FSBDC at UCF, its Advisory Board Council and CEO XChange Programs Credited as Success Drivers
May 25, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Hal Thayer, Communications Director/CEO XChange Program Manager, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or HThayer@ucf.edu
Jill Kaufman, Associate Director/ABC Program Manager, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420-4854 or Jill.Kaufman@ucf.edu
Orlando, FL – Small business owners will often admit, when they are being brutally honest, that running a company can be a lonely undertaking. After all, when you are up against the daily challenges of satisfying customers, motivating employees, and outperforming competitors, no one at the office or at home wants to hear about your worries. It would only scare them. What to do?
For Mark Smith, founder and president of Outsource Equipment Company, a materials handling equipment distributor, the answer was found in two programs offered to second-stage companies by the Florida Small Business Development Center at The University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF): the Advisory Board Council (ABC) and the CEO XChange, both of which surrounded Smith with multiple knowledgeable and expert voices to coach him forward.
Outsource Equipment Company (OEC) provides material handling equipment and solutions for warehouses, distribution centers, and even the factory floor. The company offers both new and used equipment from the finest manufacturers, and it engineers results that save customers time, money, and space. Specialties include vertical lift modules, conveyers, pallet rack and shelving, mezzanine systems and much more. “We specialize in just vertical storage systems,” Smith explains, “so we have gotten very good at it. It’s a niche that we’re very happy to be the best in.”
As a client of the FSBDC at UCF, Smith had benefited from its no-cost, expert consulting; business training; and market research services. Through these resources, he learned about the FSBDC’s award winning ABC and CEO Exchange programs and signed up. The FSBDC at UCF’s Advisory Board Council, led by FSBDC Associate Director Jill Kaufman, 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. CEO XChange is an executive roundtable program serving progressive chief executives and business owners in Central Florida. Facilitated by FSBDC consultant Hal Thayer, it offers a confidential setting for top executives to discuss vital business issues, opportunities, and trends with a group of peers and provides opportunities to broaden their business perspectives and gain new knowledge by engaging in collaborative thinking and problem-solving.
“What I like about the CEO XChange is I get to hear from a lot of different CEOs from different companies in different industries with different ways of doing business with different kinds of customers,” remarks Smith. “It’s really helpful to me to get a well-rounded approach to doing business well.” Continuing, Smith recalls, “As a member of the CEO XChange, I noticed other companies in the group who had been in the Advisory Board Council program, and they seemed to be doing really well. I applied and was accepted. Once involved, it really helped us to get direction, to focus on what we are good at, and to get some financing. Acting on what we learned from the ABC advisors made us a much more solid business.”
“The FSBDC, CEO XChange, and the Advisory Board Council, and what I have learned from them, has had real positive effects on our business,” Smith concluded. “2022 was our best year ever, about 50% over what we did in 2021. We were able to do that by listening to other people on the CEO XChange and doing what was suggested by the Advisory Board Council, and just seeing it through. I would highly recommend any CEO to join the CEO XChange and look into the Advisory Board Council.”
For information about Outsource Equipment Company, please visit www.osequip.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 part of UCF’s Office of the President 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 2021, the FSBDC at UCF served more than 2,700 entrepreneurs in Central Florida with consulting services, resulting in more than 8,200 jobs created, retained or saved; $1.5 billion in sales growth; $88.8 million in capital formation; $72.4 million in government contract awards; and 137 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 2021, Florida SBDCs provided 157,841 hours of professional business consulting to more than 18,379 client businesses. Based on the results from the network’s latest economic impact analysis, the FSBDC’s services resulted in almost 38,000 jobs impacted; $7.4 billion in sales generated; $381.6 million in government contracts acquired; and $528.4 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, U.S. Department of Defense, 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.