Rolling Out

BOSS Network CEO Cameka Smith shares how to secure a million-dollar deal

Cameka Smith’s entrepreneurial journey has led her to create many opportunities for businesswomen

Cameka Smith believed an unfortunate layoff in 2009 was a sign for her to begin her entrepreneurial journey. This led her to create the BOSS (Bringing Out Successful Women) Network, a business that allows women to come together to receive advice from mentors and other business owners. Over 15 years, Smith and the BOSS Network have grown a community of over 200,000 women, trained over 50,000 women on business strategies, coached over 2,500 women starting businesses, and invested in 100 Black women founders within the last three years.

Smith spoke to rolling out about the BOSS Network, creating opportunities for other women, and how to network.

How should people think to have the success that you’ve had?

There are so many different types of leadership styles. I’m a believer, first and foremost, so my type of leadership is a servant leader. I [believe] you can serve your way to success the more you help others. I feel like the universe God, or whatever your belief is, draws good karma, good energy, and blessings. I have built my brand on supporting other people and through that supporting other people, I have been extremely favored and blessed and financially secure because of it.

I really feel like when you have a servant’s heart, and you’re willing to put in the work, and you’re not in it, for just ‘what’s in it for me,’ you’re trying to figure out how can I help others, but also with an intentional mindset because you just can’t give everything away. You have to be very strategic. It’s a lot of different nuances that you have to have mentally as an entrepreneur. You have to know how to serve, you also have to know how to lead, you have to know how to give, but you also have to know how to get it done and make those deals happen. There are so many different parts of your brain that you [must] use to be a successful entrepreneur and [boss]; you need to utilize every part.

What networking tools do you incorporate in your life?

I realize it’s not about quantity; it’s about quality. There are 100 people you can meet, but there’s maybe only one person who can get you that deal that you need, I need to do my research to figure out in this room of 100, who is that person before I even arrive. What’s their background, what they’re interested in, and what’s their LinkedIn, I want to connect with him [before] and then follow up with them afterward. It’s about building relationships, not your Rolodex.

My first million-dollar deal came from a relationship that I had with a brand for almost 10 years, [and I] continue to work with them. They saw my value, and when I made that big ask, it was like, “Okay, she’s committed, we know what she’s done, we know what she’s trying to do, and we can see ourselves invested in it because she’s always proven to be on top of her game.” We can be so willing to get into a relationship and rush out because it’s not producing what we want. If there is value, continue to nurture it. I’m not saying you’re going to spend every day talking to this person, but always nurture your relationships because you never know when you can cross that bridge to actually benefit your business. I would rather have repeat customers and partners than try to pitch every month for somebody new because I have to pitch myself all over again.

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