Mihaylo business administration alumnus Mike Daniel ’99 is the new director of the CSU Fullerton office of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), which provides no-cost business advising to small business owners. He discusses his academic and professional background and the mission and activities of the SBDC.
For many business startups, Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) provide business advising and access to capital. Partially funded by the federal Small Business Administration (SBA),there are currently six SBDC offices in Orange County and the Inland Empire, which assist more than 5,000 business owners annually.
“Small Business Development Centers act as the economic development hub for the regions they serve and are the voice of the local small- business community,” says Mihaylo business administration alumnus Mike Daniel ’99, who took office as director of the Mihaylo College SBDC office on June 29. “Each SBDC has a team of experts who have real-world experience as small-business owners. They assist local entrepreneurs in business planning, access to capital, marketing, website creation, legal structures and accounting.”
In 2014, the Orange County/Inland Empire SBDC network assisted more than 120 business startup in accessing $275 million in capital.
Daniel was director of the SBDC office at Long Beach City College from 2010 to June 2015. He also has personal small-business experience as owner of Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory locations. “Five days after receiving my degree from CSU Fullerton, I opened what would be the first small business of my career,” he recalls. “I purchased an existing Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory location in Manhattan Beach, Calif., that had been operated by the franchisor for the previous three years. The store was operating in the red, but I had hope that I could make the business profitable. I was able to secure a small loan from the franchise and turned the business around in less than one year.”
Daniel opened a second location in Long Beach in 2001. “It took a few years to build the store from the ground up, but within a short time, both locations were running smoothly,” he says. At their peak, Daniel’s locations had 20 employees and both locations had managers and assistant managers. In 2007, Daniel sold the Manhattan Beach store for an above-market offer. He then invested in several additional locations as a minority shareholder.
Currently, Daniel is planning Sugar Daddies Sweet Shoppe, a new candy store concept based on fill-it-yourself candy options. The first location, in the Shoreline Village area of Long Beach, is scheduled to open in late July. “I hope this will be the first of many as Sugar Daddies becomes a franchise of its own,” he says.
Daniel believes his Mihaylo education has been invaluable in preparing him for his entrepreneurial career. “I was so focused on getting through school that I did not always envision what I was learning and how these concepts would translate into my career,” he recalls. “When I opened my first sore, I realized how much my education had prepared me. All of my classes in marketing, accounting, finance and operations have provided tremendous guidance.”