Now in its second (or third or fourth) leg, the global pandemic – which could soon be called an endemic – made its mark by creating obstacles for everyone.
Every business, big and small, experienced its fair share of challenges.
Yet, in the height of the pandemic, minority-owned small businesses experienced another level of hardships.
Through it all, business leaders had to buckle down as strategic flexibility and constant pivoting became mandatory.
In fact, a survey by Cox Business revealed many small business owners’ top challenges during the pandemic. Catherine Mitchell, Cox Business Product Development and Management unpacks the survey for us.
More than half shared that accessing funding (59%) was their top concern, followed closely by growing a strong customer base (52%).
This drove them to frustration and made running their business a difficult task.
Although many businesses found their footing, 41% opened up about their struggles with strategically planning for the year ahead.
Many lack access to the same resources as their counterparts and large corporations, and also deal with dated technologies and having to do it all on their own.
However, solutions to these common problems exist that minority business owners can incorporate into their daily processes – ones that will put them ahead of the competition so they can flourish in the new normal.
Break Down Barriers
Business owners constantly have to look high and low to find resources to help them maintain their business.
Research showed these struggles range from paying their rent, covering utilities and fulfilling areas of their payroll.
The pandemic took a lot from them, and finding resources became an even bigger problem.
For those in need of additional support, there are several government and non-profit programs dedicated to giving minority entrepreneurs access to financial support, markets and guidance.
Invest to Elevate
As digital becomes commonplace on Main Street, businesses face making the decision to board the train or get left behind.
Business owners must prioritize catering to a modern generation and implement new products and services.
These include eCommerce offerings or creating a physical and digital in-store experience – more popularly known as “phygital.”
Putting in place these offerings can differentiate your business from the rest and enhance the customer experience.
Internet is the undercurrent that keeps their business running. They prioritize speed, reliability, and flexibility over cost.
This coupled with a time management challenge, are priorities, to them.
Further, making sure your back-office processes are updated can create a more streamlined, efficient working environment for management and staff alike.
Upgrading infrastructure like your WiFi and security solutions, your phone services and even digitizing simple operations will make a huge difference that will elevate your business.
Partner at the Top
As a groundswell of support for minority-owned businesses rose up in 2020, many enterprises have taken notice and begun lending a helping hand in different areas.
But what are the specific pain points that minority owners are really feeling? And how can enterprises activate around them in a meaningful and impactful way?
Minority-owners revealed improving supplier diversity (55%), providing grants/funding (54%) and developing advisory programs (45%) can make a huge impact for their business.
Larger corporations who strive to use their resources that minority-owned businesses can’t otherwise get will provide a sense of community.
Additionally, this will show that larger enterprises are on their side and want to see them succeed.
The small business industry has already seen this in action.
Big players such as Google, Office Depot and Cox Business has made it a priority to get small businesses started off on the right foot to see maximum success.
Google made a $10 million pledge to help low-income and underrepresented entrepreneurs start a new business with access to training and capital.
Additionally, Smart Hustle continues to keep its readers up to date with “Cheat Sheets” to help grow your small business.
They offer beneficial articles that speak on how to start, run and grow your business.
Articles range from effectively using social media, growing your personal brand and more!
Further, Cox developed a supplier diversity program that allows them to partner with a plethora of small businesses who offer high-quality products or services.
While growing your business may feel daunting, having the right resources, technology and partners in your corner will make achieving your goals a reality.
Even amid the many challenges over the last couple of years, 3 in 5 minority-owned businesses were able to meet or exceed their growth goals set before the pandemic – in other words, the future is looking bright.
These solutions for common challenges will give you more time to focus on how you can ensure your business reaches its fullest potential.
By Catherine Mitchell, Cox Business Product Development and Management
Check out the Smart Hustle Small Business Guides for your “cheat sheet” in how to start and grow your business