A young woman wearing a khaki apron stands behind a counter at a coffee shop. A large white cup of coffee sits on a saucer on the counter in front of her. In the background, out of focus, are a small chalkboard with chalk writing on it and various implements used for brewing and serving coffee.
By sharing your unique experiences as a minority entrepreneur, you can promote inclusivity in your business community while also getting the word out about your business. — Getty Images/SDI Productions

Over the last 10 years, minority-owned businesses accounted for more than 50% of the new companies started in the U.S. But these businesses still face disparities in accessing capital and opportunities.

That’s why minority entrepreneurs need to focus on promoting themselves and building more connections within their communities. Here are seven ways minority-owned businesses can expand their reach and gain more exposure for themselves.

Get certified as a minority-owned business

Businesses that are at least 51% owned and operated by one or more minority individuals can get certified as a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE). This opens up additional opportunities for public and private work programs, client databases, and business partnerships.

Here are a few ways you can get certified:

  • NMSDC certification: The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) offers a fairly simple certification process. After ensuring your business qualifies, you’ll complete the online application and pay the fee. From there, you’ll schedule a site visit and interview with a certification specialist. The entire process takes about 90 days to complete.
  • Federal certification: You can also seek out a federal certification from organizations like the SBA. Businesses that obtain federal certifications are eligible to win federal contracts reserved for minority-owned businesses.
  • State certification: Depending on where you live, your state may offer a certification process for minority-owned businesses.

[Read more: How To Get Certified As A Minority-Owned Business]

Use minority-owned badges

Google Business, Facebook, and Instagram all make adding diversity information to your business profile easy. For instance, you can update your Google Business listing to let potential customers know you’re a woman-owned or black-owned business. This badge makes it easier for shoppers to find and support minority-owned businesses.

Ask customers to write online reviews

Online reviews can go a long way in establishing your company’s brand and credibility. Positive online reviews help your business appear in local search results, making you more visible to customers looking for your services.

After any positive interactions with a customer, ask them to write an online review on Google, Yelp, and Facebook. Most customers are willing to leave businesses a review if asked.

And how you respond to negative reviews tells potential customers a lot about your business. If you react respectfully and attempt to solve the problem, customers will be more likely to trust your company.

Businesses that are at least 51% owned and operated by one or more minority individuals can get certified as a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE). This opens up additional opportunities for public and private work programs, client databases, and business partnerships.

Share your unique experiences as a minority entrepreneur

As a minority-owned business owner, it’s essential to consider how your identity has shaped your entrepreneurial experience. By sharing this perspective, especially within the minority entrepreneur community, you’ll start to foster deeper connections.

At a time when companies struggle to deliver authentic, inclusive messaging, minority entrepreneurs can stand out by crafting messages that speak to members of their communities.

[Read more: 10 Resources for Minority-Owned Businesses]

Leverage digital tools to free up time for networking and collaboration

Solo minority business owners are strapped for time and resources. That’s why leveraging digital tools can help streamline your daily processes and get more time back in your day. By automating what you can, you’ll free up more time to build connections with other minority business owners in your community.

Join a minority-focused chamber of commerce

Joining your local chamber of commerce is a great way to connect with other business owners in the area. Minority entrepreneurs can go one step further by joining chambers specific to their community.

National chambers of commerce exist for Black-owned businesses, Hispanic- and Latinx-owned businesses, Asian American-owned businesses, and more. These organizations focus on uplifting their members' voices, so joining one can help minority business owners experience greater success.

Keep believing in yourself and your business

Being a business owner is challenging on its own, but it’s even more difficult for minority-owned businesses. These businesses tend to receive less funding and fewer resources than non-minority businesses. That’s why it’s essential to believe in yourself and stay focused on your vision for your business.

[Read more: How 4 Buzzy Minority-Owned Startups Scored Funding Windfalls]

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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CO—is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here.

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Published July 06, 2022