The South Carolina Small Business Development Centers (SC SBDC), the state’s premier provider of business assistance to entrepreneurs and small business owners, announced that Myrtle Beach Area business consultant Bernita Platt was recently selected as the 2019 South Carolina State Star. This noteworthy achievement is based on her exemplary performance, enthusiasm for representing the network in the business community, contributions to local economic development and outstanding service to the SC SBDC.
Every year, each of the 63 SBDCs across the U.S. and its territories selects a state star who is honored at a special reception by the national association of Small Business Development Centers, America’s SBDC.
Platt began working as a part-time consultant for the SC SBDC in 2007 while she was in graduate school and went on to become a full-time consultant in 2014, serving nearly 400 clients since her transition five years ago. Platt works primarily with clients in Horry and Georgetown counties, but also helps her fellow consultants across the state when they need assistance with the tax implications of legal business structures or tax compliance. “As a certified tax auditor I often focus on the importance of financial management by providing clients with financial projections and discussing ways to maintain business finances.”
Platt says that her greatest reward as a consultant is helping clients who are in dire straits turn things around. “I do everything I possibly can to ensure they remain in business and can continue earning a living doing what they love,” she says.
Like all SC SBDC network professionals, Platt draws upon her breadth and depth of experience to strengthen the SBDC network and enrich the quality of its services. “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.”
Platt says that when working with clients, the most important thing she does is listen. “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.”
Among her many accomplishments with the Myrtle Beach Area SBDC, Platt worked with fellow business consultant Janet Graham to create “Business Basics,” an interactive, introductory workshop geared toward pre-venture and startup businesses. For this endeavor, State Director Michele Abraham awarded Platt the SC SBDC PRISM award which recognizes outstanding consultants who are helping the SC SBDC fulfill its mission through innovative programs, a commitment to clients and teamwork.
In addition to her endeavors with the SC SBDC, Platt strives to bolster her area business community through her involvement with several civic organizations. She is a former member of the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce Small Business Council and currently serves as vice chair of the Conway Area Horry County Schools Advisory Board. Platt also is a member of both the Horry County Schools Appeals Board and the Horry County Schools Superintendent’s Business Cabinet.
When announcing Platt’s selection as the 2019 State Star, South Carolina State Director Michele Abraham said “Bernita is dedicated to her clients and the SC SBDC, as is evidenced from her clients’ appreciation for the assistance she provides and their ensuing achievements. Bernita consistently looks for ways to innovate and takes the initiative to get training and certifications that help her continually enhance her ability to drive client success. She is a stellar contributor to our organization.”
Platt says that the best piece of advice she can offer aspiring entrepreneurs is to plan ahead, be persistent and know your value. “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.”
“I appreciate all of my clients and am honored to have played a role in their entrepreneurial journey,” says Platt. “I believe in the SC SBDC, the work we do and the impact we make in South Carolina. There is nothing more rewarding than helping our clients work toward, and achieve, their dreams.”
While grateful for the honor, Platt acknowledges the contributions of all the consultants working with the SC SBDC. “Being named the 2019 SC SBDC State Star is an incredible achievement; however, the SC SBDC comprises a large network of consultants, each of whom is uniquely talented, dedicated and equally deserving of this honor.”
Entrepreneurship is in Platt’s blood. “My father owned a small business as an auto detailer for many years and my husband has owned his own business as a barber for several years as well.” Platt 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. I am constantly inspired by their drive to provide better opportunities for themselves and their families. It is very rewarding to be a part of that.”
About the South Carolina Small Business Development Centers (SC SBDC)
Twenty-one South Carolina Small Business Development Centers (SC SBDC) located throughout the state’s 46 counties offer pro bono individual, confidential business consulting. Highly-trained consultants assist both existing and startup companies providing a variety of services including business plan development, fiscal and operations management, human resources, financing options, marketing strategies and much more. In addition to conducting a variety of free or low-cost education workshops, SBDC centers refer clients to useful business resources. Specialized services include government contracting, exporting, technology commercialization, veterans’ business assistance and minority outreach. Visit SCSBDC.com to find a center and make an appointment.