February 28, 2021

A Road Map for Success

Grow It

No one launches a business intending to fail.

| 7/20/2020

When is the right time to grow?
If you’ve been diligent about your expansion planning, you’ll know when your business is ready to grow. But to be absolutely certain, look for these sure signs your business is ripe for expansion:

  • You are enjoying a steady stream of repeat customers. A sudden surge in customers may be due to the season or to increased demand for a short-term specialty product. But if you see an upward trend in visits by regulars lasting over several months, it could well be a sign that your business is ready to expand.
  • Your customers have encouraged you to expand. Are your customers requesting products or services you don’t yet provide? Suggesting longer hours? Pushing you to open a second location? Any or all of these could be indications that it’s time to grow.
  • Your bottom line looks healthy. Take a good look at how much money your business is earning after you pay your bills. Have you made a comfortable profit for several months in a row? If so, now may be a good time to consider earmarking a portion of that gain to expand.
  • You have more business than you can handle. Are you turning business away? Working way too many hours? If these dilemmas are not the result of poor management but of too much business instead, then it’s time to grow. Hire more workers and/or find a larger space.

 

Exporting

Florida is home to nearly 60,000 exporters — the second highest number in the U.S. — and nearly all of them are small- and medium-sized businesses with fewer than 500 employees. Florida exporters enjoy a multimodal system that ensures seamless movement of people and products between any two points on the planet as well as ready access to the nation’s second largest Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) network.

Interested in expanding your business through trade? Here are some steps you can take:

  • Evaluate your readiness. Seek export counseling assistance and/or participate in educational seminars, conferences and webinars.
  • Create your export business plan and strategy. Apply for an Export Marketing Plan through the Florida SBDC Network, Enterprise Florida or U.S. Export Assistance Centers.
  • Enter a new trade market and meet your buyers. Attend international trade shows and missions with Enterprise Florida and the U.S. Commercial Service.
  • Learn about funding programs for exporters of goods and services. Contact the Florida Export Finance Corporation and EXIM Bank for information.
  • Become familiar with trade rules and agreements. Seek assistance from Enterprise Florida and the U.S. Export Assistance Center.

 

Stonehill, Tampa
Can a company with fewer than 25 employees and less than three years of full-time operation be recognized nationally for outstanding business achievement? Yes, and Tampa-based Stonehill is proof. In 2019, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce awarded its prestigious “Emerging Business of the Year Award” to Stonehill based on the company’s excellence in five operational criteria: business performance, community engagement, customer and employee relations and innovative business strategies. Self-described as a strategy and transformation consultancy, Stonehill helps companies identify opportunities, create change and accelerate growth. Its clients represent a wide variety of industry sectors, including manufacturing, finance, logistics and health care.

 

Make it Happen

If you’re serious about becoming an exporter, don’t go it alone. Instead, partner with:

  • U.S. Commercial Service Trade professionals in six Florida offices (see page 34) can help companies get started in exporting or increase sales to new global markets by identifying and evaluating international partners, creating market entry strategies and navigating documentation challenges. For general information on regulations, licensing, free trade agreements and other topics related to exporting, visit export.gov.
  • Florida SBDC Network In partnership with Enterprise Florida and the U.S. Commercial Service, Florida SBDC International Trade Specialists prepare Export Marketing Plans for qualifying Florida-based manufacturers and service providers. Approximately 100 hours is spent preparing each customized plan, which includes target market recommendations, overseas trade opportunities and an action plan for market entry. Each Export Marketing Plan costs $5,000 to prepare. However, qualifying companies are eligible for a $4,500 scholarship, bringing your company’s cost to $500.

Tags: Florida Small Business, A Road Map for Success

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