This community wellness entrepreneur finds an edge.
Sandra Donaldson, MPA, MBA is the president and CEO of Donaldson Edge (D-Edge) Consulting, LLC. D-Edge Consulting is a business and training concept that began as a needed training space in her previous role as a chief advocacy officer. Bringing the training concept to life led to a future in entrepreneurship, Sandra shares.
“The training was developed by a series of planning and development concepts supported by the SBDC. As a new business in development, there was so much to learn. The SBDC was my first point of contact to begin the entrepreneurial experience.”
As a self-funded start-up, support staff is contractual with minimum internal employees. Contractual agreements have been challenging, she says. Small businesses don’t necessarily have direct access or the financial capacity to support external expertise such as legal representation, IT specialists, and marketers who are specific to the business’ industry.
“The SBDC has helped my business in many ways,” Sandra says, “from the conception of the business idea to reviewing my business and marketing. The assistance I’ve received from the SBDC has been very welcoming yet result driven. Meetings were scheduled with agenda items, timelines, and priorities. My business advisors genuinely cared about the impact of each meeting, and each meeting was left with takeaways, wins, accomplishments, and goals.”
Sandra’s recommendation is that anyone interested in beginning, or anyone who has already begun, a small business use the services provided by the SBDC.
“Often, success is measured by planning and strategy. The SBDC offers local face-to-face or virtual meetings along with resources. Minority small businesses are often faced with barriers associated with equity and inclusion. The SBDC was welcoming to the innovative concept of my business and offered transparency in resource awareness.
“The SBDC will search for local resources and is also part of a state network, expanding access to small businesses. The staff schedules are accommodating to working individuals, and the support team always offers alternatives to any challenges small businesses may face. From monthly check-ins and follow-ups to ‘Great job!’, ‘Congratulations!’, or ‘You’re almost there!’, the professionalism and support from the SBDC have been instrumental in the growth and success of D-Edge Consulting. The SBDC has led me to explore other entrepreneurial tracks which have continued to promote the trajectory of my success as an entrepreneur.”
The small business owner also describes how there were unforeseen bumps along the way, but no obstacle was bigger than the dream of becoming a successful entrepreneur and providing a desired, marketable service.
“I’m grateful for the Florida SBDC at the University of West Florida College of Business. As a 2001 UWF College of Professional Studies alumna, it’s a nostalgic feeling to come back home — home to where I received my professional education, and to now receive the resources and services needed to live out my entrepreneurial success story. It’s the educational circle of life!”