Consultant Profile: Laura DiSano

Area Center: Aiken Title: Business Consultant Start Date: 2010

QUESTION: What was your career track prior to joining the SC SBDC network? ANSWER: 1. University of Rhode Island and the Community College of Rhode Island. Director of Special Support Programs serving inner city, ESL and disabled students in acquiring college educations

2. SVP Fleet Boston and Bank of America in a variety of areas including Operations, Product Management, Marketing, Incentive compensation plan development and oversight (Consumer and Commercial) and Consumer Delivery and Distribution Systems, Sales Management for Northeast Consumer Franchise, Market Executive for State of Rhode Island for Commercial Business Banking serving businesses up to $50,000,000 in annual sales revenue.

3. LLC owner for a business and nonprofit consulting firm QUESTION: What motivated you to become an SC SBDC consultant? ANSWER: The desire to support individuals with their goal of owning a business. To ensure that they do continuous business planning and follow the proper legal and financial requirements to be in good standing. Business owners all have a desire to control their own financial destiny and to work at something that leverages their expertise, talent and passion. QUESTION: What is the best piece of advice you would offer aspiring business owners? ANSWER: Plan, plan ,plan. Naming your business and creating business cards does not satisfy the many steps you must take to ensure your success. You need a road map by which to navigate and understand where you are in the process. Without it you are likely to fail in spite of your passion. Passion alone is not enough.

QUESTION: Do you have a particular area of interest/expertise that you offer clients? ANSWER: Financial services (finding capital). Marketing and positioning your skills and company.

QUESTION: Since becoming an SC SBDC consultant, what is your greatest accomplishment? ANSWER: The ability to create and sustain long-term clients many of whom remain with me for many years.

QUESTION: Why is the SBDC an important resource for small business owners in South Carolina? ANSWER: The resources (both from a personnel perspective as well as information, training and partnerships) are highly professional, effective and are provided at no charge to our clients. Our network across South Carolina is vast and we are able to meet almost any need a client might have by leveraging the network consultants' unique skills to meet their needs.

QUESTION: What is your favorite part about working for the SC SBDC? ANSWER: I am renewed and energized daily by seeing the accomplishments of my clients, by meeting new clients and getting them started and in knowing that I have played some role in their success and achievements. I am a passionate advocate for my clients, a strong ambassador for my community, and an engaged citizen. QUESTION: What quote best expresses your philosophy toward work/life? ANSWER: "You can do anything you want to do if you want to do it badly enough." From my Dad

QUESTION: What is the greatest challenge you’ve encountered while working as an SBDC consultant? How did you overcome it? ANSWER: Receiving funding for a software platform start-up. I brought in several banks and financial institutions and had my client do a presentation of his concept to each of them. I told them that he was presenting to multiple banks to make them aware that they were competing as funding sources. This resulted in funding of $200,000 for this company. Almost unheard of. Not my biggest loan ,but definitely my most challenging. QUESTION: What is your approach toward client counseling? ANSWER: I am an educator utilizing consultative techniques and see my consulting relationship as a partnership. The pronoun "we" is used consistently to let them understand that I see myself as part of their goals.

QUESTION: What honors/awards have you won while serving as an SBDC consultant? ANSWER: Aiken was selected as the Center of Excellence and Innovation in 2014 by the SBA. I received the Individual Achievement Award for highest achievement among all network consultants against individual goals, through high personal performance and dedication in 2016 and 2017. QUESTION: What hobby or activities keep you busy when you’re not assisting clients? ANSWER: Golf, cooking, sewing, family QUESTION: Is there anything else we should know about you? ANSWER: I am a passionate advocate for my clients, a strong ambassador for my community, and an engaged citizen.

UofSC Moore School of Business     1014 Greene Street     Columbia, SC 29208

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