Developing into a successful business owner is a complicated task, but the obstacles of the world of entrepreneurship can be a little easier. if you have the right people around. According to JP Morgan, black women are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the United States, despite the fact that they face greater financial barriers.
In addition, a 2019 report by American Express found that women-led businesses earn an average of $142,900 per year, while in the case of black women this figure drops to an average of $24,000 in profits each year.
According to the business intelligence company Crunchbase, black women get “a tiny fraction” of VC funding, namely 0.34% of all VC spent in the United States in the past year .
“I didn’t do it alone”
Chelsea C. Williams is the founder and CEO of the talent retention and career development firm Reimagine Talent. She was able to take her business to a seven-figure income, but she says the relationships she has maintained are a big part of the success of her work.
“I didn’t do it by myself,” says Williams. ” There are a lot of people who guided me, who were supportive, who opened the door and made the first contact with some of these organizations.”
Thus, Chelsea C. Williams explains the four close relationships that she considers essential for any business owner who wants to “increase their impact”:
The source of inspiration
According to the entrepreneur, this person is “the visual representation of what you want to do. ” She assures that: “She may not be doing it the way you should. She may have a totally different background, but you see her and the way she organizes her business, the way she facilitates conversation, and how she creates an impact with his work, it’s something you want to emulate in your own way.”
Williams has an economics degree from Spelman College and says that when she started as an intern on Wall Street, she came across a New York Times bestselling multigenerational workplace expert and author who made a huge impact on her. “I remember sitting in my chair and writing, while she finished her presentation, that’s what I aspire to in the future.”
Williams was introduced to the other woman, who later became her mentor. Despite the fact that her trajectories were “very different”, that relationship played a key role in Williams creating his company From Her. “When I took the first step in building my business, she gave me some introductions, and she told me about the events she should be in. She really stood up for me, and she still does.”
The mindset coach
As a black woman who started a business in her 20s, Williams says she faced a lot of internal battles that “got in the way of starting and growing it into a business owner.” She says that: ” In my first year I could not call myself a CEO, but rather a strategist .”
Williams says that a therapist of sorts, or “attitudinal mentor,” can help align with goals. “My therapist was important to me in achieving an identity…to help me understand my worth and value and therefore be perceived as who I really am. I don’t have to imitate men, nor their way of creating businesses.”
Williams also assures that creating close relationships with other entrepreneurs with whom one identifies can help optimize the success of the business. “It was important to me that my group consisted of women of color because, again, we all navigate a very different place than other people .” She acknowledges the usefulness of reaching out to others with different identities, but she believes that professional experiences would likely be different.”
“Having my group of CEO girls that I can question, protest and comment with is vital. I have a trifecta of successful business owners and we meet up weekly, sharing resources with each other,” she says. ” We have a message thread for when things happen, like ‘there’s a loan opportunity for you.”
“This has been fundamental. Because even though we are in different industries or sectors, the fact of being able to go through these journeys together, as well as having a safe space to talk about the good and bad moments… is a point of inflection”.
While the group is made up of the people you’re close to, the accelerator is “where you go to look for educational and networking opportunities,” Williams says. For her this can be a person, or a community like a sorority, giving as examples Tech Stars or the Tory Burch Foundation as great communities for women and businesses led by black people.
“It’s where knowledge and network sharing takes place on a larger scale than with a group of friends. These programs offer education for scenarios like team building, as well as creating optimal finances for business development”