Kanut Khosla was ready to fulfill his lifelong desire of being an entrepreneur but was looking for affirmation that he was making sound decisions supported by data. He found all the support he needed and more when he discovered the Florida Small Business Development Center at FAMU (FSBDC at FAMU).
Khosla had enjoyed a 23-year career at the state of Florida where he gained experience with contract and project management, while also managing multiple work units. Khosla also served in the United States Army Reserve, working in the military postal service. He felt his background would help him be successful in business but wasn’t sure how to get started.
He took an early retirement and gave himself three months to figure out what kind of business he wanted. His plan was to explore the communities between Tallahassee and Jacksonville hoping to find a business that was successful but under-represented in Tallahassee. He soon developed an interest in the shipping industry and looked at popular franchises such as the UPS Store and the FedEx Office. There were also several independent shipping stores which Khosla found more appealing because he could offer the strengths of UPS, FedEx, USPS, and DHL all in one store.
He then found an existing store for sale that had already developed a good customer base. Since this was cheaper to purchase than a new franchise, Khosla wanted to proceed with acquisition but did not feel comfortable relying solely on the business broker and seller. That’s where the FSBDC at FAMU came in.
“I met with Keith Bowers and Aundra’ McGlockton, and I’ll tell you, I don’t think I would have been able to purchase the business without them,” Khosla said. “The shipping business looked like it was going to be decent around here, so that was a plus. Then Aundra’ looked at the numbers and said it looked like a good purchase and helped me determine its value. Everything that I could have asked for, had I been able to hire a giant staff of people, I got at no cost to me through the FSBDC at FAMU.”
After he bought the business, Kanut experienced the “now what” moment that many business owners experience and the FSBDC at FAMU came through for him again, sending him three MBA candidates to help with social media outreach and marketing efforts. He went from worrying that he would run a 14-year-old business into the ground in record time to experiencing growth each of the first three years.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 20% of U.S. small businesses fail within the first year. By the end of their fifth year, roughly 50% have faltered. After ten years, only around a third of businesses have survived.
As Khosla and his family celebrate ten years in business, the couple credits much of their success to the FSBDC at FAMU, who they still turn to for guidance. With their daughter now working alongside them, Khosla and his wife are happy that they have a business to leave to her once they retire.
“Ten years from now, we may not want to work anymore, and she’ll have years and years of experience here,” Khosla said. “I would love to set her up to be self-employed so she can direct her own life. We know where to get all the support we need for it now, so we can just send her to the SBDC.”