As the heat and humidity bear down on the Ozark Mountains, I had a chance to revisit a book I read last year: Profit First for Minority Business Enterprises. This book was written by my friend, fellow Profit First Professional and member of my mastermind group, Susanne Mariga. I will appear on Susanne's Podcast, The Profit Talk later this month and I wanted to refresh myself on her book. I was reminded of the many lessons I learned when I read it and decided it should be featured for our summer reading series.
Susanne and I share common backgrounds. Like me, Susanne launched her business because she wanted to be at home with her daughter. We also share the distinction to be the first in our families to attend college. However, as a woman of color, Susanne faced challenges that I didn't experience. One quote from her book that really hit home for me was a lesson she learned as a child from her dad. He said, "In America, if you are one-eighth Black, you are Black. You will have to work twice as hard, and be twice as good to be seen as average." This is the unfortunate reality for many minority business entrepreneurs. Yet they push harder in order to create a new legacy for their families just as Susanne has.
In Susanne's book, she does an excellent job addressing the unique challenges for MBEs. She explains the Profit First concepts and addresses other financial issues such as revenue generation and pricing, expense prioritization, and tax strategies that will build generational wealth while maintaining profitability. Ever the coach, (Susanne is a Certified John Maxwell Leadership Coach) she also covers other important topics in the book such as ensuring you are recognizing your value when you price, alignment and team building, and how to make an impact in your industry when you don't look like the rest of the players.
Susanne is a CPA and a Certified Tax Coach, so she knows her way around financials. Yet in her chapter entitled You Decide Your Worth: Revenue and Pricing, she shares her own challenges with trying to get more business by undercutting her competition on price. She easily sums up the challenge, "all kinds of scary walked through my doors when I tried to compete on the basis of price." The lessons she learned through these challenges helped her realize that she had to create her own playing field. Once she did that, she could command her price. This chapter has such great information for any new business owner to help them understand how to start off in alignment with the business you want to create. She provides great examples, tools and suggestions to ensure you are supported through your start up.
Chapter Ten, Build a Powerful Team, is another chapter where I feel Susanne and I see the world the same way. Susanne shares "The company that you keep - the team you maintain - will become who you are." This is so true and yet we often don't require our team members to live our business values. In this chapter she discusses values alignment, setting boundaries and expectations, giving feedback and doing work that matters. This chapter has stories that are unique to the Minority Business owners' challenges. These stories helped me become more aware of their different perspectives and journeys.
I highly recommend Profit First for Minority Business Enterprises. If you own or are starting an MBE, the advice, stories and exercises will speak to you and guide you. Even if you don’t identify as a minority, you can also learn sound business strategies from an incredibly talented business coach and become more aware of the additional challenges that MBE's face in the business world we all share. Awareness is the first step to ensuring we value all the talents of the diverse people of our world.