3 Keys to Success for Black Women Entrepreneurs Even in the face of adversity, a resilient spirit, clear vision and unwavering commitment can make all the difference in achieving success and positively impacting the world.
- Embracing pride for your business while maintaining respect for others and yourself will ultimately mold a sound backbone for what life throws amongst the discrimination and bias that are still prevalent.
- Staying true to yourself and being a positive resource to others will build a successful business that serves your purpose and your community well.
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Let's be blunt. Being a Black entrepreneur is different from our counterparts. Not always in a bad way, just dissimilar. However, we do face challenges or have experiences that are sometimes difficult to understand or articulate unless you're in our shoes or you live through them. What might seem routine, 'normal,' or straightforward to others has proven to be unlike what our communities of color face — especially in the small business world. Nevertheless, remaining optimistic and resilient amongst the noise will aid in your success despite the barriers.
Embracing pride for your business while maintaining respect for others and yourself will ultimately mold a sound backbone for what life throws amongst the discrimination and bias that are still prevalent. As a Black woman entrepreneur, being aware of the obstacles and having courage to overcome them is critical. Here are three keys to success that aid in empowerment, growing your small business as an underrepresented class and evolving into a respected small business owner.
1. Bring your own perspective and authenticity + don't be afraid to cultivate change
No matter how often you've been silenced, don't allow that to define you. Bring your unique perspective to every situation facing you. Fortunately, redefining and making small changes can yield big results in every area of life. Entrepreneurs generally endure a lot every day because it seems easy enough to just count us out or take us less seriously than those in corporate America. However, speaking up, starting and maintaining needed conversations and leveraging your strengths to propel you forward will open doors for differing perspectives and much-needed change to your organization and the world. It's as simple as this — You can make a difference. So, when you see something you don't agree with or feel it is unethical, say something. Be 1% better every day in all you do.
Roadblocks are inevitable but necessary for growth. Looking at them as opportunities to be better is always the way forward. Keep your vision clear on what you want your business to accomplish and your life. Continuously set goals to make your vision a reality. And know that being authentic is the best you can be. People want to see authenticity in how they live their lives, run their businesses, and create community. It builds trust and confidence — which is so instrumental, especially today.
2. Stay true to who you are + be an advocate for yourself
If you're a POC reading this, there has, without a doubt, been a time when you found yourself as the only representation of color in a group. In these moments, look for opportunities to drive diversity by advocating for yourself and others. Because when you walk into rooms and see people that look like you amongst the crowd, doesn't that feel better than good? Whether you look at the company you founded, the organizations you get involved with, or the community you live in, you have the greatest opportunity to support diverse environments. Remembering your value and having a purposeful vision in all situations will go a long way.
3. Stay informed + commit to your beliefs
The average revenue of Black-owned businesses in Atlanta is incredibly low. According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, in 2021, "Black-owned companies generate $39,826 in average annual revenue." When you consider that minority-owned businesses are pulling in less than $40,000 a year, which is astonishingly less than those businesses that aren't minority-owned, that's a huge problem. Whether it's through volunteering, speaking, mentoring or 1:1's, being a force of change in those statistics (or similar ones) is crucial to the difference that the small business community needs.
As business grows, be a role model for those following in your footsteps. Others are studying your career path and seeing what your business and life look like. Why not leave a lasting legacy in all areas of your life?
Be strong in your commitment to rise above and make a difference; remember it starts with you. Consider these possibilities:
- Choose equitable hiring practices.
- Find speaking opportunities that allow you to support your community.
- Cultivate a diverse set of offerings and client bases.
- Think through your business and find areas where you can drive diversity, equity and inclusion.
- Be the change you know you can be, and be proud of where your business can take you.
The path to success for Black women entrepreneurs requires perseverance and perspective. Staying true to yourself and being a positive resource to others will build a successful business that serves your purpose and your community well. Even in the face of adversity, a resilient spirit, clear vision and unwavering commitment can make all the difference in achieving success and positively impacting the world.