State of Small Business
Andy Corty, Publisher
We know how you feel. How’s that? Because Florida Trend, like a great majority of the companies run by its readers, is a small business. As you can see from the magazine’s masthead on page 4, Trend has a couple dozen employees, a main office along with a few outposts and a business model that very much depends on each person pulling his or her own weight.
So this month’s theme — small business — has special resonance within our walls.
Inside the February issue of Florida Trend magazine -- and online -- you will find a package of articles on topics of special relevance to small business. Our editors discuss the red tape that ties entrepreneurs’ hands and ways the state could untangle the knots. Plus, we have articles on borrowing options, trends in “co-working,” what the healthcare changes mean, and the role of professional employer organizations in providing relief to businesses. Also, in this month’s CEO Sounding Board, executives of smaller companies outline their 2011 hiring plans.
Why is small business such an important subject? Because Florida really is a small-business state. While we certainly enjoy some Fortune 500 headquarters and regional offices for large national firms, the great majority of Florida’s businesses are small.
In fact, the Florida Division of Corporations keeps records for more than 2 million corporate entities, handling more filings than any other state. These include not just corporations, but also limited liability companies, partnerships, sole proprietorships and several other categories. We’re lucky to have a highly efficient state office to keep it all straight.
Jay Kassees, director of the Division of Corporations, is an innovative government leader. For example, Florida was the first in the nation to put filings online and provide instant access to the public. By harnessing technology, Kassees has been able to cut staffing in half, to just over 100 employees today compared to more than 200 a dozen years ago. The division runs on a budget of only $8 million but brings in $240 million in revenue.
No longer does the state need to rent and staff branch offices for filings or public access. Because today all of us have “branch offices” right on our desktops — simply by going online to sunbiz.org you can file corporate documents, download forms, view fee schedules and get in touch with the proper government division for help. Paper documents generally are handled within 48 hours, often faster. One day, perhaps, Florida companies will be able to use the Division of Corporations as the entry point for most government interactions — fill out information one time and have it directed to the proper departments for permits, taxes, et al. Won’t that be great?
Florida Trend has developed a repository of resources and links useful to small businesses — see www.FloridaSmallBusiness.com. The site also includes the state’s official reference guide covering legal structure, corporate filings, protecting intellectual property and much more.
We’re pleased to present another in our popular “Community Portrait” series — this month we take a deep dive into Gainesville. The University of Florida is a major player, of course, but you will see that Gainesville includes an exciting business element, much innovation and great places to live. See: Gainesville - A Community Portrait.
— Andy Corty
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