The superlative title of “best friend” usually goes to someone who has our well-being and best interests in mind—someone we trust enough to confide in. But in business, it can be difficult to share our intellectual property with anyone, even professionals we trust. That’s why Detroit entrepreneur Ebony Swank created Business Best Friend.
Swank owns and operates three retail stores and one online store for her popular brand Swank A Posh, a retailer for the fun, urban, sexy woman. She launched Swank in 2009, after seeing her retail stores survive in a saturated market and in a city going bankrupt. She attributes part of her success to evolving with technology in an effort to keep up with customer needs. Entrepreneurs often sought her advice on maintaining and growing their business, and Swank saw this as a natural transition into her next venture.
On what inspired Business Best Friend
“Several things inspired this new business. People saw how successful my businesses were and wanted to know how I did it. I saw an opportunity to consult with them throughout the process. I love business, and I want to see these people succeed, mainly because as an entrepreneur, I’ve been where many of them are or have been. When I opened Swank A Posh in 2009, I had to close just six months later because I didn’t have a business plan and focused too much on the store’s décor and ambience. I was determined to reopen, and when I did, my success grew every year.”
On what people will learn from Business Best Friend
“I teach from experience—a humbling experience. When I failed the first time, I learned from that experience. I don’t want anyone to do what I did. I spent a bunch of money just because it was there. Regardless of how much money entrepreneurs have to invest in a business, I want to teach them how to use that money wisely—and to me, that calls for them to act almost as if they don’t have any money to start. Entrepreneurs must have a business plan, and Business Best Friend was created to assist with planning and consulting.”
On advice she gives business owners
“In a business offering a service, it’s important for entrepreneurs to know the type of people who will pay for the services they offer. That lesson is just as important in retail, where business owners also must know their customer base. Business Best Friend will teach entrepreneurs how to become experts at running their ventures.”