Hard at Work

THINKING OF STARTING A NEW BUSINESS? TRYING TO KEEP UP WITH THE TECHNOLOGY WAVE? READY FOR A CAREER CHANGE? SFMA’S MATTHEW ROCCO HAS A FEW EXPERT TIPS TO GET YOU ON THE PATH TO SUCCESS.

Q:WHAT IS YOUR BEST OVERALL ADVICE WHEN STARTING A NEW BUSINESS?
A: One of the biggest pieces of advice I can provide would be to be passionate about what you want to do before starting any new business; no matter what industry/consumer that business will serve or the product that will be manufactured. As the founder of any new business, that person is the orchestrator, conductor, and “captain of the ship.” As the captain, one must be the champion and brand ambassador of that business. Whether it’s trying to obtain investors, recruiting employees, or building an advisory board, a lack of passion will be evident, and it will be hard to get people on board. One may try to “fake” it for a while, but ultimately, that will end and the drive will diminish. Just as important as passion is a clear vision of the roadmap. With this, you can move forward to execute and implement it. Therefore, one needs to develop a strategic plan with identifiable goals and timelines. That vision/ strategic plan will also need to be shared as the business owner is trying to fulfill the business model. A recommended book for this would be The 4 Disciplines of Execution by McChesney, Covey, and Huling.

Q: HOW DO YOU SEE TECHNOLOGY PLAYING A SIGNIFICANT ROLE IN MANPOWER LOSS?
A: There is no doubt that technology has played a role in changing job shifts and an increase in job loss. New technologies have definitely been seen in the manufacturing industry, and in other industries as well, such as banking and retail. As automation becomes more technologically advanced, more of our traditional jobs such as bank tellers will continue to suffer. On the other hand, as technology continues to advance, this brings more room for job growth. New skills will require re-skilling of the workforce. I think that local, higher education institutions have a major opportunity to provide low-cost continuing education programs designed for incumbent workers to gain technical skills that can make them more marketable. Because technology is eliminating certain jobs, it’s crucial for us to recognize this and seek re-skilling opportunities; employers should provide options for their employees to become re-skilled and remain employed in the company. There are workforce related grants that provide 50% to 75% reimbursement for their employee training.

Q: WHY DO BUSINESS IN SOUTH FLORIDA?
A: South Florida presents an amazing business climate whether it is for existing companies or companies looking to relocate to South Florida. It is a location with easy access to major airports and importantly some of the largest ports in the world. The geographic position of South Florida offers huge access to domestic and international markets with three airports providing access to the Caribbean and Latin American markets. South Florida also has an extremely business friendly government and a favorable tax climate for businesses with no state income tax. This gives employers an incentive to prevent the local talent from leaving the state of Florida for other employment opportunities, and an attractive recruitment process for new talent. Some of the best colleges and universities producing that talent are in South Florida. In 2017, The Aspen Institute ranked Broward College, located in Fort Lauderdale, as one of the top three community colleges in the nation. Additionally, Florida is often ranked as one of the top states for workforce.

From a tax advantage standpoint, some advantages for doing business in Florida include, but are not limited to, exemptions of taxes on:
• State personal income tax guaranteed by constitutional provision. • State-level property tax assessed or property tax on business inventories.
• Sales and use tax on goods manufactured or produced in Florida for export outside the state.
• Purchases of machinery and equipment used by a new or expanding Florida business to manufacture, produce, or process tangible personal property for sale. (Source: Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance)

By Matthew R. Rocco, President
South Florida Manufactures Association (SFMA)
sfma.org