Consultant Profile: Ben Calhoun

June 27, 2019

Area Center: Greenwood
Title: Business Consultant
Start Date: February 8, 2018

 

QUESTION: What was your career track prior to joining the SC SBDC network?
ANSWER: I have over 20 years of professional experience in consumer finance, management, and consulting.  Prior to coming on board with the SC SBDC, I served as the C.F.O. for a non-profit organization and owned a financial counseling business. My experiences as a Branch, District, and Regional Manager in the field of consumer finance allowed me to develop expertise in continuous process improvement, auditing methods for internal operations, and succession planning techniques. As a former small business owner and supervisor, I appreciate the challenges entrepreneurs face on a day to day basis and enjoy seeing small businesses grow and thrive.


QUESTION: What motivated you to become an SC SBDC consultant?
ANSWER: For me, there is no better feeling then helping someone meet their goals. I was especially drawn to the SBDC program because it is structured in a way that allows consultants to give clients objective advice.  The fact that we don't charge for our consulting services and don't rely on referral income means that we can focus our time and energy doing what is best for our clients.  


QUESTION: What is the best piece of advice you would offer aspiring business owners?
ANSWER: The advice I like to share with aspiring business owners is based on a quote from Abraham Lincoln.  Lincoln once said "Give me six hours to cut down a tree and I will spend the first four hours sharpening the axe."  I use the quote to bring attention to all of the important work that happens before a business ever helps its first customer.

 

QUESTION: Do you have a particular area of interest/expertise that you offer clients?
ANSWER: My background in operations and management helped me develop strong instincts when it comes to negotiations, strategic planning, and process improvement.  I regularly apply these skills to help my client make the most of their time and resources.

 

QUESTION: Since becoming an SC SBDC consultant, what is your greatest accomplishment?
ANSWER: Building a strong network of local resources has been my greatest accomplishment as a consultant because my network is one of my best tools for helping clients succeed.  


QUESTION: What is your favorite part about working for the SC SBDC?
ANSWER: The people. We have a great team of folks who are passionate about what they do. When you get the chance to work on a team like that, it makes coming to work a lot of fun!

QUESTION: What quote best expresses your philosophy toward work/life?
ANSWER: Charlie "Tremendous" Jones once said “You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.”  I believe that philosophy is especially important for business owners.   

 

QUESTION: What is your approach toward client counseling?
ANSWER: My approach to counseling is simple.  I work hard to understand my client's goals and motivation before I make recommendations. You must define success before you can measure it.

 

QUESTION: What hobby or activities keep you busy when you’re not assisting clients?
ANSWER: When I'm not working, I enjoy traveling with my family, playing sports, and supporting my Clemson Tigers.

 

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