Black women have a certain tenacity and strength of purpose that serves us well in the world of entrepreneurship. And it's paying off; women-owned businesses are growing more rapidly than the national average, and African American-owned businesses are growing even faster.
Still, women-run businesses start off with far less capital and tend to be much smaller than those owned by men. And it cannot be denied that black women in particular face unique challenges to success in the business world.
That being said, what's are our next steps?
Partner with People Who Don't Look Like You
There is nothing wrong with a little solidarity, but remember: success is color-blind. And partnering with people from different backgrounds has important benefits. Not only can it bring a diversity of assets and experiences to the table, it will also significantly increase the pool of potential partners that you can choose from.
Diversity can also widen your consumer base and increase business. The fact is, some people like seeing diversity in action. And others feel a certain comfort when they can connect over a particular context or background - whether through language, culture or ethnicity.
If you are ready to diversify, start small. Find a mentor or even an intern from a different background before graduating to partnerships. If you foresee a mutually beneficial relationship, simply celebrate your differences and make it happen.
Value Yourself and Your Context
A victim mentality is the most lethal success-killer. So, while being of a particular gender, race, ethnicity, or religion may certainly alter your business landscape, you must never allow yourself to feel inferior or disadvantaged.
Recognize reality and take action, but never harp. Find role models or read inspirational material about people who have found success against all odds, and work on your self-confidence. Black women have proven time and time again that, with the right mindset, anything is possible.
Strategize, Strategize, Strategize!
Target your audience with renewed strategy and purpose. If you're short on time, consider hiring a consultant to help you develop a more thorough understanding of your consumer base. Remember, knowledge yields incredible power.
Radical preparedness and stellar relationship skills are the new norm for 2013!