The eighth annual Lexington Bluegrass Area Minority Business Expo will bring together hundreds of female and minority business leaders in Lexington on Aug. 4 and 5.
Among the offerings of the event is a keynote address from Randal Pinkett, an entrepreneur and author perhaps best known for his win on the fourth season of the reality television show The Apprentice.
He took time last week to tell the Herald-Leader about his speech and views on how minority business owners can stand out during poor economic times.
On his speech at the Minority Business Expo: "I'm going to be talking about some of the modern challenges that are being faced by minority business owners. I believe every generation of minority business owners has faced a different set of challenges. For today, it's reaching scale. ...
"Look at the growth of the business landscape. Big companies have gotten bigger, and the kinds of opportunities that are available don't necessarily cater to very small entities. You have to bring a certain amount of capacity to the table to compete nowadays. ...
"If you're too small, you're effectively out of the game. Minority businesses are faced with the question of how do they ... compete on a global stage. That's the challenge of reaching scale."
On the struggles that confront minority-owned businesses: "Minority businesses are often undercapitalized and under-resourced but still compete effectively nevertheless.
"One of the other challenges is focusing ... on those matters that are important but are not urgent. The things that build capacity but don't necessarily have to be addressed ... are of paramount importance to your company's ability to grow.
"It's very challenging to build up the discipline to do that and not just get caught up in all the things that require immediate attention."
On the best way to do that: "To my earlier point, one of the ways is by forming joint ventures and also mergers and acquisitions. One of the things I'll talk about is exactly that, utilizing those tools. ...
"When you talk about reaching scale, large companies use joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions quite frequently ... you can build it, buy it or borrow it.
"Building it takes a lot of time. Buying it is always an option if you have the resources. Or you can borrow it by forming a joint venture and pulling your collective capacity together."
On how minority-owned businesses can stand out in today's crowded marketplace: "Minority businesses have a competitive advantage in that oftentimes they're able to deliver a level of service or a level of quality that is tailored and customized to their client base.
"It has a more personal touch. That is certainly one way to distinguish oneself in the marketplace."