For the first six months of 2018 my wife and I travelled the world in search of answers to the many questions that I had about global entrepreneurship. Since 1982, as a graduate student at the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, I had conducted research and published my findings on many aspects of American entrepreneurship but now was setting my sights on a more global perspective. After visiting close to 35 countries and passing through 100 ports of call, I had begun to piece together the dynamic of global entrepreneurship trends and patterns.
Of all the lessons learned (more to be shared in my next book on Global Entrepreneurship) the one common pattern observed was the “necessity of entrepreneurship” in much of the emerging world. The reality for much of the world is that if they don’t find something to sell, then they and their families will die. They cannot rely on the government or any other entity to save them. They must save themselves. Thus, I coined the term, “the necessity of entrepreneurship.”
Although the condition of Black businesses in America may not be as dire (some think it is, but I disagree), it is as urgent. This may explain why 2021 saw the highest number of Black businesses created in more than 20 years. These new businesses accounted for 25 percent of all businesses founded nationwide. This growth is indeed quite remarkable but dark clouds and troubled waters lie ahead. The two biggest threats are the “R” word (recession) and runaway inflation.
To navigate these troubled waters, I recommend that Black entrepreneurs and all entrepreneurs for that matter, consider implementing the following strategies. (For more details, please see my books, Strategic Partnerships: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Joint Ventures and Alliances and Soul Food: 52 Principles of Black Entrepreneurial Success):
- Revisit and get crystal clear on your MOGO. In my book on strategic partnerships, I refer to MOGO as your Mission, Objectives, Goals, and Opportunities. The MOGO’s elements must be very clearly defined and thoroughly thought out. The explicitness that is required is time-consuming. This is definitely not the type of exercise you want to undertake casually. The MOGO must show a clear business purpose so that you don’t waste time and money pursuing tasks that are unproductive and take you nowhere.
- Consider raising the prices on your product or service. One way that you communicate the value-add of your product or service is what you charge for that product or service. Be careful to use precision in what product/services you raise prices on and when you apply that price increase. Most customers are reasonable and will work with you.
- Tighten up on and take care of your key employees. My research on successful entrepreneurs and business leadership is conclusive that the greatest factor for business success is people – your people. So, it makes sense that you take care of your key people and consider jettisoning your poor performers.
- Leverage the power of technology and automation. It is amazing to me the wonderful tech tools and automation methodologies available to entrepreneurs today. We are investing in new human resource systems, cybersecurity platforms, and financial accounting systems to increase each employee’s effectiveness, reduce costs, streamline business processes, and improve customer service. We have learned to do more with less and you must as well. It is either innovate or die and who wants to die!