In 2019, sonia robinson open Oil Change and Car Service SpeedDee in Fort Mill, SC, after more than six years working as a regional service manager for Mobility Works, a leading wheelchair accessible van dealership.
Robinson wanted to apply his industry experience to business ownership with an established brand. After researching different opportunities and meeting some of the other franchisees, she knew that SpeeDee was the right choice for her as it allows her to offer a full range of oil change and mechanical services that she could not offer. elsewhere. With Robinson’s background in customer service, owning her own boutique allows her to focus on building relationships and working with people, which is what she loves most about the business.
She has seen excellent growth at her SpeeDee store since opening, posting 17% year-over-year growth. But women haven’t always been so successful in business. In 1972, about 4.6% of businesses in the United States were owned by women. In 2019, women owned 42% of businesses and this number continues
grow. And while women-owned businesses grew 21% over a five-year period, African-American women-owned businesses doubled that rate, according to the 2019 State of Women-Owned Business Report commissioned by American Express.
Having been in a male-dominated industry for over 10 years, Robinson shares four tips for succeeding as a black woman in this industry:
Trust yourself and build your confidence
Don’t be afraid to take risks – trust your instincts and the strength of your skills; it brought you here. Women who want to succeed in life need to take risks and get out of their comfort zone. When other people fear failure, accept it knowing that it is a crucial part of success. With this, you will develop the confidence that will become essential to your long-term success.
Learn as much as you can as fast as you can, then keep learning
You may not automatically be respected in male-dominated industries, but if you show you know what you’re talking about, you can earn respect. Do it as quickly as possible by asking questions every chance you get and paying close attention to the answers. Remember that learning is fluid – once people stop learning, they stop growing.
Build a support team
As an entrepreneur, having a strong team adds major credibility to your business. It demonstrates growth and organization and provides a certain level of comfort for your customers. Find those star team members, then develop, nurture, and empower them. They will help you gain credibility and grow your business.
Nothing generates more positive morale among team members than a good attitude. Celebrate wins big and small with your team, embrace their feedback and act on it, and share your vision for the future. With a positive attitude and a positive team, you will be well on your way to achieving your business milestones.