As an early stage business owner, there are many milestone decisions you must make, ranging from when to hire new employees to what programs to join to jumpstart your business. Once you go beyond the ideation and prototyping stages of your business, there are few incubating options in Gainesville. The Selling Factory is working to change this. The Selling Factory, located in the UF Hillel on University Avenue, is developing a program with a sharp focus on selling and business growth.
As a business owner at this stage of growth myself, as soon as I heard of the new collaborative workspace, I was excited to be a part of it. I have now been a member of The Selling Factory for the past two months and have received unique support for my growing business.
However, The Selling Factory is more than just a workspace. They are also running boot camps for entrepreneurs in Gainesville to teach them about selling. They also offer boot camps for students that provide internships which help students gain experience while simultaneously supporting companies associated with The Selling Factory.
“We have two versions of our Selling Boot Camp programs, one for students and one for startups,” said Bradley Gamble, founder and CEO of The Selling Factory. “We help students and transitioning professionals in teaching them the basics of how to sell themselves, sell an idea, and, eventually, sell a product or service. Teaching students to sell is critical for The Selling Factory because we can bring in students that can eventually join the startup companies that reside on the sales floor.”
For my company, Sci Chic, The Selling Factory has given us the resources and connections to develop increased recurring revenue for my e-commerce business, improve our branding and develop a plan for moving further into retail sales. The program is a fantastic resource to gain sales support for a growing company.
“The Selling Factory is different because we are creating a high-energy selling environment,” Gamble said. “Over the past couple years, I have noticed there is a void in Gainesville’s startup community. While there is an amazing startup community with tons of resources for students, entrepreneurs, and startup companies to build a prototype, start a company and get professional services, nowhere did I find a resource for startups to help them sell their products and grow their businesses.”
For those interested in becoming a part of this new space, Gamble is looking for a specific profile in the companies he accepts.
“We are looking for companies that already have a product to sell, preferably a high-margin consumer good or service of some kind, and have entrepreneurs or CEOs that are actively involved in the business on a day-to-day basis,” he said.
A year from now, Gamble sees The Selling Factory becoming an active place of business.
“I want to see The Selling Factory as a lively, active, high-energy, crazy selling environment,” Gamble said. “Right now, we are just getting started, but we want to soon have several companies residing here in our partner startup program, have multiple product brands that we can sell for and we want that active selling environment that’s conducive to revenue growth.”
More than anything, The Selling Factory is working to make an impact on the Gainesville business community.
“Ultimately, we want to help students and companies grow and we want to keep businesses in Gainesville,” Gamble said. “We want people to follow their dreams and flourish in the companies they have started. We want companies to sustain themselves and employees and build their companies and lives in Gainesville. If we can do that, we are really happy.”
ERIN WINICK is currently a 5th year mechanical engineering student at the University of Florida. She is the founder of Sci Chic, a company that produces customizable science and engineering inspired jewelry, accessories and educational resources using 3D printing. Erin is also currently serving as a University Innovation Fellow within the University of Florida Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering Innovation Institute. Erin has interned at Keysight Technologies, John Deere, Solar Turbines and Bracken Engineering and enjoys freelances science and technical article writing on the side. You can find her on Twitter @ bcofengineering.