Selling In The Current Climate As A Diversity And Women-Owned Business  

Erika Sipos
The SFA hosted another round of its virtual Share Groups for members, with the latest focused on Diversity and Women-Owned Businesses. Forty member participants joined in on August 25, to talk with peers about doing business in the current environment. SFA will be communicating with members soon about additional virtual Share Groups. 
The group consisted of both long-standing and new members, all looking to connect and learn from each other. The discussions were lively and supportive while individuals talked about balancing the expectations of consumers and the strong interest from buyers who are seeking out companies owned by women and people of color. Buyers and consumers alike are not only looking for interesting products, but they are supporting the story and the owner of the business.   
Here are some highlights from the discussion:  
  • Certifications. The importance of certification and its benefits for manufacturers generated a lot of comments and advice. The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) is the largest certifier of women-owned businesses in the U.S. and a leading advocate for women business owners and entrepreneurs. The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) is the largest and most prominent certification body for minority-owned businesses. One participant raised a concern of whether it was the certification alone or the product’s quality that resulted in her getting onto shelves. Several others responded that it was in her favor to tout her certification, as there are many ways the certification can assist outside of exposure. 
  • Co-packers. Participants discussed concerns about working with a co-packer for the first time after doing everything on their own for so long versus the importance of working with co-packers in order to grow their businesses. 
  • Distribution. Reaching buyers in the current business environment was a top concern and members encouraged others to work with a distributor if they had not yet taken that step.    
  • Sampling. Members spoke about the challenges of inciting first-time purchases when sampling is not permitted due to the pandemic and discussed the effectiveness of social media influencers in driving product trial. 
  • Q4. Most participants will be enhancing their e-commerce presence as they prepare for the holiday season in a very different year than most. 
Share Group participants and other SFA members are encouraged to keep the conversation going in the Solution Center Q&A Forum. Participate in the Q&A here
Posted by Denise Purcell on Sep 9, 2020 2:30 PM America/New_York