Running a successful business is hard — and building a successful business as a black woman is even harder. But the hurdles of starting a business are easier when you have the right people by your side.
Black women are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S., but they face disproportionate financial hurdles, according to JPMorgan. A 2019 report by American Express found that women-owned businesses bring in an average of $142,900 a year in revenue. However, the average profit for a black female founder was only $24,000.
Additionally, black women receive only a “small fraction” of venture capital funding, according to Crunchbase, which found that they received only 0.34% of total venture capital in the U.S. last year.
Chelsea C. Williams, founder and CEO of workforce development and talent retention firm Reimagine Talent Co., who has successfully grown her self-funded business to seven-figure income, says her relationships play a role in her success played a huge role.
“I didn’t do it alone,” Williams, 32, explained to CNBC Make It. “There were a lot of people who were my guides, they were supporters, and they opened doors and had initial email communications with some of these organisations.”
According to Williams, these are the four basic relationships every business owner should have to “expand their influence.”
source of inspiration
According to Williams, this first person is “a visual representation of what you want to do.”
“They might not do it the way you’re asked to do it. They might have completely different backgrounds, but you see them and the way they run the business, the way they facilitate the presentation, the way they’re making an impact is what you want Something to emulate in its own way.”
Williams, who holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Spellman College, said that when she interned on Wall Street, she met a multigenerational workplace expert and New York Times best-selling author, which had a huge impact on her.
“I was sitting in the training room helping to think about how we would train bankers and Wall Street people while she was speaking,” Williams recalled. “I remember sitting in my chair and when she was finishing her speech, I wrote that this is what I want for the future.”
Williams introduced himself to the woman who later became her mentor. She said the relationship played a key role in her entrepreneurial journey despite their “vastly different careers”.
“When I started my business, she introduced me and she told me the events I needed to attend. She was really supportive and she still does.”
As a black woman who started her business in her 20s, Williams explained that she has dealt with a lot of internal struggles that “hold back entrepreneurship and growth to the next level.”
“My first year, I can’t call myself a CEO. I’d say I’m a strategist. I can’t sit on that title because the CEO in the world isn’t usually a black woman…especially a young man, “she says.
“Starting a business as a black woman in her 20s is a whole other thing because sometimes people have credibility issues, especially in the work I do that focuses on organizations and the workforce.”
A therapist or “mindset coach” can help you align with your goals, Williams says.
“My therapist has been instrumental in helping me gain my identity…helping me understand my worth and worth and how to present myself. I don’t have to be pushy or imitate men and how they build businesses. I can sit with my women Temperament, demanding something and leading the business.”
According to Williams, forming friendships with other entrepreneurs you identify with can help promote the success of your business.
“For me, it’s important to [my squad] Be a woman of color. Because again, we’re going through something very different from everyone else. “
While it’s also helpful to form friendships with business owners whose identities don’t match yours, your professional interactions and experiences may vary.
“It’s critical that my team of female CEOs can ask them questions and who I can complain to. I have a successful three-game winning streak. [women] Business owners and us meet weekly and share resources with each other,” Williams shared. “When anything happens, we have a text thread like, ‘Here’s a funding opportunity for you. This is your loan opportunity. “
“It’s critical. Because even though we’re in different fields, industries and sectors, just to be able to say we’re moving through this space together and have a safe place to talk about the highs and the lows…game changer.”