Palm Coast Business Assistance Center manager reports progress

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The Palm Coast Business Assistance Center has been in existence for three years and Joe Roy has seen a lot of growth in the business community in that time.
The center is a partnership between the city of Palm Coast and the University of Central Florida’s Small Business Development Center program.

Roy, area manager at the business assistance center, also known as BAC, spent the first part of his career in manufacturing and brings that knowledge to working with new and existing small businesses in Flagler County.

He recently sat down with The News-Journal to talk about his center’s accomplishments since its opening.

How would you rate the success and impact of the BAC?

For the customers that have used us, I think they would tell you it has been pretty good, actually very good. We just tabulated the numbers and have generated $22.2 million in economic impact through October of this year from when we began in May of 2011. We have worked with 42 businesses that have created 174 jobs. The most interesting aspect of the work we do is that our customers (area business owners) work really hard. The customers have to believe in what we are suggesting to them and then they have to go out and do the hard work.

What do you say to small business owners who feel they don’t have the time to take advantage of BAC programs?

It is like those old commercials for oil filters, where the mechanic says, “You can pay me now or pay me later.” For people who think they can do it all on their own, I don’t understand why they would not seek some counsel from people who have been doing this their whole careers. I would say that is all the more reason why they would want to come in and have a discussion. Our whole goal is to help them be successful. We don’t want to see business owners lose money so we try to guide them down the right path.

What is the biggest mistake you see new businesses making?

I think there are probably two mistakes most new businesses make. The first is not having a plan you write down that says how you are going to get to where you want to go. The other part that goes with that is they don’t have enough cash to operate the business for any length of time while they grown and build their brand.

What is your outlook for your center through the end of this year and into 2015?

I feel really good about it. The businesses that we see are more seasoned and they’re looking for more capital investment. We are helping them with loans and we’ve been doing more in the retail side and with franchising. I think it looks really good for the businesses willing to invest their time and some of their money to make this work for them.

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