As the number of small businesses grows so does the number of minority owned businesses. A minority owned business may have unique challenges in addition to the standard challenges of all entrepreneurs. However, a minority business may also have unique opportunities and most of that through solid networking. There are three groups that minority businesses should join to improve their sales through networking.
The first group a minority owned business should join is not a formal organization. Rather, gaining government certification as a small disadvantaged business (SDB) is a process. Still, this puts an enterprise in a unique group that government agencies can recognize as businesses they may want to do business with. Indeed, government agencies have quotas for doing a certain amount of contracts and purchases with these different certifications. Federal certifications are designations like the SBA 8(a) and SBA HUBZone programs. Joining these programs takes time and effort, but are worth it. They are nice groups to be a part of.
The next group that a minority owned business should join is their local regional minority supplier diversity council. All the regional minority supplier diversity councils make up the National Minority Supplier Diversity Council (NMSDC). What the regional and national councils do is help small businesses get more business with corporate America. They have meetings and conferences providing small business access to the Fortune 500. There is a national conference that small businesses can attend. Regional events have a strong focus on the local corporate purchasing scene. Corporations are looking to do more business with minorities as it is good to show diversity and local purchasing from the big companies.
Another group worth joining for a minority business is the local ethnic chambers of commerce. There are a number of chambers of commerce beyond the dominant chamber in many communities. Many of these are segmented by ethnicities. Rural areas may have to travel to the nearest urban center, but they would find a welcoming community with ethnic chambers. These chambers give minorities the ability to do business with each other, thus strengthening each other. But these chambers are also often open to everyone who cares to join. So, one is not limited to their own ethnicity but should take advantage of all the chambers of commerce.
As one begins to engage in all these groups they will see a lot of overlap. But this is good and shows a number of markets one can pursue just by virtue of being minority owned. Therefore, it is good advice that minority owned businesses start joining with these minority business groups.