Matt Bernhardt, founder of Stickboy Creative, which is a GrowFL 2017 Florida Companies to Watch honoree, is a serial entrepreneur who caught the bug from his family and partnered with his wife to launch Stickboy Creative.
"I was first exposed to entrepreneurship by my dad, who owned his own business so from a very young age I knew I wanted to be a business owner," he said. "At 23, I started my first business. A year and a half later, I started another company that grew rapidly, but I wasn't passionate about it. Then in 2007, I was dating my future wife and saw how talented she was so I encouraged her to break away and start her own company. That company became Stickboy. It started out as a completely different business but evolved organically to what we're doing now."
Stickboy Creative creates custom software and applications for companies that can't quite find an off-the-shelf product that works for them.
"Once a business gets to a certain size, you want things to work the way you want it to work," Bernhardt explained. "We create completely custom technology that takes out a lot of inefficiency in the business, whether it's logistical, accounting, or creating an online class platform - anything that can be automated to take away human error."
Bernhardt finds important validation in GrowFL's Company To Watch recognition.
"When we found out, we were ecstatic," he said. "To be recognized in the state of Florida, which isn't small, tells us we're doing the right things, creating the right culture and a lot of things feed off culture. It’s tremendously humbling to get recognized by people who do this every year and look at hundreds of companies."
Bernhardt's advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is "go fast. Make mistakes and as you make them, correct them quickly. Don’t be afraid of anything. Be cautious of cash flow and making the right investments, but you will make mistakes and it's best to make them as fast as possible. Also, get several mentors. Find someone who is where you want to be, and ask them questions."