Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Join us for the Small Business Summit

This free event will focus on helping you, the small business owner, continue to grow your business. Join an expert panel in online marketing, logistics, merchant services and technology. Don't miss this chance to gain more knowledge that can help your business succeed. Registration and complimentary lunch begin at 11:00 am. After the summit, join us at the VIP hospitality tent and watch tomorrow's PGA TOUR stars!

The Small Business Summit helps small business owners succeed by providing:
• A panel discussion with the experts in business technology, logistics, merchant services and online marketing.
• Free, personalized consulting with Ambassadors.
• A free ticket to the Tour Championship.
• An opportunity to network with other key local business owners.
• Optional access to the Hospitality Tent, as our VIP guest, located behind the 18th green on the Dye's Valley Course.
• Complimentary admission to the Friday evening concert, featuring Scott McCreery, for all Small Business Summit attendees.

When: Sept. 19 | 11:00 am to 2:00 pm
Where: TPC Sawgrass Clubhouse
Cost: Free!

Registration: Click here to register

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Business Highlight: Jacksonville's Best Caregivers

Our client Rosalind Marshall has grown her care giving business with a full steam ahead approach.  Lately, she's taken her quality services to the next level by adding patients, employees, and even exploring government contracts with our consultants.  And to top it off she's taken to social media like a moth to flame, reaching tens of thousands of people in just the last few months alone.

Rosalind's compassionate spirit and interest in helping others shines through in the way she assists her clients.  She's what makes Jacksonville's Best Caregivers the special business that it is today.

Rosalind had this to say about the SBDC:
“We are only as good as the people around us.” Connecting with Don Zavesky and Jared Bailey through FSBDC has developed my innate understanding of how to respond to the market needs of my customers.

Due to the lack of resources (mostly time) this partnership helps me tackle objectives and barriers other small business owner’s face during the start-up phase. If I weren’t associated with FSBDC I probably would have closed by business. I am truly grateful for this resource that has become a friendship.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

SBDC Client of the Month: Jeff and Dawn Rawls, Synergy Fabrications LLC

Synergy Fabrications LLC., DBA Synergy Construction, began in 2001 by Jeff Rawls, a service disabled veteran, and his partners.  By 2006, Jeff bought out his partners and was on his way to owning a profitable construction company that holds a general contractors license, a plumbing license, a roofing license and an electrical license. By the spring of 2013, Jeff, and his wife Dawn, found themselves without a bookkeeper. Taking in to consideration the difficult economy of the previous five years and the struggle to stay in business through the difficult times, they decided they needed to take more control over the financial operations of the business. They decided to attend a QuickBooks training class conducted by the FSBDC at UNF at the Putnam County Chamber of Commerce. 

After the class, Dawn realized she wanted one-on-one assistance with understanding and managing the finances and payroll of the company. “The classes were very educational to help me understand the basics of QuickBooks, but I needed more advanced help, so I made an appointment with Cheryl Lynch,” said Dawn. In their subsequent meetings, Cheryl helped Jeff and Dawn with other challenges that they had faced and gave them the confidence they needed to make further sound business decisions.

“The Rawls have been clients of the FSBDC since 2009, so they were no stranger to the advantages of having no-cost consulting and low cost training available,” says Cheryl. “Both Jeff and Dawn are savvy entrepreneurs and understand the value of having an expert, outside of the business, that is an advocate for them, and listens to their struggles, needs and goals.”

The last four years were difficult for Synergy. However, the tides have been changing, and they have hired seven additional employees and counting, since their initial meeting with Cheryl. They are on track to increase their sales this year by 300 percent. “The services of the FSBDC at UNF are priceless,“ said Jeff, “Not only did they assist me with obtaining my HUB Zone certification, my service disabled veteran owned small business certification, and navigating through government contracting, they also provided me with a consultant that is helping me strategize and grow my business in a structured way, making the growing pains bearable. Every business owner in Putnam County should be meeting with Cheryl at the FSBDC, the results are proven!”

Nonprofit Branding Expert Jennifer Holland to Present at Sept 19 Nonprofit Conference.

Will Present "What Nonprofits Need to Know About Brand Building"

The SBDC at UNF is proud to present the 4th Annual Nonprofit Conference on September 19 at the UNF Herbert University Center. Included in our lineup of top-notch speakers is Jennifer Holland, who is one of only a handful of Certified Brand Strategists in the country. If branding your nonprofit is on your mind, you don’t want to miss Jennifer’s presentation.

What Nonprofits Need to Know About Brand Building
This session will open your eyes to strategic brand building for business growth in the nonprofit sector. Attendees will learn the foundational building blocks of successful brands and decision-making opportunities through a clearly focused brand lens.

About Jennifer Holland
Jennifer Holland founded Holland Creative in 1997 and is one of only 31 Certified Brand Strategists in the United States. The group meets twice a year to continue to evolve best practices for brand building. With a communications and consulting career spanning more than two decades, Jennifer is known for having the expertise to grow a client’s brand into an innovative, unique signature for its products and services. She has fine-tuned a process of brand development that is unlike any other. In fact, she and her partner, Jackie Weathers, are known thought leaders in brand strategy with a recent article published in the international Journal of Brand Strategy on the Holland Helix® model. Jennifer is a frequent speaker and is also well-known for developing and delivering the Build Your Brand DIY Workshop® series around the Southeast. Jennifer is CEO of Holland People + Brands, and its sister agency, Holland Creative Services, where her team’s award-winning branding and communication materials are created.

Have you registered to attend? You don't want to miss the information and opportunity to network with over 120 nonprofit leaders from Northeast Florida. Click here to register.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Dr.Georgette Dumont to Present "Strategic Decision Making for a Sustainable Nonprofit" at Our Conference on Sept. 19

The 4th Annual Nonprofit Conference on September 19 will feature nonprofit experts who will share their years of research, experience and knowledge. One of those experts is Dr. Georgette Dumont who will present Strategic Decision Making for a Sustainable Nonprofit. See below for more information about the breakout session and Dr. Dumont.

This presentation will include the role of the board and top leadership in relation to the internal operations of the organization as well as its external environment. Once the broad overview is done, attendees will drill down into assessing an organization’s sustainability by using the Matrix Map designed by Bell, Masaoka, and Zimmerman (2010) in Nonprofit Sustainability.

The Matrix Map is a tool for nonprofit leaders to assess each activity and program of a nonprofit. Since all nonprofits are businesses, this map uses a business model to understand all the business lines (fundraising to programs). The activities and programs are mapped out based on their profitability and mission impact. Once completed, the leaders are in possession of key information for making strategic decisions on how to adjust the nonprofit’s business model.

About the Speaker
Dr. Georgette Dumont currently teaches at University of North Florida in their Political Science and Public Administration Department. She specializes in public and nonprofit management, and is continually engaged in research on nonprofit accountability and how nonprofits utilize intent technologies.

Event Details:When: 9/19/2014 - 8:00 am to 1:30 pmWhere: UNF Herbert University Center at 12000 Alumni Drive - Jacksonville, 32224Fees:$75.....1st person of organization (Through Sept. 12th)$35......per extra person of organization$ the door / after Sept. 12th

Click here to register.

Friday, September 05, 2014

The FSBDC at FAMU Called Us Out With an ALS Icebucket Challenge So...

We responded...

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease," is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.

Please consider making a donation to help beat this hideous disease...

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Our Interview With Patricia Davis: Consumers Against Toxic Apparel (CATA)

Our client Patricia Davis just visited. She has been getting a lot of attention both in the U.S. and overseas with her organic clothing organization known as CATA. We think you will find this interview interesting...

What is CATA?

CATA is the acronym for Consumers Against Toxic Apparel.  Our mission is to increase awareness and educate consumers about the health risks of wearing toxic and chemically produced clothes.  CATA offers conscious consumers exclusive access to organic apparel companies nationwide.    We provide exclusive discounts on unlimited purchases from unique vendors.  We are the perfect go to resource for anyone seeking clean, safe, organic and natural clothing.  Our website and blog are constantly updated to keep you informed on the latest developments and dangerous practices in the textile industry. 
Why is wearing organic apparel so important?

The textile industry is producing garments today using an enormous amount of dangerous chemicals contributing to serious health issues and chronic illnesses.  In addition, to the many chemicals used in growing natural fibers, synthetic fabrics are produced from toxic chemical compounds not found in nature.  Currently, synthetic fibers make up over 82% of mass produced clothes.This overload of toxins are not only endangering humans but our environment. Clothing from around the world has been researched and the chemicals in them have been linked to cancer, leukemia, brain damage and infertility.  Wearing organic apparel decreases the amount of chemicals on your body by 80%.  Organic farming does not use any pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilizers to grow the cotton crops.  There are zero persistent chemicals to make you sick, especially during manufacturing.  It's been reported that organic farming can reverse climate change a serious issue affecting our environment.  Wearing organic apparel shifts dollars to companies producing clean clothes who protect our health while sustaining the environment.
                                             Dress by Earth Creations

What's the number one myth about organic apparel?

Most consumers believe organic apparel is boring, ugly and plain.  It's just not true!  Organic apparel is stylish and attractive.  It's available in gorgeous colors, different patterns, interesting textures and many styles.  Organic clothes feel good on your skin and are easy to care for.  Just visit our site to see for yourself at:

Who are the companies involved?
Many of the companies involved are not as easy to find as big name brand companies, yet the products they provide are hidden gems and their missions are integrity based.  Some produce their products from start to finish in the USA.  Many employ innovative manufacturing techniques and put doing business with a conscious over profits. The companies include SOS from Texas, Fox Fibre, Sassis Organics, Indigenous, Fed by Threads, Earth Creations, Synergy, Imagine Green Wear, Xylem, Fiercely Green, Vital Hemp, Silver Needle & Thread and more. 
                                                  Dress by Imagine Green Wear

How can someone get involved?

CATA is a membership based campaign.  Consumers should visit our website, subscribe and take the CATA pledge to support organic fashion.  When you become a member you will receive your special ID member card that allows you to shop over fifteen CATA Associated Companies saving 10%-15% on all your purchases for one full year.  Our partner companies offer affordable, safe and sustainable clothing for the entire family.
For more information, contact Patricia Davis at 904-998-9978 or

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Cost of Growth

Business owners are often confronted with the opportunity and/or desire to expand and grow their businesses.  It might be as simple as hiring a new employee, or as complicated as adding a second location.  We see establishments in town investing in new buildings and fa├žade upgrades.  Correctly calculating the cost of growth is the most important part of any business expansion.  A simple break-even analysis will reveal to the business owner the concrete cost of his latest idea. Consider this example:

Bob wants to increase his hours of operation to evenings and Saturdays.  To do this, he will need to add a part time worker and this will increase his payroll and expenses by $15,000 a year.  The increased revenue Bob will need to cover this new employee is the difference between his break-even point before and after the hire. 

To figure the break-even point, he must first calculate his variable cost percentage.  Variable costs are expenses that are only incurred if a sale is made.  The variable cost percentage is a percentage of total sales.  Bob had $620,000 in total sales and spent $496,000 on variable costs.  His variable cost percentage is 80%.  The 20% that is left over is known as the contribution margin.  The contribution margin covers fixed costs (expenses that occur whether a sale is made or not) and profit.  The break even sales number is found by dividing the total fixed costs by the contribution margin.  Bob’s fixed costs before the new hire were $109,200.  His break-even sales before the new hire were $546,000.

To figure Bob’s break-even sales after the new hire, he needs to add the new fixed expense of the new hire into his fixed costs and re-calculate.  His new break-even sales point will be $621,000. 

Bob now understands that he will have to increase sales by $75,000 to pay for a $15,000 increase in expenses.  This simple calculation will help Bob monitor his sales in the coming months to decide if the evening and weekend hours are going to be able to support the new hire.

This calculation can be applied to a building expansion or a new piece of equipment.  In most cases you can add the loan payment for the expansion to your fixed costs and re-calculate.  If you are paying cash for the new project, add your required rate of return to the fixed costs and re-calculate.  You may need to do some extra calculations when adding a new machine or product line as your variable costs may change as well.

This same calculation can be used if a business owner is contemplating a price change.  For example; Bev had a candy shop and wanted to drop all of her prices by 10% to compete with the new shop down the street.  Her total sales were $100,000 and her variable costs were $60,000 giving her a contribution margin of 40%.  Her fixed costs were $20,000, making her break-even sales $50,000.  If she drops her prices by 10%, her new contribution margin will be 33% making her new break-even sales amount $60,000.  Bev had to increase her sales by $10,000 (20%) to cover the discount.  Only time will tell if the lower prices will produce the higher volume sales needed ($120,000) to earn the same profit.

Your SBDC Consultant can help you evaluate your break-even point and develop growth plans for your business. 

Mark Yarick joined the Small Business Development Center in January 2014 to provide service to small businesses located in Suwannee, Hamilton and Columbia counties. His professional experience includes work in the automotive field with hands on management and production supervision as well as warranty and customer service. He has been a small business owner since 2002 and will spearhead the SBDC efforts in Agribusiness.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Mindy Barker to present Financial Literacy and Planning at Sept.19 Nonprofit Conference at UNF

Many nonprofits struggle with the financial piece of the nonprofit puzzle.  But, it is so important to the success of the nonprofit. To learn more about solve this part of the puzzle, join the SBDC at UNF for the 4th Annual Nonprofit Conference on Sept. 19 at the UNF Herbert University Center.  The following is information about one breakout session during the conference:

What is in your current financial toolbox? Financial management requires a number of tools and is unique for each organization.  Financial management of not-for profits is similar to that of for profit organizations.  But in the nonprofit sector, there is sometimes a tendency to move forward to address the mission of the nonprofit and a belief that financial support will follow. This philosophy can lead to frustration, being in the red and the worst case is closing the doors of the organization.  It is important leaders address the financial needs and make sure enablers are in place to apply financial discipline to the infrastructure. This presentation addresses: long term sustainability, general ledger structure, cash flow and ethics & compliance.

About the Speaker:
Mindy Barker is the CEO of Mindy Barker & Associates. In this role, she works with not for profits and business owners to empower them with tools and financial information to improve company value, profitability and cash flow. Prior to founding Mindy Barker & Associates, Mindy was the chief financial officer for OptaComp, a workers compensation company and subsidiary of Florida Blue. She also served as controller of Kemper Services Group and was principal and chief financial officer of Chartwell Capital, a private equity firm. Mindy’s diverse background also includes management positions in the industries of property and casualty insurance, distribution and manufacturing and consulting. Mindy began her career in public accounting with Price Waterhouse Coopers and Ernst and Young.  Mindy holds a Bachelors of Arts degree in Accounting from Converse College and is a certified public accountant in Florida and North Carolina. She is a member of the American Institute of CPAs, the Association of Corporate Growth, Women Business Owners and the Jacksonville Women’s Network. She also serves on the board of directors of the Children’s Home Society.

Event Details:When: 9/19/2014 - 8:00 am to 1:30 pm 
Where: UNF Herbert University Center at 12000 Alumni Drive - Jacksonville, 32224 
Fees:$75.....1st person of organization (Through Sept. 12th) $35......per extra person of organization
$ the door / after Sept. 12th

Click here to register.