Diversity, Equity and Inclusion ROI
Reboot, Optimize and Improve

Diversity, equity and inclusion are buzzwords these days. But what exactly does that mean for small business owners and solo entrepreneurs? As a double-diverse individual (Black woman), I can tell you what it means to me as an entrepreneur. Before doing so, I’d like to call out how women are often challenged with “figuring everything out” to make things work. We do this in our personal lives as well as in running our businesses. However, we must learn to delegate and trust others to help us along the way. When I realized I couldn’t do everything for my business alone, I sought experts for guidance. While searching for others to help build my brand, I knew it was important to find someone that understood my vision but didn’t just go along with whatever I wanted. I needed someone to challenge my thinking, someone who wasn’t afraid to question my vision and provide thought-provoking views and answers.

My investment in building a team of guided experts includes individuals that are completely diverse. My personal assistant is from the Philippines, and I’ve learned so much from her in a short period of time since I worked as an administrative assistant many years ago. My co-content writer for curriculum development is a young white male who recently graduated from college with a degree in business economics. The point is, if I knew I wanted to deliver consultant services, business education, and personal and business credit programs, I needed a diverse team because I would be helping diverse clients. My return on investment in building a diverse team was well worth it. 

In the early stages of running my business, I spent a lot of time on tasks that should have been delegated. Now, I can 100% say that I’m all about saving time and money and finding resources for myself and others and only wearing one hat—the owner’s. I realized that investing in myself and the company was the best return on investment to help me grow. We’ve all heard of the term “return on investment,” or ROI. But in this case, I’d like to call ROI something else: reboot, optimize, improve. 

Pulling together a diverse team has many benefits to help you grow your brand and increase your bottom line. 

Reboot: Don’t be afraid to shake things up and fully understand where your brand/business is falling short. 

Optimize: Pull together a team of diverse individuals with various skills and abilities. Remember, we don’t want a team of all MEs working together. 

Improve: Implement new innovative ideas created by your diverse team and watch your bottom line improve. 

While many think diversity, equity and inclusion are buzzwords these days, we want to ensure that all aspects of our business are operating in a way that attracts various employees, vendors and customers. Take your business to new heights by understanding the impact in this space as a small business owner or entrepreneur! Your return on investment (reboot, optimize, improve) will help your business flourish! As you revise your current strategic plan, don’t forget about branding and marketing in this space. Are you attracting the same or similar clients? Is that purposeful? Are you excluding anyone? Why? These are things that we as small business owners should be thinking and talking about. 

What can you reboot, optimize and improve in the diversity, equity and inclusion space for your business?

About Author

Tawonda Burks

Tawonda serves as director of Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. (RAEDI) and leader of ELOCINA. Her personal mission is to spread financial literacy, empowering individuals with knowledge to make informed economic decisions.

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