A native of Conway, Janet Graham has been a business consultant and manager of the Myrtle Beach Area SBDC since 2004. Graham was named South Carolina’s State Star in 2009, a distinction imparted by her peers. This honor, which is awarded at the annual conference of the national association of SBDCs, is based on exemplary performance in key performance indicators, her enthusiasm for representing the SBDC in the business community, her contributions to local economic development and her longstanding contributions to the SC SBDC.
“Entrepreneurship is one of the most exciting and rewarding endeavors one can undertake,” Graham said. “If born of passion, it’s an opportunity to bring forth something unique, wonderful and sometimes amazing! I find that in most cases, hard work and dedication to learning as much as possible about business makes for great success.”
Graham works closely with her host school, Coastal Carolina University, where she has taught senior business management courses, as well as first year experience classes. Graham earned an associate degree from Horry-Georgetown Technical College (Phi Theta Kappa), a B.A. in finance at Coastal Carolina University (Cum Laude) and an M.B.A. in business administration from Winthrop University. Graham’s philosophy for working with clients is to connect with them early in the process.
“My basic business philosophy is the same as my life philosophy: you get out of it what you put into it,” Graham said. “My advice to clients is that starting, maintaining and growing a business is all-consuming. Although some may decide that entrepreneurship may not be right for them at the moment, I try to help them keep dreaming and planning so that when the time is right, they will be ready.”
Graham has experience as a commercial insurance agent and more than 15 years in commercial and small business lending with Bank of America. For the past 11 years, she has been the area manager of the Myrtle Beach Area Small Business Development Center, which serves all of Horry and Georgetown counties. She is also a partner, with her husband Gregory Graham, of a property management company and a towing company.
Graham is very involved in her community serving on the Horry County School Board and working with the Each One Teach One Board at Coastal Carolina University. She is active in the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce serving on the board of director and the economic development committee. Graham has earned a number of professional certifications including Certified Business Advisor, Economic Development Finance Professional, as well as being a certified instructor in NxLevel, Profit Mastery and FastTrac.
“Every day is a new and different experience at the SBDC! No two days, or clients, are ever the same,” Graham said. “But I like clients who are excited about their idea and have done some homework. A dream that is undertaken without proper planning can quickly become a nightmare. I love helping to make dreams come true, but it requires lots of input and time from the client. Clients that understand this are my favorite.”