4 Reasons for Females, Minorities to Consider Entrepreneurialism After a Career Setback

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From time to time, I post guest-written blogs that are pertinent to my consulting areas of diversity and career development. Within diversity, as a certified LGBT-Business Enterprise via the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, I am very interested in diversity within the small business realm, and want to promote larger companies doing business with diverse suppliers.

Last month, I published by first guest blog from Marissa Perez, co-founder and head marketing writer at Business Pop, “Competing in Business as an Underrepresented Entrepreneur.”  Marissa has spent the last 10 years honing her marketing skills, and now is sharing her small business / entrepreneurial expertise through this second guest blog she has provided.

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Career setbacks can feel devastating at first, but how you respond and attempt to move on can make all the difference. For women and minorities, who can both experience more hardship in corporate environments, this could be the perfect chance to spread those entrepreneurial wings and soar. Still not convinced? Here are some small business facts that may just change your mind, and your life for the better:

1) Your Time Really is Valuable

If you have been stuck in a corporate environment for some time now, you’ve likely gotten used to hustling and pushing the limits on your daily schedule. This sort of mentality is common within corporations, with a primary focus on profits. While profits are important in business, Inc. points out time is really your most precious commodity. If you’re spread too thin, you can’t give your all to your top priorities.

Now you may need to spend more of that time getting your new business started, but at some point it may be helpful to take a step back and delegate some of your work. Upwork is an amazing resource when it comes to finding and hiring freelance talent, from graphic design help for your website to a virtual assistant to assist with administrative duties. You can post your job description within minutes and start looking for freelance help to expand and evolve your business, and to make the most of your valuable time.

There are a multitude of financing options available to new entrepreneurs.

2) Your Funding Options are Plentiful

Time is certainly your most precious asset when it comes to your professional and personal life, but there’s no denying that having the right funding can help any new business succeed. Thankfully, there are quite a few options that you can use to help get your business up and running, from business loans to angel investors to crowdfunding.

While any of these funding sources can be a lucrative way for entrepreneurs to secure the financial resources needed to start a new business, women and minorities should also consider using special grants and loans to make their entrepreneurial dreams come true, and the former may not need to be paid back. Many companies and organizations provide funding to businesses owned by women or minorities, so you just need to do a little digging to find one that will benefit your new business.

3) Your Setback Can Provide Opportunities

Career setbacks can feel like any other loss, so it’s important for you to take time to grieve any losses and process any negative feelings, especially if you lost your job. Feeling angry, unfocused and even a bit depressed is completely normal after being laid off, let go, or quitting a job. When that work environment was toxic, which can often be the case for women and minorities who are working in the corporate world, you may need some additional time and self-care to recover and move on.

One of the most important things you can do to expedite this recovery process is to avoid internalizing any toxic behaviors from others and to recognize that those behaviors had more to do with your former boss, co-worker or environment than you. As Thrive Global explains, learning from setbacks is also an important step for ensuring your success as an entrepreneur.

4) Your Small Business Options are Endless

If you’re not sure what type of business would be best for your interests and goals, however, know that there are endless opportunities for both minorities and women in the small business world. If you have a creative talent, such as woodworking or writing, then you can always turn your pastime into a lucrative new small business. You can also secure licenses that can help propel you into a new career, whether that’s as a massage therapist, electrician, web developer, or veterinary technician. Offering freelance services through Upwork can also be a good option and you can maintain a freelance side gig if you ever decide to return to a full-time position.

Working for a corporation can leave many women and minorities feeling unappreciated and left behind. Consider turning what feels like a loss into an opportunity to start your very own small business. Then you will be in control of your time and your success.

Competing in Business as an Underrepresented Entrepreneur

Image via Rawpixel

From time to time, I post guest-written blogs that are pertinent to my consulting areas of diversity and career development.  Within diversity, as a certified LGBT-Business Enterprise via the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, I am very interested in diversity within the small business realm, and want to promote larger companies doing business with diverse suppliers.

This blog has been contributed by Marissa Perez, co-founder and head marketing writer at Business Pop. She has spent the last 10 years honing her marketing skills, and now she wants to share her knowledge with those who have decided to take on entrepreneurship.

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Entrepreneurship is on the rise among underrepresented groups. There are more minority-, women-, and LGBT-owned businesses today than ever before, including women of color and non-white LGBT business owners. Diversity in entrepreneurship is a trend that thankfully shows no signs of slowing. However, the reasons for turning to entrepreneurship aren’t always positive.

Despite increased emphasis on diversity and inclusion, minority, female, and LGBT employees still face bias when it comes to hiring and career advancement. One recent study found that not only do managers tend to hire employees ethnically similar to themselves, but peers are also more likely to recognize the contributions of white men over women and people of color. Meanwhile, LGBT employees continue to face high rates of workplace discrimination with no legal recourse in 29 states. With these barriers, it’s no surprise that so many underrepresented groups are turning to entrepreneurship. Unlike employees, entrepreneurs are in charge of their own career advancement — an enticing prospect for people accustomed to glass ceilings. However, small business ownership isn’t without challenges of its own.

Not only do underrepresented groups have a harder time getting funding, but they also have less access to business networks and skill development. This makes it harder to gain footing in a business landscape where entrepreneurs are competing against everyone from the small business owner next door to major players like Amazon.

While there’s no easy solution to the challenges faced by minority, women, and LGBT business owners, there are a few things entrepreneurs can do to build a business that competes in today’s marketplace. This article will explore a few of them.

Don’t Rush Through Business Planning

The smartest thing entrepreneurs can do is develop a solid business plan. The planning phase is an opportunity to flesh out ideas, test prototypes, and ensure an idea is financially viable.

The planning stage is also when new entrepreneurs should learn as much as possible about running a business. Small business associations are a great place to learn about fundamentals like financing and hiring, but independent research may be necessary for industry-specific information. Luckily, there’s no shortage of info available online. E-commerce businesses, for example, can look to online wikis to learn about topics like warehousing and fulfillment, while entrepreneurs in other fields can search for resources from industry organizations.

Invest in the Customer Experience

The customer experience is one of the most important factors for today’s consumers. It’s also the biggest way that small businesses can stand out from major enterprises like Amazon and Target. While staff are an important part of the customer experience, entrepreneurs shouldn’t put customer satisfaction solely in the hands of employees.

Not only is labor expensive, but employees can’t do their jobs effectively without the right tools. That’s why it’s so important for new business owners to invest in software and technology that allows them to manage sales, inventory, email marketing, and other aspects of the customer experience. While there are a lot of software options out there, many small businesses find that a full-featured point of sale system offers the tools they need in a cost-effective package.

Build an Authentic Brand

Great customer experience is a key element of a strong brand, but it’s not enough to make a business memorable. That’s where branding comes in. A brand shows your customers who you are and what you stand for, and it’s one of the best tools that underrepresented business owners currently have at their disposal.

While minority status can be a hindrance in the corporate sector, it’s a point of leverage in the small business sphere. By highlighting their company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, business owners cane some entrepreneurs worry about alienating consumers, research shows that authenticity is appealing to the 72 percent of Americans who prefer to support brands that reflect their values. While the key to cultivating customer trust and loyalty.

Starting a small business is never easy, and women, minority, and LGBT business owners face more challenges when entering the entrepreneurial space. However, as the growing numbers of underrepresented business owners demonstrate, these challenges may be big, but they’re not insurmountable. By connecting with supportive organizations and taking these steps to build a strong business, entrepreneurs from all backgrounds can succeed in small business ownership.

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Please do check out my related two part series on the under-representation of minorties in senior business roles.

Part 1 – Huge Gaps in Diversity in Business Leadership – A Systemic Issue Needing a Systemic Approach

Part 2 – Five Tactics to Address the Systemic Issue of the Lack of Diverse Business Leaders

Stan Kimer is a diversity consultant and trainer who handles all areas of workplace diversity and with a deep expertise in LGBT diversity strategy and training and with a unique program for long term career development.  Please explore the rest of my website and never hesitate to contact me to discuss diversity training or career development for your organization, or pass my name onto your HR department.  [email protected]