Florida SBDC: A partner in your business success
Helping small- and medium-sized businesses grow and succeed is the mission of the Florida SBDC. Sometimes our mission is accomplished through our no-cost, expert business consulting, sometimes through our seminars and training, and then other times through our specialty programs for established businesses. The Success Stories shared below illustrate the difference we can make.
Baby Fairy Tale: Unique Mother-to-Be Ultrasound Clinic
For Diana and Tim Willis, owners of Baby Fairy Tale – a unique mother-to-be ultrasound video studio that captures enchanting, magical pre-birth baby moments in 3D/4D/HDLive – there were growth opportunities in unfamiliar territory before them, so they called upon the Florida Small Business Development Center at Eastern Florida State College (FSBDC at EFSC), a sub-center of the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF).
Baby Fairy Tale is an ultrasound clinic specializing in recording magical moments for the expecting mother and her loved ones. Beyond being a wonderful and unique way to make memories, what makes Baby Fairy Tale exceptional is its offer of a spacious theatre setting in which the mother-to-be and her family and friends can experience a remarkable and special moment. “Everybody leaves Baby Fairy Tale happy,” says Diana Willis proudly.
Customers have been flocking to Baby Fairy Tale and the Willises saw opportunity in
expanding to a second location. “But how do we do that?,” they asked themselves. Their
search for assistance led them to the FSBDC.
READ MORE and WATCH a Video about Baby Fairy Tale
Software Developer Expands in Big Data Management and Security Markets
Successful business owners anticipate changing markets and take steps to be ready to seize the opportunities created by the ever-changing needs of customers. That was the case for Innovative Routines International, Inc., a Melbourne-based software development company that specializes in technologies for fast data management and data-centric security for customers around the world, large and small, across multiple industries.
Working with the Florida SBDC at EFSC sub-center, IRI received help with sales forecasting, pipeline management, customer marketing, and the streamlining of internal customer handling and financial reporting procedures. They took advantage of the FSBDC’s training seminars, consulting services and market research tools to leverage existing IRI capabilities in the enterprise software business to make further inroads in the fast-growing areas of big data management and the protection of sensitive information.
“The proof is in the pudding," says IRI Inc.'s David Friedland. “Business is up significantly,
nearing 30 percent over last year. It’s significant. We credit the FSBDC for not only
fattening our pipeline but also helping us manage it more efficiently. We are now
able to pursue the opportunities we have in front of us with more vigor and intelligence.”
READ MORE about Innovative Routines International
Home Staging Company Grows with FSBDC Assistance
Owner and Chief Executive Lisa Pelc of Bella Casa Staging & Redesign — a home staging and interior design company based in Melbourne, FL — found that her business was growing quickly. She began to wonder how she could take it to the next level, so she turned to the Florida SBDC for help. Pelc's efforts to learn more about how to apply strategy, inbound and outbound marketing, financial analysis and market research to her business truly paid off.
"The FSBDC has really guided me and helped me learn how, as an entrepreneur, to work on the business and not just in the business so it can grow and be more profitable every year," said Pelc. "We've gone from a team of two to a company of five, and our business has grown by 50 percent in just the last year. (The FSBDC) team has been instrumental in helping me stay on task and provided a sense of accountability for myself and my company. When you tap into the resources that are at the FSBDC, the sky's the limit for your business."
Boutique Medical Spa Owners Finds Success Starts with Streamlined Financial System
Having a great idea for a new business is only the beginning for an entrepreneur. Iris and Kyle Graham learned that first-hand when they founded Millefiori Medical Skin Rejuvenation, a boutique medical spa catering to a high-end clientele in Melbourne, FL. Millefiori offers aesthetic skin care services including facials, chemical peels and micro-needling for tattoo removal, as well as Botox, laser and injection treatments.
The Grahams were first-time business owners and were inventing their business as they went along. “We used to do everything on paper,” Iris Graham recalls. “We had a spreadsheet, and a ledger, and the checkbook. It was so redundant. I was telling people about the 30–35 hours a month we were spending on our financial system. And someone said that the FSBDC could help us systematize it and make it a lot quicker.”
The Grahams contacted the Florida SBDC at Eastern Florida State College, a sub-center of the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF). “Now we do everything electronically. Today we only spend 2 hours a month on our financials and all the information is at our finger tips,” Kyle says. "We’ve seen our business increase by 40% consistently, until this year when we have seen a 50% increase in revenue. We have been slammed!” READ MORE about the Millefiori Success Story
Aquatic Ecosystem Company Makes a Splash with FSBDC Support
Ten years ago, Laura Parkel founded Pond Science LLC, a Brevard-based company that combats threats to Central Florida's aquatic ecology by developing methods and equipment to better maintain ponds and water gardens. To ensure her business can continue to grow and develop in the years to come, Parkel turned to the FSBDC for assistance. From seminars and consulting to marketing advice and financial planning, the services the FSBDC provided Parkel and her team have yielded real and tangible results.
My business has grown tremendously since we started working with the FSBDC," said Parkel. "We have doubled our revenues and been able to hire two new employees. I may be an expert in aquatic science, but on the business side, I didn't know what I didn't know before." READ MORE about Pond Science
Soup Entrepreneur Heats Up Business with Help from FSBDC at EFSC
When Julie Shipley's homemade soup business, The Soup Shop, rapidly began to expand, Shipley was surprised to discover that while sales were good, the business was proving less profitable than expected. Recognizing that she needed assistance, Shipley contacted the FSBDC. Together, they built a financial management system for the business, and Shipley learned how to read and utilize the information it generated.
A new financial strategy was the final ingredient Shipley needed in the recipe for a successful business. Since its implementation, the Melbourne, FL-based Soup Shop has seen a 238% year-to-date increase in overall profits. “My company is a different and better company since I started working with Marty and the FSBDC," said Shipley. "They are an amazing resource and I wish I had known about them sooner!” READ MORE about Soup Shop
Business and Financial Planning Become Real for Space Coast Entrepreneur
Craig Chapman had it all going on. His was a simple concept: focus on family, food, culture and history to tell the story of a traditional food dish. And the concept was working. His company, Real Food Real Kitchens, had produced a successful television series. His magazine virtually sold out at Walmart, Target and elsewhere. And now he was releasing a Real Food Real Kitchens cookbook to an admiring public. But Craig was at the point where he needed help.
“I could be as creative as I wanted to be and make a really good TV show and more, but I needed more money,” Craig says. “I had invested all of my own money and a lot from family and friends, but growing the business would require more.”
That’s when Craig turned to the Florida SBDC at UCF’s sub-center at Eastern Florida State College.
“I recommend the FSBDC to all entrepreneurs. They gave me hope when I was feeling
Then they helped me see the promise in my concept and plan for the future, produce meaningful
financial projections and approach investors for the capital I need,” states Craig. “They have changed my
mindset. I now think of myself and operate as a small business, not just as a TV producer.” READ MORE about the Real Food Real Kitchens Success Story