Julie Song, Owner and Founder of Florida Business and Manufacturing Solutions, Inc., has been involved in manufacturing for nearly 20 years. In 2004 Julie worked for The Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast as the Director of Business Retention, her mission was to keep local manufacturers and jobs in Brevard County. Julie did so by helping them identify incentives at the local and state level and by connecting them with the resources necessary to help their businesses flourish along Florida's Space Coast. After the EDC of Flordia’s Space Coast, Song went to work for a federally funded organization whose goal was to help local manufacturers improve their processes and procedures and to help them become more globally competitive. Things were great until September of 2013 when the organization lost their funding and everyone was laid off.
"I had a decision to make," Song said. "I had a lot clients I had established really good relationships with. One of them suggested I continue the work I was doing but as my own business. I decided to do it. I already had several signed contracts from clients and so I was able to pick those up and provide the exact same services they were anticipating. I cashed out my Profit Sharing and used that money to build a website, a brand and for various other startup expenses. I've grown my business by networking and staying active in organizations that support the industries I'm seeking to help. I really enjoy what I'm doing. I believe in helping small businesses and keeping them local. I've always been an advocate for the little guy."
Song assists, trains and supports process improvement for manufacturing and high technology companies. However, what really sets her apart is her willingness to do things that other consultants are not willing to do. "There are a lot of consultants out there that provide the same service as us, but many of them don't know about all the incentives available through local and state organizations," she said. "I'm very good at writing grants through the state of Florida to go after these incentives. There's free money out there. A lot of consultants don't want to deal with it. It's time consuming work, but I take the time to do it. Anything I can do to help improve my client's bottom line."
Song offers up some great advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. "Know your market," she said. "For example, Brevard County is heavily focused on defense and space. Know if what you have is truly needed in your market. It's also very important to network. You have to sell your business and be seen. Participate in local events and get involved. Once you're known, it's important to follow up and to be honest. I won't hesitate to tell clients that I might not be the right fit for them. I will, however, use my contacts to find the right person for them." Song also urges companies to weigh the pros and cons of outsourcing their manufacturing overseas. "If you need parts right way, you're not getting them unless you're willing to pay a lot of money. Quality can also suffer. You can't just send something back and expect a quick return."