New MBDA National Director Henry Childs II
By Henry Childs II
Editor’s note: Minority Business Development Agency National Director Henry Childs II recently delivered this message at the annual conference of the National Minority Supplier Development Council.
I love the future. I really do. I’m excited about it. And I’m prepared for it. ARE YOU?
So, let’s talk about the future. I want you to imagine that it is the year 2050. In the year 2050, minorities are projected to be the majority population in the United States. Is your business prepared for that?
In 2050, artificial intelligence will have completely transformed business. Do not be misled, the robots aren’t coming, they are here. Are you ready? How does that change your business model?
In 2050, space will be a booming industry. Will your industry intersect with the space industry? If so, what is your plan to adapt?
I want you to think about these questions. Because 2050 is right around the corner. It will be here in the twinkling of an eye. If you aren’t thinking about space, about AI, then you are ten years behind. Your competition will come for you and they will eat your business.
So, how are we going to prepare for the future? I’m going to give you three rules to help future-proof your business.
Rule One: Get to the Money!
See opportunities. Run through barriers. I know a lot of you feel like you are running the 100-meter hurdles and everyone else is running the 100-meter dash. Well, then, I want you to run the 100-meter hurdles as if it was the 100-meter dash. RUN THROUGH EVERY SINGLE HURDLE! I don’t want you jumping over hurdles. I don’t want you going around hurdles. I don’t want you tiptoeing up to the hurdles . . . is that a hurdle? RUN THROUGH THE HURDLE!
Let me tell you something, if you run through enough hurdles, then you will get the reputation as someone who is UNSTOPPABLE, PERSISTENT, RELENTLESS, TENACIOUS. People will get out of your way. In fact, they will want to join your team.
Let me tell you a story about running through hurdles. One day, I was up against a tight deadline. I only had three weeks to turn around something that normally took at least three months. So, I went into execution mode. Super focused! It will get done. No excuses. I started driving my team really hard.
One day, one of my staff came up to me and was like, “Henry, this is a marathon, not a sprint.” Wrong thing to say to Henry Childs. So, I was like, “But, I’m a sprinter. We are going to sprint this marathon. Do you know what they call people who sprint their marathons? WINNERS.”
So, let’s talk about winning. There are two huge opportunities on the horizon: infrastructure and opportunity zones.
Infrastructure: The president has proposed $200 billion in public sector money to leverage $1.5 trillion in private sector funding to support infrastructure improvements . . . $1.5 trillion!
Hypothetically speaking, let’s assume that minority-owned businesses get a large chunk of those dollars. Can your business handle a $500 million contract? Do you have enough employees? Are you partnering with the right companies? Are you in the right states?
Opportunity zones: As you know, congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Part of that legislation created opportunity zones. By a quick show of hands, how many of you have heard of opportunity zones? Great. Now how many of you know how to make money in opportunity zones? Not too many.
I need you to research opportunity zones. Go on the treasury department’s website. Go to conferences. Build a plan. Execute the plan.
So, rule number one, get to the money. Rule number two, no data, no dollars. I don’t understand why when I start talking about data, people act like I’m talking about colonizing Mars. It’s DATA! It’s not that hard. Data is your friend. DATA is king!
Rule Two: No Data, No Dollars!
And when you get great data, use it. I can’t tell you how many times a CEO will ask for a “sit down.” So, I’m like ok, let’s talk. The first thing I ask is, "Show me the data. What do the numbers look like?"
So, we go over the numbers. And sometimes I have to say, look, your numbers are not good. And then we go over them, and over them, and over them. Finally, I have to say, “Are you looking at what I’m looking at?” Your numbers aren’t good!
And that’s when they start talking about the mission, about how many people they serve, about how great of an idea it is, how it’s going to change the world.
Really? Change the world?
Show me how you are going to measure this change. Break it down into quarters: quarter one, quarter two, quarter three, quarter four. Show me how you are going to CRUSH every single quarter.
Crushing it every single quarter, that’s how you change the world!
Alright, rule number one, get to the money. Rule number two, no data, no dollars. Rule number three, go global.
Rule Three: Go Global!
According to the Census Bureau, and I love the Census Bureau, shout out to Census, there are 7.5 billion people in the world. Only 328 million of those people live in the United States. That means only approximately four percent of the world’s population is in the United States. That means ninety-six percent of your customers are not here!! But you only do business domestically?
You’ve got to think global. This is a global economy; you aren’t just competing against businesses in the United States. You are competing against the world.
I guarantee you that right now, right this very second, somebody in Asia, Europe, the Middle East is working tirelessly to take you out, to steal your market share, and destroy your business.
What’s your Africa strategy? What’s your Latin America strategy? What’s your Asia strategy? You’ve got to think bigger. Grow, expand, and dominate!
As my sales mentor told me, business is about the ABCs. A—Always, B—Be, C—Closing, Always Be Closing! I’m sure he stole that from a movie or something. But that’s OK.
So, I challenged you to do three things: get to the money, get data, and go global. I know it feels like you are lost in the jungle. But rest assured, MBDA is your trusted jungle guide that is committed to providing resources.
But I need you to get hungrier. Think bigger. Be relentless! 2050 is right around the corner. SO, LET’S CRUSH THE FUTURE!
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