Today’s session with Shelly Bell was fantastic, you could feel Shelly’s energy and enthusiasm and she had so many great pieces of advice that I wanted to share.
Building Community Digitally:
- Community building is at the core of what Black Girl Ventures does and they’ve had to shift to being completely digital, they’ve:
- launched an online community called “The Venture League”
- launched weekly virtual co-working, creating a safe space for Black/Brown women to openly discuss how to help each other
- Focusing on content creation around funding opportunities
- Setting up connections and feedback sessions for alumni
- Through this Shelly learned that it’s less about trying to achieve the #’s in social media – followers, attendees and more about interaction and engagement. There’s an opportunity to help more people vs. focusing on the noise
- There’s the ability to have a many: many relationship where participants activate each other
Tips for Supporting Black and Brown Female Founders:
- Virtual office hours
- Opportunities to increase founder visibility
- Encourage the public to support small business
- buy gift cards for people to turn them into consumers of these small businesses
- what you would have done in person do through digital consultation – pay for consulting or pool funding and have founders deliver services to groups ex. digital consultations on makeup and hair
- Incentivize people to become consumers of small business after we’ve moved to a safer time where people are able to start going out
Return on Relationship Method:
- Shelly developed the Return on Relationship Framework based on the steps of: Identify, Activate, and Foster
- Relationship building is the key to gaining access to capital. Focus on your ABC – Attorney, Banker, CPA – all capital comes from relationships
- Identify what you want by creating clear goals, a pathway, and asking great questions of yourself
- Start with a 1: many relationship and then think about who you want to target and then foster the relationship by letting them know what you’re working on
- What do you live for?
- you wake up more times than not
- How are you motivated to do more, outside of always having to fight?
- you go from something to something way more than you go from nothing to everything
- Be curious – asking questions and waiting for an answer instead of trying to answer them yourself
Valuing Your Work – Class offerings/Speaking:
- No dollar amount can come close to valuing who you are and what you bring to the table so:
- Just make it up – make up a number and see what happens
- If speaking at an event ask the following:
- Do people have to pay to attend?
- Is the event paying a D.J?
- Is the event paying for catering?
- If they’re making money and paying other people, they need to be paying you too
- Adjust your offering based on the size of the business you are dealing with
- only you know the level of work it takes to adapt your offering
- Shelly sees a lot of issues around internal valuation vs. external valuation
- Focus on the opportunity you are creating for people
- You can’t want to make money and then be anti-money
- It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing proposition:
- Think yes, and – If I charge for X, I can afford to offer Y for free
- Visit different payment models
- sliding scale
- pay what you can
- In terms of VC funding – some people are holding or doubling down, some are watching to see what innovations come out of the pandemic and how people are pivoting
- Focus on getting customers and building business vs. getting funding
- Thought leadership – take what you’re working on and see how you can monetize the though leadership
- Look at how to scale digitally so you can get cash flow coming in
- There are different funds and grants popping up – apply, apply, apply at least put yourself in the running