To be a successful entrepreneur means more to Carlos De Quesada than having the confidence to start a business. As De Quesada built his financial consulting and strategic planning company, VeraCruz Advisory, he learned to develop an entrepreneurial mind.
“It’s about the mindset,” he said. “What I mean by that is the psychological dimension of being a small business entrepreneur. It’s so different than being an employee when you have your own business and everything is depending on you. When things don’t go right you have to have the mental disposition to know that some days are going to be good and some days are going to be bad. That’s the key.”
VeraCruz Advisory found its footing in October 2011 when De Quesada saw a need in the nonprofit and small to midsize business arena.
“After having been a marine officer and getting my MBA, I worked in banking for 11 years. I took so much for granted…It hatched from the recognition of a market need, geared for nonprofits,” he said.
After attending charity-based events, De Quesada noticed that nonprofits had difficulty with financial planning.
“Some may use larger consulting or accounting firms but really they probably wouldn’t be using anybody. If they do, it might be a board member who is a volunteer. They may be good at what they do but they have a full-time job outside of the nonprofit so they usually don’t have that same focus. It can be pretty overwhelming,” he said.
VeraCruz Advisory’s unique hybrid has helped De Quesada build a sustainable business model. Although based out of Sarasota, Florida, most of the clientele is outside of Florida.
“Success has been when we receive work that had been performed by larger world renown agencies,” De Quesada said. “It’s gratifying to get a client that was using a much larger agency. …Watching nonprofits become more sustainable with better governance and finance. Seeing a school built because of a transaction that we consulted on or working on a $70 million refinance for debt to help a nonprofit feed people and educate kids.”
Although there have been challenges along the way, like learning how to balance home life with work life, De Quesada is happy with the overall business climate in Florida.
“Florida is a very business and entrepreneur friendly area. There’s always regulatory threats. I actually joined the NFIB after they filed their lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act that doubled the healthcare premiums,” he said. “Despite Florida being fantastic for business, it’s really important that the NFIB takes on these cases that disadvantage small business.”
De Quesada sees a bright future for VeraCruz Advisory.
“We’re getting to a point where there is less external development. I want to grow through more referrals and have more long-term work that benefits the clients. The future is getting folks to understand of the importance of a financial consulting business,” he said.