Cleanpak Products, LLC of Hillsborough County
George Brydon left corporate America to return to the Tampa Bay area with his family, 20 years ago. He saw that move as an opportunity to become an entrepreneur himself. Looking for a manufacturing business of some kind, he came across a business that sold its products to janitorial and wholesale paper distribution customers, which Brydon had experience with.
“This was an opportunity for me to have a product I could sell to that marketplace and also help them, because of my background, to help make their businesses better,” Brydon said.
Cleanpak Products is now a short-run manufacturer of janitorial cleaning solutions and a new line of agricultural products that reduce the amount of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilizers that are used to grow crops.
While Brydon has always been proud of the company’s financial standing, he thought the business might benefit from an outside consultant who could evaluate it objectively. So, he reached out to the Florida SBDC at University of South Florida, to get the assistance of two consultants. Joe Pfeiffer and Bill Burnham, business consultants for the Florida SBDC at USF, eventually spent over 200 hours evaluating the operational and financial aspects of the business.
“On the operations side, I don’t even know where to start,” Brydon said regarding how helpful the consultants’ work was. “We needed help. Joe, our SBDC consultant, came in and he dragged us kicking and screaming into the 21st century. I don’t know where we would be today if we hadn’t had his help.”
Brydon saw the same sort of results on the financial side of the review as well. “What we learned was the importance of having a business plan, a formal business plan,” he said. “We always had a budget but the business plan helped us to formalize where we were going and why to help put some meat behind those numbers. That’s been much more helpful than I had remembered.”
As a result of the Florida SBDC at USF evaluations, Cleanpak Products has grown 16 percent. “Being a salesman at heart, Brydon said, “our lead times have gone from six to seven days, down to three days. Our customers are happier. All the stress of trying to keep people happy has gone away and it’s allowed us to focus on growing our business, not just maintain where we were.”
Moving forward, Brydon knows the value of an outside consultant to help grow business. “As we move forward and grow our business, I can’t imagine not being part of the SBDC,” he said. “In my estimation, the support we get there is equal to what I received when I was in corporate America. We view them as our partner today, going forward.”
He encourages other business owners to utilize the Florida SBDC at USF as well, saying that entrepreneurs must be prepared for a lot of hard work and be ready to roll up their sleeves in order to work successfully with the business consultants.
“I would say if you’re working harder and enjoying it less, the time has come to get some new eyes on your business and the people at the SBDC can bring many sets of eyes to look at your business,” he said. “If you’re willing to listen to them and work with them to make it happen, you can have wonderful success working with those people.”