I used to think that privilege was black and white….
Professor LaTanya White
Growth Mindset Coach and Business Development Expert
Professor LaTanya White is a growth mindset business coach for multicultural women and minority entrepreneurs. She helps them navigate through their confusion, fear, and insecurity to a place of clarity, confidence, and competence on their journey to Becoming FEARLESS- her proprietary (and wholistic) business development process.
LaTanya has been featured in several media outlets including Ask.com, Essence Magazine, Florida A&M University magazine, Forbes.com and SiriusXM Radio.
…but now I know differently.
In 2007, I had the privilege of being selected as a member of the 27th class of Leadership Tallahassee (LT).
I took my first privilege walk during orientation on our very first day of LT. Ten years later, I would begin the long and challenging journey toward earning my doctoral degree in Leadership and Change and I haven’t been the same since.
Where I used to think of privilege as existing only at either end on the spectrum of Black and White, as I approach the dissertation-writing phase of my doctoral program at Antioch University’s Graduate School of Leadership and Change, I have learned that privilege actually exists on a continuum.
I mention in my first TEDx Talk, where I share some of my most audacious learnings about privilege, that I have the privilege of knowing my purpose. I started my doctoral journey wondering where were all the African American women entrepreneurs the media kept writing about. How could I have missed them at conferences hosted by Entrepreneur magazine, Fast Company, and GKIC?
This question was modified by the 400 or so students that I would interact with every year in the classrooms of FAMU’s School of Business and Industry. In those halls and in my office hours, I would come to know that many Black women, despite their creativity, resourcefulness, and passion, did not identify as entrepreneurs to begin with. Success was replaced with doubt. Where innovation should have been, there was insecurity. Instead of financial freedom, there stood fear.
When I took more notice of this, I realized that in all the business development training I had completed, none of it was culturally relevant. No one had taken my ancestors’ experience or my own lived experience under consideration when they built their curricula. Scholars have studied that Black-owned businesses often produce 1/3 the revenue of businesses owned by our counterparts but no one had offered any reasons as to why.
As a the first Black woman entrepreneur in my family, I knew why.
I knew that I had doubted my own expertise and, because I was “a new business”, I wanted to set my prices low to attract more customers. I knew that I was terrified that I would be rejected by my friends and family and by potential customers. I had nightmares that they would laugh in my face and ask me who the hell did I think I was charging such outrageous prices.
I had read that story and sang that song to myself for my first 8 years (EIGHT YEARS) in business. But no more. I wasn’t going to let anyone put themselves through anything remotely similar.
Some point later in my studies, I stumbled upon an article by
There are not enough words to explain the power there is in knowing your purpose.
Through my education, experience, and expertise, I currently find myself at the nexus between identity, entrepreneurship, and economic justice.
I find myself being active and attentive to the complexities of the quiet demands being made by people of color- in their communities and in their schools.
I position myself as a scholar-practitioner, using case studies, interviews, and life histories to give a voice to the voiceless and quantifying this for policymakers, administrators, and organizational leaders.
My advocacy gives me access. From rural communities to bustling MSAs, my desire to be transparent and create deeply authentic relationships wherever I go, creates trust between me the people whose stories need to be told.
Using innovative education-based models, I feel honored- and obligated- to use my own privilege to address the complexities that are perpetuating today’s wealth and education gaps. I hope to use my future research as an advocacy tool to establish wealth management practices for Black entrepreneurs who intend to create a family dynasty.
I’ve narrowed down this process to 6 major steps. Check them out below and I can’t wait to see your impact!
Learn More About the Models
We know that the global income, wealth, and education gaps are stifling prosperity in communities of color. I believe that developing resilient, entrepreneurial mindsets in communities of color will close these gaps and activate economic power in these communities.
If You Have Dynastic Intent, Then Follow These Steps to Start Building Your Dynasty!
Step 1: Select Your Destination
Every business has a story. Sharing yours in the best place to start if you want to develop meaningful connections with your perfect prospects. Use these resources to build yours with Donald Miller's Story Brand concept.
Step 2: Air vs. Ground
If your target audience gives you a 30,000-foot view of the type of people your business will serve, the Perfect Prospect Profile brings that down to a street-level view. This is where true connection happens- when people feel seen and understood by you and your business. Remember, no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care~ Teddy Roosevelt.
Step 3: Plan A Bespoke Experience
Bespoke (adjective): Custom-made; dealing in or producing customized experiences
Now that you have a street-level of how your Prospect feels, prepare to take a deep dive into color meanings. Be able to discuss the history (if applicable) and what the color means in general. Make the connection between this background information and how it is important to your business.
The next aspect of this production is font selection. You will need to identify and select fonts that you will use for your headings, subheadings, and body of the different forms of content you and your team will create.
Based on the humanistic and emotional connection you should have with your future first customer, select the colors and fonts that would speak most to that Perfect Prospect (with the understanding that she or he represents your larger target audience). With the Canva Color Wheel, you can create and download your color palette with images of the specific colors and the relevant color numbers.
Include this palette in your company style guide. Use a blank Presentation template in Canva showcasing your fonts and specific colors. The slide(s) should include the business name, tagline the design elements that you would want in your logo. You can draw inspiration for those design elements by clicking on the Elements icon in Canva, which can be found on the left side of the screen whenever you are drafting any type of design in Canva.
One of the culminating aspects of this bespoke experience you are creating for your customers is your website. Donald Miller, author of Building a StoryBrand, suggests there are 5 things that every website should include. Sign up on his website to learn what they are for free! Your final deliverable is updating your website to incorporate each of those five things along with design elements of the brand kit that you have just created.
Step 4: Chart Your Path
With more than 20 years' experience in business development, customer relationship management, integrated marketing communications and strategic pricing, I have found that the shortest distance between an idea and executing the idea is Business Model Canvas. The 20-minute video below translates the Business Model Generation concept so you can build your own in the creation of your Business Operations Manual (BOM).
A finished BOM is a document file that incorporates your brand identity (color scheme, fonts and logo if available) and is the detailed, written version of your business model canvas.
1) Paints the vision of the impact the business/organization will make based on your Brand Script;
2) Tells the story about the people you serve according to your Perfect Prospect Profile; and
3) Outlines in specific detail the way each aspect of the business should operate given your Business Model Generation.
Consider formatting the finished product like a magazine and upload to Issuu (try to save it as unlisted so the general public won't have access to your company's proprietary information). Make sure the cover page of your organization's BOM is visually enticing so that someone will actually want to open it up and read it! While protecting the brand identity, make sure it's entertaining, inspiring and educational.
Step 5: It's Time For Take-Off
In preparing for the long-haul, you are going to create a pitch to secure investors, sponsors or even customers. Before you do that, we must answer the age-old question: "How much should I charge??"
The answer to that question is really based on what I call the Three C's of Wealth-Building:
- Communicating Your Capability: This is when you take a stance for the things you are passionate about and communicating to those around you that you are the best person- or your business is the best option- to get the job done.
- Calculating Your Capacity: You might truly love what you do but if you don't have the time to generate an income for it, then you don't have the capacity to make a living from it. Your Capacity to Earn Income is based on several factors- you can learn more about them as you dive deep into the Becoming FEARLESS Strategic Pricing Model.
- Computing Your Compensation: Here is where we bust the myths and shatter the assumptions about your worth. Many African American business owners undervalue their time, talent, and expertise and this shows up in the pricing structures they use. This is when you must put Profit First into your pricing. Revisit the Becoming FEARLESS Strategic Pricing Model to make sure you have a firm grasp on this.
Once you have your strategic pricing done, the rest of this will be a breeze!
This pitch should be based on Guy Kawasaki's The Art of the Start. You can use this Pitch Deck Template to pitch your business. (NB: If you are pitching to customers, the Financial Projections slide should be more like a product or service menu instead.)
The visual elements of the slides should be on-brand, with a color scheme and font that is consistent with the brand identity you previously created.
Your pitch should be no longer than 7 minutes and should end with a strong call to action. Make sure that your call to action is consistent with everything in the pitch that leads up to the call to action. For instance, if your Problem, Value Proposition, Underlying Magic, etc. slides are speaking mostly to your future customers, then your call to action should speak to them and not potential investors. The direct call to action from your StoryBrand should fit seamlessly in this pitch.
Create an account on Loom.com to create a voice-over for your video pitch. You will want to do 2-3 run-throughs to ensure that you master the technology and get your timing perfected. Keep one thing in mind: We are in pursuit of success- not perfection. With that being said, I don't want you waiting to launch this until you can get it edited. You know this stuff anyway!
When you are recording your pitch, just go through the material as if you and I were talking face-to-face (that is exactly how I'm writing this :). Let it come out as naturally as if I were right there in front of you.
You've got this!!
Step 6: Your Three-Generation Goal
You read that right.
Not a 3- month goal or a 3- year goal.
Your Three-Generation Goal.
Think about what kind of impact you want this business to have three generations from now. How should it serve your grandchildren and their children? What about your current clients- will the company still be a viable candidate when their grandchildren are in the market for similar services?
Certainly, the business model might need to change to adapt to (or create) new trends in the market but the real question is will a company that you founded still be a player in the game three generations from now?
When you apply the Becoming FEARLESS Strategic Pricing Model from Step 5, your business can be profitable from Day One. And because you have a three-generation goal at the forefront of all you do, you work with trusted professionals to help you establish your family mission statement, family vision, and wealth management strategies that will last much longer than just three generations.
Connect with me to learn more about PDC Wealth- a family-based dynastic wealth-building coaching program designed to specifically address the generational trauma that people of color experience around money and wealth.