Minority-owned businesses such as ours face a lot of pressure. We’re often in the spotlight as representatives of an entire community. It takes hard work, as one mistake can be a blemish on other MBEs, which make up 29% of businesses in the U.S. As you focus on growing your minority-owned business, there are a number of things to keep in mind to ensure success, all of which have been utilized at ATR.
Monitor Your Growth Rate
Receiving tremendous interest from clients or customers can be exhilarating, but taking on too much business (or too many skilled employees) too quickly can result in uncontrolled growth. That means a company can lose shape and direction, veering away from an effective growth strategy. At the same time, growing too slowly means missing out on great opportunities and sending potential clients or candidates into the arms of competitors.
ATR has found the right balance, growing consistently by an average of 12.4% per year. The key is to find your organization’s ideal controllable growth rate. This is extra important for MBEs which make up only 4% of business revenue in America. Statistically, minority-owned businesses are smaller and may find growth difficult to control, but it’s something that must be done for longevity.
Diversify Your Clientele
Imagine losing 50% of your business overnight. This happened in the early days of ATR as a result of a lack of diversification. While we overcame that growing pain on the way to becoming the successful MBE we are today, it taught us a tough but important lesson: it’s great to specialize in a certain industry, product, or service, but it’s necessary to diversify and find adjacent opportunities in other areas.
IT and engineering staffing is our bread and butter, but we’ve maintained expertise in staffing a great number of other fields outside of the tech industry while also offering strong payrolling services to round us out. As you look to do the same in your minority business enterprise, take Sir Richard Branson’s advice and always move into areas you are passionate about when diversifying.
Focus on Your Brand
MBEs have to work harder to grow, but we also have to work harder to get noticed. In fact, minority-owned businesses are underrepresented in search engines. When we do get the opportunity to put ourselves in front of someone, we have to make it count. That’s where your brand takes on added significance.
At ATR, we’ve continuously sought to improve our brand, what we stand for, and how we communicate it to others. We live and breathe our core values of Integrity, Excellence, and Respect. We’ve cultivated a strong digital presence and ensure that our voice accurately translates across social platforms, email communications, and search engines. Additionally, sponsoring events with different councils and participating in signature events gets our brand physically in front of people. While any business should do the same, MBEs cannot drop the ball in this area since we already face an uphill battle.
Connect with Other MBEs
For me, the single most impactful way to grow a minority-owned business is to connect with other MBEs. ATR is actively involved in the vibrant MBE community, serving as a mentor to many other organizations looking to follow in our footsteps. It took three decades of hard work to get where we are today, and it is our duty to share that expertise with others.
If you’re an MBE startup, seek out anyone and everyone in the space. Pick their brain and soak up any tips you can. If you’re a seasoned MBE leader such as ATR, it’s time to give back to the community by attending events and lifting up smaller MBEs. The NMSDC is the premier organization to connect with, boasting a huge network and many events throughout the year. Based in Sunnyvale, one of the top 10 metro areas for minority entrepreneurs, ATR is lucky to be surrounded by many great MBEs. However, no matter your location, the NMSDC can digitally connect you with the powerful MBE community.
Growing Your Minority Owned Business
As you grow your MBE, you’ll encounter difficult days but also tremendous opportunities. Consider that some of the most successful companies in America such as Apple, AT&T, Ford, Microsoft, Verizon, IBM, and Comcast Universal have each spent at least $1 billion with minority and woman-owned businesses because they’ve found the MBE work ethic and fresh perspective to be assets. Keep on growing at a healthy rate while connecting with other MBEs and you too will count your company among America’s great minority-owned businesses.
Want to discuss growth strategies or other tips for MBEs further? Feel free to reach out to us to continue the conversation.