February 18, 2011
Every chance I get, I like to talk to business owners and professionals about how DBPR treats them. I have found that when they don't know I'm the Secretary, they will be completely open, sharing how they feel about their interaction with the agency and government in general. It's a little like the popular TV show "Undercover Boss" in which the CEO learns the truth about employees and their interaction with customers. Being incognito seems to encourage more honest responses!
Sometimes I'll encounter a customer who is dropping off an application here at our office in Tallahassee, and I ask them how they're being treated. It's helpful to get a good idea of how businesses feel DBPR is doing and whether there is anything we could improve. Earlier this week, I walked by the customer service window of the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco and met Danny, who was working on getting a permit. I asked him how the division was treating him and was pleased to hear him praise our staff as friendly, efficient, and more helpful than any other government entity he'd previously encountered.
I asked him about his business plan, and his excitement continued to grow. Danny said he and his teenage son had used our website to map out the location of certain retailers and wholesalers and they had determined there might be a gap in the distribution system Danny could fill by opening his warehouse in a small rural Florida community. As is the case with so many entrepreneurs, he was beginning his business on a shoestring with a small loan from his family, and had two months worth of credit from his suppliers. Danny came to our office to talk with our staff about the state's requirements and was literally gushing about the help he received. He had brought his paperwork with him and was walking out with his license in hand!
This entrepreneurial phenomenon is extremely important to our staff at DBPR - people who are taking a huge personal and financial risk to bring a small business to Florida need immediate support and help. What a bureaucrat may see as a stack of application papers may be the first step in fulfilling an entrepreneur's dream. We emphasize over and over to our staff that we are going to treat every entrepreneur's dream with respect and support, and we will try very hard to make it come true because we have an enormous impact on how easily and quickly a small business gets licensed and opens its doors.
Now here's the bottom line. Danny told me that right off the bat, his business would employ 13 people and that within a couple of months he would have 60 people working for him. Imagine the effect 60 new jobs will have on a small rural town that has many empty homes and vacant store fronts on Main Street. Danny invited me to come over for his opening on March 5, and I hope that I can join him. Together with people like him and staff like ours at DBPR, we will get Florida back to work!
UPCOMING BOARD MEETINGS
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