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Junior Michel
Posted December 17, 2019 | 1:05 PM

Start-Up Company Makes Splash, with Some Help

Consultants work with existing and emerging businesses

When Junior Michel launched his swimming pool maintenance business about six months ago, he had six clients. Now he has 60.

Junior attributes his success to determination, hard work, and advice from an Economic Development Entrepreneur Services consultant at Hillsborough County's Entrepreneur Collaborative Center in Ybor City.

The no-cost consultant helped him decide what business to pursue and address matters such as marketing, demographics, networking, and taxes - "all the little things you don't think of," Junior says. His next challenge: hire an employee, perhaps early next year, and handle the details that come with doing so.

Entrepreneur Services provides existing and emerging businesses like Junior's Hillsborough Pool Service with professional consulting, training, and information. Whether someone is starting, growing, or buying a business, Entrepreneur Services has expertise and resources to help.

Junior meets with his consultant every few weeks. He's speaking with her about the prospect of bringing on an employee. "They help you set realistic goals," he says.

Junior settled on pool maintenance because he did such work before, as an employee, in Naples. He also likes being outdoors. Pool maintenance entails brushing submerged walls, checking water chemistry, skimming the surface and vacuuming, cleaning the filter, and inspecting the pump system.

His business courses at Florida State University didn't address the needs of start-up enterprises like his small company. "What you learn in school, it's about big businesses. But every business once was a start-up," he says.

Collaborating with a professional at Entrepreneur Services has been invaluable: "They never say, 'No, don't do this.' They give you ideas and help point you in the right direction."

Photo: Junior Michel checks the chemistry of swimming pool water at a Bloomingdale home.

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