You are the plug for for tech challenged entrepreneurs who struggle in the online world. What are some simple ways to build a quick website for beginners?
KRISTEN: “Some simple and effective ways to build a website is to use platforms that have pre-made templates that will allow you to drag and drop. I am a huge fan of Squarespace for that reason alone. Squarespace has beautiful pre-made templates that you can use to create websites based on your business and brand. All you have to do is upload your pictures, add your content, and your done. Shopify is also another good platform as well that you can do the same thing if you’re in a heavy e-commerce based business model.”
There is such a thing as word of mouth, but the internet is such a powerful tool. Do you think a new entrepreneur could make it without any online promoting or advertising?
KRISTEN: “In today’s society, it will be much harder for a new entrepreneur to make it without any online presence. Even if your business model is based offline, having online channels can benefit your community and allow you to engage with more local clientele. So, a new entrepreneur would have a much harder time without any promoting or advertising.”
How important are “systems” in owning a business? Can it make it or break it?
Organization is key to being successful. How do you stay organized and prioritize your time?
KRISTEN: “The best way I stay organized is to use technology to help me achieve my goals. I have a to-do list and notes I use daily to keep me organized (Evernote), a calendar for managing my events & sessions (Fantastical 2), a project management system that keeps me in the loop on things (Basecamp), and a digital drive to organize my documents and then some (G Suite). These systems and more allow me to stay organized daily so I don’t forget things. Prioritizing my time basically is what I say yes to versus what I say no to. I use technology to help me management my time (Tyme 2) so I can focus more on my daily (and weekly) to-do list to accomplish more of my goals.”
What motivated you to become a consultant for entrepreneurs?
KRISTEN: ” I saw the need and I wanted to fill it. I had been working in the technology industry for 7+ years and saw many voids & disconnects between businesses and their technology. I realized that if I could do this on a corporate level, I could transfer this same skill set to small businesses and more. The drive really came from the people. My community (tribe, fans, etc.) and clients (past and current) really drive me to do what I do daily. I realize that I can make a difference in businesses one technology solution at a time.”
How is it being a WOC in the technology world?
KRISTEN: “Being a women of color in the technology world is a lot more harder than people would imagine. On a daily basis, I have to prove myself, my knowledge, and my abilities in a male dominate industry. The great thing about some of the up and coming organizations that are based around Women of Color in tech is that they are putting a spotlight on people like myself to show we’re just as talented and skilled as our male counterparts but we can still get the job done as well. Change is coming for women of color in tech but not soon enough.”
How is live streaming essential in targeting others towards your business?
KRISTEN: “Livestreaming was a intricate part in putting my business on the map in 2016. A lot more people were able to see me and interact with me while understanding my value and expertise. Sometimes just putting content on social media is not necessarily enough for people to be interested in working with you. Once people see you online, a new relationship is created because of that connection. As of late, my schedule has been so crazy (in a good way) that I haven’t been as consistent as I like with live streaming but I plan to do a much better job to connect with my community even more for the remainder of 2017 and into 2018. Livestreaming has definitely been a major part of my business growth. If you haven’t been live streaming yet and you’re reading this, do me a favor and hit the “go live” button today!”
What should a business person never leave home without? What are some ways to represent your brand through technology that no one thinks about?
KRISTEN: :From a technology perspective, a business person should never leave home extra cords (laptop cord, usb charging cords for tablets or smartphones, and headphones). I always usually carry 2 of each cord I use daily because someone anytime I’m out always ask me to borrow one so I stay prepared. It will help cut down thinking about charging your computer, phone, or tablet. A great way to represent your brand through technology is to have a mobile friendly website. Sometimes we take for granted that we are in a mobile society so having our website accessible on demand would be helpful for sharing more about what we do on a daily basis. Additionally, have an email marketing shortcode for people to opt-in to your email list is always good as well. These things will keep people engaged with you while on the go.”
What would you like to see change about technology?
KRISTEN: “I would definitely like to see more AI (artificial intelligence), robots, automation, and new systems come into the market to disrupt or provide more innovation. I think innovation is key to making the technology industry more of what it is and this is the way to truly go. I also would like to see more black-owned startups or companies that focus on SAAS (software as a service) to bring some disruption and innovation. There are not enough black-owned companies (especially women led) in the startup space especially within the tech industry and it’s truly time for us to show our genius.”
The future is female! Who are some women who inspire you?
KRISTEN: “Angela Benton and Kimberly Bryant are truly my virtual mentors in my head. I absolutely love how Angela is changing the perception of women of color especially in the accelerator realm of startups and raising capital. I also absolutely love how Kimberly Bryant is inspiring young women of color that it’s cool to code. They’re seriously my virtual mentors in my head and I hope to have them as real mentors one day. Bozoma Saint John is another woman that inspires me. The work she did at Apple was amazing and she was truly someone to inspire me considering I’m a former Apple employee as well (still a certified Apple Genius by the way lol). They’re are a lot of women that inspire me from various industries and I can be here all day writing about them. They’ve impacted me in such a way that made me become a better Consultant, Strategist, Entrepreneur, and Women of Color in Tech. I can’t wait to meet them one day and let them know how they’ve inspired me to do the work I’m doing in my business.”
Born and raised from Baltimore, Maryland yet currently residing in Atlanta, Georgia, Kristen Smith is one of our generation’s next business and technology influencers. Over the course of 7+ years in the industry, she has realized that there are some voids in connecting business and technology. Utilizing her love of business and technology, Kristen is leveraging her own lane by becoming a trusted advisor, consultant, and strategist to a variety of clients in various industries. Kristen is the Founder/Chief Tech Consultant + Strategist of The Smith Group, LLC, which is a Business & Technology consulting and strategy firm helping professional service-based businesses identify and implement technology to grow, profit, & scale. She helps her clients achieve these goals using automation, processes, strategy, and systems. Kristen received her B.A. in Psychology from Hampton University and her MBA in Management of Technology from Georgia Institute of Technology. She also received a Certificate of Global Leadership: Conducting Business in China from Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications. Her superhero power is that she is a Former Apple Genius.
To contact Kristen, you can follow her on all social media platforms @biztechpreneur and also visit her on her website: www.thebiztechpreneur.com.