Meet Martin Goodman
Martin Goodman has been the director of the USC Region SBDC since 2007. This region includes eight centers serving thirteen counties. In addition to his position as director, he teaches the Boots to Business program at the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort and counsels about 90 small business clients each year, something he finds rewarding.
“It’s fun to drive down a street and realize that probably 25 percent of our local businesses were my clients at one time,” Goodman said. “I enjoy getting to know my clients. Building that individual rapport to where they can call and ask me most anything and feel they are going to get an honest appraisal.”
Beaufort is a small town with a strong community spirit and Goodman feels lucky to have been given the opportunity to move there with the SBDC in 1992. He was living in Greenville where he owned a tire and alignment company. Goodman also taught business development, plans and management at Greenville Technical College. Often he would invite a consultant from the Greenville Area SBDC to speak to his classes. When the position in Beaufort came open, Goodman applied although he’d never been there. Twenty-three years later, he is completely happy with his decision to move.
Goodman immediately became involved in the local business community, serving on a variety of boards and advisory committees including the Beaufort Economic Development Board, the Redevelopment Commission and the Chamber of Commerce.
A serial entrepreneur from early in his career, Goodman and his wife opened Ollie’s Seafood Grille & Bar that grew to three locations in Beaufort and Walterboro. In a state economically driven by tourism and the service industry, Goodman’s background in restaurant management often comes into play with clients. Goodman has worked with a number of restaurants over his years with the SBDC, but he gladly helps any client who comes through his door at USC Beaufort where his center is located.
“I enjoy working with clients who understand that being in business is a long term proposition,” Goodman said. “You don’t get into business for yourself to become wealthy overnight. You build wealth over time. People who understand this are ultimately your most successful clients.”
Goodman doesn’t take the trust and the confidence people have in his counsel lightly.
“People walk into our office with a dream. Even if we suspect that an idea may not be a particularly good one, it is our job to help them understand the reality of their dream without being discouraging,” Goodman said. “Often people haven’t thoroughly thought things through and they need an unbiased and informed opinion of their prospective business proposition.”
Whether he is at the grand opening of a client’s business, working with local business development groups or counseling clients one-on-one, Goodman is appreciative of the role he plays in helping people succeed.
“People drop by and ask me what I think of their business ideas,” Goodman said. “It’s great when people feel comfortable enough that they share their ideas with you. I like that what I do makes a positive difference for people who take risks, work hard and contribute to the community.”