Black Enterprise's Small Business University for Entrepreneurs

Small Business University–Making the Grade

SBU was designed to assist entrepreneurs in various stages of business development, including part-time entrepreneurs, startups, and established enterprises. Here are some lessons that SBU grand prize winner Lisa Marie “Phoenix” Jackson says have made a difference in her business:

The wisdom of balancing business with life. When Jackson started her business, she worked around the clock, sometimes forgetting to eat. An SBU session emphasized the importance of scheduling time off rather than leaving it to chance. In doing so Jackson found that her productivity increased. “I started spending time with loved ones, and realized that my business will still thrive as long as I’m giving 110% and it doesn’t mean that I need to work 24 hours,” she says.

The importance of outside help. Like most entrepreneurs, Jackson wore a variety of hats from blogger to marketer to accountant. “It’s a trust issue,” she admits. Hiring someone would “give them access to my baby.” But one lesson drilled into her through SBU was the importance of hiring others so she could focus on aspects of her business that are the most profitable. She took the advice to heart and now she’s interviewing assistants to work with her part time to help with blog content, clerical duties, and social media maintenance while she works on the social media campaigns, which are bringing in the bulk of company revenues.

The virtues of creating a system. “I had a great business plan, but I didn’t have a day-to-day plan,” she says. As a result, sometimes things would fall through the cracks. For example, she’d spend massive amounts of time on her clients’ social media campaigns while letting her own social media accounts lapse for days. Through SBU, she learned that a system would not only help her organize her workload, but it would make it easier for her to communicate her business’s priorities to others.

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