By Naomi Lin, Diversity and Inclusion Intern
Each milestone in the Greenville Chamber’s Minority Business Accelerator (MBA) Program is a big step. The first milestone that participants reached was completion of the curriculum portion, which came to a close at the end of July. Each participant was required to share final presentations with their peers and business experts. The presentations included specific goals and action steps including what they learned, changes they made and other information of relevance to their business growth plans.
Two days of participants’ strategic growth plan presentations represented a mid-way point of the MBA program and incorporated many inspiring and celebratory moments. With confidence and professionalism, each participant delivered their presentation while those in the audience were able to hear their short-term and long-term growth goals, as well as lessons learned and applied. Business experts and coaches served as evaluators, and based on their feedback, they were deeply impressed by the quality of each presentation and the tools that the firms leveraged. The energy and comradery in the room was indicative of everyone’s vision, enthusiasm and expertise relative to his/her business. Each of the MBA participants are to be highly commended.
Committed steadfastly to this program, MBA participants have completed 14 sessions with five major modules covering business and strategy assessments, financials, marketing and sales, resources, heard six live-case studies by using participants’ businesses as the subject, spent 12 hours of mentoring between CEO peers, finished 25 out of class assignments. Participants have been profoundly grateful for this program, and told the Chamber what they learned through this journey so far. Below represents some of the take-a-ways.
- James Bennett, Upstate Home Health Care: Better understand the importance of financials.
- Kenzie Biggins, Worxbee: These classes helped me rebrand from Uniquely Virtual to Worxbee and increased 20%+ sales volume compared to this time last year.
- William Wilson, SC Solar Energy: The expertise around restructuring a business and how to engage in identifying multi-million-dollar contracts.
- Tracy Ware, Primary Choice: The importance of having systems in place to track history, as well as to forecast where to go next.
- Shawn Jefferson, Karidan Logistics: There’s value in process-oriented decision making.
- Lindsey Holder, Organic Tan: The instructor, Toby Stansell, and my peers helped me make changes necessary to increase membership and product sales.
- Simon McClain, M&T Technologies: Continuously conduct market research to keep pricing competitive with like providers in the market.
- Anita Garrett, The Weathers Group: Great resources and reinforcement that performance improvement takes time and commitment.
- Robert Chandler, IG Global: Systems are needed to monitor what we’re doing and be consistent on processes and pricing.
- Tammy Johnson, High Spirits Hospitality: Based on lessons learned, I have restructured my entire organization to feed into High Spirits Hospitality, our parent company.
- Brenda Ligon, Precept Staffing Inc.: Learn about numbers, know your business financials.
- James White, James White Enterprise: Hire the right people for each vacant position.
- Jeannette Houchens, HIT Services: Delegating is a key in transitioning from business owner to CEO.
- Delores Watkins, Cornerstone Salon and Spa:Transforming “vague” goals into “smart” goals, specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and time-based is critical to business success.
- Sergio Burnside, Allstar Meat Co.: Be fully knowledgeable about what is going on with your business. Take an in-depth look at yourself and your business to optimize every opportunity.
- Jeff Alfonso, Alfonso Interpreting: Keep a close eye on financials so that profit is always made despite fluctuations.
For the second half of the year, each participant will implement his/her growth plan in order to advance their competitive advantage and capacity. MBA coaches will keep supporting them to achieve the goals and accomplishments aligned with their growth plan. An official graduation will occur at the end of the year. Learn more about the MBA program.