“Black people must focus on building wealth intentionally, strategically, and quickly.”
– Sandra Brazelton, Real Estate Broker
Last month I attended the Alabama State Black Chamber of Commerce (ASBCC) 2018 Entrepreneurs and Innovators Conference in Birmingham, Alabama, June 21-22, 2018. Led by Jerry Mitchell, President, the ASBCC is a nonprofit organization committed to advancing the economic, intellectual and social conditions of its members and affiliates and the communities that they serve. Currently, the ASBCC has six affiliate chambers throughout the state of Alabama.
The purpose of the annual conference is to help grow and strengthen businesses as well as the communities that they serve. Business owners, leaders, and subject matter experts from across the state participated in the event. The theme of the conference this year was “Taking Care of Business in Our Communities.”
This was my sister Dr. Rhesa Houston of Assistance Animals Consulting and my first time attending the ASBCC conference. We enjoyed it. The conference featured multiple sessions on a variety of topics. Below are some of my key takeaways from the event.
5 Key Things Every Business Owners Should Know:
1 – Know how to motivate yourself!
Being a business owner has its challenges. You must, therefore, know how to motivate yourself, and how to keep yourself motivated. In her workshop Atty. LaConya Murray of Off the Mark advised on how to accomplish this feat: “‘DIAL’ into Your Abundance!”
D – Distance yourself from limiting beliefs. Give no attention to defeating thoughts.
I – Identify who you really are. Define happiness and success for you.
A – Act accordingly. Get ready and be ready for all that you have asked for.
L – List your gratitude items daily. Be specific about the good that you have experienced and received today.
2 – Know the mission, vision and values of your business!
Business owners must take the time and energy to develop the mission, vision and values of our business. Having these components will create a strong foundation, keeping the business focused, intentional and on course.
3 – Know how to brand your business!
According to David Barry of United Ability, branding is much more than a logo and tag line. Branding is your story. Branding is a means for you to make an indelible mark on the minds of your customers. As you brand your business, make sure that the brand is consistent across mediums and platforms.
4 – Know how to tell your story!
Business owners need to know how to explain their business and its vision with clarity and conviction. This is especially important when applying for loans at banking institutions. According to Ali Propst of PNC Bank, bankers must fully understand your business in order to justify providing you with a loan. Bankers cannot work with convoluted pictures! In view of this fact, business owners must know how to paint a clear, compelling, coherent and captivating picture of their business. One effective strategy for doing this is to build a relationship with your banker prior to needing a loan. Invite your banker to your business, office, product/service launch, events, engagements, etc. Provide him/her with multiple opportunities to learn all about you, your business and its product/services. With this knowledge your banker will know how to tell your story and serve as an important advocate for you, when you do approach the bank for a business loan.
5 – Know Your Financials!
Financial statements are essential to a successful business. There are three types of financial statements: 1) income statement, 2) balance sheet, and 3) cash flow statement. Each provides critical information about the financial status of your business. According to Phylicia Moye of Pathway Lending, financial statements help business owners in multiple ways. They help them to understand cash flow, make decisions about how to grow and scale the business, monitor performance, provide information for investors and lenders, and prepare taxes.
Did you attend the conference? If so, what were your takeaways? If you are an entrepreneur and did not attend the conference, do you have any advice for business owners? Please feel free to share your comments below.
Ramona Houston, Ph.D., PMP, has a multifaceted career as a scholar, speaker and community engagement strategist. Through Kaliráh Strategies Ramona helps businesses, who embrace their social responsibility, to impact their communities in meaningful ways by managing and executing their philanthropic visions. Contact Ramona to learn how Kalirah Strategies may help your business advance the social causes you believe in, strengthen your community, and leave your legacy.