Impacted by COVID-19? Special assistance is now available.

FSBDC at UNF Client of the Month: Optimum Spring Solutions

When Optimum Spring Solutions was established in 2007, owners Andrea de Palma and Marco Fortini had years of experience in the business because of their involvement with de Palma’s family who had been manufacturing springs in Argentina since 1970. The company, located in Ponte Vedra, manufactures compression, extension, torsion springs, and spring conduits composed of specialty alloy wire suitable for operating under high temperatures and in corrosive environments.  Additionally, Optimum Spring Solutions delivers design assistance, rapid prototyping, sampling, and delivery planning to offer the highest quality and most precise product. 
In the early days of their business, Andrea and Marco imported their goods from Argentina, but shipping delays, rising cost of gas, and securing a large contract from the US Navy prompted them to begin manufacturing for export in St. Johns County in 2009. The business has grown steadily since then, with about 20% annual sales growth over the past three years.  Andrea and Marco own and operate the company, employing two additional personnel to support manufacturing and order fulfillment. 
After experiencing a few years of successful business, Andrea and Marco decided it was time to strategically grow their company.  They decided that exporting was the way to go. 
Optimum Spring Solutions had been exporting throughout Asia, The Americas, South Africa, New Zealand, Germany, and Turkey, but it was more reactive in nature and resulted in unpredictable sales volume. They wanted to identify stronger foreign markets that would generate large recurring orders of specialty alloys springs.  Additionally, they wanted to develop international expertise, whether in-house or through a team of outside experts, in order to ensure long-term success in international sales.  This includes solving existing export questions, creating support strategies for international clients and providing education to key staff members. 
They heard of the FSBDC at UNF and enrolled in the International Trade Certificate Program (ITCP), a six-week series designed for small and mid-size businesses interested in exporting goods or services. During this program, attendees learn the steps to become competent in all trade aspects including marketing, documentation, payment and legal matters.  Using the information they learned from the ITCP, the team from Optimum Spring Solutions began to focus on exporting their product.
In early 2014, Andrea and Marco returned to the FSBDC to meet with Katie Arroyo, International Trade Specialist.  They were interested in an Export Marketing Plan (EMP), a program provided by the Florida SBDC Network, in partnership with Enterprise Florida, Inc. and the U.S. Commercial Service.  Participants in the EMP program are qualified Florida manufacturers and service providers who are interested in overseas growth strategies. A customized EMP is written by the International Trade Specialist at the FSBDC.  A limited number of EMPs are available and are the result of a confidential, in-depth business assessment.
The EMP uncovered a potential buyer in Finland, and the partnership with Enterprise Florida is helping build the connection.  Another result of the EMP was the need for a revamped website to cater to an international audience and to generate qualified leads.   Andrea and Marco met with FBSDC Consultant Jared Bailey, who provided a personalized Search Engine Optimization Report to help the duo understand how to increase their company’s online presence. 

 In addition to the EMP, Marco and Andrea attended FSBDC workshops including: “Hire your first employee”,” Build your brand DIY Workshop”, and “Entrepreneur’s Roundtable Forum-LinkedIn:  How to generate leads”.  Each workshop offered information and resources to help them more effectively run their company.  
« »
SBDC Footer Shadow Background