Monday, November 24, 2014

5 Little Known, but Huge Resources for Gainesville Business Owners

Over the past year or two, I have to say that I am very impressed with the level of commitment that has been exerted by the City of Gainesville and their business community, along with the help of the Gainesville Chamber of Commerce, to affectuate change and foster innovation in the community. It is truly inspiring, contagious and a true testament to the fine leadership that has been established in our city.  There have been some exciting initiatives set in motion that will dictate a culture of success for this city for at least the next 50 years and I'm excited to be a part of this great community.  In my day-to-day interactions with key leaders in the business community, I have come across some valuable, value added resources that would benefit a great deal of entrepreneurs, but get very little advertising or publicity.  So in an effort to share them and get the word out, I've compiled them into this blogpost and here they are:
Urban redevelopment is a coordinated effort to enhance our community's assets while constantly improving the cityscape.
The CRA has moved forward with a variety of projects; some of which (such as historic rehabilitations, streetscape improvements and fa├žade enhancements) enrich existing elements within a redevelopment area.  Other CRA projects will provide exciting new features such as gateway fixtures, public art, high density residential, mixed use, and commercial developments.
The Tech Toybox helps individuals and businesses turn ideas into working models and teach people how to rapidly make proof-of-concept demonstrations of ideas. With both engineering and science, they make early prototypes and perform research and development projects.
Tech Toybox has a wide range of experience and has developed everything from flat panel displays to infrared devices, to medical device prototypes, and all forms of electronics. They are eager to help anybody who wishes to create early stage prototypes.
Manufacturing Equipment Sales Tax Exemption
Governor Rick Scott recently enacted Florida HB 7007 to create a sales tax exemption for industrial machinery and equipment purchased by manufacturers. As of April of this year, purchases of industrial machinery and equipment used by an eligible manufacturing business at a fixed location in Florida to manufacture, process, compound, or produce for sale items of tangible personal property will be exempt from sales tax. An "eligible manufacturing business" is a business that primarily engages in business activities within the industries classified under manufacturing NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) codes 31, 32, and 33 at the location where the industrial machinery and equipment are located. Eligible types of manufacturing establishments include, but are not limited to food, apparel, wood, paper, printing, chemical, pharmaceutical, plastic, rubber, metal, transportation, and furniture.
The Gainesville Chapter of the SCORE organization provides free and confidential business counseling tailored to meet the needs of small business and their personal objectives. They also offer a series of workshops (some are free of charge, and some require a modest fee) for both start-up entrepreneurs and small business owners already in operation.
Blue Oven Kitchens is a not-for-profit, commercial kitchen incubator serving North Central Florida. Its mission is to foster a whole-system approach to the sustainable growth of the North Central Florida food system. They provide and promote foodways, foodshed, food economics, and food safety research and education; and we incubate low-income and disadvantaged food entrepreneurs.

Monday, November 3, 2014

I've Moved to Front Street | 4 Steps to Making Quality Decisions

BREAKING NEWS: sometimes in life you're faced with making decisions that can dramatically change your future on either side of the coin. Not that you're in a bad position where you are, but one that better aligns with your passion and personal vision for yourself. While I was in a great position with my Coldwell Banker family, on a great team, with a great company with timeless relationships being forged, I knew that my heart aligned a bit differently with some core interests. I've been very grateful to have some wonderful opportunities present themselves to me which are easy to graciously pass on because they don't  necessarily align with my core, personal vision and values. But this one came along and I had to consider it because it actually did. So I am pleased to announce that I've made the move to pursue my real estate career further, but from the commercial side and I'm doing it with Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group ( I just wanted to publicly thank my wife, my trusted advisors, and definitely the Coldwell Banker family for their unconditional support in this tough decision. This  decision also prompted me to share some keys to making quality decisions and here they are:

1. Pray: I'm not sure who you worship, but I am a strong believer in my faith in God. I also acknowledge that there has to be a power higher than me that has divine insight and wisdom beyond my ability. Have a conversation with your higher power because he knows the thoughts and plans that are ahead of you and if you seek him first, you will find them.

2. Consult with Wise Counsel: In life, everyone should surround themselves with a personal board of directors. A group of individuals that you can call to help you analyze key life decisions and present different points of view based on what they know about you and their insight into your life, coupled with their life experiences and expertise. This mastermind group of people should consist of Pastors or other spiritual leaders, industry experts pertinent to your career field, life-long friends (with a grain of salt), and, most importantly, your spouse.  Your spouse is usually the one most intimately acquainted with you and also has some "skin in the game" when it comes to the outcome of your decisions.  They are gifts from God.. LISTEN TO THEM! And also, let me emphasize the word, "WISE" in wise counsel. Be careful in who you allow to speak into your life.

3. Research the Facts: Become an expert on all facts, figures and data relating to your decision -- both quantitative and qualitative. From this data, establish a list of pros and cons as it relates to both sides of the decision to be made.  This may also be applicable to establishing a SWOT Analysis -- an analysis of your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.  Your Strengths: things that you personally possess that would add value to a given entity; Your Weaknesses: the converse of your strengths; Opportunities: outside influences and potential future transactions that may take place that you can take advantage of given your strengths; Threats: outside influences and future transactions that may be hurdles and blockages to your success given your weaknesses.

4. Pray Again: Your faith in God should be the first and last voice in your journey.  Once you've initiated the process with prayer, and have done steps two and three, you should shut off the voices, silence the noise and listen for that still, small voice of wisdom.  Get into a place of silence whether it's an office, a quiet place in nature, a coffee shop, wherever it is that you can be in tuned with just you and your higher power and reach a place of peace with your decision.  Some would call this, "going with your gut."

Once your decision is made, do not waiver and go into a state of "paralysis by analysis." Be very quick and decisive in making the decision and corresponding plan of action. Do away with all reminders of the "way it was" and things that would remind you of the past.  It's very important that you are fully invested in the new decision and have laser focus on your action plans to experience swift success.