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Running a Successful Small Business: Advice from Shaylon Scott

Updated: Feb 26, 2022

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Shaylon Scott, the Executive Director of Founders First Community Development Corporation, a not-for-profit community development organization and small business accelerator. Here’s a few tips Shaylon shared about how you can succeed as a small business owner during COVID and beyond.

One of the key attributes of every successful business owner is confidence. Shayla describes confidence as “finding your voice and continuing to listen to it as you grow.” The pandemic is teaching small business owners a lot about themselves and how to run a business. Giving yourself enough patience and grace to embrace change is important. Working during a time of change can be like teaching a baby how to walk, it’s wobbly at first but in time they grasp it. Treat yourself and your business in the same way and give it the opportunity to grow and succeed. Ask for help when you need it and lean on the community around you. When you’re an entrepreneur, your community is everything.

As a business owner, learning how to pivot is crucial. It’s okay that the path you’re taking towards your end goal looks different than your anticipated road. Create the vision and plan for your business, but get comfortable adjusting. To pivot successfully, you have to educate yourself. Educate yourself on the business itself, the industry, the technology, and really take an interest in not just working in your business, but also on your business.

If you’re feeling stuck, find an accelerator to help you grow and meet your goals. An accelerator provides peer education along with subject matter expertise. Each program focuses on different aspects of operationalizing your business. When you’re applying for an accelerator or a grant, a few key things you’ll need include your financial statements, your business plan, a clear statement about your business story, and a 60-90 second video talking about your company and your story. Most of the written content should be housed in your business plan.

People don’t tend to buy things just because they like a product or service, they buy because they like the person. To crush sales or win over clients, you just need to be authentic and passionate about what you’re doing. Transactions are more emotional than people think, so set aside the idea that you need to be a great public speaker, and tap into your reason why.

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