Crystal J. Davis, ConnXus Senior Member Services & Affiliate Program Manager since 2012, brings over 12 years of experience certifying over 200 minority business enterprises in Ohio. Davis shares her story and experience on the highs and lows of supplier diversity as a kickoff to the Share Your Story blog contest February 1 – March 4.
People enjoy stories because they can relate to and learn from others. Whether it’s the latest celebrity drama to business successes and failures—we all love a good story. That’s why I believe it’s especially important for diverse businesses to share their story to inspire and connect with others who may be stuck in a rut or are looking for business growth opportunities.
From my experience certifying small, diverse and women-owned businesses, I cannot underestimate the power of networking. Whether you’re attending a national trade show such as NMSDC or WBENC, or a local diversity conference—networking is the key to connecting with like-minded businesses and accessing educational opportunities.
On Becoming Certified
There are many realistic (and unrealistic) expectations when certifying your diverse business. Several third-party organizations are available to gain certification—including national, state and local certifying agencies. The most recognized are NMSDC, WBENC, CPUC and state municipalities.
After twelve years of certifying businesses, I’ve found the most successful companies were proactive about promoting their company’s strengths and capabilities. Just because you are certified, doesn’t mean that you instantly gain a contract with a Fortune 2000 corporation. Your business must hold the internal capacity and dedication to do business with major corporations.
Why Share My Story?
Sharing your story not only brings a sense of pride that you are helping someone else, but it brings awareness to your company by allowing others the insight into the failures and successes that you’ve endured.
I have encountered an ample amount of diverse business owners who feel as if they’ve hit a wall when trying to do business with corporate America. My advice to minority, women, veteran or disability-owned businesses who might be asking “Why should I share my story?” Here are my four reasons why:
- To educate other diverse business on what resources are to gain certification, what trade-shows produce the most ROI, and what educational opportunities will help grow their business needs.
- To connect and network with like-minded companies and those who have been through similar business paths.
- To inspire those who are in a rut or feel as if they can’t grow their business, and to see the bigger picture.
- In order to grow, your business needs to take inventory of where you’ve been, where you are and where you’d like to be.
What’s your story?
Submit your supplier diversity stories to firstname.lastname@example.org from Feb. 1 – March 4 for a chance to win $3,000 for your business needs or a charity of your choice.