Area Center: Rock Hill Title: Area Manager and Business Consultant Start Date: April 1, 2019
QUESTION: What was your career track prior to joining the SC SBDC network? ANSWER: Spent 34 years in Marketing in the consumer packaged goods industry. Included tenures at Glaxo Smithkline, Heinz, Lance, Snyder's Lance and Shearer's Foods. Also spent 6 years at a large advertising agency - Della Femina McNamee, Inc, where I was an account executive for the Stouffer's Frozen Foods business. My last 16 years were spent as Vice President of Marketing over both the Branded and Private Label divisions of Snyder's Lance, Inc., and then Shearer's Foods. QUESTION: What motivated you to become an SC SBDC consultant? ANSWER: After spending 3 decades working in large corporations, I started my own consulting business where I helped small businesses to develop strategic growth plans and marketing programs. My goal for the last portion of my career was to utilize my breadth of experience to help smaller companies to build and grow their businesses. I had worked with the North Carolina SBTDC on a project while working on my MBA so I appreciated the value of the SBDC. Thus when this position became open, I jumped at the chance to pursue it.
QUESTION: What is the best piece of advice you would offer aspiring business owners? ANSWER: Do your homework on the industry that you plan to enter so that you can be confident that you can provide a unique point of difference for your target customers. This should include a full assessment of the competitive environment to provide assurance that there is a strong opportunity with few barriers to entry.
QUESTION: Do you have a particular area of interest/expertise that you offer clients? ANSWER: Marketing strategy, target market selection and marketing program development.
QUESTION: Since becoming an SC SBDC consultant, what is your greatest accomplishment? ANSWER: I have only been with the SBDC two weeks but I have already been able to pull specific examples from my past experience to provide pertinent advice to clients during counseling sessions.
QUESTION: Why is the SBDC an important resource for small business owners in South Carolina? ANSWER: Too many entrepreneurs jump into business without solid planning, mainly due to a lack of knowledge about what steps are needed and why they are important. Most of them likely skip past this process because they believe they cannot afford to reach out for help. The SBDC provides this tremendous service for them at no cost.
QUESTION: What is your favorite part about working for the SC SBDC? ANSWER: The ability to draw upon my broad experience and apply it directly to each client's particular situation and provide a positive impact on their potential success.
QUESTION: What quote best expresses your philosophy toward work/life? ANSWER: "People may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel."
QUESTION: What is your approach toward client counseling? ANSWER: Every business has a unique set of circumstances, but the key to providing solutions can usually be found by asking a few key questions. My approach is to let the client fully describe the opportunity, what they know about that particular industry, what their ultimate goal is for the business and why they are so passionate about it. This helps to unlock the key challenges and opportunities and provides a basis for gathering follow-up information that will be used to develop effective solutions.