• Mike Zaffaroni

Meet Mike Zaffaroni - Small Business Executive Program Graduate

Nicolette Hoffman

Mike Zaffaroni, the owner of Liberty Landscape Supply, has always been focused on the future of his company, which sells materials to beautify landscapes. His customers are homeowners, as well as landscaping industry contractors. Zaffaroni and his employees work each day to make landscape delivery easy for their customers, earning the company much success in Fernandina Beach and additional locations in the Jacksonville area.

After operating several businesses over the course of a few years, Zaffaroni had extensive experience and insight into the challenges of managing multiple locations. He decided to focus his attention on one industry and concentrate on opening additional sites using the same business model he had used in the past. Learning how to move Liberty Landscape Supply from a small business into a medium size company was a priority. It was around this time he heard about the executive programs offered by the Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship.

The Jim Moran Institute’s Small Business Executive Program provides owners of established businesses with new approaches they can utilize to grow their business more strategically and efficiently. It is particularly well-suited for companies ready to capitalize on business opportunities. Zaffaroni was looking for help that was consistent with his growth projections and would teach him how to expand his company’s business model, with the goal of replicating it when future opportunities to open additional locations arose.

“The mission of the Jim Moran Institute aligned with the needs of my business,” Zaffaroni said. “As I learned more about the program, I knew immediately it was just the solution I needed to grow my business. The timing was perfect.”

Participants in the Jim Moran Institute’s Jacksonville Operations Small Business Executive Program meet once a month, over the course of four months. Expert speakers work with the group on topics that are important to the participants, such as marketing, financing, and growth strategies. One of the speakers in the program really resonated with Zaffaroni. Doug Tatum, the author of “No Man’s Land,” helped Zaffaroni understand how to take his business to the next level and create a growth plan that was the right fit for Liberty Landscape Supply. Most importantly, Tatum helped Zaffaroni understand the specific direction his business should follow.

“Targeted, specific growth that is well thought out and planned is crucial to success,” Zaffaroni said. “You focus on predictability, revenue and sustained income for your business, which was a different way of thinking for me.”

In June of 2017, Liberty Landscape Supply opened a second location in Jacksonville. By September, the new location was already profitable. In 2019, Zaffaroni had the opportunity to purchase an established garden and landscape supply business in Jacksonville, which allowed him to expand his company. There are now three Liberty Landscape retail locations, and Zaffaroni now has more than 80 employees.

“Going through the process of acquiring property, financing and hiring staff were all topics covered in the program,” Zaffaroni said. “I feel like a lot of my success has to do with principles taught in the Small Business Executive Program.”

About the Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship
The Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship cultivates, trains and inspires entrepreneurial leaders through world-class executive education, applied training, public recognition and leading-edge research. Jim Moran was an automotive pioneer and an entrepreneur at heart, who at the age of 7, sold soda pop at sandlot baseball games in Chicago. With a career that spanned more than six decades, he built an amazing chronicle of achievements in the automobile industry. His vision for the Jim Moran Institute was to provide opportunities that would help others become more successful business owners. A 1995 contribution from Jim and Jan Moran and JM Family Enterprises established the Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship at the Florida State University College of Business. Since 2011, further enhancements to the Jim Moran Institute and its outreach have been made possible by Jan Moran and The Jim Moran Foundation.

About the North Florida Operations
The Jim Moran Institute's North Florida Operations serves established entrepreneurs, business owners and nonprofit leaders in the North Florida community through multiple programs designed to take advantage of local resources. Providing executive education and leveraging the resources of the Jim Moran Institute, the North Florida Operations helps its clients' businesses - and the region's economy - grow and prosper. Based in Tallahassee and Jacksonville, the North Florida Operations’ services are provided to for-profit and nonprofit businesses and are geared toward CEOs, entrepreneurs, business owners and presidents of small businesses whose companies have been established for at least three years with five or more employees. Services are provided for little to no cost.