Five Tips from Minority Business Owners
We've asked some minority business owners and those who work with them to provide advice on managing for success.
Tip #1: Don't freak out!
Pamela Mitchell, founder and CEO of The Reinvention Institute, speaker and author of The 10 Laws of Career Reinvention: Essential Survival Skills for Any Economy, cautions that any business will have its ups and downs. The key to success is how you handle them. She recommends staying focused on your current project or problem, solving that, and remembering that things always shift and evolve.
Tip #2: Hire the right people
While this might seem obvious, there are a few important guidelines to keep in mind. Make a complete list of qualities a candidate should possess. Look for employees who complement your skills and personality. While this requires understanding your strengths and weaknesses, it helps you make sure your company is balanced.
Tip #3: Network
Becoming a certified minority-owned business doesn't guarantee you'll get work, but many companies and government agencies are looking for verified minority-owned firms to bid on projects. A good way to do that is through local minority business associations such as the Minority Business Development Agency.
Tip #4: Take advantage of government programs
There are many programs offering resources for minorities ready to start or expand businesses. The Small Business Administration is an excellent resource and lists several federal programs that offer services and assistance in everything from starting a company to finding funding. Little Rock SCORE provides free and confidential business counseling tailored to meet the needs of your small business and now they offer SCORE Hours at the Chamber on the first and third Tuesday of each month.
Tip #5: Be savvy about finding and accessing capital
Matt Camp, president of ICIC, a Boston-based nonprofit research and strategy organization that supports urban small business owners, offers these suggestions for those looking for capital.
- Do your homework: "Find out what type of financing support is right for your business," he says. "Entrepreneurs should get savvy about all their options and choose the financing model that best aligns with their business goals and capital needs."
- Grow your network: "A lack of access to capital largely stems from a lack of access to capital providers," he points out. "Entrepreneurs located in underserved areas often don't have the same network as their suburban counterparts."
- Practice your pitch: "We've found that many entrepreneurs lack experience speaking with investors," Camp says. "Learn how to position your business according to what investors are looking for in an investment."
Questions? The Little Rock Regional Chamber is standing by to help you find the resources you need to start or grow your business. Contact Brandon Campbell, Director of Small Business & Inclusion, at 501.377.6031.