Today’s guest is Karwanna Dyson, an entrepreneur helping other women and minorities build successful and sustainable businesses by becoming government contractors. She shares her story of growing up in a poor urban community to becoming a thriving small business owner. Karwanna and Charlie talk about the unique opportunity small businesses have to change and support their community. Her story is one of strength and determination - despite the situations in front of us, there’s always a way to move forward.
[1:55] - Growing up in an urban community, Karwanna knew she didn’t want to become a product of her environment. She forged a path that included a college education and corporate America, before she decided to pursue her own dreams by starting her own business. She talks about how she was able to see beyond what her community offered.
[8:25] - Karwanna talks about the things she learned on her path to success that they didn’t teach in school. The things that are unspoken, like credit, finances, and how to build a business, are things she learned out of determination to succeed.
[10:55] - Anyone can start and be successful in business, no matter your background or where you come from. Charlie and Karwanna talk about some of the disparities in starting a business, and demystify some of the preconceived notions about what is or isn’t possible in starting a business.
[18:45] - Karwanna talks about chasing purpose versus chasing profit in her own business. She was chasing profit for at least five years. Although she did get some profit, she spent more time chasing and profiting, and it was exhausting. Tapping into and chasing passion was the key to a notable shift in revenue and success.
[23:30] - For anyone who is looking to start a business, start with something you are passionate about. This goes back to growing up as well - our passion is something that is already within us. Remember your deferred dreams even as an adult.
[30:05] - Karwanna talks about her mindset during this pandemic, and the importance of connecting with people who are winning during this time. Being informed of resources available to you and your business is important to thrive during this time. She fleshes out what it means to “not participate” in the pandemic in terms of mindset.
[35:25] - In order to stay successful, sometimes you need to pivot (especially during this time) and know where to move. There are several small businesses who have seized the opportunities to pivot and actually experienced growth in the past year.
[38:00] - One of the greatest business decisions Karwanna has made is changing her focus from individual consumers to the government being her primary customer. The government has resources allocated to spend on small business products and services. Government contracting can help sustain your business as part of your business model.
[40:40] - Karwanna talks about how this epiphany changed her business but also gave her an opportunity to give back to the urban community she grew up in. With a B2G (business to government) business model, you can leverage more of your revenue to be a changemaker in your community.
[43:55] - One of the challenges she’s currently facing is gaining a media presence to get the right messaging out for people. How can we change the narrative of what we see in the media or get the right voices heard? Karwanna is trying to bring back positive messaging to bring communities together.
[47:50] - Karwanna’s invitation to listeners and entrepreneurs is to explore her resources, and especially her checklist to see if your business can qualify for government contracting. Also, how can you shift your mindset to not participate in this pandemic?
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