Facebook is one of the most effective tools for small business owners looking to reach larger audiences. This summer, the social networking platform took its support of small businesses to another level by joining forces with actress and entrepreneur Zoe Saldana for the Boost With Facebook Good Ideas Festival. The seven-week virtual experience was orchestrated to help usher small businesses into the next phase of recovery after an immensely challenging year and a half. The business fest spans 40 countries and offers free training, resources, and "Found on Facebook"—a new digital web showcasing small businesses that have used the online space to grow their brands. Below, EBONY caught up with Saldana to discuss her recent partnership with Facebook, and her personal experiences juggling entrepreneurship and parenthood.
EBONY: Tell us about the Boost With Facebook Good Ideas Festival. What inspires your advocacy work as it relates to small businesses?
Zoe Saldana: Facebook launched the Boost with Facebook Good Ideas Festival to help small businesses around the world not just survive, but thrive in this next stage of recovery. Small businesses have been some of the hardest hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, and now as more communities are re-opening small businesses are on the road to recovery. As a small business owner myself, I know how challenging it can be. I really wanted to get involved with the festival and do whatever I can to raise awareness for these companies who really need all the support they can get.
Tell us more about your small business. As a small business owner, what has been the biggest challenge or lesson that has come out of the pandemic?
With my business, BESE, a digital-media platform that focuses on spotlighting stories from under-represented communities, I have learned so much during the pandemic and beyond. I really believe that no matter how small a business you have, you can still have big ideas and remain inspiring. I also think efficiency is key. Setting a timeline and sticking to your plan gives you the flexibility that we have all learned to adapt to in a pandemic world.
Many business owners admit that they had to do a ton of pivoting to adapt and stay afloat amidst the pandemic. For example, I love contactless pick-up. In your opinion, are there any current business-related pandemic practices that you feel should be made permanent?
For sure! Contactless pick-up has been an amazing adaptation and it’s a great example of something I believe should not go away as the pandemic begins to lift. Because we are a digital business, we have been fortunate to be able to rely on a lot of virtual communications and even production. We will continue to utilize virtual meetings for the foreseeable future—you can meet with people around the globe from wherever you are. It has proven to be extremely efficient, not to mention the positive impact it has had on our budgets with regards to minimizing travel costs and the environment!
What has it been like for you to grow your business while simultaneously raising children? As a mom and small business owner, I feel like there's a parallel between child-rearing and growing a business.
Being a mom is definitely like running a business for sure—and it’s a business with some pretty tough customers too! But like any mom or parent can attest, it’s all a juggling act. Being disciplined and carving out time for every task is important. Remaining flexible is essential and I have always tried to balance all of the varying aspects of my work and personal life. It’s a daily challenge and I know everyone can relate. Some days are better than others, of course, but as much as I focus on growing my business, I make the conscious effort make time for my boys and myself.