Getting your money right as a business owner can seem like half the battle, but The Lip Bar CEO Melissa Butler is urging her fellow entrepreneurs to be mindful of leaning on short-term funding as a long-term solution.
Speaking alongside Red Rooster Restaurant founder Marcus Samuelsson during the ESSENCE + New Voices Entrepreneur Virtual Summit and $100k New Voices + Target Accelerators Pitch Competition, the beauty boss offered a word of sound advice for businesses preparing to take advantage of much-needed government funding during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Most small business owners are not funded so, we’re operating our businesses paycheck to paycheck, for the most part,” Butler said. “And even if you do get a round of funding, it doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily going to get another round of funding. Or maybe you don’t have the expertise to know what to do with that round of funding. So, I think it’s a matter of, first of all, of course, apply for those loans, apply for those grants—apply but, don’t rely. You cannot expect that this money is going to be the money that carries you through to the next quarter.”
Earlier in the conversation, Butler noted how consistent consumer engagement and relationship building with her support base even when she wasn’t pushing a product has been instrumental in her success. Pulling from that experience, she encouraged other business owners to communicate openly and honestly with their consumers to garner support during challenging times as one of a few alternative options to help avoid becoming solely dependent on stimulus funding, or other inconsistent sources of funding. With so many families struggling financially during this pandemic, Butler emphasized the sometimes-overlooked value of non-financial support.
“Some of that can be financial [support] but also, there are tons of ways that small businesses can lean on support from their community that don’t require money,” she said. “Whether that’s engaging on social media, or sharing your [businesses] story, or forwarding your e-mail. There are lots of ways that we can and should be reaching out to our very community to say ‘hey, this is why we need support and these are ways in which you can support.'”
Hear more of what Melissa had to say in the video clip above and then be sure to head back to ESSENCE.com to see everything you missed at the ESSENCE + New Voices Entrepreneur Virtual Summit.