Whether you are just starting a business and are focused on building a solid foundation or you are an established business owner looking to take your business to the next level, good advice can be worth its weight in gold. The good news is, from national to hyperlocal options, there’s a business support service out there to meet every need. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
SCORE Volusia/Flagler Chapter 87
With 348 chapters across the United States, SCORE is one of the most well recognized organizations for assisting businesses. Once composed of retired business professionals with decades of expertise in their fields, the face of SCORE is changing as younger professionals find time to volunteer. Still, the core services remain the same.
SCORE Volusia/Flagler Chapter 87 Vice President, 58-year old Adrienne Barker, recalls being introduced to the organization by a colleague while in her 30’s, and reintroduced in 2017 while living in Tucson, Arizona.
“When I moved to Daytona Beach in 2018 to open our family’s fifth art gallery, I once again found SCORE and for a year watched and learned about our local SCORE 87 Volusia/Flagler office,” she said. “I then asked to meet our admin, Debbie Reaney, and President Jason Morgan, and I knew it was a match! I immediately got re-involved.”
SCORE mentors work with clients based on their specific area of need, ranging from business plans and strategy to legal planning, human resources, accounting and cash flow. Barker’s expertise in branding and marketing has been of great value to the suppliers and distributors she’s mentored over the years.
For example, Seasea Hogancamp, owner of Soulshine Bracelets, SCORE and her mentor, Baker, were just the resources she needed. “I was timid with a business idea and found SCORE. Immediately I was surrounded by talented, supportive, and unbelievable teamwork in all different fields of entrepreneurship. I couldn’t have gotten to where I am without their mentorship and their believing in me.” she said.
Nationwide, SCORE serves as a resource partner for the U.S. Small Business Administration, and the network offers a deep bench of talent and resources.
“We also can leverage help with other SCORE offices allowing us to seek advice, subject matter experts, and co-mentoring with 10,000 volunteer mentors in the USA,” said Barker.
Small Business Development Center
Always at the ready, Tom Daly, Director of Daytona State College’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC), brings a wealth of experience to his clients as a former business development and operations executive. Purchasing, growing and selling his own business, he has spent time in the trenches, bringing real world experience to help him connect with business owners at every level – from start up to the C-Suite.
“Providing entrepreneurs with access to the robust research, financial analysis, business planning, and digital marketing tools we have is an eye-opener for small business owners,” said Daly of the Center’s no-cost services.
“But, I think our safe-space, direct coaching and creating a resource where entrepreneurs can consider new approaches and establish sound processes is the most exciting. What we do can be a catalyst that helps small businesses navigate hazards and create long term successes.”
When asked to share an SBDC success story, Daly responded, “Several come to mind, but I especially love Nancy Benet at Fix-It Accounting’s story. She is an entrepreneur in the truest sense. She’s built an outstanding accounting practice from almost nothing. She has incredible peripheral business vision, and is always seeking feedback and new ways to leverage and pivot her business so it’s constantly evolving and moving forward. She recently “graduated” to our CEO XChange user group and is a strong advocate for helping local women-owned businesses flourish,” he said.“I started with the Growth Xchange group of business owners that Tom moderates. It was so refreshing to meet with other small business owners and be able to talk about what’s going on inside of our practice. As business owners, we tend to feel alone in our challenges. We can’t discuss it with our friends or employees or for me, our clients. It allowed me to get feedback and suggestions from others as well as to try to help them through their struggles,” shared Benet.
“After I joined the group, I realized that the SBDC had tremendous resources for business owners. One that was particularly helpful for me was its website rating tool. We had just had our website redone and I, knowing nothing about SEO or how the backend of a website should be, was anxious to know whether it had been configured well. Tom ran it through this tool and it came out with a very high rating. This made me feel great about our marketing firm,” she said, noting Daly has provided additional research and information to help her make informed growth decisions, introduced her to others who could help with her business growth and been of great support.
In addition to individual counseling, the SBDC, as a U.S. Small Business Administration partner program, offers workshops and webinars serving as a one-stop shop for America’s business community.
During 2020, many of those seeking guidance from Daytona’s SBDC were focused on navigating relief programs, according to Daly. While the SBDC doesn’t publish specific statistics on local client breakdown, he was encouraged to observe that the local new clients’ makeup is slightly more female, with a far larger intake of minority-owned businesses, leading to more good news.
“Of the 234 unique clients we served in 2020, I’m only aware of one that closed its doors – and that was in a pandemic,” he said. “I would like to think we played a role in helping every client, but I think it speaks more to the robust Volusia County economic fundamentals that existed pre-pandemic and what we forecast happening through Q4 2021 and beyond.”
Coastal Entrepreneurship & Innovation Institute
For more than a decade, Joe Roy has shared his business expertise with entrepreneurs across the northeast and Central Florida region. Today, Roy leads the independently operated Coastal Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute (CEII) in Palm Coast which is focused on helping both new and existing businesses grow and thrive. “SCORE and the SBDC provide invaluable services to the business community, yet there are not enough personnel to meet the needs of the business community if we are truly attempting to reduce the failure rate, address poverty and public health, and create an economic environment in which underrepresented groups based on age, race, ethnicity, orientation and gender can flourish,” said Roy of CEII’s mission and its place in the ecosystem of support that exists for entrepreneurs.
Since opening its doors less than a year ago, CEII has helped nine clients achieve an economic impact of $625,000. Among those helped is Oliver Wagenheim, founder of SparkAir, an industrial sanitation equipment supplier, who said Roy has been instrumental in helping him formulate a plan for his latest business venture.
“Joe helped guide my business and find the proper resources to start this business successfully,” said Wagenheim, who has developed UVC sanitation systems to combat COVID-19, effectively in buildings, on aircraft, on cruise ships and in homes.
“He provided assistance in developing a business plan, marketing and product development. With the help of the Coastal Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute, SparkAir has taken off. We have created our first cost-effective prototype of a medical-grade stainless steel UVC Light.”
While providing services similar to the SBDC and SCORE, Roy said CEII uses his time-tested approach to assisting entrepreneurs.
“For clients of the Coastal Institute, my approach is to ask broad questions on a range of topics within the client’s business. In my experience, this helps identify problem areas as well as client business knowledge. I’ve found that Q&A helps the client develop an understanding about the relationship between work processes and how that impacts the financial statements. This approach helps to build the client’s confidence and serves as a learning experience about a business concept,” shared Roy.
Concerned with tapping into underserved markets, CEII is developing several unique events.
“Our first event is the MomPreneur Expo, a virtual event on May 26th that will address topics of interest expressed by women in business. The topics were identified through a survey. We also expect to have a YouthPreneur Expo in the Fall of 2021,” he said.