Friday, January 30, 2015

Export Finance Session at International Trade Certificate Program

You finally made a solid international sales lead.  The overseas customer wants to order a container-load of product, but they want to pay you 90 days from now.  But, how do you pay your suppliers and shippers in the meantime?  What if your customer wants to pay you in their home currency, what kind of risk is involved?  Where can you go to figure out how to handle this? 

The Trade Finance session of the International Trade Certificate Program brings together four experts from the field to discuss all of your options (see selected speaker bios below).  This session will cover trade finance solutions such as letters of credit, documentary collections, export financing, hedging, and more. 

Daisy Ramos-Winfield, Florida Export Finance Corporation
Daisy Ramos-Winfield is the Executive Vice President of the Florida Export Finance Corporation (FEFC) which is a not-for-profit corporation formed, funded, and sponsored by the State of Florida.  She has 17 years of diversified experience in banking including trade finance starting with 10 years at Bank of America where she grew throughout the nationally acclaimed financial institution and managed a portfolio of over 125 business clients, both domestic and international companies and institutions with annual revenues from 2.5MM to 20MM.  She later expanded her knowledge within her position to include, write and execute credit policies and Risk Management compliance.  Mrs. Ramos-Winfield has acted as a consultant to both the U.S. and foreign companies within the trade finance spectrum.  Her trade experience with both large and small companies and in both the public and private sectors has given her a valuable background and proved to be a valuable asset to the FEFC with its primary purpose of financial support for Florida small and medium sized exporters.

David Matos, TD Bank
David Matos is a Global Trade Finance Specialist and a seasoned professional in the International Financial Services Industry. He is currently Vice President of Global Trade Finance for TD Bank. He brings a unique perspective to the market because of his vast experience working in the international operations and sales departments of several multinational money center banks including, Security Pacific Bank, National Westminster Bank, Fleet Bank Boston and Bank of America.
While Mr. Matos is well versed in all facets of international banking operations and the financing of cross border trade using both private sector and U.S. government programs, it is the consultative approach that he takes with his clients that makes him a valuable partner. He views each customer’s situation as unique requiring a customized solution. He earned the Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) designation from the Association for Financial Professionals in July 2009 and is an active member of the association. Mr. Matos also serves on the Board of Directors for the Florida Export Finance Corporation (an economic development organization sponsored by the state of Florida) and he is an associate member of the Florida District Export Council where he lends his business experience in support of the United States’ export expansion efforts.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Website Globalization Session at the International Trade Certificate Program


According to a recent Cisco report, by 2018 there will be nearly four billion global Internet users (more than 51 percent of the world's population), up from 2.5 billion in 2013.  If you look at your website traffic statistics, it is likely drawing hits from around the world already.  Can you afford to ignore 50% or more of your “walk-in” traffic? 

The Website Globalization session during the International Trade Certificate Program will be led by Mr. Jorge Arce of the U.S. Commercial Service (see bio below).  This session will teach attendees how to maximize their online sales potential overseas.

Jorge Arce, U.S. Commercial Service
Mr. Arce is Director and Senior Trade Specialist with the U.S. Commercial Service (U.S. Department of Commerce). His duties include assisting and consulting Northeast Florida companies on exporting “Made in USA” products and services worldwide. His mission is to assist U.S. manufacturers, service providers, and their representatives to establish distribution channels around the world, through U.S. Commercial Service operations in over 160 cities in 80 countries. Prior to his arrival at the Jacksonville U.S. Export Assistance Center (USEAC) in August 2003, Mr. Arce was assigned to the Miami U.S. Export Assistance Center from 2002 to 2003 and from 1995 to 1998. From 2000 to 2002, Mr. Arce was the Deputy Director and Content Manager for BuyUSAinfo.net, a U.S. Commercial Service information portal, now merged with BuyUSA.gov. Between 1998 and 2003, he was an International Trade Specialist at the Ft. Lauderdale and Miami U.S. Export Assistance Centers.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

International Trade Certificate Program to Begin on February 6th

With 75% of the world’s purchasing power residing outside of the United States, small businesses cannot afford to ignore developing an export strategy to grow their bottom line.  Becoming a successful exporter involves planning and connecting with the right resources.  The International Trade Certificate Program brings together over 20 experts from the field to discuss the mechanics of going global.  From topics such as international market research, to website internationalization, export financing, compliance, cultural sensitivity, and real live case studies with small business owners who currently export, this is the only series in Northeast Florida offering so much in one place. 

A selection of our guest speakers is listed below.

Jorge Arce, U.S. Commercial Service
Mr. Arce is Director and Senior Trade Specialist with the U.S. Commercial Service (U.S. Department of Commerce). His duties include assisting and consulting Northeast Florida companies on exporting “Made in USA” products and services worldwide. His mission is to assist U.S. manufacturers, service providers, and their representatives to establish distribution channels around the world, through U.S. Commercial Service operations in over 160 cities in 80 countries.
Prior to his arrival at the Jacksonville U.S. Export Assistance Center (USEAC) in August 2003, Mr. Arce was assigned to the Miami U.S. Export Assistance Center from 2002 to 2003 and from 1995 to 1998. From 2000 to 2002, Mr. Arce was the Deputy Director and Content Manager for BuyUSAinfo.net, a U.S. Commercial Service information portal, now merged with BuyUSA.gov. Between 1998 and 2003, he was an International Trade Specialist at the Ft. Lauderdale and Miami U.S. Export Assistance Centers.

Larry Bernaski, Enterprise Florida
Larry Bernaski is the Regional Manager for International Business Development and Canada Specialist for Enterprise Florida in Jacksonville. Enterprise Florida is the primary economic development office for the State of Florida. Enterprise Florida’s mission is to create a greater awareness for the advantage of doing business in Florida and with Florida businesses; attracting foreign direct investment into Florida and assisting Florida businesses with the international business development activities.
Prior to his arrival in Jacksonville in 2007, Mr. Bernaski served as a Marketing Specialist for the Utah Department of Agriculture, as the Director of International Trade for the Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce and as Director of the Salt Lake County Export Assistance Program.

Daisy Ramos-Winfield, Florida Export Finance Corporation
Daisy Ramos-Winfield is the Executive Vice President of the Florida Export Finance Corporation (FEFC) which is a not-for-profit corporation formed, funded, and sponsored by the State of Florida.  She has 17 years of diversified experience in banking including trade finance starting with 10 years at Bank of America where she grew throughout the nationally acclaimed financial institution and managed a portfolio of over 125 business clients, both domestic and international companies and institutions with annual revenues from 2.5MM to 20MM.  She later expanded her knowledge within her position to include, write and execute credit policies and Risk Management compliance.  Mrs. Ramos-Winfield has acted as a consultant to both the U.S. and foreign companies within the trade finance spectrum.  Her trade experience with both large and small companies and in both the public and private sectors has given her a valuable background and proved to be a valuable asset to the FEFC with its primary purpose of financial support for Florida small and medium sized exporters.

James M. Anzalone – Global Trade Compliance Professional
James Anzalone is the president of Compliance Assurance LLC, a firm specializing in global trade compliance solutions. Mr. Anzalone has consulted firms of all sizes throughout the United States on the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR) and Customs & Border Protection (CBP) regulations.
For over 18 years, James has developed comprehensive compliance programs including commodity classification, license determination, ‘know your customer’ checks, development of corporate policies and procedures and employee training programs. As an independent consultant, he has assisted companies with their Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) registration, technology control plans, brokering activities, commodity jurisdiction, encryption control reviews, government mandated and internal audits and training, DDTC, BIS and OFAC licenses and a myriad of other import and export compliance challenges.

David Matos, TD Bank
David Matos is a Global Trade Finance Specialist and a seasoned professional in the International Financial Services Industry. He is currently Vice President of Global Trade Finance for TD Bank. He brings a unique perspective to the market because of his vast experience working in the international operations and sales departments of several multinational money center banks including, Security Pacific Bank, National Westminster Bank, Fleet Bank Boston and Bank of America.
While Mr. Matos is well versed in all facets of international banking operations and the financing of cross border trade using both private sector and U.S. government programs, it is the consultative approach that he takes with his clients that makes him a valuable partner. He views each customer’s situation as unique requiring a customized solution. He earned the Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) designation from the Association for Financial Professionals in July 2009 and is an active member of the association. Mr. Matos also serves on the Board of Directors for the Florida Export Finance Corporation (an economic development organization sponsored by the state of Florida) and he is an associate member of the Florida District Export Council where he lends his business experience in support of the United States’ export expansion efforts.

To register, go to: www.sbdc.unf.edu.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

FSBDC client of the Month

“Starting my own business has been both the scariest and most exciting thing I have ever done.  Tracy Nazzaro and the SBDC provided priceless support and training from the very beginning when all I had was an idea for my practice to when we were able to open our door to the public.  Anyone looking to take the next step in opening their business should use all the FSBDC has to offer.”

Dr. Kevin Lin was interested in the field of medicine and healing from a young age.  After graduating from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, with dual bachelor degrees in Pre-Med and Art History he turned his gaze toward the chiropractic profession. Dr. Lin was looking for a treatment protocol that would provide long-lasting and life-changing results, which is what he found by using the Neural Restorative Method taught at the Life University in Atlanta, Georgia.

After graduating from Life University in 2009, Dr. Lin practiced with several seasoned chiropractic professionals before deciding to open his own practice on Amelia Island. While Dr. Lin is very confident in his healing skills, he sought guidance from the FSBDC at UNF to assist him with the business planning process to ensure that his practice reaches its maximum potential.   One-on-one meetings with his FSBDC consultant, Tracy Nazzaro, began a full nine months before the practice opened.  FSBDC consultation sessions included: site selection, loan package preparation assistance, brand development, market research, financial projections, marketing strategy and staffing needs.

On May 5, 2014, the FSBDC and the entire Amelia Island community celebrated the grand opening of Precision Chiropractic on 14th Street in Fernandina Beach.  The state-of-the-art facility offers technologically advanced patient care in a comfortable environment.  Each Neural Restoration Chiropractic examination includes: onsite radiographs, neural structural spinal analysis, neural system analysis, neural shift detection and orthopedic and neurological tests.  Patient intake has been brisk, and Dr. Lin is already looking at opportunities to expand the practice and the FSBDC will be with him every step of the way. Dr. Lin’s business is doing so well that it was recognized by the Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach–Yulee Chamber of Commerce as the Small Business of the Year at their annual awards banquet.

Dr. Lin has five years of training in Neural Restoration Chiropractic through the Knee Chest Upper Cervical Protocol. He is currently an active instructor with the KCUCS program and has led three mission trips the past three years to Guatemala and the Dominican Republic.  He is a very active member in the Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber of Commerce and is on the board of directors for the Amelia Island Montessori School.  

Monday, January 12, 2015

International Trade Certificate Program Returns

One of the most popular events offered by the FSBDC at UNF each year is the International Trade Certificate Program. This is a unique opportunity for businesses that are successful in the local, regional or national markets to explore taking their products or services global! As a growth oriented business, you should join us to explore international trade opportunities, challenges and resources available to help make your export venture successful.

Topics Include:
• Preparing for export: Identifying sources of information and assistance
• Finding partners:  Direct vs. indirect exporting, trade shows, trade missions
• Legal issues: International compliance, regulations, contracts
• International marketing strategy:  Identifying target markets and developing an international marketing plan
• Logistics:  Freight forwarders, documentation, shipping insurance, port operations
• Export financing: International payment methods, credit risk management
• Cross-cultural communication

The 2015 International Trade Certificate Program will be held on six (6) consecutive Friday mornings.  Fees include: All course materials, subject matter experts, optional CGBP exam prep session, reference materials, continental breakfast, live case studies and free parking.
Event Details
This event is presented by: The FSBDC at UNF, Enterprise Florida, U.S. Department of Commerce and JaxPort.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Our Interview with WickedSmart- Matching You with Jobs and Paid Internships!




Our client Matthew David of WickedSmart stopped by to talk to us right before Christmas. He is very busy promoting a more than clever business concept that helps people get paid internships and entry level jobs.
How did you come up with the idea?

53% of college students either can't find a job after college, or feel like they have to take a job that they're overqualified for, just to pay the bills. Students struggle to connect with companies where they can build their careers. We wanted to simplify the entire college-to-career transition. So we created WickedSmart, which is a web-based platform that matches students and recent grads to meaningful, paid internships and entry-level jobs.

What makes you different than anybody else?

WickedSmart gets companies to motivated, vetted students and recent graduates quickly. We market your company to our student population and facilitate getting the right candidates in front of you as quickly as possible.

How does WickedSmart help Students?

We actively match students and market them to companies for positions that are a great fit for both the employer and the students as they start to build their careers. Most job board sites are filled with the same jobs and you submit your résumé to a black box. In WickedSmart you can start a conversation with an employer.

How does a company get involved?

Companies can sign up at www.WickedSmart.me for $99 a month. (WickedSmart is free for students.) The monthly fee includes unlimited job postings, unlimited access to the WickedSmart community and unlimited "connect requests." For the next year, Jacksonville companies’ first year of service will also be free. You can also email me at matt@wickedsmart.me and I will help you find your new hire.

What kind of students are you looking for?

We welcome students from any degree of study and any area of interest. In Jacksonville right now, WickedSmart employers are looking primarily for interns and entry-level candidates who've studied graphic design, web development, marketing and business. However, we have new companies joining the community regularly, both here in Jacksonville, and across the country.

What would you do differently if you started WickedSmart today?

We would have had a larger presence at OneSpark last year and would have launched with more local publicity. However in the time since WickedSmart has started we have built a product that we are proud of and are excited to help Jacksonville companies find WickedSmart new hires!


Monday, January 05, 2015

60 Ways to Grow Your List: Back to Business

Ready to start 2015 with new customers? Consider growing your email marketing list. 

Having an interested and qualified list of contacts, that you can stay top of mind with, is vital to every business. Continuing to grow that list is just as important. In this workshop we will show you 60 easy ways to grow your contact list today!

In this class, you will learn:
• Why someone should join your contact list and what’s in it for them
• How to ask people to join your list "face-to-face"
• How to use social media to grow your list
• How to grow your list on your website or blog
• How to use print material to get people to sign up
• How to use events to help grow your list
• How to use incentives and giveaways to grow your list

 Plus, you'll have a chance to network with other attendees and grow your contact list, live during the workshop!

When: January 21, 2015 - 9:00 am to 11:00 am
Where:  UNF Herbert University Center |  Bldg. 43
Cost: Free!
Register: www.sbdc.unf.edu
  
Intended Audience: The content is targeted at the beginner- to comfortable small-business and non-profit marketer who is looking to build their marketing knowledge, or to reinforce what it is they already know.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Client of the Month: Javier Garcia, Pinnacle Civil & General Contractors, LLC

“The assistance that the FSBDC provides us has been instrumental in our ability to respond to government solicitations and contract requirements.” – Javier Garcia, Pinnacle Civil & General Contractors, LLC., Jacksonville, Florida

Javier Garcia has been steadily growing his Jacksonville company, Pinnacle Civil and General Contractors, LLC since he started it in 2007. The company’s initial focus was in providing construction services and has gradually expanded into providing full service civil construction, facilities maintenance, landscaping and general horizontal and vertical construction services.  Javier credits much of his success to hard work, dedication, and exceeding expectations.  As he says, “I strongly feel that by working together with the folks at the FSBDC, we will continue to meet our goals and growth objectives.”

As the company began to grow, Javier recognized the strategic importance of obtaining various small business certifications for government contracts.  Javier enlisted the support and expertise of the FSBDC at the University of North Florida to assist and support him in realizing success through the SBA 8(a) Business Development Program and the Jacksonville Small and Emerging Business (JSEB) program. After obtaining these certifications, Javier more fully engaged the resources and consulting support of the FSBDC through the support of its professionally certified business consultants, Paul Arrington and Marge Cirillo, and Government Contracting Specialist, Don Zavesky. 

As a team, Javier, Paul, Marge and Don have worked together in supporting the growth and success of Pinnacle Civil and General Contractors. The FSBDC consultants worked with Javier on developing a business plan, responding to government solicitations, developing strategies for marketing and business development, securing business financing and contract bonding, networking with prime contractors and government agencies, utilizing bid matching services and discussing various business teaming ventures.

Javier’s success is a great illustration of what can result when a hardworking, visionary entrepreneur engages area business support resources.  Some of his successes have included receiving the following business certifications:

•             SBA 8(a) Business Development Program
•             Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business
•             Small Disadvantage Business (SDB), Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), Disadvantage Business Enterprise (DBE), and Jacksonville Small and Emerging Business (JSEB)
•             Underground and Excavation Contractor License
•             General Contractor License

Recently, Javier Garcia has been enrolled in the new FSBDC Bid Matching Service.  This is a no-cost service, offered to select FSBDC clients, that identifies and delivers federal, state, local and worldwide government contracting opportunities relevant to the client’s business.  Every day through email alerts, Javier receives potential government contracting opportunities, specifically researched for his business.  Before submitting a proposal, Javier and his team have the ability to review each opportunity, make go/no-go decisions, and prepare proposals for government contract awards. Recently they have been awarded government contracts with the National Park Service and the U.S. Navy, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southeast.  As Javier says: “We are proud to be a successful Jacksonville based construction company that supports our local community and Nation.”

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Who is your Target Market?


One subject that always seems to come up when working with small businesses and business start-ups is the target market.  The identification of the target market is one of the most important exercises for the business owner.  The target market drives many other business decisions and the lack of target market identification can lead to costly mistakes.

A business can have more than one target market.  It is usually good for business owners to identify at least three.  Sometimes one target market will have a completely different product or service mix.  Other times a target market will be a different group of customers served with the same products.

When I ask the business owner: “Who is your target market?” I often get the answer: “Everyone in Suwannee County,” or “Everyone in Cross City.”  This is not true and I can prove it.  Let’s say a natural gas business owner provides service to Gilchrist County.  Is all Gilchrist County the target market for this business?  No.  He does not sell to children under the age of 12 in Gilchrist.  Nor does he sell to homeowners in Gilchrist who only have electric ovens and electric water heaters.  Sometimes it helps to make a list of non-customers when identifying a target market.

The best question to identify a target market comes from Joe Abraham, author of Entrepreneurial DNA.  “Who is the person and situation for which your company is always the best choice?”  A Small Business Development Center colleague expressed it this way: “Who do you hit a home run with every time?” 

There are some customers that love your business; and you love them.  They never complain about your prices and you are always happy to serve them.  It is what some business owners call their “sweet spot.”  On the other hand, most business owners can name a few customers who are a pain.  The work is never right, the price is always too high, the product isn’t exactly what the customer wanted and you are seldom happy trying to make them happy.

When both parties are very satisfied with the transaction, it lifts the quality of the work and strengthens the relationship between business and customer.  These are the people you like to serve.  These are the customers you want to have.  This is the group you want to target.

Knowing specifically who your target customer is will make other business decisions easier.  The story is told of a barber who was successful at cutting elementary boy’s hair.  Mothers loved to bring their boys to him because the barber was able to do a good job without the drama they encountered in other shops.  The boys didn’t mind this barber because he had a cool spaceship chair and played corny old black and white space shows while he cut their hair.  The barber didn’t mind because the appreciative mothers were glad to pay a couple of dollars more than the going rate for his service.  He had identified elementary school boys as one of his target markets.  One day, the local Parks and Recreation Department called to see if he wanted to advertise on the outfield fence of the T-Ball field.  He didn’t have to think long about that decision because it would be a great venue to reach his target market – elementary school boys.

Knowing your target market will drive decisions that affect the product mix, employee training, advertising, location and expansion as well as a host of other small and big decisions that an owner is faced with every day.


Your Small Business Development Center Consultant can help you figure out your target markets and brainstorm with you about how to reach them.  The SBDC has 250 consultants and 40 offices in Florida.  Mark Yarick is a certified business consultant with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in North Central Florida and is hosted by the University of North Florida in the offices of the Suwannee County Chamber of Commerce.  SBDC confidential consulting is available at no charge.  Please call us (386-362-1782) if there is any way we can help you start and grow your business.



Mark Yarick is a professionally, certified consultant with the Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in North Central Florida and is hosted by the University of North Florida in the offices of the Suwannee County Chamber of Commerce.