Ben Smith is the type of guy who sees the bigger picture. Whether he’s advising clients in his role as manager of the Clemson Area SBDC or he’s lecturing at the business schools at Lander and Clemson universities, he’s always attune to how a person’s approach to work and life is crucial to success.
“In my opinion, nobody lives the American dream more than entrepreneurs,” Smith said. “The American dream is less about money and more about the freedom to plot our own course, but with freedom comes responsibility. I would say to anybody leading or building a business that your responsibilities include being a strategic manager. People have to develop the skill sets needed for success.”
According to the SBA, the top three reasons newly launched businesses fail is lack of sufficient planning, lack of adequate capital and lack of managerial skills. Smith cautions anyone looking to start a business that uncertainty equals risk, so planning and management are needed to mitigate that risk. That’s where Smith comes in, with counseling that opens the eyes of business owners, he exemplifies why many consider the SC SBDC the go-to resource for small businesses in South Carolina.
“I receive a lot of requests to assess the feasibility of a project, be it an expansion opportunity for an existing business or even a start-up idea,” Smith said. “I enjoy this type of project work immensely.”
Like many clients, Dwayne Goodwin, owner of Save-A-Lot grocery stores gives Smith high marks for his dedication to client success. “Every few months Ben calls up just to ask if he can help me,” Goodwin said. “He says, ‘I’m here to make sure you’re successful.’ He’s a good partner to be able to go to and just ask questions. As a small business owner, you go where you find value and I find value in my relationship with Ben and the SC Small Business Development Centers.”
Smith finds happiness is in serving others. He not only assists small business owners in Anderson, Oconee and Pickens Counties, he is also a member and a past president of the Seneca Rotary Club and he serves as a director or special advisor to the board of several nonprofit organizations in the Tri-county area.
Smith graduated Summa Cum Laude from Winthrop University with a BA in Business Administration with a concentration in human resources. He later earned an MBA from Clemson University. Smith holds the prestigious Economic Development Finance Professional Certification and the Economic Development Certification of Achievement. He is also the Sam Walton Fellow for Students In Free Enterprise at Clemson University.
Smith has been nationally recognized by the Association of Small Business Development Centers for making significant contributions to South Carolina’s SBDC program and showing a strong commitment to small business in the Upstate. He has also been lauded for consistently high personal performance and dedication to a job well done for the SC SBDC network.
Ben Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 864.710.4717