3 Simple Ways to Support Black Businesses

Do you talk the talk and walk the walk, *|FNAME|*?

Everyone is speaking up during this time and that is fine and dandy. However, I like to consider myself a woman of ACTION. It’s time to put your words in motion.

I have decided to stop focusing on the world at large and instead, focus on my community which ideally, would impact the globe if every person I touch, shares these thoughts and ideas with someone else, and so forth.

For starters, as a black-woman and business owner, I have faced microagression and implicit bias since the day I stepped foot into my professional career. My goal is to now begin to educate my peers when I witness them displaying acts of microagression and implicit bias to others.

What does microagression mean?
A microagresion is a statement, action, or incident regarded as an instance of indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group such as a racial or ethnic minority.⠀

For example: If someone says, “Wow you’re so articulate!” OR “I never would have expected that from a woman with your background!” ⠀

What is implicit bias?
This refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner.

While I believe that some people truly do not understand they are being offensive at times, it is 2020. So…..excuses are running out and patience is running thin.

If you want to support the black community but you’re not sure where to start, here are 3 simple ways you can support black businesses today.

1. Use your platform to amplify black voices and businesses.
If you’re hosting a conference, a podcast, or special event, consider putting black people in the speaker line up.

2. Choose black-owned venues and spaces for your events.
There are PLENTY of amazing ones. Do your research and at best, consider these spaces for your next event.

3. Pay full price for products and services.
Do not expect discounts! Pay full price like you would any other business.

Also, let’s stop the narrative that black businesses lack in customer service. That is not true. I’ve had great and terrible service from all types of businesses. General statements like this put a negative connotation on black businesses and is harmful to the community.

We all have to be willing and open to learn and grow. Try these 3 very simple ways to support today!

3 Things to Do Before Outsourcing Marketing

TJE Communications has officially turn 6 years old and as a company, we have experienced some ups and downs when it comes to business and clients. I say “we” because I’ve had my fair share of interns and strategic partnerships who have helped me move the needle along the way.

I took another look at my target customer as I was preparing to step into full-time entrepreneurship, and I realized some of the clients I had worked with were truly not ready to outsource their marketing services. Which ultimately contributed to some of those partnerships ending; on a good note for the most part.

Before you decide to outsource your marketing efforts, here are three things you should try first:

1. Try to DIY One (of the many) mistakes I have made in business is not asking a prospective client if they’ve tried to handle their digital marketing on their own or with another marketer in the past. If I were to ask you this question, would you say “yes” – or would you say something like, “I would, but I don’t know how.” If the answer is the latter, you should not outsource marketing. What you should do instead is invest in gaining marketing knowledge through webinars, conferences, seminars, and trainings. Then, try to do it yourself. Once you’ve done this for a minimum of 6-12 months, if you still feel like you need help….check out steps 2 & 3.

I’m sure you’re thinking…”why does it matter if I’ve tried it myself?” What I’ve learned over the last 6 years is that until you have tried it yourself, or had someone else before me, you truly will not understand or value having a marketing consultant on your team.

Digital marketing is more than just posting aesthetically pleasing photos to Instagram. It takes consistency, strategy, and advertising dollars to build real campaigns to drive revenue for your business. On top of that, digital marketing does not equal social media marketing. Digital marketing also encompasses email, content, vlogging, and so much more.

2. Ensure you can pay for marketing services for at least 3 months — If you’re planning to outsource marketing services, make sure you can pay for them even when business is down. Most marketers require a retainer and a contract where you are committing to pay for their services for an agreed upon time. Just because business is down for you, doesn’t mean you get to forgo your contracts.

I get it, if business is down, you can’t take care of your family. But guess what…marketing professionals have a family to take care of, too! When you pay your invoices late, or not at all (both have happen to me), it is a poor reflection of business.

To avoid this issue, make sure your money is in order so that you can be certain you can fulfill your contract before signing on the dotted line.

**Also keep in mind if you do have issues paying your invoices, just communicate! Most people are willing to be somewhat flexible when life happens. 

3. Have a clear understanding of your business goals — You can’t bring someone in to help you promote your business if you don’t understand your business either. When you bring in a marketing professional, we’re there to help you take your brand to the next level. But if you don’t have the foundational pieces in place, then we don’t have a solid ground to stand on.

Yes, the marketing consultant you hire can help you with the foundational aspects of your business. However, you must keep in mind that by doing this, you are taking time away from them doing actual digital marketing strategy. So you can’t fault them if you’re “seeing no results.”

If you’re unsure if you have your business goals and messaging in place, instead of hiring someone to help you with digital marketing, hire someone to help you with business strategy and then try implementing some DIY digital marketing strategies. Or, if you can get your business strategist and marketing professional to work hand-in-hand, that’s even better! Both of these people are equally important and need each other to produce great work!

Now that you’ve read through this, do you still think you’re ready to outsource your marketing efforts? If yes, then go for it! Having a skilled digital marketing professional on your team can help grow your brand tremendously – especially if you’re willing to spend a few dollars on ads.

If you read this and realized you’re not quite ready, that is awesome! It is better to know now than to get yourself caught up.

Need help deciding either way? Schedule a FREE 15-minute call with me today. Click here to schedule.

How to Make the Most of Your Day When Working from Home

If you’ve never worked from home before, it is probably more difficult than you can imagine. Our homes are supposed to be our sanctuary, not a place to stress about work!

With the recent circumstances, many of us don’t have a choice but to ditch the office and create a productive work environment in the comfort of our homes.

Why is working from home difficult?

Many people have this false idea that people who work from home are just sitting in their pajamas all day and binging their favorite series. That is far from the truth.

Those us who have the privilege to work from home on a daily basis are aware of the distractions your home causes when work needs to be done. It’s hard to see the laundry that needs doing, or the dishes in the sink, and the dog giving you the sweetest eyes begging for a belly rub and NOT want to give all of these things your time. This is why I choose to pay a membership to a co-working space so I can set some of those boundaries.

Here’s how you can maximize your productivity while working from home…

Whether it’s your first time working from home, or if you’ve tried to in the past and felt like a failure, here are 5 tips to help you maximize your productivity while working from home.

  1. Do not work in bed! Sounds like a good time, but you’ll end up napping/scrolling IG.⠀
  2. Create a designated work space. If you don’t have an office, your kitchen table may work. ⠀
  3. Find a good podcast to tune into. This is much better than watching tv because it’s hard to NOT look at the screen while working. Podcasts are great and all you have to do is tune in!⠀
  4. Set work hours! Whether it’s 9-5 or 10-6, find a time that works for you but stick to it!⠀
  5. Create a to-do list. This will help you stay on task and be mindful of your productivity. ⠀

If you follow the above five steps, I promise you will be able to successfully make it through these next few weeks. If you’re a mompreneur, check out one of my recent #TonnishasTuesdayTip that discusses how to work from home with toddlers.

Do you have any other tips for working from home? Comment below and share!

Networking Tips for Entrepreneurs

I attended my first networking event when I was 18 (I’m now 27) and I still cringe at the thought of having to talk to strangers. Most people think of networking as a scary/awkward experience, and it’s true that it can be. However, there are a few tips that can help you feel prepared, and make real connections.

Prep your elevator speech

“So, what do you do?” This is a common question I’ve encountered at networking events. What’s more important than answering this question, is your confidence in the answer. Before your next event, practice your elevator speech until you say it with confidence. Your speech should be short, sweet, and authentic.

Dig deeper

Networking can get old real fast when you’re constantly talking about work. Try to dig deeper and ask questions that will spark real conversation. Learn about their family life, their hobbies, and even the “why” behind their business. This information could help you win this person over as a client or customer.

Collect cards with a purpose

There is no prize for collecting the most business cards. The purpose of attending a networking event is to make real connections. If someone offers you their business card, take it. But before you ask for it, think about if connecting with this person outside of this event is truly beneficial for your business.

Don’t forget your cards

Speaking of cards, don’t forget to take your business cards with you! Your business card at minimum should include your company logo, contact information, your name, and title.

Bring a friend

If you’re more of an introvert, have one of your extroverted business friends join you at the event. I personally find it helpful to attend events with friends, even though I’m more of an extrovert in networking environments. Just having a persona to chat with that you already know can help give you some peace of mind. However, it is important not to use this person as a crutch and only talk to them.

Find the wall flower

I always make it a point to go talk to the person who is not talking to anyone. I do this because most likely, they’re more nervous than me and I’m able to help them open up a little bit, too. If you’re unable to bring a friend, you and this person could tag team the event together and provide one another with support.

Check out the guest list

Take a look at the list of attendees and speakers and decide who you want to meet beforehand. Do your research and come to the event with a game plan to connect with them!

Be your own hype man

EVERYONE is nervous! Listen to your favorite hype song in the car, grab a drink from the bar when you get there, and just be yourself.

Are you ready to use these networking tips at #RTHCon19 on September 20 and 21, 2019? Grab your tickets and join us today – click here.

 

Why You Need to Know Your Target Audience

Can we agree that wasting money is not fun? If you don’t know who your target audience is, that is exactly what you’re doing; wasting money.

There are so many reasons why having a clear understanding of your ideal customer is important. Here are my top 3 reasons that have personally impacted my business.

  1. Attract the right clients – I started by business in 2014 without a clear vision into the services I would offer or who I would offer them to. Once I was able to nail down my offerings, I was able to create a strategy to bring in the right clientele.
  2. Offer the right products and services – When you know who your audience is, you understand what your customer needs. Which is amazing because you’ll know exactly what to offer them! In the beginning I had WAY too many offerings which can be confusing for a customer. Sliming down my offerings and creating sub-categories on an as needed basis has been extremely beneficial for my business.
  3. Intentional marketing – Once you know the customer, you probably know where to find them! This has helped me to be intentional in all of my marketing efforts online and offline. Which has allowed me to make a profit and go into my business full time.

I’m currently in the process of identifying new potential clients and I’m excited to hit my next ‘aha’ moment. If you feel like you’re hitting a brick-wall in your business, it may be time to re-identify your target audience.

Join me for an interactive webinar to learn how to truly understand your customer. Take advantage of the webinar + consult ticket to get the webinar for FREE and a 30-minute business consultation where we can talk more in depth about your business goals.

Join 1girl at their first Graduation Celebration

Over the past year, I have been a 1girl program facilitator. 1girl is a non-profit organization that provides a unique, proven curriculum that empowers middle school girls to develop the skills they will need to be successful. The program is designed around five core skills: public speaking, creative problem solving, critical thinking, goal setting and conflict resolution.
1girl is hosting a graduation and facilitator celebration event to celebrate the work we have done this year and the girls we have been able to serve. I was fortunate enough to speak with Co-Founder and Executive Director, Shelby Kretz about the organization, the Graduation Celebration and the future of 1girl.
What was the inspiration behind starting 1Girl?  1girl was started out of a conversation between myself and two friends, Aditi Bansal and Sheila Maina, while we were in college. We started talking about the barriers girls face, especially low-income girls, in reaching their true potential. This conversation spurred many other conversations that eventually led to us deciding we wanted to do something to help support women and girls in reaching their dreams.
How did you come up with the name? – One of the first questions we asked ourselves was, “How will we define success?” We all agreed that if we could have an impact on just one girl’s life, it would be worth it. That is where the name 1girl came from.
What steps did you take to create your organization? We first researched how we wanted to structure the organization, and eventually we decided that becoming a non-profit was the best path for us. We completed the non-profit and 510(c)3 paperwork while we were putting together our first pilot program.
Who are the girls you serve? Backgrounds? Cultures? Ages? – We serve girls in grades 5-8. Generally, they come from at-risk and low-income neighborhoods, or they are attending poor performing schools. A majority of our girls are either African American or of Hispanic decent. However, we are always open to serving any middle school girls in need!
What types of programs does 1Girl have? – Our main program is our “Educating Future Leaders Program”. This program is run through existing after-school and summer programs. It is one semester long, twice a week for an hour. We work on skills like creative problem solving, critical thinking, and goal setting. The programs are facilitated by local college women, which allows them the opportunity to practice their own leadership skills.
Where do you hold the programs? – We work through pre existing after-school and summer sites, including schools, churches, recreation centers, summer camps, and anywhere else kids spend their time regularly. This is a great partnership as our sites are often in need of high quality, meaningful programming to offer their students. It also eliminates barriers for the girls, like transportation or additional costs.
How can people get involved? – There are a number of ways to get involved. We are looking to expand our committees, which are made up of Columbus community members interested in supporting 1girl by helping with events, marketing, finances, programs, fundraising, and more! It is a fun group of people working towards a shared mission. College students can get involved through their campus chapter of 1girl, or by starting a chapter if their school does not already have one. Being involved with the chapter will also open the opportunity for facilitating a program. Another great way to get involved is to support 1girl by donating to our work.
What is the purpose of the event next week? – The purpose of the event is to celebrate the success of our girls and facilitators. They have done amazing things this year, and we want to bring the community together to congratulate them. We will also be giving out our first 1girl scholarship to one of our dedicated volunteers.
Where do you see 1girl in the next 5-10 years? – I expect 1girl to be national in the next 5-10 years. We are expanding quickly through college campus chapters, and we expand that growth to continue. Our goal is to serve as many girls as possible with the most effective leadership training curriculum!
Once again, I am so happy to have been a part of this organization this past year and I would love it if you would come out and support at the Graduation Celebration on Wednesday, April 22, 2014 at The Bosco Center in Downtown Columbus. For more information and tickets, click here.