Owning a business as a minority is all about perspective.
Yes, you’re often swimming with bigger sharks in the ocean of competition. But there are so many benefits you have access to that they don’t get to experience.
From special certifications to a network of customers who want to work with only you, you have perks. Here are just a few of the things you’re entitled to when you run a minority-owned business.
1. You Get a Nifty Certification
No, it’s not a participation trophy. Being certified as a minority-owned business is kind of a big deal.
There’s an extensive process you’ll have to go through to verify that your business is, in fact, owned and operated by a person of a minority demographic.
Once you’ve made it through those hoops and hurdles, you’re given a certificate that is your key to accessing a network of business opportunities.
This network includes federal and government agencies and private corporations. The companies on the list have specifically signed up to work with businesses that have a minority certification, such as a DBE (disadvantaged business enterprise) in Georgia. (To find out how to get this coveted label, read this article by Now.)
The average non-minority business owner doesn’t have the criteria necessary to join this exclusive network. You do—as long as you go through the paperwork and approval process first.
2. You’re More Likely to Receive Grants
Who would say no to free money? In essence, that’s what a grant is. And you can get awarded dozens of these simply for owning a business as a minority.
Unlike a loan, a grant never has to be paid back. The catch is that you must use the funds as described in the grant’s terms. Still, as long as the goal is in line with your own targets for your business, it’s always beneficial.
Many grants are available that are designed to help small businesses keep their doors open for the first five years. Others are set up to help a minority-owned company expand and grow.
As you start researching your grant opportunities, you might see that you qualify under many different categories. Search the Small Business Association grants first. Then scan the list, and you’ll find the demographics that apply to your business.
3. You Get Extra Training
The certifications you qualify for have extended benefits along with access to a wide consumer network. If you’re open to accepting help, you can sign up for small group training and professional development seminars.
These meetings are all geared toward teaching you how to find federal and state contracts and how to win them once you find the ones you want.
Competing for federal contracts is a complex affair. You’ll need to register with the SAM (System for Award Management). And you’ll have to learn how to read the contracts to understand the supplier or vendor requirements.
Every state follows different guidelines for government contract awards. Look for training and seminars that pertain to your business needs, and sign up for free help. You’ll learn something new in every meeting, and eventually, you’ll be a pro.
4. Increased Networking
Even if you don’t think you need the information offered in a seminar, it’s a smart business idea to go anyway. Everyone attending will have something in common with you, and you never know who you might meet.
Growing your network is one of the best things you can do when you own a business. You already know that only people with the DBE or similar label are invited to the meeting. Anyone you meet is someone you can learn from or teach.
As you each share best practices, offer support to each other, and give advice for overcoming challenges, your network expands. It only takes one person who knows one other person for your business trajectory to shift massively.
But if you stay holed up and solitary, you might never meet that person.
The term “minority” often seems to imply that you’re at a disadvantage. However, this stereotype is evolving. With so many benefits to owning a business in the non-majority demographic, you have advantages others don’t have.
Everyone from private agencies to government entities wants you to succeed. The help is out there; it’s up to you to get it!