This year marked the second annual Black Entrepreneurs Day event, hosted and created by Shark Tank star, Daymond John. The event, held live and in-person at Harlem’s Apollo Theater on October 14, was speckled with stars from Tyra Banks, to Kevin Hart, to Shaquille O’Neal. And sponsored by companies like Chase for Business, Facebook, Shopify, QuickBooks, and more.
Throughout the course of the night Daymond John gave out $250,000 in NAACP Powershift Grants, funded by the event sponsors, to small business owners across the country, including a $25,000 grant to Harlem Chocolate Factory funded by QuickBooks.
Jessica Spaulding, Founder and CEO of Harlem Chocolate Factory, plans to use her grant to reopen the doors to her chocolate shop, build up her staff, and prepare for the holiday season. She, like many small business owners, expects to bring in a big portion of her yearly revenue within these last three months of the year.
“It’s been very, very difficult running on a skeleton crew,” she said. “We want to hire some folks to help us grow.” Spaulding says they’ve been running a two or three-man show for too long, and now it’s time to expand. “But you need that capital!” she said.
And she’s certainly not alone.
Dee Johnson, Founder of Au Courant Interiors, started her business by accident. She wanted an expensive chandelier in her new home, but she didn’t want to shell out the cash, so she made it herself. “And it turned out really, really well,” she said. Others thought so too, and it wasn’t long before Johnson had a waitlist of customers asking for custom chandeliers. Eventually, “there were chandeliers everywhere,” Johnson said. “My house was full of chandeliers.”
She knew she couldn’t keep up with the unexpected demand on her own. She needed help. She needed space to make and store her chandeliers (away from her living room). She needed capital.
For new business owners like Johnson and Spaulding, capital is essential to growth. But it’s not always easy to come by. Sheldon Cummings, Intuit’s Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, sat down with Daymond John to discuss how small business owners can gain access to the capital they need to thrive.
“We’ve seen in a recent QuickBooks report that almost three in five small businesses currently have cash flow problems,” he said. “And these businesses say it limits their ability to grow and take on new projects.”
Another three in five small businesses say they have less than six months in cash reserves. “Those who are the most vulnerable have less than $50,000 in annual revenue,” Cummings said. “More than one in four of these businesses currently have less than one month of cash on hand to cover their costs in an emergency.”
But it’s not all bad news. Recent reports indicate that small businesses across the country are consistently beating their pre-pandemic benchmarks in terms of revenue.
“That space between worries and optimism, between invoices sent and invoices paid, that’s where fintech lenders like QuickBooks Capital are so valuable to small businesses,” said Cummings. “And why it’s so important to be within one ecosystem, so you can get the capital you need, the moment you need it.”
And when it comes to applying for capital, Cummings has a tip.
“The growth that Dee described is the story that investors and lenders want to hear,” he said. “But for lenders it’s even more impressive when they see the revenue line increasing, and invoices have doubled or tripled over time. If you have a platform like QuickBooks Online, where you can see the truth about your business all in one place, you can be prepared to show lenders what they need to see.”
Cummings recommends signing up for an accounting platform as early as possible–day one–to best position yourself to access growth capital down the road.
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