Mikal Quarles, managing director and head of diverse business strategies at Chase for Business, is leveraging the scale, scope, and resources of JPMorgan Chase to provide access and opportunity to Black-owned businesses. His team has mentored more than 4,000 diverse entrepreneurs across the country, and their goals are to help these business owners build a foundation for long-term success and to create local impact and lasting economic growth.
Quarles spoke with rolling out about business ownership, and how entrepreneurs and businesses can win in 2023 and beyond.
Why is business ownership important?
The statement that an entrepreneur builds generational wealth is not true, and there’s a reason for that. … I was sitting in a room one day with a bunch of business owners, and I asked how many of them want to be CEOs, and only half the room raised their hands. The other half of the room just doesn’t want to work for anybody else. The person that doesn’t want to work for anybody else can create generational wealth, but they have to do it through savings and investments because they’re not making the decision to create a business that has the capacity to live beyond [them]. Those people that want to be CEOs are aware of the fact that now they have the ability to create something that exists when they’re gone, because if I’m the CEO, that means the day-to-day operations of the institution [could] happen without me, and if I were gone tomorrow, that business could remain.
How can entrepreneurs and small businesses win in 2023?
One, love what you do and do what you love. Two, do it with excellence. It can’t be in theory. If you understand what excellence is, that means you understand your competitors, product-market fit, and setting goals to ensure that you’re excellent. You’re setting goals to ensure that your customers say you’re excellent through whatever you use. You understand the bar of excellence, and you’re measuring yourself against it to ensure that it happens. Three, you have to be willing to pivot. Everybody thinks they know the right idea, and they are probably not wrong. They could be late to the game and then no longer be important. They could be early to the game and no one actually understands the value that they want to offer. In all of that, it requires you to take the idea and say, “This is how I’m going to go to market today, and because I know I’m early to the game, I have to get people on board through marketing or media and began to have people have a yearning for something I’m going to bring them later. But I got to get them on this journey with me for them to take the ride.”