Moving company on the road to future growth
O’Lakers Moving of Hillsborough County
Although Mark O’Laker said he stumbled into the moving industry by accident in 1989, 30 years later he has turned that accident into a successful Bay area business.
O’Laker is the owner of O’Lakers Moving, a long-distance service provider, and 3 Guys Moving, a local in-state moving and storage company.
After his business suffered a loss due to Hurricane Irma in 2017, he turned to the Florida SBDC at University of South Florida for help acquiring a State of Florida Emergency Bridge Loan.
“[The bridge loan] was instrumental in getting us back on our feet after tons of jobs, as you can imagine, came off of our board due to the hurricane,” O’Laker said.
Though he initially sought out a loan, he quickly realized that the Florida SBDC at USF had so much more to offer to help rejuvenate his business.
“[The Florida SBDC at USF] has also put us in touch with some resources that I didn’t know were available to us, like advice on hiring, marketing, and accounting. They even offer actual QuickBooks accounting classes that I did not know were available to us.”
The Bridge Loan was not the only financial assistance to which the Florida SBDC at USF helped O’Laker with.
“SBDC has also assisted us in getting a loan from a local bank,” he said. “This helped us out tremendously in getting rid of our high interest debt and moving into something a little more reasonable. That has helped us out a lot with cash flow.”
O’Laker said he will continue to seek out the advice of the Florida SBDC at USF for the good of his business.
“We just finished phase one of the Growth Acceleration service offered by the SBDC,” he said. “I think it is going very well and we are looking to take advantage of phase two, which is going to help a lot with marketing to reach those goals that we have been trying to achieve.”
As he continues business growth with the help of the Florida SBDC at USF, he said he can’t speak highly enough of his experience to fellow business owners.
“I have been telling a lot of my friends who are business owners about the Florida SBDC,” he said. “Just like me, they didn’t know that it was available. There is so much value there and so many different ways that small businesses can benefit just by making the trip down, making a few phone calls, and getting involved.”