Welcome to the Wake to Wealth Show, where we bring you inspiring stories and expert advice to help you achieve financial success and build the life of your dreams.
In this episode, we are thrilled to have Dinn McNair, a business strategist for women, join us to discuss one of the most crucial aspects of starting and growing a small business – securing grants.
As an expert in helping female startup companies design, build, and grow their profitable businesses, Dinn has a wealth of experience and insights to share with our audience.
So whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or just starting out, be sure to tune in as we explore the world of small business grants with Dinn McNair on the Wake to Wealth show.
Pam: I’m really excited about this conversation.
Dinn, before we begin, can you please just share with my audience who you help and how you help them?
Dinn: I actually help women who start, build and grow or want to grow their businesses.
These are basically women who are just now getting started.
Maybe they have an idea and actually haven’t gotten started and just have no idea how to go about it. I would provide them with those types of resources.
Now, if you’ve already started your business and you’re just looking to scale and looking for funding in order to help your business grow, I also provide those types of resources.
Pam: How did you get started in this whole business space and to helping women start their own businesses and then funding? What was that journey like for you?
Dinn: I will be completely transparent.
I started a few businesses myself in 2010, and unfortunately, those businesses did not work out for me.
So I did fail.
I was a little leery about even letting family and friends know and just the stresses of it all, working a full-time job and trying to maintain a small business was just not in the cards for me.
I realized that with this type of knowledge and going through a lot of different certification programs and different mentorships, even with a company as big as Bank of America. They provided me with all the keys and the resources I needed, and I felt like, you know what? I know what it takes to succeed. I just wasn’t able to do it myself. But why don’t I teach women how to learn from these mistakes and start their business properly, grow their business properly, and build it from the ground up?
Pam: For someone who is in a place where you were and they’re starting a business and it seems like it’s not working, then they start another one. It’s not working. What would you say to them to keep motivating them, to keep moving forward?
Dinn: I’ll say that you have a gift, and I had to learn this myself.
With this gift, you just want to make sure that you’re using it to impact others.Once you figure out what that gift is and you’re using it to impact others, you’ll be able to start building your business from the ground up.
It won’t be something that’s going to be easy. Maybe the light bulb won’t click right away, but just think about what you’re good at. Think about what you’re knowledgeable about. It could be something that allows you to offer a product or maybe a service. You just want to keep going and figure it out and just brainstorm the ideas that you have.
Pam: Speaking of brainstorming the ideas that you have, you work with people who are in the ideas phase.
I’ve known a lot of entrepreneurs who shy away, well, especially those who have made it, so to speak, who shy away from helping people who are at the ideas phase.
Knowing that you work with so many people who are just at that level, what are maybe three to five things that you have seen in terms of character traits or stumbling blocks or struggles that you have seen at the very beginning of starting a business?
Dinn: Well, one, a lot of people don’t know who their target audience is.
So that’s a huge struggle.
That’s a pain point that a lot of people go through. They’re struggling to try to figure out who are they talking to, and who are they trying to sell to.
Once they find that target audience, they don’t know how to market to them.
And then the last thing is how to sell because there’s a difference between marketing and selling.
Just because you’re marketing to an audience doesn’t mean that someone is actually going to be converted into a potential buyer.
Those are the three main pain points that I realized that a few of my clients have had.
Pam: And so I want to zero in on each of these three key things.
So we have:
#1: The Target Audience
#2: The Marketing
So let’s talk first about the target audience before we move on to the funding stuff, which I’m very excited to talk about.
#1: The target audience
So let’s imagine I’m the ideal client and I’m going to stay at home now.
I have two small children and I come to you and I say:
‘Dinn, I want to start a business, but I’m not sure what type of business to start or how to even find my people online.’
What would you say to me?
Dinn: Well, the first thing I would say is to find out what you’re good at.
Find out what you’ve been educated on in the past.
Maybe you have a degree in something that you’re not using.
I was a mortgage broker and a paralegal, but I have a degree in teaching I never used my teaching degree, but now I get to teach several women.
And then once you find out what you’re good at, try to test the market and see what your competitors in that industry that you want to get into are doing and see who their audience is.
Find out what the pain points are of those audiences and then create pillars.
Those pillars are going to allow you to sell and market the right way.
#2: The marketing
Pam: So let’s talk about marketing.
Where do people begin or where would you say that they should begin?
One of the biggest stumbling blocks when people first begin is they try to be here, there, and everywhere. But how do you, as a coach, simplify marketing for somebody who is just first getting started so that they can see results?
Dinn: Well, what you want to do is you may want to create a TikTok and then create an Instagram.
Basically, you want to create up to two to three different Social Media platforms.
Then you want to see what platform actually works for you, which one is growing the fastest, and which one is resonating with your target audience.
Now, for me personally, I tried to do Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram, and I found out that Instagram works best for me and my audience.
I wasn’t growing as much on TikTok.
No one was thinking about me on Facebook.
Instagram was, I found out, the greatest place for me to market.
Listen, make sure you’re taking advantage of Social Media. Social Media is free right now.
So make sure that you’re taking advantage of it.
Pam: Is there a specific platform, one that you would say out of the two to three, make sure you have this specific one in your two to three because it’s easier to get started with or it’s easier to find your people on?
Is there a specific one that you might lean towards?
Dinn: That’s a really good question.
I honestly think that Instagram might be one of the easiest just because it’s very familiar.
It’s one of the oldest platforms.
I think that if you are trying to do a YouTube right away and you don’t necessarily have a strategy for it, it’s a little bit more difficult.
And then you also have to be a bit more consistent and it’s a little bit more leg work with videos and so forth.
So I would say that Instagram is probably one of the easiest and you can still find your target audience and find out what the market is doing in your niche or niche through hashtags and just easier research through Instagram, definitely.
How people should go about getting funding when they are first getting started building their businesses?
Pam: I want to move on to funding, which I know is really where a lot of people really struggle. And I know that’s one of the things that you do for your clients.
Talk to me about funding and how people should go about getting funding when they are first getting started building their businesses.
Dinn: A lot of people don’t realize that there’s a lot of funding, especially for minority-owned businesses.
And I’m talking federal and state funding, so that means grants, also business credit.
There are a lot of different ways to obtain funding.
So starting out, I would say make sure that you apply for Sam’s number and also a Dunn’s number through D&B, Dunn’s and Brad Street.
Make sure you have those two for your business.
You have your EIN, you are properly structured as a business.
First and foremost, after that, start trying to apply with different business accounts such as net 30 accounts.
Net 30 accounts are basically accounts where you, say, for example, a supply company like ULine, would apply for one of their accounts or business accounts where you would set up some type of account where there’s business credit.
Whatever you borrow, you’d actually have to pay within that 30 days.
But it’s small. It’s little tidbits and it shows that your business is borrowing money but you’re also paying it back on time. Start there.
Then also, make sure you apply for business credit cards.
Find out what the benefits are first and then once you find out the benefits for your small business because a lot of people don’t believe that they can get a business card just now starting their business, but you can.
One of the biggest companies that you can get one with is Capital One, the Spark business card. If you don’t get approved for a Spark business card, then something’s not set up with your business right because you should be able to get approved rather quickly.
Pam: Okay, so one of the questions we receive is about grant writing.
This is an area where most people have no idea how to find grants and write the grants in such a way that you actually acquire some grants for your business. And I know that this is one of the genius zones.
Can you just talk a little bit about grant writing for us, please?
Dinn: So grant writing is a phenomenal way to fund your business.
And a lot of people are not aware that the majority of grants or business grants actually go to minority businesses.
Because people aren’t aware, there are millions and millions and millions of dollars out there.
So one thing about grant writing is that you have to have the right grant writer in your corner.
I myself am a certified grant writer.
I’m actually starting a do-it-for-you service with my business where I’ll be writing grants and my team will also be prepared to write grants for women-owned businesses and other minority businesses if needed.
Pam: So what I love about what you’ve shared, just looking back is you’ve told us a lot about where to find grants and how to apply for business credit, and even the type of business credit and even the type of business credit to apply for. And I feel that you have been absolutely generous with that information, so thank you.
I did want to know, however, because you are phenomenal in what you do, what was your wake-to-wealth moment?
What was the moment that you’ve gone from business to business to business to business to finally arrive in a place where it’s like:
‘Wow, I get to wake up wealthier every single day.’
What was that journey? Can you take us on that journey with you?
Dinn: I would say that my wake-to-wealth moment was just being able to actually start this business, right?
In a sense of being able to help and impact other women and get them started.
I receive a lot of feedback and I have several testimonies where women are just so grateful that I’m able to walk them through these processes because it’s difficult.
Some people, they need that. They need you to hold their hand. They need you to be the resource that they need. They need motivation.
That’s been my wake-to-wealth moment.
It’s just being able to be impactful in the community that I’ve built so far.
Pam: For some people, it’s about money. For some people, it’s about health. But I love what you’ve just shared. It’s really about helping people.
So, therefore, it’s about impact, which I absolutely love.
Okay, so we have come to a wild card moment.
So wild card is where I’ll be asking you to pick a number between one and five. And whatever number you choose, I will be asking you a question.
Can you choose for me any number between one and five, please?
Dinn: I’m going to choose number one.
Pam: Here’s the question:
‘I find starting my business over and over again really exhausting. What is the best way to decide on the idea that will actually help me to have a successful business?’
Dinn: The best way to do this is I would start, one, with my lifestyle.
Do I want a work-life balance?
Do I have a family?
Am I a single person?
Do I want to do something that’s time-consuming or saves me a lot of time?
Do I want to work more?
Do I want to work less?
What are my joys?
What am I passionate about?
Again, what are my gifts?
What am I knowledgeable about?
Those are The pillars that I would start with in order to figure out what type of business I want to actually start and as well as stay consistent at.
Pam: So what you’re saying is to figure out your lifestyle first.
Figure out what you want, and how you want this business to impact you.
And then from there, you made the decision because you know that whatever you build out of that is going to work for your life. Yes?
Pam: Thank you so much for coming. Thank you for the value bombs that you dropped. I’m so grateful. And because of my audience, we want to say thank you so much.
Dinn: Thank you so much, Pam. Thanks for having me.
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