HSC Organics of Hillsborough County
One day after noticing that there were dark green spots on his lawn called fairy rings, Greg Smith went on a search to find a natural solution that would get rid of the disturbance. After searching for a month, Smith realized that there was nothing on the market that would help him get rid of the problem. That was until he ran into a friend who knew of someone that was creating a product for fairy rings. The creator had a rudimentary product that needed development so Smith acquired the base formula and later developed it into a commercial product, thus creating HSC Organics.
“What we do is manufacture an organic product that replaces normal fungicides, which are severely polluting our planet and killing things in the earth,” Smith said. “What we’re trying to do, ultimately, is turn Florida into an organic growing state so we can stop the runoff, stop the manatees from reaching the endangered species list again, stop the sea turtles from having 50 percent cancer cells, stop the red tide, stop the algae bloom, and give everybody healthy food for the same price,” he added.
When contemplating how he would get the business off the ground and running, Smith happened to turn on his television and came across a commercial from the Florida Small Business Development Center at USF that made him reach out immediately. Once he called the number on the screen, Smith was paired with Florida SBDC at USF business consultant, Pablo Arroyo, for help with an export marketing plan that would increase the business’ exposure and growth.
Since working with the Florida SBDC at USF, the business owner mentions how he has received an extensive marketing plan and great information that has benefitted his company’s growth. When asked about his export marketing plan Smith said, “It has all kinds of information there that you can use to build your export business. Information on where to go through the SBDC, to talk to the government, to get some financing for your doing. It’s all laid out there. It’d probably be a thirty-to-forty-thousand-dollar value if you’re going to turn around and have somebody do that for you, if not more.”
He also added, “It’s very extensive and very knowledgeable because you see a great resource network of a lot of people that know things and that’s the other nice part, if you need to know something you can refer to that, there’s the information. Or you can call Pablo, he gets back to you right away with an email saying here, contact this person, that’s who specializes in that and away you go.”
Smith later speaks about his company’s successful growth with the help of his consultant, the export marketing plan, and the Florida SBDC at USF, making strides in the United States as well as other countries. “Well, since I’ve worked with the Florida SBDC at USF, the way our company is growing is we’re making a multitude of connections, and it gives us a lot of credibility. We’re reaching out now to large capital companies in Europe where they’re changing the laws quicker than they are in the states,” Smith said.
The business owner also mentions that there was a slight pause in his business operations after an incident with a former employee. After that was settled, Smith reached back out to Arroyo and got to work on finding new partners that could help with their international business. “Because I have the SBDC of Florida with USF working with me I’m quite confident in being able to do business out of the country and have the right people in place to make sure that things go well for us and we stay out of trouble,” Smith said.
When asked if there was any advice he would give to other small business owners, Smith expressed, “I would not make the mistake I did and wait so long to get a hold of the Florida SBDC at USF. So, I would advise you, if you are starting off in a business and you want to find out things in your industry, they’re the place to go and they’re going to help you.”