I`m sorry to hear about your counselor`s opinion (not advice). Some quick comments:
I can`t comment as to whether your deal is possible or not since I don`t have any information. It will likely be more challenging and possibly more costly than a few years back - but with preparation and persistence, it probably can be done.
While starting "small" may seem to reduce risk, because one doesn`t put as many "chips in the pot" - in some situations, starting small means staying small. Every situation is different and I advise my clients to make an informed choice after considering all the implications.
Talking to bankers can be helpful. Just remember, they have their own "template" for lending. Just because your situation doesn`t "fit" their template - doesn`t mean it`s not possible. There are a number of ways to bring capital into a business.
Good luck - send me a PM if you have questions.