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Entrepreneurs Grow and Develop at the University of West Florida

The University of West Florida Center for Entrepreneurship was developed to promote entrepreneurial spirit, provide mentorship and influence economic growth. Dr. Ranelli, the center’s director, said, “… our first objective was to create a buzz for entrepreneurship among students on campus.”

The center sparks innovation by inviting local successful small business owners to share their stories in Wed. night Forums. The Idea Space at the center also hosts coaching sessions for the annual Da Vinci Innovation Celebration competition. In 2018, UWFCE sent graduate students to a national Masters-level case competition. The students had to apply their class management strategies to solve “an internal problem” for a NASDAQ company. UWF won second place! The center also provides a Job Shadow program where 50 local CEOs allow students to shadow them for a typical corporate day.

Dr. Ranelli believes that the students that are exposed to these interactions and mentorship with small business owners receive benefits that also extend into the greater community. For more information, read the following article from:


Business Seller, Should You Hire an Intermediary?

If you are a business owner and you are considering selling your business, what are you looking for in a business intermediary? Interview your candidates and have them walk you through their process and approach. Ask about their experience in selling businesses, and about the businesses in your industry. How do they target the buyers for your business? Will you be comfortable working through the marketing and due diligence process with them?

When selling your business consider who will be answering the following questions that Brent Beshore asks in his article, “Should You Hire an M&A Advisor to Sell Your Business?”

  • Who will source and vet potential buyers? (phone calls, buyer/seller meetings & site visits)
  • Who will gather the history of my business including detailed financials, customer and vendor contracts, employment and real estate agreements and legal actions.
  • Who will negotiate the deal? (the letter of intent, due diligence and final paperwork.)
  • Who will keep me emotionally in check during this whole process?
  • Who will be proactively pushing the deal forward on my side?

If you’ve never completed a transaction like this from the selling side, you might want to consider engaging an experienced and knowledgeable intermediary. Emerald Coast Business Intermediaries would like to sit down and discuss an exit strategy with you.

For more information, click on the following article:

Should You Hire an M&A Advisor to Sell Your Business?


Ready to Sell? – Make Sure You’ve Built Your Market Value and Improved Your Cash Flow


Brian Mazar, from Louisville, Kentucky and a friend of our Manager/Broker, Jeff Moody, discusses the key points that business owners need to address before selling their business. In his article for Divestopedia titled “When is the Best Time to Sell My Business?”, Brian recommends how to prepare for the sale of your business by building market value and improving cash flow.

Even in a strong national economy, owners need to build market value by doing the following:
     * Have clean and verifiable financial statements for the last 3 years
     * Have SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) documented and in place
     * Resolve and eliminate liabilities or liens
     * Make sure company equipment and the facility are maintained and in good operating
     * Secure key employees with employment agreements
     * Eliminate non-contributing employees
     * Have a management team that can operate without the current owner
     * Add more customers to your base if you are relying on 1-2 large customers
Improve cash flow:
     * Reduce unnecessary inventory
     * Collect outstanding receivables
     * Renegotiate key supply contracts with more favorable terms
     * Reduce personal adjustments on income statements
     * Make sure financial controls are established

These recommendations are vital to allow potential buyers to see your business in the best possible light and help you to get the sale price you want.

For more information: https://www.divestopedia.com/2/4648/pre-sale/preparation/when-is-the-best-time-to-sell-my-business


The Revival of New Main Street Small Businesses

In an article written for Entrepreneur magazine by Kabbage’s Co-founder and CEO, Rob Frohwein, Rob predicts that “by 2025 a whole host of small businesses that once thrived on Main Street USA will be back with a vengeance—thanks to technology.” He says the new and not so new technologies and services are supplying small businesses with valuable tools in online marketing, financing, purchasing and fulfillment that enable them to compete with the larger online companies.
A Pew Research study shows that almost 24% of American adults have earned money in the online economy over the last year. Point of Sale systems and mobile apps, as well as platforms used by such companies as Uber and Airbnb, provide little or no capital investment along with flexibility and control.Frohwein goes on to say that millennials (people born between 1981 and 1996) will be important in the small business revival. A survey by Coldwell Banker Commercial found that almost 40% of millennials would support small businesses when making buying decisions. Another study by Small Business Development Centers found that 26% of millennials had made their total income from a small business. The study also found that 49% of millennials would like to start their own business in the next three years.

Rob believes that with the tools available today to support small business, along with the millennial generation’s entrepreneurial spirit, Main Street USA will be “bigger (or smaller) and better than ever!

For more information, read Mr. Frohwein’s article: “The New-Old Adage for Main Street 2025? The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same.”



ECBI Statement on Hurricane Michael

ECBI Statement on Hurricane Michael

We wanted to let you know that all of our team is safe, and our offices were undamaged in the largest hurricane to ever make landfall in the Florida Panhandle. At the same time we are asking for your prayers and support of our friends to the East in Panama City, Mexico Beach, Apalachicola and inland up through the panhandle and into Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas and beyond. Hurricane Michael was a tremendously powerful storm that caused massive destruction all along its track. Our area is strong, already helping with Hurricane Michael relief, and will come back stronger than ever. Please join us in helping the rebuilding efforts on the Northern Florida Gulf Coast and beyond.

Let us know if we can help you find or sell a business in this wonderful area.


The Importance of Goodwill in a Business’ Value

The value of a business is not solely based on the accumulation of its tangible assets that can include equipment, machinery or buildings (a physical property with value). Many times, more than 50% of the value of a business is attributed to intangible assets and goodwill (not physical by nature). A business is valued by its ability to produce cash flow steadily. The goodwill value reduces the risk that a business’ profitability will stumble if the ownership changes hands.

Some important contributors to goodwill are:

Reputation                                        Brand name recognition

Websites & domain names            Trade Secrets & recipes

Customer & supplier lists               Copyrights, trademarks & patents

Licenses & permits                          Contracts

Production/Order Backlog             Accreditations

Developed processes                      Proprietary designs & know-how

Customized software                      Step-by-step training systems

Customized databases                    Publishes articles

Employee skills & experience

All of these powerful assets of goodwill add to the revenue producing ability of a business. Sometimes buyers don’t understand the value of goodwill because it is not an asset that they can always put their hands on. It is important to define the goodwill of a business when determining its value.

For more detailed information on Goodwill, please read the following article:





New, Expanding and Award-Winning Businesses on the Emerald Coast

Loxley, AL

The Kaishan Group will be building an air compressor plant with a capital investment of $11 million. It will open with 62 jobs in a 65,000 SF building. The Loxley plant will be a “beachhead for both North and South America,” according to Keith Schumacher, CEO of Kaishan Compressor USA. The company says it is China’s No. 1 air compressor company and the world’s 3rd largest manufacturer of air compressors.

Milton, FL

Family owned Fabbro Marine Group Inc. has expanded to a new 78,000 SF facility in Santa Rosa County Industrial Park East. The 30-year-old company, which produces Cape Horn fishing boats, outgrew its old facilities and wanted to remain in Milton. VP Tyler Cesar credits their employees for their success.

Mossy Head, FL

Mossy Head Industrial Park, located between US 90 and I-10, has taken off in just the last couple of years. It is 75% developed with big-rig dealer Empire Truck Sales, Southern Tire Mart, 2 large distributors, a motel, 2 fast food enterprises and Love’s Travel Stop and Country Store. The initial building of Love’s spurred the development of the Industrial Park.

Bay County

GKN Aerospace plans to open a parts manufacturing facility at VentureCrossings near the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport. The company will have at least 170 full-time employees by the end of 2020.

Crestview, FL

American Elite Molding has been recognized as the Florida Manufacturer of the Year! American Elite Molding is the leading manufacturer of nylon cable ties that was established in 1998.

Pensacola, FL

VT Mobile Aerospace Engineering, Inc.’s new $46 million aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul facility is open at Pensacola International Airport. The company performs these services for passenger and freight airlines. The business will be bringing 400 jobs to Pensacola.


BP Settlement Money Starts Flowing to the Panhandle

Jim Turner, with News Service of Florida, reports the first installment of the BP settlement money will be distributed by Triumph Gulf Coast’s board of directors. More than $18 million will be given out once terms are negotiated between the local areas receiving funds and the state regarding performance requirements.

On June 12, Triumph Gulf Coast approved the final contract for $10 million to the Port of Panama City to help develop new terminal facilities. In April, it was reported that $1.5 million will go towards water and sewer lines in a new industrial site in North Okaloosa County. $6.75 million will go to career and technical education programs in Wakulla and Escambia counties.

The Port of Panama City, which is receiving additional funds from other programs, will eventually employ 140 additional jobs. This project will also bring another 250 manufacturing and distribution jobs.

This is just the start of an educational and economic boost for the 8 Panhandle counties that will be receiving funds over the next several years!

For more information read:



Emerald Coast Business Intermediaries and Progress Bank Close a Deal in Record Time

Emerald Coast Business Intermediaries was engaged to sell a business that had been listed with a specialty broker for a year. Two months after ECBI listed the business, the business was SOLD!  Using our database of growing contacts, ECBI was able to bring the opportunity to a group of buyers who made an offer that was negotiated and agreed upon.  With the help of Dewayne Youngblood, Market President with Progress Bank, the deal was able to be funded in record time. We appreciate the willingness and professionalism shown by Dewayne and Progress Bank. It is a pleasure dealing with a lender who worked with us in a timely manner to secure funding. We look forward to working with Dewayne and Progress Bank in the future.  If you or anyone you know is looking to sell or buy along the Emerald Coast, remember the team at ECBI.

Florida Grants Give Small Panhandle Communities an Economic Boost

Competitive Florida grants and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity are investing in Florida’s rural communities. The grants span 2 years and help the communities use innovative strategies to promote viable economies, community designs and partnerships. Each community must develop an asset mapping plan first. The cities of DeFuniak Springs, Port St. Joe and Madison along with the town of Century are four of the North Florida communities using the grants for revitalization.

The city of DeFuniak Springs was originally established as a destination resort by railroad businessmen.  DeFuniak Springs will use their funds to hire a consultant to help align land development regulations with a comprehensive plan for projects such as affordable housing, youth activities, city beautification and community engagement. The widening of US Hwy. 331, a main Alabama to Florida corridor, will also help with economic growth for the city.

The city of Port St. Joe’s Port Authority is studying the feasibility of dredging their port channel to 35 feet. This will allow all sizes of modern shipping vessels to use the port. The Competitive Florida grant has allowed Port St. Joe to identify their assets to help redefine the city. Port St. Joe is also becoming the home to newer industries such as biofuel production and conversion of plastic bottles to aviation fuel.

Visit Florida has just named the city of Madison as one of the “Best Little Towns in Florida”. It is the home of North Florida Community College and has an out-campus for St. Leo University. Madison conducted an asset mapping that defined the need for redesigned recreational opportunities and youth development programs. Their grant money developed ideas to enhance and market recreational facilities as well as youth mentoring plans and partnerships.

The town of Century was founded as a sawmill town in 1901. Century is strategically placed between I-65 and I-10 on the Florida-Alabama state line north of Pensacola. The town of Century has a master-planned industrial park. The grants allowed the town to hire an economic development coordinator and they have been able to host workforce training sessions and small business development workshops.

The Competitive Florida grants are allowing rural Florida communities to zero in on their assets (their people, space and low costs of living) and identify the solutions that will be building blocks for their revitalization! Check out the full article below by Tisha Crews Keller: