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    Whether entrepreneurs launched a new business in South Florida, or expanded an existing one, the sampling is a mixed bag of strategies including: the tried and true, thinking outside the box, the big idea and more.


    What: Exults, Internet marketing, search engine optimization, paid search management, website design, social media management, image enhancement/reputation management.

    Where: Fort Lauderdale

    How it happened: Zach Hoffman worked as a promoter for a local band and starting affiliate marketing websites. He managed his father’s dental practice’s Internet marketing and developed expertise in search engine optimization, paid search management and multimedia platforms. Later, Hoffman formed SEO.cc before rebranding as Exults.

    Strategy: Hoffman recognized that in the evolving online platform, he needed to rebrand just as his clients were doing. Once clients got past the concept of search engine optimization, they needed services to push their messages and conversations forward in meaningful effective ways.

    Bottom line: Stay on top of the market pulses; never dismiss a potential market movement, pay attention to what the major players are doing and the trends influencing their behaviors. Acknowledge that not all people maintain the same decision-making process for one site as they may for another.


    What: Dr. Patty’s Dental Boutique, regular dental care such as oral cancer screenings, cavity fillings, tooth cleanings and implants. Consumers can also get massages, facials, peels, waxing and eyelash and permanent makeup treatments from on-site independent contractors.

    Where: Fort Lauderdale

    How it happened: April Patterson conducted extensive research including demographics. She worked closely with her banker for credit, loans and financial operations. Her plan would grow the business organically by adding a variety of outside services as a one-stop shop. She developed strong relationships through networking opportunities with Emerge Broward and Femfessionals.

    Strategy: Patterson blends her innovative approach to dental health and personal care with technology. Clients can manage their services such with the Dr. Patty app that lets them make an appointment, view Web page content and refer the practice to others.

    Bottom line: Make it easy for the client to navigate your practice, says Patterson. She emphasizes the accessibility of information patients have at their fingertips from educational clips about procedures to viewing a relaxing movie.

    Outside the box

    What: VirtuFit, online personal trainer via Skype

    Where: Boca Raton

    How it happened: Marc D. Thompson, a professional fitness expert and personal trainer, founded VirtuFit as a studio operation in 1987. He turned to social media to grow his business, adding the virtual component in 2008.

    Strategy: Wanting to reach anyone anywhere, Thompson has had to think outside the box, and inside technology to bridge distance, time and convenience as a way to find and retain clients. Utilizing visual technology like Skype for real-time interaction was the turning point. He creates original content, shares links and more.

    Bottom line: Taking the logistics of traffic or a late night at the office out of the equation, makes using Thompson’s services convenient for clients. Using Skype, and with the proper skill, knowledge and articulation, Thompson is virtually in the room with clients providing real-time, face-to-face interaction.

    Tried and true


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