Fresh out of college, golf pro Scott Soesbee frequently “talked shop” with members of the North Carolina resort where he taught. Knowing that he hoped to start a business of his own some day, he would ask for their opinions on the best opportunities.
The advice of one, in particular, stuck with Soesbee: “This member had developed diesel fire pumps and sold his company for millions. I asked him what kind of business I should go into, and he recommended ‘fire.’ ‘The industry is highly regulated,’ he said, ‘and product sales are not driven by costs’.” So eight years ago, Soesbee moved to Villa Rica to be closer to Atlanta’s transportation hub. “I wanted to own a business – not a franchise – and wanted to make a product,” he says. He started researching fire safety, moved into product development and did fire testing. His idea for a company became Flameoff Coatings LLC, a leading developer and provider of fully tested fire retardant and fire resistance intumescent paint products designed to provide a high-level of fire protection at a reasonable cost.
“Fire retardant paints are required for major commercial and public buildings, like airports. I wanted to get into this field and bring the product to customers who could not afford the big, expensive industrial product, but were still required to have or wanted to provide the added safety in places like doctor’s offices, main street retail shops, and nurseries in private homes.
Soesbee decided that he needed some help expanding his market. He found the Georgia SBDC online and scheduled a meeting with Area Director Scott Soesbee Todd Anduze at the University of WestGeorgia SBDC. “Scott’s greatest need was getting his name out there,” says Anduze. “He’s got a lot of clout with fire departments in this area, but not in other areas. He wanted to distribute throughout the U.S., so we discussed his operations and began working on his market expansion. He has since incorporated different sales people in different areas to sell his product and is moving into mass distribution.” Anduze assisted Soesbee on the launch of his company’s new website and logo and has advised him on expanding into new channels, including Home Depot, Lowes and Ace Hardware. These efforts helped increase the company’s sales by 10 percent in 2012, and Soesbee added staff.
“We’re doing really well, even through the bad economy,” he says. “A lot of it was just shifting the focus of the business. I would have been dying on the vine had I continued to sell just to contractors. Going into distribution to larger companies was definitely a good move.
“I see Todd every few months to touch base on what we need to focus on next,” he continues. “It’s very important for me, his resources, because I don’t know it all. I would encourage anybody in business to go see the SBDC.”
“I see Todd every few months to touch base on what we need to focus on next. It’s very important for me, his resources, because I don’t know it all. I would encourage anybody in business to go see the SBDC.”
For further information, please contact FlameOFF Coatings, Inc.