Business Insights: Recovering Through New Products

By: Peter Keating
Erin Baker’s Wholesome Baked Goods
In 1994, Erin Baker began making healthy breakfast cookies. “One day I caught a call from a woman asking for the nutritionals—we were selling them naked in a jar at Quality Food Centers,” remembers Baker (and yes, that is her real last name). The woman figured out the cookies were only two Weight Watchers points and word quickly spread. How quickly? In a year (1999), Baker’s business went from two employees to 100. Then, Weight Watchers suddenly changed its points system. In a period of eight months, the company lost about 60 percent of its distribution. How did the bakery recover? Two words: New products. She says they moved away from the diet crowd—”we realized they were fickle,” says Baker. “It’s been very successful for us.”

New data illustrate small firms’ impact on the Florida economy

New data illustrate small firms’ impact on the Florida economy

By Jeffrey Cassady –

It’s no secret that small businesses play a sizable role in the Florida economy. Recent numbers from the U.S. Small Business Administration illustrate that point.

According to the SBA’s annual “Small Business Profiles for the States and Territories” report, Florida is home to close to 2.2 million small businesses, defined as companies that employ fewer than 500 people.

Further, those small businesses employ a significant chunk of the state’s workforce. Nearly 405,000 of Florida’s 2.2 million small businesses employ workers, and they provide jobs for roughly 40 percent of the state’s approximately 3 million-strong labor force, according to the report.

Brandon Mayer, Sweetwater Landing Marina

Brandon Mayer (right), a 2014 management graduate of FGCU’s Lutgert College of Business, is among the growing number of young entrepreneurs nationwide. In 2014, Mayer became the new owner of Sweetwater Landing, a marina providing dry and wet boat storage in Fort Myers, thanks to the assistance of FSBDC at FGCU business consultant Norm Jacobson (left).


SBA data also show how small businesses affect Florida’s standing in the world economy. According to the report, 95 percent of the 61,848 Florida companies that exported goods and/or services in 2012 were small businesses. Further, those small businesses accounted for 68.6 percent of export value that year.

There are other reasons to be optimistic about the state of small business in Florida and the country as a whole. For instance, entrepreneurship, which took a dive after the Great Recession of 2007-09, is on the rise, according to a report by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor,

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Divorce and Business Don’t Mix

divorceI spent the afternoon reading through articles on divorce impacts on small business as part of planning for our CEO Law Forum event in March.  I have to say, if you are a business owner – a substantial risk to your biggest asset, your business, is having the unfortunate fate of divorce.  In almost every story I found, the high likelihood of business and personal bankruptcy, complete business loss, or worse, spousal take-over of a business happens… Continue reading

Future Franchisees Met “The Zor’s”

Today’s Franchise Fair and Expo was a great success.  35+ attendees learned about different types of franchises, how to determine if franchising was right for them, financing options, and much more.  The Florida SBDC thanks Frannet and the other franchisors who helped educated potential future franchise owners of tomorrow.