Smart business scores big investment
Simply Reliable of Pinellas County
From flying cars, to robots to smart homes, most people who grew up in the 60s, 70s and 80s had high hopes for the future of technology. Though we haven’t quite figured out the flying cars, we are experiencing a huge technological boom and now robots and smart homes are not mere cartoon fantasy.
Tom Coffin has built his business Simply Reliable to cater to the needs of the contractors who work in the smart home industry.
“We have a business workflow process solution for the smart home industry contractors,” Coffin explained. “These are the folks who put in lighting control, audio video systems and work on luxury homes. Our product is essentially the entire business process or the [operating system] of their business.”
Because technology is constantly changing and growing year after year, after moving Simply Reliable to Florida, Coffin realized that the business needed a major upgrade. This required capital investment.
That is when he turned to the Florida SBDC at Pinellas County Economic Development for help, where he met certified business consultant, Kurt Forster.
“One of the most wonderful things about the SBDC is I met Kurt,” he said. “Kurt has really become a mentor and someone I can really talk to about how to solve certain problems that a CEO might have to deal with. He always has a great ear and always has great advice.”
After attending classes such as SBA Loan & Services and How to Write a Business Plan, Coffin’s initial one-on-one sessions with Forster focused on creating a business plan, how to build a pitch deck and seeking out the right investors.
“One of the things we realized was that we needed to grow some of our internal processes,” he explained, “our marketing process, our sales process and our development process. So, we’ve been working on that for a couple of years in order to perfect what we know. It’s now put us in a prime opportunity to go out and get a much larger set of capital in order to grow faster. We’ve grown year after year, but now we’re ready to grow really fast.”
With the help of the Florida SBDC at PCED, Simply Reliable has been able to raise more than $500,000 in investments.
He said he is still in need of additional investors and will continue to work with Forster in the search for the right ones. He recommends other business owners to follow suit and to reach out to the Florida SBDC at Pinellas County for any business need they have.
“Whether you are just getting started or whether you’re really in growth mode, come down and talk to the folks at the SBDC,” Coffin said. “They have a lot of resources that they can point you in the right direction. It is not all just growing capital. There’s a lot of different choices that they have and we take advantage of a lot of it. I suggest you do the same.”