Three years after starting her own business, Jamie Dickerson was excited about her success. She had extremely satisfied clients, revenues were coming in and growing, and the future looked bright. Then the COVID-19 pandemic quickly stopped everything in its tracks. It was a dark time for Dickerson and her company, VonBru Design, until she connected with the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF).
VonBru Design is a graphic design and marketing firm specializing in logo and print design, website creation, and digital marketing solutions for small-to-medium sized businesses. Dickerson’s vision for the firm is to provide small businesses with access to the same polish and elegance in graphic design and marketing communications that she experienced as an inhouse designer for a major corporation. She was succeeding in doing just that until the pandemic shut down nearly everything for her almost overnight.
“Like everyone else, I have a Covid story,” Dickerson recalls. “For me, Covid hit and I found that the business I had spent three years building completely bottomed out in three days. I went from a full client roster with a waiting list to zero open projects. As a business owner, it was terrifying. I wasn’t really sure what to do and it took me a moment to adjust.”
“Thank goodness, along came the FSBDC and I was able to use their resources, their sales experts, their government contracting specialists to help me,” Dickerson continues. “We went through my finances, did financial forecasting, did a complete redesign of my business plan. It was a whole turnaround. They really helped support me through that change into what we are today.”
“I found that working with the FSBDC gave me such incredible accountability,” Dickerson says today. “I met once a week with an entire team and worked at my finances, my sales & marketing plans, my goals for my business. I cannot stress how beneficial it was to have this team surrounding me, encouraging me, and wanting me to succeed.”
“When I started VonBru, I think I was thinking too small. When I started working with the FSBDC, they helped me dream big because they took away some of the intimidation. Starting a business is scary, and it’s kind of lonely and isolating. It can feel like it’s too big for you. The FSBDC took that fear off my plate, walked me through the steps of growth and helped me see what my potential was,” says Dickerson.
“The FSBDC helped me reframe the structure of my business, my business plan, my growth model. In so doing, it helped me build a team of freelance designers, freed me to be a project manager and get closer to my clients, enabling me to better guide them through the creative process,” Dickerson states. “I was able to take on larger clients, win larger contracts and actually grow my business about 285% over the last year since I started working with the FSBDC.”
“I tell everyone: Run, don’t walk, to the FSBDC,” Dickerson concludes. “It was such a game changer for my life, my career, my company and I want other people to feel that support.”
For more information about VonBru Design, please visit https://vonbru.com/.