Consultant PROFILE: Eddie Watson
Title: Business Consultant
Start Date: July 2013
Ask any of Eddie Watson’s clients and they’ll tell you he is an expert in writing successful business plans, preparing loan applications, marketing, managing working capital, securing government contracts and exporting. That’s an impressive list. Perhaps that is one reason the SC SBDC recognized him as the 2014 Rookie of the Year. Eddie says that his commitment to helping South Carolina’s small businesses is more than a job–it’s a personal crusade rooted in his own entrepreneurial experience. Prior to becoming a business consultant, Eddie opened his own art gallery called “Different Strokes Art Studio and Gallery.” From this venture, Eddie understands the perils of living life without a safety net–a risk every entrepreneur must be willing to face. He also knows the joys of being passionate, absorbed, and stimulated as well as the thrill of defying the odds and overcoming obstacles to achieve your vision. These are but a few reasons why Eddie excels as a consultant. Eddie enjoys advising his clients and helping them fulfill their dreams. He never tires of cultivating them and–when necessary–nudging them in the right direction. “I want my clients to make an impact, become more confident, to overflow with enthusiasm. I want them to prosper, because when you accomplish one major feat in your life it radiates outward.”
Question: What experience do you possess that qualifies you to be a business consultant?
EW: I have worked in the private sector for 25 years in upper level management positions. From this experience I learned interpersonal and communication skills.
Question: What motivated you to become an SC SBDC consultant?
EW: My desire and passion to help aspiring entrepreneurs lead a better life using all available means at their disposal.
Question: Prior to joining the SC SBDC in 2013, how would you describe your career track?
EW: I spent 28 years working for private sector businesses in the manufacturing industry. In 1993, I opened and operated my own business, an art gallery called “Different Strokes Art Studio and Gallery.” Regrettably, I had to close the business 2001. From 2002 to 2009 I taught “Job Readiness” classes for the SC Department of Social Services in Marion. In that capacity I helped participants become Independent by teaching them the skills necessary for finding and keeping a job. I also have worked with a Community Action Agency as a program director for Florence, Marion, and Dillon Counties.
Question: Based on your experience, what is the best piece of advice you would offer aspiring business owners?
EW: “Know Your Business.” Before you approach a lender with a loan application, ensure you have a well-written business plan and consistent financial projections.
Question: Since becoming an SBDC consultant, what is your greatest accomplishment?
EW: I was honored to receive the SC SBDC Rookie of the Year Award in 2014. It was a great feeling to know that someone recognized my dedication and hard work and nominated me.
Question: What quote best expresses your philosophy toward work/life/success?
EW: “Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.” One day I discovered this quote by Booker T. Washington. It really resonated with me because it describes the life I already was leading. It was gratifying to learn that Booker T. Washington and I shared the same philosophy.