We look at some business strategies Native American entrepreneurs can utilize. Business strategy is often overlooked when focussing on a business plan. A solid business strategy is necessary to get your business off the ground and to reach your goals every step of the way. Native American business owners use different approaches in their early and later days of running a business. Let's look at some of them.
A mistake that Native American entrepreneurs and others make is that they decide to open a business without doing any research first. Not only do you want to open a business in an industry that you know about and like, but you also need to make sure that you have a base that can support that company. You may find that your niche is in a field that helps other Native Americans. Other minority groups have achieved success by helping their communities, as discussed in our blog about successful female African American Entrepreneurs.
A typical example of a business that can help Native Americans is a telecommunications business. Often, Native Americans who live on reservations and in rural areas do not have access to cell phones and the internet because large companies do not target those communities.
One of the business strategies that you might use is something called cost leadership, which is when you compete against other business owners in the same industry on price or cost. If you want to get more customers when your business opens, you need to offer low prices. Think of this as the Walmart strategy. When Walmart opened in new areas, it would lower its prices to drive out local companies and then raise its prices when it no longer had any competition. Gas stations do the same thing when they drop prices on weekdays in the hope of offering lower prices than other gas stations do. Once you find your niche, you'll want to check prices and find ways to improve your profit.
Most of the product strategies that Native American entrepreneurs use involve finding ways to set their products apart from the competition. Let's say that you want to enter the fashion market. Instead of selling the same type of clothing that the competition sells, you can look for something unique. This might include jewelry and clothing made by people who live on reservations or clothing that incorporates some of the designs created by your ancestors, as designer Bethany Yellowtail has done. Entering the fashion industry can also help you find a way to give back to the local community, such as donating a portion of your profits.
Native American business owners qualify as minority business owners, according to the federal government. The Small Business Administration (SBA) has special programs available for any business where a minority owns at least 51% of that business. You'll also find grant programs that provide business owners with a grant (that they don't need to pay back). New Mexico and Montana are just two states that offer these programs. Getting more money in the early days helps your business get off the ground.
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