Orlando Spotlight: 4 Successful Small Business Examples

Table of Contents

1. 4 Small Business Success Stories from Orlando
2. What Can Aspiring Entrepreneurs Learn from These Orlando Small Business Success Stories?

Entrepreneurs may find themselves in competition with one another, but many love the idea of giving a leg up to new business owners. They remember how challenging (and at times, frustrating) it can be to get a small business idea off the ground, and they want to share their advice.

Here at Addition Financial, we love supporting businesses and business owners in our membership area. It’s for that reason that we’re thrilled to feature some successful small businesses in Orlando and give you some insights into how they overcame common small business challenges. So, here are 4 successful small business examples from Orlando to inspire you as a small business owner.

4 Small Business Success Stories from Orlando

Orlando is home to many small businesses that have success stories. Here are some of our favorites.

#1: CCI Group

Indira “Indy” Vega is a living example of the American dream. She moved to Florida from her home country of Colombia. Because she spoke fluent Spanish and English, she was able to find work as a 911 operator and later, as an interpreter at the county courthouse.

It was her work as an interpreter that inspired her to launch her business, CCI Group. The company offers translation and interpretation services for both public sector and private sector clients in more than 200 languages, including American Sign Language (ASL).

Indira Vega worked with the Small Business Development Center at the University of Florida when she was getting her start. Her company will celebrate its 11th anniversary this year and has grown significantly. They’re now able to provide clients with an interpreter for phone meetings in less than a minute.

When asked what her business does, Vega said, “We do more than replace words. We enable true communications across languages and cultures.”

#2: Page One Consultants

Sheryl Page founded Page One Consultants back in 1997, so she’s a small business owner who has beaten the odds in terms of longevity. Her firm offers consulting services in engineering and construction. The early years were difficult in many ways and Sheryl faced some special challenges as a woman business owner in a predominantly male field.

Her business took off when she sought help from the Florida Small Business Development Center (FSBDC) in 2012. That year, her sales increased by a whopping 32%. By 2016, the company had 60 employees and $6.2 million in sales. In 2017, Sheryl Page was named Woman-Owned Small Business Person of the year by the State of Florida Small Business Administration. We’d call that a success story!

Sheryl Page’s advice to entrepreneurs and small business owners might seem basic, but we know she’s right. She says, “Keep your faith and be patient. Don’t give up… Don’t quit!” Perseverance is one of the most important qualities to have if you want to turn your small business into a success.

#3: The Dirt Master

When he was just 15 years old, Marquis Mckenzie dropped out of school and lost his way. By 16, he’d been convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to 24 months in prison. He could have let that be the story of his life, but it was in prison that he found himself and his purpose.

His job in prison was cleaning his dorm, and he saw a connection between how the dorm looked and how he felt. He earned his GED before being released in 2008 and started college classes. However, he found that his dream job of being an early childhood educator was out of reach due to his criminal record.

Instead of giving up, Marquis started a cleaning company, The Dirt Master. Since the company’s start, he has given work opportunities to over 80 formerly incarcerated people. He works a second job at the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, a non-profit organization working to restore voting rights to those who have served time in prison.

Marquis’ story is unique, but he has many things in common with other small business owners. He said, “I knew that the properties and buildings I was going to clean weren’t going to be as dirty as the prison. So, I figured that I found my niche right then and there.”

Finding a niche and being willing to work hard are necessary regardless of your small business idea and industry. Marquis’ plans include scaling his company and offering franchises to other formerly incarcerated people. 

#4: Drummond Carpenter

Drummond Carpenter was co-founded by Chad Drummond and Don Carpenter in 2016. The company is a certified Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB).

Like several of the other small business success stories on our list, Drummond Carpenter got its start with help from the FSBDC. Before the company launched, both Drummond and Carpenter sought information and guidance to help them get their new venture off the ground. They attended webinars and learned about the financial aspects of running a small business.

Drummond points out that working with the FSBDC gave him confidence to launch the business and grow it. Confidence can be a crucial component of small business success. Today, his company has three offices across the country and more than 30 employees. They recently won a $5 million contract with the Veterans Administration.

What Can Aspiring Entrepreneurs Learn from These Orlando Small Business Success Stories?

Anybody who wants to build a successful small business can learn from the entrepreneurs we’ve featured here. Here are some of the most important lessons we hope you’ll take away from this article.

Small Business Ideas Are the Foundation of Small Business Success

What all of our successful entrepreneurs from Orlando have in common is that they started with an idea. Their ideas largely grew out of their previous work experience, but some were the product of creative thinking and necessity.

We think The Dirt Master is the best example of someone using limitations and obstacles to build a small business. Marquis would never have started his company if he hadn’t met so many obstacles to employment after getting out of prison.

Business Tools and Resources Are There, So Use Them!

You might be tempted to start a small business on your own without help from anybody. What you’ll notice, though, is that our success stories all feature people who understood that there were resources to help them.

Whether you take advantage of free classes and webinars, work with a mentor or find small business banking tools to help you manage your finances, there are tons of resources out there to help you navigate the startup process and turn your small business into a winner.


It’s Important to Have a Plan

The thing about starting a small company is that it can’t turn into a profitable business without a business plan. Your business plan should include a budget, a marketing strategy, information about your target market and information about your brand identity.

Your business plan is what you’ll use to attract potential investors or to apply for small business financing. In the success stories we’ve featured here, business owners took the time to think about their new business idea and learn what they needed to know before launching the business itself.

Building Brand Awareness Is Essential

Every small business needs an identity and that identity should be tied to the company’s brand. Branding is about more than creating a memorable logo. It’s at the heart of everything when you build a company, whether it’s an online business or a brick-and-mortar store, like a coffee shop.

Your brand needs to be consistent. It should start with your website, which needs an appealing web design that reflects your brand’s unique value proposition and mission to your target audience. Everything else you do online, from your social media accounts to your email marketing to review profiles, should be consistent and reflect your brand. That way, potential customers will recognize you and come to trust you through your digital marketing.

Set SMART Goals

Every small business owner needs at least one business goal to pursue. Even if you have a product or service that’s in high demand, you should be intentional about how to grow your business.

As a reminder, SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound. Every business goal you set should come with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that you can track to measure your performance.AFCU_77-BlogGraphic-18

Be Persistent

Persistence in the face of obstacles is something that all of our featured success stories have in common. Indy Vega moved to a new country and used her fluency in Spanish to build a business. Marquis Mckenzie faced seemingly insurmountable obstacles as a formerly incarcerated person, but used his experience in prison to build a company that’s both successful and purposeful.

The takeaway here is that the most successful small business owners are those who don’t let setbacks or challenges stop them from doing what they set out to do. Does that mean that you’re guaranteed to succeed if you don’t give up? Of course not… but it does mean that you’ll give your new enterprise the best possible chance of success if you learn to be resilient and persistent.

Get Your Small Business Off the Ground with Addition Financial

Building a successful small business isn’t an easy endeavor, but you can do it. The 4 Orlando businesses we’ve featured here show that it’s possible if you’re persistent, hard-working and willing to seek out help when you need it.

Do you need business banking tools to get your small business up and running? Addition Financial would love to be part of your success story! Click here to read about our small business accounts and become a member today.

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