a total win-win for Nutritious Lifestyles and me.”