GLT Total Office of Polk County
In November 2012, Brenda Wise, President of GLT Total Office in Lakeland, was looking for a way to spur the growth of her company. Like most companies, GLT experienced a slowdown in sales during the “Great Recession.” Then she heard about the Growth Acceleration Services provided by the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of South Florida.
“As most politicians will tell you, small business is the backbone of America and unfortunately, small business is falling to the wayside in the path of corporate America; so we’re constantly looking for avenues to open that door again and be involved in additional business,” Wise said.
Business had been picking up so Wise wanted take full advantage of the improvement in the economy to accelerate the growth of the business. However, Wise had concerns regarding the ability of the firm to handle challenges faced by any rapidly growing company. She was not sure the company had the personnel, accounting, and information systems in place to oversee a significant increase in business or sufficient inventory to sustain the growth. She reached out to the SBDC for answers to her questions.
Jim Parrish, a certified business analyst who specializes in growth acceleration, conducted an assessment of the company’s capabilities. After conducting an interview of the owners and management, performing industry and market research for the company, and completing a financial review which compared GLT’s financial performance to other similar firms in its industry, he identified areas for GLT to focus in order for the company to more effectively manage its assets, thereby improving the financial and operational performance of the company while positioning it for accelerated growth.
Since then, the company has grown to 23 employees, added showroom space, and improved its financial outlook.
“We were recently able to land a million dollar job so this year our revenues are going to be 35 percent more than what they are now just simply because we’re a woman-owned business. The jobs are out there, it’s just that finding them is not always easy,” Wise said.
The job came as a result of GLT being a majority woman-owned business.
Next, Bill McKown, a certified business analyst specializing in marketing, assisted GLT in the development of new marketing strategies and tactics designed to accelerate the growth the company. Wise was particularly interested in the possibilities for her business when it comes to marketing consultation.
“So much of the marketing now is going electronic and as a small business owner it’s hard for me to know the right place to invest my money…so I will be looking to get Bill’s advice in this area,” she said.
As a small business owner, Wise says it is important to have an avenue to turn to when seeking information that will affect her business.
“If [the] Small Business Development [Center] isn’t funded, then we have no avenue to seek the information that we need to be able to continue the growth that our business needs to experience to stay viable,” she said.