Studies show that many startup businesses began to fail within three to five years because they sometimes do not have the essential information needed to grow and keep running.
LaToya Lee, CEO and founder of Precision Grant Writing and Consulting, held her first Women in Business Brunch in the Mississippi Delta.
The purpose of the Women in Business Brunch was to provide information to individuals who are already in business or individuals who are interested in becoming an entrepreneur.
During the brunch, Lee brought together speakers and panelists to share their success stories about being entrepreneurs and to provide tips on how to make a business work.
The panelist included Rhonda Rimmer, owner of a T-shirt and graphic design company, Inspiration of Design; Pam Chatman, founder of P. Chatman Mentoring and “Boss Lady;” and Laquindolyn Evans, vice president of a large national bank.
Other speakers included Tenisha Bogan, a digital marketing strategist; Attorney Helen Morris, a member of the Mississippi Bar Association and Bolivar County Bar Association; and Arrica Addison, a business consultant, who has helped others start businesses.
These women came together to provide valuable information about balancing family and career, what being a boss really is, marketing on a budget, how credit matters, taking out business loans and creating a business plan, and what to do about your taxes.
Lee said, “The purpose of the event is just to share truth about entrepreneurship because it’s not easy and it can look real pretty on social media, it’s just not easy.”
Lee, who is also founder of non-for-profit organization Treasure, Inc., a faith inspired organization for young adult women, said this event was also to inspire and empower women to go and get what they truly desire.
Moderator and first panelist speaker, Rimmer, who started her business in 2003, gave tips for finding the proper balance between family, career, and entrepreneurship.
“You have to get organized, keep everything organized from start to finish, have a plan, include your family into what you are doing, stay ahead of the game, and stay focused and never get sidetracked,” Rimmer said.
Chatman gave tips on how not to be afraid of being a boss. She shared with the business owners and aspiring business owners in the room that branding and marketing is very important.
“Don’t be afraid to leap and jump, not everybody is going to support you, but you just got to keep moving and stay close and focused on the plan,” said Chatman.
“If you have a product and you believe in yourself, people will believe in you, but you have to believe in the product,” Chatman said.
Being a successful businesswoman comes with having the confidence needed to achieve and believing that you can sell your product.
Lee said, “No one is going to sell your own product the way you can sell it.”
Evans, Morris, and Addison spoke about how personal credit, business credit, and filing for taxes matters.
It is very essential to have a good credit score to be able to apply for any type of business loans and to be trustworthy and responsible on always making sure that your bills are paid on time.
The minimum credit score required today is a 620.
Evans said, “You can’t walk into a bank and get a loan without showing some type of profit for your business over two years unless you have plan.”
Morris said you have to know what type of business entity you need to set up on because it is based on your own individual situation and the type of resources you have.
Addison said, “Have good records, good records are important for your business especially if you want to get good credit, you want to have a financial statement, you want to make sure it matches your bank statement, everything needs to match up if you want to move your business up.”
Many of the women on the panel also said that it is important to have a non-profit side to a business.
“That’s for anybody in business, please have a non-profit side to it, something that you do to give back because that is what is missing in this world,” Addison said.
Bogan gave tips on branding yourself on social media. She is also founder of Womenversity, a non-for-profit organization to empower women.
Bogan talked about the different types of branding and marketing. She stressed that marketing is the strategic plan on how you are going to the get the world to know about your product or business.
“Where ever you go, you are your brand, you are marketing yourself wherever you go, so it has to be planned in advance,” said Bogan.
Bogan and Lee both stated that social media today plays a huge role when branding yourself and also getting your brand or business out by word of mouth.
“You will work harder for yourself than you will ever work for anybody else,” Lee said.
Photographed: LaToya Lee by J. Raphael’s Photography
Lee’s Instagram: @latoyathestrategist