The seventh annual Lexington-Bluegrass Area Minority Business Expo will bring together hundreds of women and minority business leaders in Lexington on Wednesday and Thursday.
Among the offerings of the event is a keynote address from motivational speaker Patricia Russell-McCloud.
She took time last week to tell the Herald-Leader about her speech and views on how business owners can thrive.
Question: First, tell us how you got into motivational speaking.
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Answer: While growing up in Indianapolis, my parents hoped that I would maximize what they believed to be a special talent in public speaking. For me, mastery of the spoken word was intriguing, and ultimately, it became my passion.
Q: In times like these when businesses are struggling, describe the process of motivating and empowering them.
A: I think it is very important for a business entrepreneur to focus upon their reason for going into business. ... To be in business is not for the faint of heart, especially in a recession.
Q: Tell us about what you'll be discussing at the Minority Business Expo.
A: In business, there is always the urgency of now. Those who are inclined to wait become the head waiters in line. Accordingly, there is an obligation to be pro-actively engaged in a fresh order of thinking. ... It is critical to broaden one's sphere of influence and to be where the action is: To go behind buzz phrases of networking and to make certain that as a business entrepreneur one has a network that works.
To do so means that one will step outside of their comfort zone, shift the paradigm and be informed regarding opportunities that exist for their business interests.
At times like these, the main thing is to refuse to feel beleaguered, overwhelmed or frustrated. Every day is a fresh opportunity to begin anew.
Q: What do you identify as the biggest struggle today for minority-owned businesses?
A: It is clear that minority-owned businesses must look to and participate in the world marketplace. ...
Minority-owned businesses face the challenge of capitalization, the challenge of securing bank loans, having the capacity to produce large quantities of the business offering, mastering the significance of location, location, location, and having personnel in the organization that will ... represent the organization's signature of exemplary customer service and beyond, while keeping the mandatory standard of excellence without excuse.
Q: What's one thing that minority-owned businesses can do in a down economy to stand out from competitors?
A: Business competitors will always exist. They will not only seek to play the game. They will seek to ensure that once you learn to play the game, the bases are moved or the rules of the game are changed.
Thus, it is important to study your competition. Know their products and service, and learn how you can be better.
In my view, it is essential to keep one's finger on the pulse of the future. A business entrepreneur must engage in strategic creative approaches that result in best practices to impact the bottom line.