Managing growth can present major challenges for a small business owner. What starts as a good idea can turn into a great concept that customers flock to, sometimes even resulting in related new opportunities that can’t be passed up. Before you know it, your business has grown into multiple divisions with complicated finances and additional bookkeeping requirements. That’s when you need help. Finding himself in such circumstances, Steve Stiffler, CEO of White Pelican Holdings, began looking for that kind of support and found it at the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) in Lake County.
White Pelican Holdings is a home services company offering a broad range of assistance to homeowners and businesses primarily in The Villages® Communities, but also in Lake, Sumter and Marion counties. The company is family owned and hands on, with an emphasis on personal service across the board.
Comprised of four divisions – Cleaning, Home Watch, Realty, and Vacation Rentals – White Pelican provides property management, real estate brokerage, residential & commercial cleaning, and golf cart rescue & transportation services, among others. “Your One-Stop Shop for all your property management and home services needs in The Villages® Communities” is how they like to describe themselves.
While Stiffler is proud of the managers he has on his team running those divisions – “Our people are good at what they do and we let them do it,” he asserts – there became a point when he wanted additional help managing it all, especially the finances. “I found an advertisement for the FSBDC that talked about its no-cost, expert consulting, business training and market research resources,” he adds, and thought at the time, “Wow, that’s something that could really help us.”
“Our problem was that I’d had several accountants over the past years, and they’d never really figured our business out,” Stiffler recalls. “They couldn’t get us on track to know where we were financially. That’s when I picked up the phone and called the FSBDC and found John Doramus, my FSBDC consultant here in Lake County.”
“The FSBDC and John have helped me because he is a ‘Go To’ person who has experience where I do not,” says Stifler. “They have resources they can tap into to help your business. Our big thing was accounting, and they really helped us out in that respect. The SBDC and John also helped me find avenues for getting COVID-19 SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Paycheck Protection Program money. Without those, we wouldn’t be here today.”
“Working with the FSBDC and John Doramus has been unbelievable,” Stiffler continued. “They provided us with the advice and tools necessary, not only to be more profitable but to grow our business. We’ve added eight employees in the two years we’ve been working with the FSBDC, as well as having our profit margins increase. They have been a tremendous resource for us in trying to right our ship. Kudos to the FSBDC.”
“What I’ve learned from the FSBDC gave me the tools necessary to be successful” Stiffler concluded. “If you do what they tell you to do and use what they have to offer, there’s no way you can’t be successful.”
For more information about White Pelican, please visit https://whitepelicanhomeservices.com/ .