Resources that leverage your business at the Black Enterprise Entrepreneur Summit

On Day 2 of the Black Enterprise Entrepreneur Summit I hesitantly walked into the seminar entitled “How to Use Technology to Protect and Grow Your Business“ and to my surprise I was quickly realized I was getting a lot more than I bargained for.

The panelist of Claire Sulmers with Fashion Bomb Daily, LaShonda Johnson with the Houston Housewives of Finance and Everette Taylor of Skurt were a fierce compilation of business savvy, opportunity spotting business superstars all ready and willing to share their experience and knowledge with the crowd.  Each in their own way were innovators, finding opportunity and pushing through to success when many others would have only seen despair.  Everett, for instance, when from being homeless, unable to get  a call back on job applications due to stereotyping, to starting, running, selling and restarting some powerhouse marketing and IT companies.  Other panelists, like LaShonda Johnson, left lucrative businesses to take a risk to uncharted territory in pursuit of their passion.  All, however, were able to share powerful messages in utilizing the things around you and inside you to leverage your mindset and your business.

While I came in the seminar expecting a full-fledged jump into the world of technology, the talk took on technology more as any knowledge you could apply for advancement. Yes, technology encompasses the gadgets and devices that have become a part of our lives, but the perspective that was really valuable is that these things are only beneficial if you use them to evolve in reaching your customer base.  A great example of this came from Claire with Fashion Bomb Daily.  While she is known for her phenomenal fashion blog, she noticed that readers to the blog were transitioning to Instagram.  As technology transitioned she also transitioned her delivery method to Instagram and now has more than 1 million followers along with the base she developed in readers to the actual blog.  She was able to harness the resource to make an impact and increase her audience.

The focus to again use resources to connect with your audience was applied to branding by the panel. Everette was able to provide some great way use technology as a connection to building authentic relationships.  Data today can be overwhelming and in and of itself mean little to nothing.  It becomes important when you can utilize data and talking to people to see where your audience is and how you can better serve them.  By focusing on his business before worrying about all the press and accolades Everette was able to build a model and later use his success to replicate market growth for other companies.  His keys to growth included:

Making a Product Market fit: Focusing in on creation of products that stick with the market

Determining Ideal Customer Profile

Establishing growth processes so there is structure as the idea and company grows.   Everett uses the ICE test (Impact, Confidence, and Ease) to determine if structure and projects are really a good fit looking for the ideal of High confidence and ease of implementation

Getting the right people: By surrounding himself with a team members who are resilient to failure and have strong mindsets he ensures what he envisions his team can then work to implement.

The seminar was a great reminder that technology is not just having the newest idea or process, but it the using these innovations to make more informed decisions and deeper relationships with your customers. The seminar was a gold mind of ideas that you can apply quickly to make big changes to your bottom-line.

Black Enterprise BE Summit Day 2 Delivers motivation and major connections

Day 2 of the Black Enterprise Entrepreneur Summit was jammed pack with information and motivation that could really catapult your career and business to the next level. Before the conference I heard several entrepreneurs express all the reasons why doing a conference like this was a waste of their time.  Perhaps it was money or time or just the thought of what could they teach you.  The truth is we always can continue to learn and when you have an opportunity to learn from someone who has gained success you have a great opportunity to make real life applications to your own situation.

So what makes the potential of the conference life altering? Well for one there is access. The speakers gathered at event represented the gems in their field all with powerful information to share.  Take the “Why it Pays to Swim with the Sharks” seminar for instance.  On one stage you had Brandon Andrews, a producer for Shark Tank as well as Benjamin Young and Lydia Evans, founders of Sworkit and SW&G Essentials respectively, who have both had the experience of pitching for Shark Tank.  Now talk about a realistic push to move forward with your idea as their stories were not success fairy tales.  Quite the opposite the stories gave the full gambit of challenges faced by an entrepreneur, from starting, long nights and early mornings, the bitter defeats and the triumphs that define owning your own business. Through it all the conference offered a great reminder that even with failure there is no end of the road.  After the no there is still a fork in the road between quitting and continuing on that could determine success.

Access to really power players did not stop at the seminars. During the luncheon the discussion was joined by Charles Koch, Chairman  & CEO of Koch Industries.  Known not just for his million dollar businesses, but also as a prime political contribution the inclusion was initially surprising.  But as with many things in the conference some of the best benefits came from the most unexpected directions.  During this discussion we were reminded that making it for ourselves is not the only goal, but also in building a legacy for those who come behind us.  In the discussion surrounding building sustainable paths for our youth to follow it was a great reminder of where real change happens:  In your mind. By changing the mindset, understanding our innate abilities, and pairing rising above with giving back we can become a partner with the youth.

Between all the events and programs the other priceless part was the filling in between. Meeting those motivated, dedicated entrepreneurs in your city and from far and beyond is a great connector.  The foundation is already laid as attendance shows a commitment to their business and to get better.  Outside of the some of the great seminars I had the real opportunity to meet others on their own path but with a similar goal as mine.  From other attorneys, to college classmates, to inventors to CEOs I got a chance to connect on the start of the work to do better and get better which is reason enough to attend an event like the Black Enterprise Entrepreneur Summit.

Building support by showing support

Building support by showing supportAs children we learn the Golden Rule to treat others how we would like to be treated, but somehow the “me first” attitude often creeps back in as adults. This attitude demands to first receive the benefit of support from others, while our own commitment to support those around us can be questionable at best and damn near non-existent at its worst. In a business environment where you want a strong network being present to support the successes and accomplishments of those around you is a necessary part of your own longevity.

Too often the notion of supporting someone else comes with a reciprocation tie. You show up to those you feel may show up for you instead of showing up to support and leaving the strings at the door. I am not for pouring energy into those who cannot understand how to return the favor but if your goal is to support someone then do it. Leave the questions and strings at the door and do it because you want to. With that as the goal then no matter what happens next you have accomplished what you set out to do. The benefits after making that selfless commitment begin to roll in without you even asking for more. When you go into an event with a positive and encouraging spirit it is contagious. You are showing yourself as a supportive colleague and believe it or not that will attract others. This energy can serve as a pick me up of what could typically be a boring networking event and provide some purpose to a happening you would otherwise miss. In business opportunities are often hiding in the place you least expect, but as with winning at the casino, you have to play to win. Whether or not the generosity of your time and energy is ever returned by who you showed up to support you begin to plant the seeds of unselfish support which are essential to harvesting a bounty of support in your own ventures and successes.

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