According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data, in general, about 20% of small businesses fail in their first year, and 50% of small businesses fail in their fifth year. Some black-owned business owners fail because they get in their own way, while many others flourish under strong, informed leaders. It’s a big world out there and there are people, including other successful entrepreneurs (black or otherwise), who can help you get where you want to go. Here are five ways to lead a professional business with a bright, successful future through partnering:
- Legalize Your Business: Running a legitimate business is a competitive advantage. A business of any kind should adhere to local laws and regulations. Conduct due diligence on what is required for you to be in business legitimately. Seek the help of a business attorney and speak with insurers for your industry.
- Find an Established Partner: If you are unable to obtain proper licensing, insurances, etc., seek out a strategic partner or consider merging with another established business with the setup you need.
- Network: Join industry professional associations and/or attend networking events offered by chambers of commerce and business associations for referrals and to meet potential partners across other industries.
- Identify Mentors: I am fortunate to have had many mentors in my life and draw upon their wisdom in some way or another every day. Tapping into someone who has “been in your shoes” is a smart move. If you don’t know anyone, free resources such as America’s Small Business Development Centers and SCORE are available in most U.S. states for established and startup business, both of which are funded through the U.S. Small Business Administration.
- Educate Yourself: Enrich your mind by listening to FREE business podcasts in your car or audiobooks from your local library. If you have a smartphone (and I hope you do) these invaluable resources are at your fingertips 24 hours a day. Consider topics you are interested in that can help grow your business.
If you choose go it alone it will be a detriment to your business and reputation in the long run. The easiest thing you can do in any line of business is to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need to move your business forward—you just might get it.