MOUNT DORA — How did Ray and Karen Levy obtain a business loan commitment in just two days and amass $750 million in total sales since the inception of their business? For the answer, look no further than the Lake County Business Opportunity Center (BOC) that helped the married couple last December during the process to buy their dream business, Coldwell Banker Camelot Realty in Mount Dora.
“There are a lot of people out there that have good ideas, but they don’t have the expertise of business consultants,” said Ray Levy. “The BOC really moved the needle forward for us.”
Lake County’s three BOCs offer a range of services to all businesses in Lake County.
Conveniently located in Leesburg, Eustis and Groveland, the BOCs offer entrepreneurs access to a trifecta of services needed to get their businesses kicked into high gear: business development training classes, one-on-one expert consulting and The Business Incubator Program, which provides affordable office space, mentoring and other support and services.
For the Levys, a proper business plan was what it took to gain the lender’s trust and make their dream into a reality. That’s where the BOC’s Stan Austin came in, giving valuable business advice through the county’s Small Business Development Center, which offers many courses including a class called “Business Plan Writing Made Easy.”
Over nearly eight months, Austin, who is the area manager for the Small Business Development Center in Lake County, worked with the couple on their preliminary planning, then through multiple versions of their business plan and finally on revisions to their financial section each quarter, which produced new results. But Austin’s help did not end when the Levys closed on their deal and opened up shop at 1898 N. Donnelly St.
“I will continue to work with them to provide them ideas on how to manage the operational aspects of the business, as well as coach them in marketing,” Austin said. “We have a great business relationship and the makings of a close friendship as well.”
The Small Business Development Center in Lake County is a part of the Business Opportunity Centers sponsored by Lake County Economic Development and Tourism. Most of the classes and consulting sessions are free to the public.
“Whether you’re an entrepreneur working on the next big thing or a successful business owner looking for a little help to take your company to the next level, the Lake County BOC has a program or service to help you achieve your goals,” said Robert Chandler, Lake County’s director of economic development and tourism.
Business Opportunity Center locations:
- Northeast Lake County
1520 South Bay St.
Eustis, FL 32726
- South Lake County
20763 U.S. Highway 27
Groveland, FL 34736
- Northwest Lake County
600 Market St.
Leesburg, FL 34749
For information on starting, relocating or expanding a business in Lake County, call Lake County’s Economic Development and Tourism Department at 352-742-3918 or visit www.BusinessInLakeFL.com.