Small Business Month, What it Means to be a Small Business Owner
May 16, 2022
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entrepreneur
advice
What it Means to be a Small Business Owner
What it means to be a small business owner

We’re #AllForSmall all 365 days a year, but small business owners, it’s your time to shine this month. And boy, do you deserve to celebrate your hard and smart work, dedication, resilience, and strength. Small business owners we work with are immigrants, single parents, transgender, and legacy builders who wish to make a change for their families and their communities. They are courageous, and we want to give you your flowers because YOU DID THAT!

During the pandemic, it’s been a rough few years trying to navigate small business ownership. Many of you had to pivot, change your business models and even reduce services and staff to stay afloat.

But the tenacity of the #AllForSmall community is fierce. With all the obstacles, the small businesses we work with averaged around $50,000 in revenue last year. They also supported more than 1,200 jobs in communities nationwide in the service, food, retail and apparel, the arts and entertainment industry, and more.

As the #AllforSmall community grows, we are privileged to be a resource for Black, Latinx, AAPI, women-led, LBTQIA+ business owners on their journey to discover what it means to be a small business owner and help them define their own unique paths.

In honor of National Small Business Month, we teamed up with four women #AllforSmall business owners to celebrate their businesses and what being a small business owner means to them. They also shared why it is essential to support businesses of color and tips for other small business owners on the rise.

Read the interviews below to get to know their stories. Happy Small Business Month!

Veronica Talton
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Veronica Talton

Talton Consulting, LLC

 
1. What does it mean to you to be a small business owner?

A (small business owner) is an ambitious risk taker that is hardworking and willing to make sacrifices in the short term to discover their long-term dreams. A business owner should be a visionary with an ability to balance life and work for long-lasting success.

 

2. What is your business, and why do you do the work you do?

I’m an arts education consultant who develops creativity and promotes self-expression in youth and adults. Talton Consulting, LLC unites arts and equity by providing services specializing in African American culture. Having been an educator for nearly thirty years, I’ve created a curriculum that assists students struggling to achieve to find success. My content features performing arts and visual & culinary arts appreciation.

  

3. What is one thing you have learned that you would like to share with other small businesses?

Use your network for referrals and seek the support of other entrepreneurs while you grow your business. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for help when needed.

 

4. What does Small Business Month mean to you?

It is a time to acknowledge the role that small businesses have in our local areas. It supported them regularly, even if going out of the way to demonstrate a commitment to beginnings. Persevering through obstacles and barriers to progress is necessary if one desires to remain in business for the long haul. To acknowledge shop owners and spread the word about local businesses making a difference benefits the community. From youth to seniors, anyone can be inspired to solve a problem for others. One idea can be the answer that leads to personal wealth and financial independence.

 

5. How has your identity played a role in your business, and why is it important to support small business owners of color and ensure equal access to resources/opportunities?

Absolutely! It drives my actions and is my WHY. Being an African American woman means that I often have to prove my worth from the onset, but I know who I am, and I value my heritage. I’m a performing arts educator who loves learning and uplifting my community which has not always had access to resources as others have had. Many positive adults and family members contributed to my personal development. Bringing other entrepreneurs of color along in the journey who possess similar passions and convictions is a way to pay it forward.

 

 

 

Diana Rios

 

Diana Rios

Jarabe Gourmet Pop

 

1. What does it mean to you to be a small business owner?

Being a small business owner means having the ability to make my own decisions.

 
2. What is your business, and why do you do the work you do?

Jarabe Gourmet Pops is a Mexican Pop-Bar based in Washington, D.C. We specialize in Mexican-style gourmet pops. I do the work I do because I want to bring something to the marketplace that reflects our culture and heritage and our lived experiences as Mexican immigrants.

 
3. What is one thing you have learned that you would like to share with other small businesses?

Always be your authentic self.

 
4. What does Small Business Month mean to you?

Small Business Month means recognizing our small businesses’ resilience and immense contributions. It’s a time to honor the entrepreneurs of our country who have played their part in bringing new ideas to life and growing our economy. It’s also a time to encourage consumers to break away from large boxes and to get out and shop at their local neighborhood stores.

 
5. How has your identity played a role in your business, and why is it important to support small business owners of color and ensure equal access to resources/opportunities?

Every essence of my business reflects my lived experiences as a daughter of Mexican immigrant parents. It is essential to support minority-owned small businesses because it helps our communities attain more resources, shifts the power structure from big corporations, and helps us overcome the wealth inequalities in our communities.

 

 

 

 

Myla Flores

Myla Flores

The Birthing Place

 

1. What does it mean to you to be a small business owner?

I find courage daily, especially in seeing the Birthing Place Bx stages.

As a small biz owner, I experience both freedom and responsibility, and it is beautiful, burdensome, and exciting. What’s powerful about being business owners is trusting our capacity to manifest what we envision courageously! We notice gaps, brainstorm what is possible, and passionately create solutions. At times, we walk and make paths and do our best to align with people who believe in and have resources to support our continued growth. It’s such hard work, yet satisfying in that it summons courage, innovation, determination, vulnerability, and humility to seek support from many who might also believe in the vision.

 

2. What is your business, and why do you do the work you do?

The Birthing Place aims to become a community hub where New Yorkers receive culturally relevant midwifery and full-spectrum, safe, dignified, family-centered, joyful, cost-effective, evidence-based education, and care.

As a midwifery assistant, I entered the birth field, then rooted deeper as a doula in all birth settings. Eventually, I co-founded a multicultural co-operative of maternal health professionals. I am currently taking steps toward opening a birth center because I know this can improve maternal health outcomes for our communities. My advocacy work directly addresses New York’s absence of “midwifery birth centers,” which are proven to decrease maternal and infant death and increase breastfeeding success and satisfaction of care. While awaiting changes we’ve fought to get implemented into legislation, we prepare to create a future birth center, yet innovation becomes even more necessary to reach families sooner.

On my team, birth workers and educators are aware that birth in N.Y. mostly happens at the hospital, and families benefit from culturally relevant support circles beyond their medical providers. So we prepare to launch Womb Bus, a mobile wellness hub, in service of our longer-term mission, which provides us the ability to create more immediate access to quality maternal and reproductive support throughout one’s reproductive lifespan. We genuinely believe this will improve experiences and outcomes for New York families.

 

3. What is one thing you have learned that you would like to share with other small businesses?

Oh gosh, I have a few (yet if I should only choose one, let’s go with the last one):

~ While we learn as we go. Research heavily before jumping in and at critical points along the way.

~ Align yourself with people who are also passionate about the field and committed to challenging you in all the right ways.

~ Be willing to work and find appropriate ways to assemble teams necessary to help your business succeed.

~ Keep an ongoing list of needs/goals/actions that might benefit your mission, prioritize accordingly, yet create time for pause and gratitude for whatever part of the journey you are on.

 

4. What does Small Business Month mean to you?

Small Business Month is a recent discovery for me, yet I’d say that it has allowed me to reflect on my journey as an entrepreneur and the lessons I’ve learned along the way. It reminds me to honor those before us and their immense contributions and remarkable ability to bring their ideas to life and grow our economy.

 

5. How has your identity played a role in your business, and why is it important to support small business owners of color and ensure equal access to resources/opportunities?

Raised in an immigrant family with ten siblings and the first to earn a college degree, I’m no stranger to hardship, barriers, and financial limitations. I’ve exemplified perseverance throughout my life, and now in adulthood, I continue to work hard as I navigate the challenges of meeting financial requirements as a New York City resident. I admire such tenacity and resilience that I’ve witnessed in minority-owned businesses, yet outstanding characteristics do not always equate to success. Many factors create more significant challenges, so we must make choices that fuel economic prosperity in our communities.

 

 

 

LaShawn Henry

LaShawn Henry

Urban Strategies of New York Inc

 

 

1. What does it mean to you to be a small business owner?

Being a small business owner means commitment, sacrifice, and freedom.

 

2. What is your business, and why do you do the work you do?

My business is a consulting staffing business. We are a family business. We create diverse workforces. Growing up, we were always taught to give back and to serve. Service comes naturally to me, so why not have a business where you do your community, make lives better, and educate people on the benefits of diversifying your workspaces and jobs. When given the opportunity, training, and support, many people will excel in the job market. We make sure we match the employer and employee for a perfect match.

 

3. What is one thing you have learned that you would like to share with other small businesses?

There are several things, but I will tell you the most important for me: love what you do, get a great team that also believes in the mission, and remember the taxman keeps coming and coming.

 

4. What does Small Business Month mean to you?

Small Business Month is an opportunity to highlight your business on a platform that allows other businesses and people who may not know you exist to get a first-hand look at your services and products.

 

5. How has your identity played a role in your business, and why is it important to support small business owners of color and ensure equal access to resources/opportunities?

As an African American woman and mother, my identity plays a significant part in my business. My daughter, who works side by side with me (she is the secret sauce), knows the importance of creating opportunities, educating your community, and working and finding ways to make a difference. As a for-profit with a not-for-profit mission, we are responsible for building up communities of color who sometimes don’t know about resources or opportunities that could benefit them and their families. Working with Black business owners allows us to create avenues for generational wealth, demonstrate that you can build a business that you love, and never again work a day in your life. Having people support my business means that we can continue to build relationships, strengthen diversity hiring and make a difference in the lives of many.

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