Area Center: Myrtle Beach Title: Business Consultant Start Date: September 1, 2015
“Entrepreneurship is in my blood,” says Myrtle Beach Area business consultant Bernita Platt. “My father owned a small business as an auto detailer for many years. My husband has owned his own business as a barber for several years as well.” Bernita says that this first-hand knowledge combined with her personal connection to the local community motivates her to go the extra mile when helping clients. “All of our clients have different stories, but, I am constantly inspired by their drive to provide better opportunities for themselves and their families and I am honored to be a part of that.”
QUESTION: What experience do you possess that qualifies you to be a business consultant? ANSWER: I’ve worked with small business owners throughout my career in various capacities. As an Assistant Branch Manager for a local community bank, the vast majority of my clients were small business owners. In that position, I quickly learned the importance of financial management when access to capital may be limited. I also worked directly with many entrepreneurs while working as a Tax Auditor for the South Carolina Department of Revenue. In that role, I was able to convey the importance of tax compliance and tax remittance to entrepreneurs to help them avoid tax penalties and to empower them to have a better understanding of how taxes affected their businesses. While at the DOR, I also spoke on behalf of the DOR at the SBDC’s tax workshops in partnerships with the SBA. Before going to graduate school, I worked as a Management Trainee for a local community bank in Greenville, SC, The Palmetto Bank. After completing the Management Trainee program, I was promoted to Assistant Branch Manager. During that time, I also completed South Carolina Banker’s School. Prior to my tenure at The Palmetto Bank, I attended and graduated from the University of South Carolina.
QUESTION: How would you describe your career track with the SC SBDC? ANSWER: This is my second time working at the SBDC. I worked as a part-time consultant while I was in graduate school for two years. During that time, I worked in Horry County and also as the sole consultant in Georgetown County. While in graduate school I also worked as a Graduate Assistant for the Wall College of Business at Coastal Carolina University.
QUESTION: As a consultant, what inspires you? ANSWER: Seeing the successes and gratitude of the clients I’ve helped.
QUESTION: Do you have a particular area of interest/expertise you offer clients? ANSWER: As a certified tax auditor, I talk with many of my clients about the tax implications of legal business structures as well as tax compliance. I also focus on the importance of financial management by providing clients with financial projections, as needed, and discussing ways to maintain business finances.
QUESTION: Since becoming an SC SBDC consultant, what is your greatest accomplishment? ANSWER: Helping clients who were in dire straits turn things around so that they were able to remain in business and continue earning a living doing what they love. My greatest non-client accomplishment was obtaining QuickBooks Pro Advisor certification.
QUESTION: How would you describe your approach to client consulting? ANSWER: I first listen to my clients to ensure I know exactly how they want me to assist them. Then, I suggest solutions. From there, working together, the client and I set measurable short-term and long-term goals.
QUESTION: Based on your experience, what is the best piece of advice you would offer aspiring business owners? ANSWER: Being an entrepreneur, or even considering entrepreneurship, can seem wonderfully overwhelming. It’s a rewarding journey, but it takes work. Make sure you plan ahead and have a strong understanding of your mission, your market, and the value you bring.
QUESTION: The quote that best expresses your philosophy toward work/life/success is? ANSWER: "Balance activity with serenity, wealth and simplicity, persistence with innovation, community with solitude, familiarity with adventure, constancy with change, leading with following. "- Jonathan Lockwood Huie