Consultant Profile: Marco Antonio Rios Palacios

Area Center: State Directors’ Office Title: Hispanic Business Consultant Start Date: February 15, 2022


QUESTION: What was your career track prior to joining the SC SBDC? ANSWER: I have an extensive background in business management and entrepreneurship, with experience ranging from human resources and retail to the hospitality and food and beverage industries. For over 14 years I managed sales and national business development for international companies, including Tourico Holidays and Cafiver Mexico, and have launched and managed two small businesses. I hold a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and two master’s degrees in Marketing and Management and International Issues.


QUESTION: What motivated you to become an SC SBDC consultant? ANSWER: Personally, I strongly believe that the entrepreneurs and the Hispanic community are the cornerstone for the growth of the economy in any country. That is why it was a huge privilege to for me to join the SC SBDC team to mentor Hispanic entrepreneurs and business owners who are hungry to move forward and help them to drive demand and grow jobs in SC.


QUESTION: What is the best piece of advice you would offer an aspiring business owner? ANSWER: “Focus on your dream.” Being an entrepreneur is the most difficult and, at the same time, the most fulfilling thing. But if you want to start a business ONLY for money, I am 99% that it will fail. That's why you should start a business in something you love, are passionate about and have experience in. As an entrepreneur you will probably work 60+ hours a week for the first few years, and at that point the love and passion for your project will be the only thing that will help you achieve success.


QUESTION: What area of interest/expertise do you offer your clients? ANSWER: My areas of expertise are digital marketing and sales strategies, hard negotiations (B2B and B2C), and customer service.


QUESTION: Since becoming an SC SBDC consultant, what is your greatest accomplishment? ANSWER: I think my greatest achievement so far has been to create tools, training and resources in Spanish for the entire Hispanic community in SC. Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs are now more confident when seeking support from SC SBDC.


QUESTION: Why is the SC SBDC an important resource for business owners in South Carolina? ANSWER: Because we are an “extension” of their business and provide them the FREE consulting and resources they need to achieve their goals.


QUESTION: What is your favorite part about working for the SC SBDC? ANSWER: I enjoy being part of the SC SBDC’s ‘consulting team’ and working with other consultants who willingly share their expertise. Also, I am grateful for the opportunity to help Hispanic entrepreneurs realize their dreams: Building a Successful Business.


QUESTION: What quote/saying/maxim expresses your philosophy toward work and/or life? ANSWER: I love a quote from Chris Voss: “When the pressure is on, you don’t rise to the occasion, you fall to your highest level of preparation.” All businesses will likely experience a setback at some point. So prepared, LEARN from other businesses and ADAPT your strategy to SUCCEED.

QUESTION: What is the greatest challenge you’ve encountered while working as a consultant? How did you overcome it? ANSWER: So far, I think the biggest challenge I have encountered is culture shock. Many Hispanic people have a hunger to start a business but don’t have vital market/industry research or a well-prepared business plan. My goal is to share my knowledge to help them build their businesses on a solid foundation.


QUESTION: Describe your approach to counseling. ANSWER: I like to work with clients from the ground up: first I like to have a 20-minute call to learn more about them, their business or business idea, and, most importantly, WHY they want to start a business. After that, I help them to define their goals and vision. Then I help them to create and implement their business plan. For this, I emphasize three fundamental areas: the TEAM, sales and marketing, and customer service. I believe these are the 3 most important cornerstones for the success of a business.

QUESTION: What keeps you busy when you're not at work? What is your hobby and/or passion? ANSWER: When I'm not working I enjoy playing tennis, practicing CrossFit or playing soccer. But what I really love to do in my free time is to explore new places, like restaurants or national parks, and watch movies with my family.


QUESTION: What do you want clients to know about you? ANSWER: I am a very positive person who enjoys new challenges, working on difficult projects, and going beyond my comfort zone. It is important to me to be a positive role model: for the SC SBDC, my clients and the community.