60 Things Attending Black Wall Street Homecoming Taught Me - Part One

This post is from 2016.

In all honesty, it’s tough trying to summarize how I felt after leaving Black Wall Street’s Homecoming. Two things I know for sure though: I have tons of new tools that I can implement while growing Blossom and I’ll be back next year to sit on panels and share my story because I’m. About. To. Work. So. Hard. Overall, I just feel motivated. 

During my time in Raleigh, I shared pictures of my BWS experience with captions on what I was learning. People started to DM me like, “Make sure you tell me the deets” and “I want to know everything you learned”, thus this blog post: 60 Things Black Wall Street Homecoming Taught Me. And honestly, I learned way more than what’s in these next two posts. (I had to break it down into two posts, because, child, it is a lot!)

If we implemented one of these things per week over the next 60 weeks, I can guarantee we will all have drastically elevated businesses. And that’s what I’m going for, okay? But before I dive in, make sure you check out BWShomecoming.com to learn all about this organization. 

Let’s get started. Take notes!

  1. It takes a lot of time to build something sustainable and scalable. Be patient. 
  2. Be able to define how you want to grow. Create a visual road map, which communicates your business’ direction and progress to your internal team and stakeholders if you have them. 
  3. Don’t be afraid to cast a wide net just to see what sticks. EXPERIMENT.
  4. Put together an advisory board. (BWS Homecoming presented me with a few options for my board.)
  5. It’s important to quantify your market. (If anyone has tips on how to do this, please share below.)
  6. Determine the skill sets you and your team need to fulfill your roles.
  7. Learn the language of the industries you interact with. For example, to communicate with your accountant effectively, you have to know their language. To work in television production, there are certain terms you have to know like call sheet and slider. 
  8. Determine your minimum viable product, which helps you avoid building products customers don’t want and won’t use. 
  9. Your competitive edge is your hustle. (Rodney Williams, you said that! (Click here to tweet it.)
  10. Focus on what you know and hire for what you don’t. 
  11. “When we limit who we are and start to mold ourselves into something that isn’t genuine, it starts to be a day-to-day to lie.” - Another Rodney Williams quote, (He’s the founder of Lisnr)
  12. Touch consumers where they are.
  13. HUSTLE. 
  14. Inspire your team into thinking they can do the impossible. 
  15. Be inspired by who you’ve become, not just someone else’s story. 
  16. Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. 
  17. Stop overanalyzing everything. Sometimes, all you need is a pitch deck and the ability to sell your business. 
  18. Instead of asking yourself, “What does the CEO of a billion dollar company act like?”, start acting like that CEO today. (Done!)
  19. Work with people you can learn from.
  20. Hire people in suits. They close the deal! (This is more funny than something you actually have to implement. You had to be there to get it!)
  21. Entrepreneurship is a discovery process. 
  22. Get an accountant to help you marry business strategy and tax strategy.
  23. When hiring employees, understand the rules of employment for your state. 
  24. Define what leadership means to you. 

Whew. That was a lot. Deep breath. Just a few more steps. 

Books your must read according to the brilliant panelist:

  1. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How To Build The Future by Peter Thiel
  2. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance
  3. The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz
  4. Shulz and Peanuts: A Biography by David Michaelis
  5. The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and The Age of Amazon by Brad Stone
  6. Made To Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath

You made it through the first 30 things! I know it's a lot and I know it's deep. For the next 7 days I'll let you soak all this in until I return next week, with 30 more tips.

Part Two - 60 Things Black Wall Street Homecoming Taught Me

Do This to Stay Motivated When You Feel Like Giving Up