More than 1,000 of the nation’s top African American entrepreneurs and executives convened in Atlanta at the 20th annual Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit, hosted by Nationwide Insurance. Several powerhouse-women business owners graced the main stage and panels, sharing the lessons they’ve learned about how to start, grow, and scale a successful business.
[Related: 6 Ways To Protect Your Start-Up’s Most Valuable Asset: You]
All the speakers agreed that entrepreneurs need to be focused and fearless in order to succeed, and stressed that opportunity often comes of out crisis.
For nearly 20 years, African American women have been entrepreneurial pioneers. Reportedly, black women are starting firms at a rate six-times higher than the national average. However, this number is declining. Recent studies indicate that fewer women are launching their own enterprises.
For aspiring and existing business owners, here are 12 entrepreneurial success tips from some of the most successful black women in business.
1. Your vision is yours let your family off the hook God gave you the vision for your dream biz not them–@2motivate; Lisa Nichols, CEO of Motivating The Masses
2. Play big or go home. Play big to the point where you scare yourself–@2motivate; Lisa Nichols, CEO of Motivating The Masses
3. It’s not who you know, but who trusts you. Trust is much harder to get than knowledge–@christinestg; Christine White, Entertainment Attorney, White, Coleman & Walton
4. Entrepreneurs need to have proof of concept, a sampling of your project, your work–@christinestg; Christine White, Entertainment Attorney, White, Coleman & Walton
5. Always pivot to grow as a small business owner–@NecoleParker1; CEO of The ELOCEN Group
6. Having business mentors is key to growing your business–@NecoleParker1; Necole Parker, CEO of the ELOCEN Group
7. If you make yourself an expert in your field it will organically help you expand your brand and your business–@EgyptSaidSo; Egypt Sherrod, Host, Property Virgins, HGTV; CEO of The Egypt Sherrod Real Estate Group
8. You have to live your life and run your business in the spirit of service—trustworthy service–@EgyptSaidSo; Egypt Sherrod, Host, Property Virgins, HGTV; CEO of The Egypt Sherrod Real Estate Group
9. You can tell people who you are or you can show them who you are—it’s the latter [that counts]–@EgyptSaidSo; Egypt Sherrod, Host Property Virgins, HGTV; CEO of The Egypt Sherrod Real Estate Group
10. Faith without works is dead—you have to put in the work and take control for the success of your business–@KimbleHairCare, Kim Kimble, Celebrity hairstylist and owner of Kim Kimble Salons and Kimble Haircare System
11. Learn how to give as much as you take. Bring something to the table–@KimbleHairCare, Kim Kimble, Celebrity hairstylist and owner of Kim Kimble Salons and Kimble Haircare System
12. Lesson learned: when creating a new product line, start small—create & test a few products first. Not a whole line–@KimbleHairCare, Kim Kimble, Celebrity hairstylist and Owner of Kim Kimble Salons and Kimble Haircare System