Episode 52: Profit First For MBEs: Enter New Rooms

Episode 52: Profit First For MBEs: Enter New Rooms

So, when I see the companies that have really been able to grow and scale, it’s been those that have developed deep relationships with customers, that they have the ability to meet their needs and anticipate their needs, so they bring the right solutions to the table. To me, that’s the differentiator. It’s knowing their customer and being able to meet the right needs for their customers at the right time that they need it. 

Susanne Mariga:Welcome to the Profit Talk Show. In this show, we’re going to explore strategies to help you maximize profits in your business while scaling and creating the lifestyle that you want as an entrepreneur. I am your host, Susanne Mariga. I am a Certified Public Accountant, a Certified Profit First Professional and a Certified Tax Coach. And today, we’re going to talk about strategies to help you maximize profits in your business. 
Susanne Mariga:Good day, Profit First Entrepreneurs and Thought Leaders. I am so excited today because today we are interviewing Adrienne Trimble, and we’re interviewing her for our upcoming book that will be released in the Profit First brand which is Profit First For Minority Business Enterprises. And, I’m excited about Adrienne because Adrienne Trimble is the Chief Executive Officer of the National Minority Supplier Development Council and MBEs or Minority Business Enterprises generate over $400 billion in economic output that has resulted in a creation and preservation of over 2.2 million jobs and also contributes over $49 billion in revenue to local state and federal tax authorities. The NMSDC certification gives corporate buyers or large corporations the confidence to really build those relationships with certified MBEs. In addition, the NMSDC certification is one of the platinum standards and supplier diversity which verifies the MBE stability as well as recognizes  promising MBEs and helps many MBEs who are starting a career really begin to chart promising features. When we first started our firm over 12 years ago, one of the first things I did was get certified in NMSDC, and really, it set our future on a whole different trajectory than what I had ever really originally had planned. And, what NMSDC does is, it connects over 1700 corporations to nearly 12,000 nationally certified- Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, and Native American-owned businesses. So, please join me in welcoming Adrienne Trimble to our platform. Hi, Adrienne, how are you? 
Adrienne Trimble:Good to be here. Glad to be a part of this historic opportunity to share information about MBEs as part of your upcoming book. So I’m very excited about that.
Susanne Mariga:Thank you for joining us, because as the President of NMSDC, you have so much knowledge. You know what works, what doesn’t work and so really I’m excited to be able to interview you and really help us set the course for MBEs to really be able to project and become the gen ones in their family with entrepreneurship. So, thank you very much for doing this. Adrienne, do you mind telling us a little about your work with MBEs, and also what compelled you to go into this field?
Adrienne Trimble:Sure. So, my background is, I was a Human Resources Professional working in automotive and working for a company that had a strong belief in developing talent throughout different parts of the business. I received the opportunity to go work in our procurement department, leading the supplier diversity initiative. It was supposed to be for two years, and that ended up turning into a whole career change for me because what I’ve found is that, working on the human resources side of the business, I was already doing DNI work before it was called ‘DNI work.’ Just making sure that we have very inclusive talent management strategies from recruitment, from succession planning, things of that nature. So, the skill set was very comparable, very transferable. Looking to make sure people were included in processes for hiring and procurement. It was looking for businesses, making sure we had diverse businesses included for sourcing. The strategy is very similar, but what I found that was so critically important is that, it went so much further beyond just our supply chain. 
Adrienne Trimble:It really dug into the impact of our communities overall. And you touched on some of this in the earlier introduction, it’s about the job creation that takes place within diverse communities. When you have strong minority businesses, there are studies that have shown that minorities hire other minorities to a much greater extent than non-minority companies do. So, we talk about the job, the job creation and creating jobs that are in communities where people can become more self-sufficient, more sustainable. There’s a business case that supports it from a company’s perspective. The more that you can have stable jobs in communities that are traditionally underserved, underrepresented, the more discretionary income, the more disposable income is generated by those communities that can go right back into those corporate dollars to those corporations. So again, there’s a business case that supports it. So, when I saw the long term implications of the work of minority business enterprises and having them be successful in those underserved communities, it just really took me back to the 1930s and forties, when you think about communities and how strong they were because they were more self-sufficient there, they had their own grocery stores, their own dry cleaners, and you had a much more tight-knit community where those dollars stay within those communities and made them stronger.
Adrienne Trimble:So, thinking about the way that impacts in today’s society, that’s what really draws me to the work, because I see that this is not a social issue. This is an economic issue, and we need to make sure that our US economy is strong and to do so these businesses have to be successful and part of the equation.
Susanne Mariga:I love that. You’re absolutely right. Leveling the economics really is the one of the drivers that’s going to really give people equal opportunities throughout every aspect of society.  It’s having those economic opportunities to be leveled out and distributed so that everyone gets that same opportunity. So you’re absolutely right with that. Thank you for sharing that. Now, you have worked with thousands of minority business enterprises and from what you have seen with working with these MBEs, what has been some of the common factors that have been there with MBEs that have not only been able to scale and grow and become employers, but also to be able to rate profitable? What have been some of the biggest contributing factors that you have seen in that area?
Adrienne Trimble:When I looked at the businesses that have really grown to scale, the one thing that I say is, the common denominator that I see is that, they have true business champions inside those supply chains, really helping them navigate corporate footprint, understand how they can grow, getting connected to the buyers and to the key decision makers within those organizations. You have to understand that when these businesses are trying to understand ways that they can provide business solutions, they have to know what those solutions are. They have to know what that company is looking for, so they can bring the right solution to the table.  Many times if they don’t have someone inside the company that’s willing to mentor them or provide them just an understanding that company’s culture through DNA, their sourcing strategies, what’s important to them as a business. Then they are not the best prepared to be able to provide that solution that’s necessary. So, when I see the companies that have really been able to grow and scale, it’s been those that developed deep relationships with customers that they have the ability to meet their needs and anticipate their needs, so they bring the right solutions to the table. To me, that’s the differentiator, it’s knowing their customer and being able to meet the right needs for their customers at the right time that they need it. 
Susanne Mariga:I love that. And, being a minority business enterprise, and I’m sure a lot of minority business enterprises are gen one. These are businesses that are typically not inherited. They loved what they did, and they brought that gift to market. And so, they don’t have those relationships with corporate America or to get those contracts. How do they break that barrier and really get to know that customer to understand the needs?
Adrienne Trimble:Well, that’s one of the things that NMSDC does best is that we connect minority businesses to those corporate supply chain decision makers so that they can begin to develop those relationships. Let’s face it. In any type of business, people do this as with those people that they know, like and trust, and that doesn’t just happen overnight. So, there has to be an ability for those individuals to get to know each other in informal settings. You can take the case for example of when folks are playing golf together, they’re in sort of country clubs together.  If they don’t have minority entrepreneurs in those same circles, they’re missing out on opportunities to learn some of that informal information. It’s going to be so critical for them to be successful in corporate America and their corporate supply chains. When you think about how do you get that type of access? It’s working through organizations like NMSDC and our affiliate councils to have opportunities to meet the buyers, to meet the key decision makers, to meet the operational people that are looking for those types of business solutions. Other organizations, such as Chambers of Commerce, are also great opportunities for them to get to know the key decision makers so that they can understand what those needs are and how they can begin to prepare solutions for them. They’ll be meaningful and actually helps solve some problems within their company’s needs. 
Susanne Mariga:Thank you, Adrienne. And I can definitely see NMSDC is the bridge of connecting you directly because there are different events, there are annual events, conferences that NMSDC has. There’s the local level to where they have launches, where they invite MBEs and to meet the actual decision makers that are in the organization. Now, one of the things that MBEs do struggled with is, we’re used to coming in the room and being the only one that looks like us, and you grew up in corporate America, you saw that where you were probably the only African-American woman that’s in the room, that’s around people that don’t look like you. And I know as an MBE, sometimes we suffer from what we call ‘imposter syndrome’ that feeling of the people that look like me are the waitress staff and the janitorial crew. How do you overcome being able to get into the room and really have courage to meet those decision-makers?
Adrienne Trimble:I can only speak for me and what’s been helpful for me and how I’ve helped others to come into the room. First of all, I think it’s incumbent upon those of us who get into those rooms to help bring others into the room. That’s a responsibility that we should own and be willing to open those doors for others because someone had to open the door for us. So, in my opinion, the way that you overcome that and get the comfort is, first of all, if you are invited into that room, then you belong in the room, and you act like you belong in the room, and you own it. And you make sure that you take advantage of being in that room. So, for me, it’s really making sure once that door is open, that you get in, and you make sure that you get the right information that you need to be able to grow your business. It’s going to help your business, but keep the door open for the next person to come through as well. Because that’s how we get stronger as a minority business community. We make sure that we’re helping others get to the same position that we’re trying to get to.
Susanne Mariga:I love that. So, each one, reach one and own the room. You belong there if you’re given that opportunity. Thank you for sharing that. Now, one of the questions that I want to ask you, Adrienne is, what advice would you leave rising MBEs?  It can be personal, it can be business-related, what would be the one piece of advice that you would leave a promising MBE?
Adrienne Trimble:So, I think I already said some of this at the beginning of the conversation. It’s so important for entrepreneurs to know their customers, to understand what business solutions they are looking for and what business problems they’re trying to solve. Entrepreneurs really need to be in a position of providing business solutions, not just telling the overall capabilities or services and saying that this is something you can use. That’s great. It’s so important for them to really do their homework and understand what needs they have. The second piece of advice that I would give to those up and coming entrepreneurs, particularly the next generation, is to reach out and get a mentor. There are so many successful MBEs, particularly, that want to share their knowledge, their wisdom, their lessons learned with the next generation so that they can have it just a little easier than maybe what they had.
Adrienne Trimble:Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask some of those folks. If you see someone that’s had success with a customer that you’re targeting, ask them what worked, ask them what lessons did they could share with you so that you too can be able to achieve those levels of success. So, don’t be afraid to make the ask, and get that type of information. And I’m sorry, I do have one third piece of advice that we give them as well, and that is, stay focused and make sure that they are working on their business. So many entrepreneurs, they have great ideas, and they’re so busy out trying to sell those ideas. They don’t take the time to make sure that their operational excellence is in place. Their delivery systems are in place. They have the right talent in place when they need them. So, make sure that they take the time to actually work on their business, in their business when they are out there trying to build their business. So I think those three pieces will make the differentiator between those that are in business for the long term and those that are just in business for the short term.
Susanne Mariga:I love that. That is some great piece of advice. So many of us, we start businesses because we love what we do and the worst thing that we can do is come in with noise because we’re not meeting a need that’s there, we’re not filling the gap, and you’re absolutely right. It’s able to know your customers, know what they need, know what the gap is and then, if you are a fit for the gap, then to target that and offer your services to that prospect. Thank you so much.  And then in mentoring, I can attest to the mentoring at NMSDC, you cannot meet a better group that is so willing to really reach down and help the next one coming up. So, definitely mentorship is important, and you’re right, Adrienne, there is no better place to get that mentorship than in NMSDC. Now, Adrienne, how can a minority owned business contact you? How can we become certified to be able to get into the room and get those opportunities?
Adrienne Trimble:Absolutely. So, to connect with NMSDC, we are a National network with 23 affiliate councils. So, as a business entrepreneur, you want to connect with the council that’s located within your geographical area. You can find out where those organizations are by going to our website at nmsdc.org. There’s a tab on there that gives the outline of all the councils, the original footprint, and who the President or the contact is for that council. You could always go to nmsdc.org, also access any of our events or any information that will be helpful to help you get started on the journey to achieving your certification. 
Susanne Mariga:Thank you, Adrienne, for joining us today and sharing your wealth of knowledge of how to get into the room, and how to make the right connections. This is a tremendous value and goal that you have provided us with today. So, thank you very much for sharing that. 
Adrienne Trimble:Thank you for the opportunity. I wish everyone just the best of luck and stay healthy and stay safe. 
Susanne Mariga:Thank you. 
Adrienne Trimble:Thanks. Take care. 
Susanne Mariga: I want you to have your most profitable year ever. Yes, no matter what’s going on in the economy, no matter what’s going on in the world, you can have your best year ever. And I want to show you how. Join me in our private Facebook group, where I will be hosting our Free, Yes, I said FREE Profit First Masterclass on Facebook. Please join the Profit First Master Class with Susanne Mariga. I look forward to seeing you there and watching you have your best year ever.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained within these podcast is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute, an accountant-client relationship. While we use reasonable efforts to furnish accurate and up-to-date information, we assume no liability or responsibility for any errors, omissions, or regulatory updates in the content of this video. Any U.S. federal tax advice contained within is not intended to be used for the purpose of avoiding penalties under U.S. federal tax law.

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