When I started a small business in Florida more than 20 years ago, I was fortunate to have the guidance and support of the state's vibrant business community. The assistance I received then enabled my business to grow from three employees to one of South Florida's largest commercial real estate firms.
Today, small businesses continue to serve as the backbone of Florida's economy. As such, I have remained focused on building a positive business climate and resource base important to evolving good ideas into profitable enterprises.
There are a variety of sources in our state where small business owners can obtain relevant assistance and entrepreneurial guidance -- from local economic development organizations and chambers of commerce to Enterprise Florida, the state's public-private partnership responsible for leading Florida's statewide economic development efforts. As a point of reference, I encourage you to use Florida Small Business as your link to locating the resources you need to ensure success in entrepreneurship.
I congratulate you on taking the first step in turning your dream of business ownership into reality and wish you the best of luck in the future.
The Department of State, through its Division of Corporations, and Florida Small Business join in providing Florida's business community valuable state services information.
The Department of State's Division of Corporations registers more corporate and limited liability company filings than any other state, as well as more than some entire regions of the nation. The division responds to approximately 200 million requests for information per year and provides over 45 different filing, registration and service activities worldwide 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
In order to provide the public with quick and easy access to filings on record, the Division of Corporations offers Internet access to digital images of these filings. Users may research any of the division's filing databases and download copies of any records they need. Also, through the use of credit cards and accounts, Florida's businesses may now submit filings and request certifications electronically without paying an additional expedited service fee. All of these services are available at www.sunbiz.org.
The Division of Corporations maintains the reputation of being the most innovative in the nation. We look forward to introducing further breakthroughs that will continue to reduce the cost of starting and maintaining a business in Florida.
Sue M. Cobb
Secretary of State
The Resources You Need To Know
Innovation -- not euros or yen or dollars -- is the currency of today's global economy. Innovation fuels productivity, attracts investment and stimulates economic recovery. Nowhere is the spirit of innovation more evident than in Florida, "Innovation Hub of the Americas."
Thanks to Florida's spirit of innovation and easy access to international trade, thousands of businesses set up shop here every year. To assist new business owners, Enterprise Florida -- the state's economic development organization -- works with local and regional business development partners to provide the guidance and resources small businesses need to grow.
In this spirit of cooperation, we are partnering again this year with Florida Trend to create Florida Small Business, an informative guide to doing business in Florida. In addition to the insight offered in this publication, Enterprise Florida's website also offers a wealth of information and links to scores of helpful business organizations to help your business grow and prosper.
Best of luck on your journey. We encourage you to visit www.eflorida.com should you need additional assistance.
John Adams, President/CEO
Enterprise Florida Inc.
A message from the Publisher
We at Florida Trend magazine are proud to present Florida Small Business 2006, published in partnership with Enterprise Florida, the Florida Economic Development Council and Workforce Florida. Inside you will find reliable resources, advice and information to help your business thrive.
And who better to bring you this information than Florida Trend. For 48 years, Florida Trend has been bringing business news and views to the attention of the state's decision-makers in government, big business and small business. In Florida Small Business, our staff has focused its attention on the most important issues facing Florida's entrepreneurs and emerging companies, and I think as you read and use this publication, you will agree that they have done an outstanding job.
I invite you to make use of all of our publications and online resources to ensure your future business success. I also encourage you to contact the businesses and organizations whose messages appear in this magazine to assist you in your growth.
Lynda Keever, Publisher
Florida Trend and Florida Small Business
A message from the Editor
On Your Own
We all like to feel that we are in control of our own destiny -- at least in our careers. For many of us, that means leaving the corporate world behind to start a small business in a field we love.
Owning your own business can give you control over long-term goals as well as day-to-day flexibility. But it also means long hours, sacrifices and challenges that are required for success.
If you own or operate a small business, you're probably also on the lookout for new ideas. If you are a lawyer, accountant or consultant who works with small-business clients, one of your roles is to point out new strategies and opportunities to help your clients' businesses grow. We here at Florida Small Business are here to help you find those ideas, strategies and opportunities.
Over the past 11 years, as editor of Florida Trend magazine's "Entrepreneur" column, I've talked with and written about hundreds of people across Florida who have walked away from secure corporate jobs in order to pursue the dream of owning their own business. Some have become wildly successful; others continue to build their businesses one day at a time. And, of course, there are the business owners who have failed. How can you be one of the winners? How can you help your small-business clients? Our goal is to give you the winning moves.
If you run a growing business, we've included ideas and advice to help you run it better. For cash flow management ideas, check out our story on page 36, "Keeping the Cash Flowing." Get some ideas for deciding whether to lease or buy your business's workspace with "5 Tips for Real Estate Decision Making" on page 38. You'll also find up-to-date information on taxes, raising and managing capital, global business and disaster preparedness.
If you are just getting started in business, we've included the basics on topics such as legal structure, business planning and
We at Florida Small Business hope that this magazine inspires you and helps you make the right choices to do it on your own