Inspired by the Life of Madam C. J. Walker, the movie is a fictionalized depiction of the story of black hair care pioneer and mogul Madam C.J Walker and how she went from a washerwoman to building a beauty empire that made her the first female self-made millionaire in America. (Talk about career change).

This story resonated with many women as it was clearly touched on a few familiar points for most from image insecurity, starting small, the struggle for work-family balance, the funding problem, possible harassment, rivalry and society’s expectation of women. In all this, there are great business lessons to take away for this movie and we have put them together to inspire you as you run your business.

1. You are your first salesperson

As an entrepreneur whether introverted or extroverted, you have to learn sales and yes the gorilla way, sometimes it is not classy but as long as it gets the customer’s attention and works, it is in. Be ready to set up your sales pitch anywhere and don’t forget people don’t want to buy your product, they always want to buy a better life.

2. Tell your story and make it Personal

As common as the story of why you started this journey whether it is a business or a career sounds, if it is passionate enough for you, it would connect to your audience/target market. Pull them in to see why it is what they need and why they would love it. you need a good story…continue to work on that story.

3. Have a clear BIG vision and light a match under it

A vision is not enough, make it better, think through the how-to and here is the best part-light a fire under it every day. Madam CJ walker had her vision in front of her, at every point of her milestone, she made sure her next milestone was bigger irrespective of what she had. She had flash visions about her factory layout even before she got investors. It was like she had a mental vision board of her next big move and in her dreams, she saw herself already there.

4. Iterate your product until it works

Spend time product innovating because at the end of the day if the product doesn’t work, you would only get one-timers. Sales and marketing give you the feet in but your product takes the relationship forward. Invest in making the product better.

5. The customer is the focus not the competition

Focus on getting and keeping the customer not following and copying the competition. If you focus on the competition you would only be the second place for a competitor’s vision.

6. Know the number/market size

“There are 3 million negro women in America if I can just get them to buy just 1 jar I will be a millionaire.” Get an estimate of the market this could excite you to work harder or pivot if that is what you need.

7. Don’t gamble your future — Always make your own money

This is as true for men as it is for women, whatever you do make plans for how to grow your income.

8. Your first time for many things will suck!

We like to tell you this for free, as a small business on a budget, your first of many things will suck, whether it is that home salon or that first photo shoot, or event but start, use the learnings to improve on the future rather than not start or be discouraged.

9. Incorporate your business, pay attention to legal issues

As you grow bigger, pay attention to legal details, get a reliable business/legal advisor to always advise you on things you don’t fully understand.

10. Get famous people to endorse you

There is a reason why big companies pay big money to celebrities to endorse their brand. As much as you can find ways to get famous people to endorse your work whether by a partnership or …anything you can afford.

11. Women support women

We love that after running around looking for the investor to do the deal, her investor was a female club. At shecluded, our only customer is ‘her” and we put all our money in “her”. Shecluded support women.

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