When volunteering your services to help others brings more opportunities and takes up more of your time than what you are paid to do on a regular basis, one should start to consider contracting out their talents and resources.
A few years ago, Aniesia Williams, now Chief Branding Strategist of The Beleza Group Agency, found herself in this very predicament, started her business, and has been growing ever since. From 2009 through today, Williams has led The Beleza Group to become a sought after multifaceted consulting agency for several different types of brands including businesses, nonprofits and celebrities.
Williams credits many of the contracts she has received from meeting clients at different networking events such as the Black Enterprise Golf & Tennis Challenge. This year will be her fifth time attending and her second time taking her clients to and supporting them at the event, primarily Rodney Green, as he leads the Golf Academy.
Williams is excited for what this year’s events will bring and is encouraging others to attend to grow personally and professionally. Black Enterprise spoke to her while she was running a conference for one of her clients, in Washington, DC:
BE: How did you launch The Beleza Group?
I launched the group because I had to. I was helping a celebrity friend of mine, Chef Ken Patrick, and the work came to the point where I had to start a business. I realized my time and resources used at that time were too valuable to keep doing it for free, so I started a company.
BE: What types of services/products does Beleza offer?
Our primary service is brand management. We do branding on a large scale for conferences, entrepreneurs, businesses, and lifestyle clients. Our branding services encompass marketing, public relations and products that we obtain as well. Anything that you can think of when you go to a conference such as the cups, pens, bags, etc. we can get because we are registered with one of the largest product companies in the world. When we meet with a client to develop a strategy for them, they should not expect a cookie cutter approach. We sit down and create opportunities for them according to their needs.
For example, when working with AllState Insurance we created an opportunity for them to sell a sponsorship with the promotional products included. Further, we could offer them a better price for the bags then they would have received elsewhere.
BE: Who are your most prominent clients?
Right now we are working with the Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA), one of the largest and diverse nonprofits. We are working with Rodney Green of course, one of the highest profile black directors of golf in the country. He has done the golf clinic at the Black Enterprise Golf & Tennis Challenge for the past twelve years.
You know golf is the sport of business so we do a lot of business inside of the golf and tennis realms. This year all three of our major clients will be in attendance at GT2012.
BE: What are the benefits of attending the Challenge for entrepreneurs, and young, women business owners in particular?
For young females it’s a whole new ball game. I like to tweet “I strutâ€ because as a woman business owner, I strut—walk with confidence and grace—all the time, whether in the board room or out on the golf course.
It’s important for everyone, women and men, to be able to network with the corporate sponsors within one’s field but also outside of one’s field as well. You need to be able to broaden your horizons and I do that every year. I was appointed as the national director of branding, marketing and communications for Black Women for Obama. I would have not gotten that appointment if I had not kept in touch with those I met at another women’s networking event.
I meet 20% of my clients from golf events like this. I met BDPA at the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference. I will be running their conferences for the next two years. This is a major contract.