Meet Florida SBDC at FIU Business Consultant Shelly Bernal

After more than a decade of corporate and entrepreneurial experience, Shelly Bernal is a seasoned business consultant with great knowledge of both large and small business strategies. Shelly works with the Florida Small Business Development Center at Florida International University, a resource partner of the Small Business Administration chartered by the U.S. Congress to preserve and strengthen the national economy. In conjunction with the Florida SBDC, Shelly assists businesses in remaining competitive in today’s fast-paced global economy. She uses her knowledge and expertise to create strategic growth plans that help her clients achieve their goals. 

In advance of our exclusive FORUM 40 Webinar, hosted with Shelly on January 28, we asked her a few questions. 

Can you tell us a little bit about your background?

Shelly began her career in business after graduating from the University of North Texas with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. Afterward, she earned her MBA from the Instituto de Estudios Superiores de Administracion in Caracas. She is bilingual in both English and Spanish. Shelly later worked for 12 years as a business development manager at Hormel Foods and at Kraft Foods. There, she had experience with growing sales through distributors in retail and foodservice channels. For 7 of those years, she managed international markets and had profit and loss responsibility. Shelly also has 8 years of being a small business owner under her belt. She values her experience and incorporates it into the expertise she shares with small businesses as a consultant at the Florida SBDC at FIU.

How did the idea to become a business coach with the Florida SBDC at FIU evolve?

After working as a business development manager for both Kraft and Hormel foods and owning a small business, Shelly took the Gallup CliftonStrengths test and learned about her previously unknown talents for consulting. Her top five test results showed her strengths in responsibility, learning, strategy, and analysis. She soon learned her skills aligned perfectly for a career as a business consultant.  Through research about consultant careers, she identified America’s Small Business Development Centers.  In her role, Shelly optimizes her potential through coaching, mentoring, and training business owners. 

What is your day-to-day like?

Each day, Shelly delivers one-on-one consulting and market research to business owners on the topics of strategic growth and international trade.  She writes customized export marketing plans for business owners, through the SBDC statewide partnership program with Enterprise Florida and the US Commercial Service.  She also teaches classes on market feasibility & customer validation, for the SBDC at FIU partnership program with StartUP FIU Food.

FORUM 40 Presents: 6 Steps To Strategically Grow Your Business

New year, new goals. Where do you want your company to be this new year and how can you be sure you’ll get there? Our first FORUM 40 webinar for 2021 shares Shelly’s process for efficiently planning and implementing a strategic path for growing your business with six simple and flexible components. 

Shelly Bernal, a business coach with the Florida SBDC at FIU, will show you how to have a structure for a thorough analysis that challenges assumptions and conventional wisdom. Decide now whether you’ll let the future of your business just happen or make it happen! 

Click Here to Register

A Workplace of Support 

FORUM has an extensive program built to support members at all stages of their business. From administrative support to workshops with industry leaders, members have access to a plethora of unique business conveniences curated to help you grow. Contact us today to learn more about your membership opportunities and to schedule a tour at [email protected] | 305-203-5006