Excelling as an Entrepreneur (While Helping Others)
Deciding to take the plunge of entrepreneurship is a business adventure that takes a lot courage, commitment, and of course, hard work. The challenges can be worth it in the end once your efforts begin paying off and you find that sweet success, but what’s going to make your particular perspective, objective, and overall business different than all the others — especially from the big guys?
Entrepreneurs who are focused on underrepresented audiences have been finding success by filling in the gaps that big businesses often overlook. By filling a particular (and important) need, you benefit both your customers and your business. It’s also worth noting that you’ll likely have little to no competition, which can help in your overall success as a entrepreneur.
Current Trailblazers (And How You Can Join Them)
Let’s consider companies such as EmpowHER for a moment. EmpowHER is “an award-winning social health company for women. EmpowHER.com provides visitors access to one of the largest women’s health and wellness content libraries on the web, as well as the largest online community of women discussing their health and wellness issues.” EmpowHER was created after the founder, Michelle King Robson, underwent an unnecessary hysterectomy and decided she wanted to create a place for women to receive important and comprehensive health information. Women’s health concerns, especially black women, are infamously downplayed by doctors and other medical professionals. EmpowHER has had a lot success by providing a solution to this problem.
Another example worth looking at is Backstage Capital, which works to provide funding to “any tech startup founder that identifies as a person of color, woman, or LGBTQ.” Backstage Capital recognized that the majority of capital deals were going to white males and sought out a way to provide to other, often ignored demographics who weren’t getting the attention (and funding) they deserved.
With all that in mind, as an entrepreneur, sitting down and establishing an underutilized market and in turn consumer base could pave the path to success. But what might this process look like? Taken from an interview for University of Nevada, Reno, Monica Ponder shares her personal experience of recognizing a problem and attempting to fill the need.
As she explains, “African american men and particularly those over 40 have the highest incidence of heart attack and strokes in the south. Blood pressure, diet, obesity don’t get a lot of attention or funding when it comes to congressional allocations for public health (usually the focus is on infectious diseases – Ebola, Zika, HIV).”
Monica Ponder went on to receive private funding and was able to speak with black men about their health issues. Many of them reported having issues with being diagnosed, their medications, as well as culture in regards to diet and communication (or the lack thereof). She was able to create a campaign, “healthy is strong,” and has been successful in showcasing a healthy lifestyle for black men as well as inspiring community engagement.
Sustainability is Key
Another point worth noting, that community engagement Ponder encourages and utilizes, is an important, yet often overlooked aspect by entrepreneurs and other businesses. Sustainability within a community, for example, is a key factor in any successful adventure: “Sustainability can be defined as nurturing the economic and environmental health, as well as social equity for a prolonged amount of time.” All of those components — particularly the economical one — are pertinent to the success of your business, which means, that sustainability for a community not only benefits the community, but can benefit you and your company as well.
They go on to further explain that, “There are many elements that play into building the foundation of a sustainable community … [contributing] to the economic health of the area and [aiming] to provide a healthy lifestyle for all that live within the community — no matter their age, gender or ethnicity.” So with all of that in mind, for many communities there is a need and you can fill it! This in turn allows both you and your customers to enter in a mutual, beneficial union which then leads to a more sustainable, successful business and community.
There are a lot of opportunities to address the needs of audiences that are currently being underserved. Perhaps you’ve even attempted an entrepreneurial adventure before but without much success. This service towards diversity might be the push you and your business need for a successful revival. As Quickbooks aptly puts it, “Experimentation without expectation is the best path to recovering in exciting new ways that you can’t even begin to predict.” Embracing a new audience with a different perspective will definitely take some trial and error, but the results could be exactly what you’ve been looking for.
While you might not be able to compete with the big guys right now, by focusing on an under-targeted audience, you can utilize that portion of the market those major companies aren’t addressing. Success is waiting for you (and you customers), and it can be found in some unlikely places. Good luck!
This guest post was authored by Brooke Faulkner.
Brooke Faulkner is a writer, mom and adventurer in the Pacific Northwest. She spends her days pondering what makes a good leader. And then dreaming up ways to teach these virtues to her sons, without getting groans and eye rolls in response.