How do you create a business mindset as a minority? What is a business owner mindset Why is mindset important in business?
Don’t worry; we’ll be addressing all those questions and more in this article.
Working within the business industry is tough for anyone. Owning a business is even tougher. But doing either is undoubtedly, and unfortunately, tougher for minorities.
Now, who is this article for? In other words, who exactly classifies as a minority businessperson?
- Black businesswomen
- Black businessmen
- Latina businesswomen
- Latino businessmen
- Asian businesswomen
- Asian businessmen
- LGBTQ+ businesspersons
- BIPOC businesspersons
- Disabled businesspersons
- Businesswomen as a whole
I’ll be real, caucasian businesswomen are at an advantage in comparison to POC businesswomen. But statistics show that they’re definitely still at a disadvantage in comparison to caucasian businessmen.
As are all women when compared to the male counterparts of their same ethnic backgrounds. So although Cultured Simplicity typically focuses on intercultural business, all businesswomen will benefit from the steps below.
The purpose of this article is to help anyone with a demographic disadvantage develop a business mindset.
Is a business mindset as a minority any different than your typical business mindset? Well, it takes a bit more grit, a lot of work ethic, and nothing short of a boss mentality.
8 Steps for developing a go-getter business mindset as a minority
1. Leverage your minority status
No matter what some bigot may have told you– diversity is in. Whether or not it has anything to do with a quota, businesses recognize how “bad” it looks to have an all-white all-male team.
So when you’re applying to job, don’t hesitate to put your demographic info down. It won’t do you any good to hide who you are since they’re bound to find out eventually.
As long as you meet the qualifications, most recruiters will acknowledge how much of an asset you could be.
There is a great deal of research showing the benefits of diversity in companies. A 2017 Boston Consulting Group (BCG) study identified diversity as a key driver of innovation, finding that diverse teams produce 19% more revenue.
Furthermore, it proved:
- Inclusive teams make better business decisions up to 87% of the time.
- Teams that follow an inclusive process make decisions twice as fast with half the meetings.
- Decisions made and executed by diverse teams delivered 60% better results
If you’re in a position of ownership, even better. In case you missed it, #blackowned, #pocowned, #wocowned, and #womanowned are buzz hashtags. Consumers like to know that their dollar is going toward a business with authentic ownership. Even better if that owner is from a traditionally disadvantaged background.
There are even consumers who try to exclusively shop minority owned businesses.
So yes, add those above hashtags to your social posts (if applicable). And publicly acknowledge the months or days that are “dedicated” to people like you. There’s nothing wrong with a Women’s history month sale or a Black history month BOGO.
If you’ve toyed with the thought of naming your products after terms popular within your demographic, go for it. A Frida Kahlovera taco sounds pretty good to me.
2. Stop apologizing
Sometimes we believe ourselves to be less competent than our counterparts. Or we believe that our hire was purely to meet quota. Self-doubts are what make so many minorities feel like a disadvantage to their team.
But when you consider yourself to be “less-than” in a business setting, people just might actually start treating you as such.
A business mindset as a minority has to be (at least partly) founded on self-confidence.
So stop saying sorry all the dang time. Unless you ran over someone’s cat, leave “sorry” out of your business vocabulary.
“Sorry” is a reflex. But it can be easily replaced with something so much more… self-assured.
Instead of “sorry, I’m late”, try “thank you for waiting for me.”
Instead of “sorry, I forgot”, try “thank you for reminding me”.
You are not a burden. So don’t give your team the impression that you are.
Inviting a little gratitude into your daily life can have monumental changes on your mindset.
3. Create a self-expressive online presence
This sort’ve goes back to #1– leverage your minority status. But it’s a bit more applicable, and definitely accessible.
Gone are the days where successful business people didn’t have an online presence. If you truly want to maximize your impact and profit, you’ve got to create an online presence.
Even if you’re having a hard time attracting customers of a different background, you can still create an online presence that attracts people of your background. At the end of the day, you don’t really know any demographic better than the one you were born into. (Yes, there are exceptions but rarely.)
So why not use colors, symbols, or type that reflects your background?
There’s nothing wrong in using the colors of your home country’s flag as the cohesive aesthetic on your Instagram posts.
There’s nothing wrong with throwing a word from your mother tongue into your caption. You can even translate it directly after but it’ll still make people who speak that language know that the person behind your business is “one of them”.
You can use colors, symbols, and words that make sure everyone knows your demographic without ever even showing your face. Which I know is a major hangup for some professionals on social media.
As a business rule of thumb though, you’ll need to be consistent and cohesive. Your brand image should immediately stand out as belonging to your business.
So once you settle on colors, and especially a logo, stick to them.
The top spot for building an online presence as a small business owner? Pinterest.
If you’re trying to delve into the world of Pinterest for your business, in up for Tailwind. It has a built-in pin designer that automatically creates promos using your colors, text, and images. It’ll save you so much time.
4. Never settle for less
Chances are you’ve probably heard this saying before. This mantra is essential to developing a go-getter business mindset as a minority. Why? Because frankly you’re at a greater risk of being taken advantage of.
You can find yourself in two situations:
- Employers assume that you underestimate your worth. As a result, they underpay you, don’t promote you, and give you less leeway for days off. As a result, you actually underestimate your worth and settle for less,
- Employers underestimate your worth. Don’t ever assume that your employers don’t have an unconscious (or conscious) bias. They may take one look at you and assume that you’re less competent you actually are. They underpay you, don’t promote you, and give you less leeway. Once again, you find yourself settling for less.
It’s time to start self-advocating. You are your own agency and you need to start watching out for yourself.
Flaunt your degree. Flaunt your skills. And if possible, do some research on the company before. Sometimes you can find average salaries for people in your position on Glassdoor.
It’s particularly important to find average salaries if you’re a freelancer or consultant. You’ll be coming up with your own rates and you don’t want to under-ball yourself.
If you’re given the chance to pitch your own salary, rate, or commission, I always say go a little higher than the first price that comes to mind.
In the business world, you never want to come across as a pushover.
5. Start asking
“If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.”
When you don’t look like your employers or clients, you may feel like everything you do is under the most critical of magnifying glasses. But honestly, what you think doesn’t matter. It’s what you do that does.
You’ve got to throw away any fear of rejection. We’re not talking about a marriage proposal here. We’re talking about you asking an employer for a raise or something else.
The worse that they can do is say no. At least legally, anyways.
You’ll never know if you don’t ask. You think the most successful of business leaders got to where they are by being shy and quiet?
Nope. I bet you that at times, they were borderline ruthless. And I bet that not only were they not afraid of asking, but they weren’t afraid of not taking no for an answer. If one person won’t give it to you, then go it from something else. Whatever that it is, I’m sure you’ve got a desire you wish you had the guts to ask.
Yes, I understand that most people are naturally un-confrontational. Or more so, bred to be so as a a minority.
But in the words of anonymous: “it’s not always easy. But it’s always worth it.” Honestly, what good comes from always staying in your comfort zone?
Get it into your business mindset as a minority that you’re never going to reach your full business potential without asking for it.
6. Educate yourself
It’s not exactly a secret that educated people typically have more success in business.
If we’ve already established that you were born into a traditionally “disadvantaged” demographic, why add any more disadvantage on top of that? I know college is expensive, but there are definitely ways to bypass a lot of the expense. In the long run, it more than pays itself off.
And I hate to sound like your high school guidance counselor, but college is a crucial step in life. It is now considered an integral part of the “American Dream.” It is about creating opportunities in life. A college degree prepares your intellect and social abilities for your adult life and career.
College graduates see 57 percent more job opportunities than non-graduates, and approximately two-thirds of all U.S. jobs require postsecondary education.
Earning a degree is empowering; it boosts confidence and provides a sense of achievement.
So if you can get a certificate, go for it. If you can get an Associate degree, go for it. If you have it in you to go for a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctorate, go for it.
But I get it. Money and time sometimes makes collegiate education impossible.
If that’s your case, then look into the online ways you can further educate yourself. Degree or not, knowledge is power.
edX is a trusted platform for education and learning. Founded by Harvard and MIT, edX is home to more than 20 million learners, the majority of top-ranked universities in the world, and industry-leading companies.
edX has courses on:
- Business Administration
- Business Analysis
- Corporate Finance
- Financial Literacy
- Project Management
And so much more.
It’s affordable, and with Rakuten, you’ll get an instant 5% cash back.
7. Get a “power” suit or accessory
Turns out lucky charms aren’t just for kids. Each of us can have our very own thing that instantly makes us feel like a boss. No matter how bad you feel, this one thing is going to instantly snap you out of your slump.
Be it putting on your navy blue suit or rocking your vintage pair of pearls, every businessperson should have a “lucky charm”.
Lucky charms work just like placebos. If you believe that it’ll work… then it will.
I particularly liked one example shared by Real Simple. If a doctor sits you down and says “This is a sugar pill, but it will make you fell better if you believe it will”, then that placebo will often ease your pain even though you know it’s not real medicine.
That’s because placebos tap into a circuit in the brain that controls our expectations and helps us navigate the world. Another word for placebo? Lucky charm.
You can choose what object will imbue you with power in business settings.
A suit, dress, or accessory works double-time since you’ll also look great.
A businessperson who feels great on the inside and outside is unstoppable.
8. Become a fly on the wall
Becoming a fly on the wall can mean two things. We’ll talk about the first one first.
Negative experiences tend to make us zoom in on our own problems. And as you probably know, the more you think about the bad things in your life, the more your feelings intensify. Why else would the term “pity party” be so popular?
It’s a true power move to when to zoom out and emotionally distance yourself from what’s bothering you. Especially if it has to do with how others are treating you. The best thing you can do is approach the matter with a level head.
You can always pull back by viewing the situation from the perspective of a fly on the wall.
Then you can ask yourself why your ‘distant self’ is feeling that way?
Could you have done things differently?
Are you making a bigger deal than necessary out of something?
If you ever have to go to management about something that upset you, approach them like that fly on the wall. With no emotional charge. Nothing but a clear head and logical speech that’ll make them more likely to take your side.
The second way you can be like a fly on the wall is by constantly observing. There’s no better way to learn yoir company dynamic than by observing workflow and socialization.
One major issue that plagues minorities in the workforce is feeling like an outsider. When you familiarize yourself with the company’s dynamic, you’ll combat that isolation. And ideally, you’ll start to operate like an “insider”.
Conclusion + Final Takeaways for developing a business mindset as a minority
So what did we learn today? That you’re a boss who can do anything that you put your mind to. Regardless of your skin color, ethnicity, race, gender, or anything else.
One more time for the people in the back: how can you develop a business mindset as a minority?
- Leverage your minority status
- Stop apologizing
- Create a self-expressive online presence
- Never settle for less
- Start asking
- Educate yourself
- Get a “power” suit or accessory
- Become a fly on the wall
Still lost about how to do any of those things? Go ahead and scroll back up.
Before you leave, make sure you check out 10 productive work routine hacks for businesswomen & entrepreneurs!
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