A resounding and recurring theme and discussion among my circles is support – rather the lack of it when it comes to supporting minorities and small businesses. As an African-American woman with multiple endeavors, I can relate to this conversation from the race, gender and business side. It can get frustrating, especially when you have a product and/or service that you know that your family and friends regularly utilize but they opt to not support you for various reasons. Over the years I have learned not to get too frustrated and expand my circle. As long as I am providing a needed, high-quality product then I believe the work and effort I put in will help to determine my success. But let’s be honest, when your own doesn’t support you, it stings.
A recent dialogue on social media got my mind churning and i stepped back to look at the level of support I offered others and vice versa. My word for the year is “support” and I know it is no coincidence that this is a problem area that is continuously being addressed around me.
Share. It’s not always about spending money. I honestly don’t want anyone to spend money that can’t afford to spend or just don’t want to spend on the products and services that I offer. However, it takes very little effort to share information with those that you feel may benefit from it.
Understand that entrepreneurs face many obstacles. Please don’t be a hindrance. Speak positive and uplifting words. Give constructive feedback and sow into their business when you can.
Pay for the products and services that you are receiving. Do not expect a discount or freebie unless it was previously discussed.
Publicly praise. Receive great service? Love the product? Shout them out. Word of mouth advertising is powerful and appreciated.
Opportunities for sales, growth and networking – share them! If you come across events, organizations or others that you feel would be a great fit for our business, services or just to expand our circle of professional associates, please pass them along. We appreciate them and appreciate you keeping our growth in your thoughts and actions.
Respect the investments that are being put into a small business. It is not just time and money. For many this our talents, our truths, our life experiences – they are bundling them all together and offering them to others to help them better their lives in some way. Please do not belittle the work, time and effort that is put into making our businesses successful.
Truthful feedback helps and should be appreciated when delivered in a professional way. This allows for growth and necessary tweaks to products and services offered.
Now for my fellow entrepreneurs, small business owners, and independent consultants. It’s a two-way street. We can harp all day long, but we need to make sure we have our stuff together, too! Also, make sure WE are doing what we expect others to do for us. Ask yourself if you are supporting and promoting fellow entrepreneurs the way you expect others to do for you?
Sell your product don’t expect family and friends to buy from you just because. Some will support you at least once to help you get started but make sure you are providing them with a product or service that they truly need or can benefit from. If they spend $15 on a product that they’ll never use, what benefit does it serve you? They won’t be able to give feedback – positive or negative to you or others. If you know they can’t use it personally, suggest gift ideas for others in their lives or request that they pass your information on to others who can and will benefit from your product or service.
Unique. There are tons of businesses out there – what makes you unique? Be able to identify it and clearly express it to others in 30 seconds or less (ie – your elevator pitch).
Pushiness is not appreciated. Share your product or service but khow to market effectively without cramming it down everyone’s throat. You not only turn people off of your business but make it that much harder for the next business.
Professionalism is necessary. Treat your business as a business. If you are on social media, keep your personal tirades and rants to your personal page. Treat your customers the same way you expect to be treated as a consumer.
Organization is essential! Get help in the areas you struggle but keep your business organized – behind the scenes and what your customers can see. It makes a difference in so many areas.
Resilient. Not everyone’s going to support you, want or need your product. It’s the way of business and as an entrepreneur we have to recognize and accept that for what it is. Rather than focus on those who don’t support us, expand our circles to those who will. Network more, get out of your comfort zone, travel to different events, and continue to press forward and upward.
Time-Off. It’s necessary and needed. It is easy to always be on the go, but remember why you’re in business. Take the time off to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Spend quality time with family and friends. Give your body and mind rest.
Enjoy this article? I invite you to read others regarding entrepreneurship and small business.