Empower Magazine joins small business owners and entrepreneurs from across the country in celebrating National Small Business Week | May 12 – 16.
The national observance honors the innovation and ingenuity of small businesses throughout the nation.
In recognition of the week, President Barack Obama issued a May 9, 2014 proclamation that described small businesses as the “lifeblood of our economy, employing half of our country’s workforce and creating nearly two out of every three new American jobs” and challenged Americans to “renew their commitment to helping these vital enterprises thrive.”
As we honor the many business owners who have taken the steps to launch their own business ventures, we share highlights from an earlier EM article that provides six tips to business success.
- Evaluate Your Successes/Failures – Assess the successes and failures you have encountered and learn from both. Abraham Lincoln proved throughout his lifetime that failures do not dictate your future, rather the ability to bounce back and reassess your goals and move in a new direction are keys to winning in life. So it is in business – to succeed you must have a dogged determination and the persistence to keep pressing toward your business goals.
- Create or Fine-Tune Your Business Plan – Consult a business expert to assist in developing or reassessing your business plan. Having a road map to guide you in your business is as essential as having a map to direct you on a long-distance trip. There may be detours and road bumps along the way, but with a written plan outlining your business structure and financial and marketing goals, business owners can make provisions for the unexpected twists and turns that can occur in business. Visit a Small Business Administration SCORE chapter in your city and take advantage of the free mentoring and resources available to small business owners. You also can access valuable business resources online at http://score.org or visit a local chapter in your area.
- Find a Business Mentor/Advisor – No man is an island, the same applies to business. Whether you seek the counsel of a family member or friend with a background in business or access the services of a business coach or organization like SCORE, it is in your best interest, as a business owner, to not attempt to go it alone. Joining a local Chamber, like the Bethel’s Place Black Chamber of Commerce or other local chambers, also is a good move to open up unexplored networking opportunities and form business alliances with other entrepreneurs. Don’t just think about improving your business, be intentional and set aside time each quarter of the year to brainstorm with a trusted advisor who can help you evaluate and/or adjust your business goals.
- Embrace Technology – If you haven’t taken the dive into the digital world, no worries, this is a new year and you can begin now to equip yourself with the necessary skills and technology that will help to improve the chances of success for your business. Classes are available at your local library on everything from Computers 101 to classes on How to Network Using Social Media. Start where you are with your current skillsets and don’t be intimidated to learn something new. If you don’t have the time to learn now, hire someone who can fill the gap in your business until you can gain the necessary skills. The key is to not leave your business ill-equipped – if you don’t have certain skills, find someone who does.
- Commit to Expanding Your Business To Hire Employees – Although a record number of African American businesses have launched in the U.S. in recent years, research shows that the majority of Black businesses operate as sole proprietorships and 94 percent have no employees. A business’ ability to have a positive impact on the economy is limited when business owners can only generate sufficient revenues to benefit their own families. So this year, make a commitment to not only build and strengthen your business to make a difference for your business’ bottom line, but exert the effort that will propel your business to grow to such a level that you can hire employees and impact the economy. And don’t forget about offering a young person an opportunity to gain business experience through a paid or non-paid internship – your business may be the start they need to increase their self-confidence and begin on the path to a productive future.
- Think Global – In an ever-expanding business world, networking and business opportunities are no longer confined to your network of friends or associates- the Internet and Social Media have changed all of that. So take advantage of the tools that will help you not only conduct your business locally, but grow globally. Someone in Kenya may need a product or service that your business provides, so make yourself visible by developing and maintaining a quality web presence and make connections through social networking sites geared for business networking. Don’t limit your business’ growth potential by relying solely on word of mouth to help it grow; step out of your comfort zone and embrace the technologies that can help take your business to the next level.
Salute to National Small Business Week