Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Ashli Ferguson, CEO of Exhibit B Agency, located in Lyndhurst, NJ, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Exhibit B is a black-owned and woman-owned independent creative agency that partners with brands, agencies, and entrepreneurs to launch their big ideas. Our work is rooted in design and strategy. We create bold content that inspires and brings people together.
Tell us about yourself
My desire to branch out into my own business stems from working in corporate spaces for so long without seeing people who looked like myself actually be able to execute their own ideas in meaningful ways that didn't feel gimmicky. I definitely didn't see entrepreneurship on my bingo board, but it became more than just being an entrepreneur for me. My goal is not only to help other entrepreneurs and brands see their vision come to life but it's also to build a space for other designers who were just like me in an environment where they didn't know that there were options for Black designers to step outside of the corporate space and make an impact.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Getting an accountant. Lol, just kidding! On a serious note, as cliche, as it sounds, my biggest accomplishment was actually following through on every goal I set out to accomplish since starting the business. I put in the work, I sacrificed a lot, I hired people to help direct me on the right path, and I even created resources for other designers, and it's amazing to watch it pay off.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things is being able to know what decision is going to make the most sense in the long term. Every. Single. Decision. Matters. Whether that's hiring people because that's a risk, choosing the right clients to work with, etc. Every decision that's made on the business end is a risk, and that's the scary part of the business. Being in the unknown about whether you're on the right path or not.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Open your mouth and ask for help. In every successful business, the entrepreneur has helped to some degree. It's a scary thing to ask for help, especially when you're so used to doing everything for yourself, but I will never forget the quote, "Ask, and you shall receive." It's something to never forget.
- You can't do it all. Hire when you have the capacity to do so. Running a business has so many parts to it, from the creative side to the operational side to the marketing side. It's a whole system, and that system may sometimes need other people to run it so you can focus on the things you need to focus on as the owner.
- Failing is okay as long as you pivot and try again. In this day and age, it's so embarrassing to fail in front of people, but if people really understood how many times some of the most successful people failed in life, they'd be amazed. You really only fail if you don't learn from your mistake and if you don't try again.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.