How Entrepreneurs Can Tackle Challenges – Crain’s Detroit Business

  • March 4, 2021
  • By: Greenpath Financial Wellness

Donna Doleman Dickerson, Chief Marketing Officer, was recently interviewed by Mark S. Lee about the entrepreneur’s challenges of managing personal and business finances and debt during these challenging times.

It’s been well documented that the number of small businesses that have shuttered over the last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic has been significant. The minority-owned businesses closure rate (41 percent) was nearly 2 1/2 times the general population (17 percent) closure rate. Clearly, this has impacted many entrepreneurs’ finances.

As small business owners grapple with finances and strategic approaches focused on survival during the pandemic, many are balancing personal and business resources to stay afloat, particularly minority-owned businesses. And there have been several businesses that have recently launched in Detroit.

However, one thing I constantly hear is about managing personal and business finances during these times; specifically, how should one manage their resources for launching, sustaining and growing a business?

GreenPath Financial Wellness is a national financial services nonprofit based in Farmington Hills. Since 1961, it has provided financial counseling, coaching and education to empower people to lead financially healthy lives and assisted millions of people with debt and credit management, homeownership education, foreclosure prevention and student loan counseling. GreenPath works directly with people and through partnerships with credit unions, banks, insurance companies and community organizations.

Donna Doleman Dickerson is the chief marketing officer for GreenPath Financial Wellness and leads its brand and marketing initiatives. I recently talked to Dickerson about the entrepreneur’s challenges of managing personal and business finances and debt during these challenging times.

Lee: There are more than 60,000 small businesses in Detroit (2012 U.S. Census). Small business owners often must use their personal credit and finances to start and bolster the business. If someone is looking to start a business, how should they save up?

Dickerson: There are 30.2 million small businesses in the U.S., employing 58.9 million people — 47.5 percent of the country’s workforce ( If you are making the switch to self-employment, you should set aside 6-12 months of living expenses to tide you over until you can generate reliable income and pay yourself.

We encourage individuals starting a business to utilize similar debt management advice that GreenPath provides individuals every day: Save money to fund a business. Adopt solid budgeting techniques. Focus on the essentials and slash discretionary spending. Eliminate debt using a debt management plan. Build up an emergency fund by automating savings (set it and forget it).

Continue here to Crain’s Detroit Business to read the interview.