Welcome to another edition of ASBN’s Small Business Show. Today, we’re pleased to welcome back Melinda Emerson, also known as the Small Biz Lady, CEO of Quintessence Group, and best-selling author. On today’s episode, Melinda shares her valuable insights on the importance of the month of August, as known as Black Business Month.
Celebrating Black Business Month is imperative because “We come in all shapes and sizes. There are small microentrepreneurs; some who have done well in the franchising business, and others who are making over a million in revenue,” asserts Emerson. Furthermore, Emerson says that the narrative she needs others to understand is that: “We are not all one thing!” A few years ago, American Express studied black women-owned businesses that made $24,000. But, even today, there are a plethora of things other companies can do daily to support Black Owned Businesses.
For starters, Emerson claim, “Companies need to say true to their supplier diversity goals.” It’s one thing to say you’re looking for suppliers, and it’s another to recruit and entertain those suppliers. Also, “I think they need to do a better job of trickling down on primary vendors to make them do supplier diversity and make sure they get paid properly,” asserts Emerson. Companies can also utilize supplier development, which is how women and minorities get in the door.
Although local SBAs are an excellent source for starting a business, if you’re looking at getting contracts, look into the National Minority Supplier Development Council, NMSDC, or the WBENC. Those are organizations that corporate belong to that engage with small businesses. But obtaining contracts is one thing; Emerson declares, “You have to be ready. Meaning you have to ensure your website is great, you have testimonials, recommendations, and great capability statements.” She adds, “People will look you up online WAY before they pick up the phone to call you. Therefore you must have the fundamentals in order before anything else.”
However, a common mistake, Emerson says, “Some minority black-owned businesses make is they want a contract because they’re back. But that’s the wrong reason.” One of the reasons they should want a contract is because you’re a diverse vendor or you have great values, pricing, and service. Because those should be at the forefront of what your business is offering.”
Emerson advises those at home wanting to start a side hustle, “Look at what people need. Things like tutors, dog walkers, and accountants. And examine if there is any expertise that you could sell.”