AppDataWorks LLC of Hernando County
Jerry Boutot was working as a senior developer for a consulting company in Connecticut when a new opportunity presented itself. His client work had gotten so advanced that he outgrew the company and was offered the opportunity to go out on his own.
“My employer gave me two very important clients that I was servicing, and AppDataWorks was born,” he said. For the next 10 years, Boutot reaped the rewards, working with companies of all sizes, while also maintaining those two client accounts, and moving to Florida.
Then, the bottom dropped out. “In 2013, my two major clients that I had been working with for many years both went away on me in the span of three months,” he said. One client was abruptly bought out and sold to a larger manufacturing company while the other was unexpectedly purchased by a company in Europe and all IT work was then outsourced.
The loss of his two major clients left Boutot with no business and no income. “I had no marketing experience,” he said of what to do next. “I needed help just being able to articulate what I do in an elevator pitch, so I came to the SBDC and met with Jerry.”
Jerry Karp is a certified business consultant with the Florida SBDC at University of South Florida, located at the Greater Hernando Chamber of Commerce. Upon first starting to work together, Boutot was not fully on board with following Karp’s advice. “I’m not going to lie,” Boutot said. “I’m a real type A personality and I don’t like being told what to do or how to do it. He has a ton of knowledge and experience but I wasn’t willing to stop ‘drowning’ and let him help me to shore.”
Karp continued to work with Boutot, convincing him that he needed to change his offerings, better target his audience and adjust his messaging to suit what the market needed. “Over about an 18 month period, I went from knowing nothing about marketing to being an online marketing and SEO framework expert, largely in part to Jerry Karp and the conversations and meetings I had with him,” he said.
Now, AppDataWorks has found a niche – creating search, social and mobile-optimized small business and e-commerce Websites. Along the way, Boutot says he’s learned some valuable lessons about entrepreneurship.
“Honestly, the single most important thing I learned – the hard way – was to listen to the experts,” he said. “Because of what I’ve learned, things have turned around quite a bit.” Boutot recently delivered a WordPress Website for a small sole proprietor – an electrician – that makes his company appear like a national chain. He’s also preparing to deliver a WordPress-based news Website that will allow the client to add e-commerce, flexible advertising, classifieds and other monetized features.
Boutot added that he intends to continue to work with Karp moving forward as he grows his company. “It’s always been my dream to create a software company and provide high pay, a fun working environment, and great benefits to my employees,” he said. “I’ll be having a lot more meetings with Jerry Karp and the SBDC as I begin the process of making that dream a reality.”