Start Your Business

You Know What Your Business Needs. Your SBDC Rep Can Help

You Know What Your Business Needs. Your SBDC Rep Can Help

Seven years ago, Greenville, South Carolina, had very little recognition at the national level, says Scott Whelchel, area manager and business consultant at the Greenville Small Business Development Center. In recent years, however, Greenville’s growth and innovation have garnered national attention—thanks in large part to the city’s collaborative pursuit of a high quality of life and entrepreneurial success for its residents, Whelchel says. 

“It takes a positive, supportive local and county government, as well as the experts in their field, to help people succeed,” Whelchel says. And, he says, the resources available at his organization and others go a long way to foster new business growth in the area.

Taryn Scher, president and founder of TK PR, says she experienced this firsthand when she started her public relations firm in Greenville eight years ago.

At the time, Scher was in her early 20s and had no prior knowledge of what it meant to run a small business, but she quickly found the help she needed, she says.

“Greenville is a huge community when it comes to giving—not just financial charities, but their time, resources and mentorship,” she says. “The Greenville SBDC is one of those hidden gems that a lot people don’t know about.”

The Greenville SBDC offers confidential and free consulting, based on client needs. Consulting often relates to topics like the startup process, business planning, financing options, licensing and compliance assistance, government contracting and even exit strategies. The center also offers workshops and seminars, which typically cost $10 to $50.

“If you’re someone with a business idea or someone who wants to develop your business ideas, the Greenville SBDC is the place to go,” says Michael Hughes, SBA business development officer for the Carolinas and VP, commercial banking division at SunTrust.

Hughes encourages small business owners to reach out to other business owners, form advisory boards and look to resources like the Greenville SBDC to become better equipped and knowledgeable.

“You may not know what’s available in the markets if you’re not willing to put aside what you think you already know,” he says. “Talk to other folks and business owners in the community about what you’re going through, be willing to receive constructive thoughts and collaborate on the next best steps for your business,” he says.

This approach paid off for Steve Bailey, CEO and chairman of Merus Refreshment Services Inc. and vice chairman of the South Carolina SBDC.

Though Bailey had considerable business experience and training, he says there were aspects about starting a business he wasn’t aware of when he opened his company 18 years ago.

“The Small Business Development Center is great at helping you really evaluate the potential opportunities that your small business may have and potential risks to your small business,” he says. “Those two things are invaluable.”

To make the most of your local SBDC, Whelchel advises new small business owners to focus on specific tools that will jump-start their company.

“There are more resources out here than you can handle,” he says. “You just need to find the two or three that are going to be beneficial to you today.”

In general, Whelchel recommends that any new small business owner keep two obligations in mind: writing a business plan and networking “like crazy.”

“Make yourself available to resources and get involved with your community,” he says. “The more involved, the more visible, the more connected you are, the better.”

If you’re a new small business owner, talk with an advisor at your local SBDC or take advantage of free online resources to get the expertise and support your business needs to thrive.

This content does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.


Investment and Insurance Products:

Are Not FDIC or any other Government Agency Insured   Are Not Bank Guaranteed  May Lose Value 

© 2018 SunTrust Banks, Inc

equal housing logoSunTrust Bank is an Equal Housing Lender. Member FDIC

equal housing logoEqual Housing Lender. SunTrust Mortgage, Inc

SunTrust, SunTrust Mortgage, SunTrust PortfolioView, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, SunTrust Premier Program, AMC Pinnacle, AMC Premier, Access 3, Signature Advantage Brokerage, Custom Choice Loan and SunTrust SummitView are federally registered service marks of SunTrust Banks, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Services provided by the following affiliates of SunTrust Banks, Inc.: Banking products and services are provided by SunTrust Bank, Member FDIC. Trust and investment management services are provided by SunTrust Bank, SunTrust Delaware Trust Company and SunTrust Banks Trust Company (Cayman) Limited. Securities, brokerage accounts and insurance (including annuities) are offered by SunTrust Investment Services, Inc., a SEC registered broker-dealer, member FINRA, SIPC, and a licensed insurance agency. Investment advisory services are offered by SunTrust Advisory Services, Inc., a SEC registered adviser. GFO Advisory Services, LLC is a SEC registered investment adviser that provides investment advisory services to a group of private investment funds and other non-investment advisory services to affiliates. Mortgage products and services are provided by SunTrust Mortgage, Inc.

SunTrust Mortgage, Inc. - NMLS #2915, 901 Semmes Avenue, Richmond, VA 23224, 1-800-634-7928. CA: licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act, IL: Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee #MB-989, Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, 100 W. Randolph, Suite 900, Chicago, IL 60601, 1-888-473-4858, MA: Mortgage Lender license #-ML-2915, NJ: Mortgage Banker License - New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance, NY: Licensed Mortgage Banker—NYS Department of Financial Services, and RI: Rhode Island Licensed Lender.

"SunTrust Advisors" may be officers and/or associated persons of the following affiliates of SunTrust Banks, Inc.: SunTrust Bank, our commercial bank, which provides banking, trust and asset management services; SunTrust Investment Services, Inc., a registered broker-dealer, which is a member of FINRA and SIPC, and a licensed insurance agency, and which provides securities, annuities and life insurance products; SunTrust Advisory Services, Inc., a SEC registered investment adviser which provides Investment Advisory services.

SunTrust Private Wealth Management, International Wealth Management, Business Owner Specialty Group, Sports and Entertainment Group, and Legal and Medical Specialty Groups and GenSpring are marketing names used by SunTrust Bank, SunTrust Banks Trust Company (Cayman) Limited, SunTrust Delaware Trust Company, SunTrust Investment Services, Inc., and SunTrust Advisory Services, Inc.

SunTrust Bank and its affiliates do not accept fiduciary responsibility for all banking and investment account types offered. Please consult with your SunTrust representative to determine whether SunTrust and its affiliates have agreed to accept fiduciary responsibility for your account(s) and if you have completed the documentation necessary to establish a fiduciary relationship with SunTrust Bank or an affiliate. Additional information regarding account types and important disclosures may be found at

SunTrust Robinson Humphrey is the trade name for the corporate and investment banking services of SunTrust Banks, Inc. and its subsidiaries, including SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc., member FINRA and SIPC.