How Businesses are Adapting to Tomorrow

Florida isn’t just a destination for snowbirds and tourists.

Kim Fitzgerald

It’s also where businesses are planted and flourish. Recently, The Digital Project Manager  released a report, and Florida ranked number one for the most entrepreneurial state.

Since 1998, Kim Fitzgerald, creative director of Curleytail Design, Inc., an advertising agency, has watched her business evolve over the last 25 years.

“When I first started my advertising agency, most businesses didn’t have the knowledge or the technology to handle their design, printing and marketing needs. They hired professional designers and strategists for their branding initiatives,” says Fitzgerald. “Then, slowly, we had to deal with online companies that could offer the same services and products. Competing with online companies can be challenging, but we learned it’s certainly possible if we offer value, expertise and, especially, a personalized touch.”

In the business world, keeping up with trends — including technology advances — allows her to stay in the know. A willingness to pivot can help a business thrive, she says, by embracing tools such as artificial intelligence (AI) .

“The technology available has certainly helped in my business, and now, with the introduction of AI, my productivity is at an all-time high,” says Fitzgerald. “You always want to be current or even a step ahead of your competition.”

A strong willingness to seek change is a must in business these days, says Lisa Ekinci, co-founder of Office Divvy, a Palm Coast company that offers a variety of small business consulting services.

Ekinci’s team works with small and large companies and often sees how companies can get stuck. That’s why her team recommends a 40-minute “hash-it-out” session to zero in on a company’s current biggest challenge.

Ky and Lisa Ekinci

Sometimes, stepping into a co-working space like Office Divvy can generate better-flowing conversations simply due to scenery changes.

Ekinci says those are “go hard” moments to get to the root of what needs to happen next. For larger companies, sometimes that means learning a better way to communicate with workers and offering flexibility.

“As a firm, you have to be able to communicate your culture, your values, she says. “These big firms have the benefit of time, maturity and resources to communicate questions like “What is this culture? What do we see changing?’”

Additionally, if profits are falling, work feels boring or ideas continue falling flat, for an entrepreneur, that’s often a sign it’s time for a change, Ekinci says.

That’s one of the biggest goals of Office Divvy — to connect entrepreneurs to others in the Palm Coast community for inspiration and engagement. For those businesses — whether it’s a law firm or a business coach — that come through their doors, the goal is to plug others into inspirational situations.

Sometimes, it looks like getting freelance writers working together in writing groups or veterans connecting to chat about their military careers and new business ventures.

Ekinci says human connection is an aspect that isn’t going away for start-ups or long-term businesses. After the pandemic, people craved social interactions, and for those in the business world, those face-to-face connections are a must.

“If you’re home alone, you’re left to whatever you can come up with,” she says.

That’s why she plans to bring back Entrepreneur Night, the creation of Ekinci’s late husband and fellow co-founder, Kayhan “Ky” Ekinci. She’s excited to bring it back with vigor in honor of Ky to allow entrepreneurs, angel investors and others to connect in person.

It was her husband’s vision to link entrepreneurs on a deeper level; it’s the direction her team intends to continue in and hopes to see other area entrepreneurs move in.

“I see more bold, brave moves,” she says of the area’s future business evolution. “We expect our young entrepreneurs to come and try things. Bold and brave is that you can be in business for yourself, but you shouldn’t be by yourself.”