In our interviews with minority business owners, many cited a lack of mentors or advice that specifically addressed their needs. So we asked them all, what advice do you have for prospective minority entrepreneurs? Their answers were thought provoking and actionable. See what wisdom they imparted below, and check back regularly as we continue to add advice as the responses roll in.
Therez Fleetwood, Luxury Romance Concierge
Luxury Romance Concierge is a unique and innovative full-service concierge company specializing in creating romantic and intimate date nights for couples.
“Follow your passion. Make sure whatever path you choose to take in life, it is something that lights you up and truly inspires you, because when times become challenging, you want to make sure that your passion outweighs your worry, fears and doubts.” – Therez Fleetwood, Founder, Luxury Romance Concierge
Craig J. Lewis, Visage Payroll
Visage Payroll provides free, smart payroll to small businesses.
“Your disadvantages are your advantages, leverage them as such. Don’t look to be given anything, you’ve got to take what you want. Do the hard stuff and keep showing up until you get what you came for! Dream bigger. Fail faster. Get better. Go for it!” – Craig J. Lewis, Founder & CEO, Visage Payroll
Sam Tadesse, Pacific Park Management; Marina Securities Services
Tadesse’s ventures provide parking and security solutions for urbanization and planning in the San Francisco Bay Area.
“Take each failure as a lesson, learn from it, and continue to move forward towards your goals. While often times it may seem like the odds are not in your favor, keep pushing forward and never give up.” – Sam Tadesse, CEO and Managing Director of Pacific Park Management; Founder of Marina Securities Services
Erica TG Warren, Creation Speak
Creation Speak is a story design agency that helps creators reclaim their story.
“Find a way or make one, that’s the motto of my alma mater, Clark Atlanta University. The playing field is not level. When you’re stuck, when the rules aren’t fair, when you can’t see the way, make your own. We often think there is one linear line between where we are and where we want to go, but it’s not linear, it’s three dimensional. If you can navigate the dimensions of being a minority in life, you already have the tools to navigate them in your business.” – Erica TG Warren, Founder of Creation Speak
Michael L. Thompson, Fair Oaks Farms
Fair Oaks Farms supplies quality custom meat products to some of the world’s best-known restaurant brands and food companies.
“My best advice for minority entrepreneurs is: 1. Have patience. Many will find fault with you from the get go. Just keep at it. 2. Keep your debt as low as you can and your EBITDA as high as you can. Debt is not a bad thing but it must be balanced and well thought out. 3. Grow your legacy. The generations following you will have a leg up [if you do]. This is how you change the future.” – Michael L. Thompson, CEO of Fair Oaks Farms
Steven Burton, Perfect Tux
Perfect Tux is a formal wear e-commerce business that throws out the traditional tux rental model in favor of a reasonably priced, unique and trend-friendly shopping experience.
“My best piece of advice would be to think about starting a business in steps.Looking back on my life in the past 5-7 years, it took a desire to improve my credit, that lead me to a desire to make better financial decisions, that then lead me to a desire to build wealth. And by the time I knew what I wanted to do, my now excellent credit along with a little savings allowed me to invest into myself and my business.” – Steven Burton, Founder and Owner of Perfect Tux
Lyneir Richardson, The Chicago TREND Corporation
The Chicago TREND Corporation is social enterprise aiming to stimulate retail development in order to strengthen city neighborhoods.
“Focus on being profitable, first. It is admirable that so many minority entrepreneurs want to make the world better, but the only way to have a business that survives and can scale is to be consistently profitable.” – Lyneir Richardson, Executive Director, Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development; CEO, The Chicago TREND Corporation
Featured Photo Credit: @runnlife, Twenty20