Oftentimes, we here of small businesses that were once thriving soon become a thing of the past. What was the reason for the business closing? Was it financially related? Did the partnership meet some unwanted challenges? Many questions are asked, however, no one truly knows accept the owner(s) and/or the individuals that run the company. The key to any mishap is to figure out what the issue is, assess the damages, and eventually fix them. How hard can that be?
To some this is the most difficult task: correcting a mistake. Mistakes can be money-driven in which misappropriation of funds can be the cause. Mistakes can also be created by lack of focus and improper planning. In business, there are key components that tend to plague the minority community. What are they and how do we as a community correct them? So often we see foreigners come into our communities and open up shop. Neighbors usually voice their opinions in town hall meetings or via casual conversation after church services. But no matter how long we talk about it, we still see Black-owned businesses (in particular) open and quickly close.
To help current or future business owners get on the right track, check out the following 5 mistakes we make and the solutions to successfully go into business:
1. Improper Focus and Pre-Planning
How many times have someone you know come to you with a crazy idea for a business and jump right into it without even researching the in’s and out’s first? I’m sure this has happened many of times. People can have a great idea, but fail to properly plan for it. A business will not work unless you thoroughly do your research. We as African-Americans tend to jump on the next big thing quite quickly. We may see someone else profiting off of this business and think you can to. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work most of the time because we didn’t do the research. If we’re thinking of opening up a daycare center, it’s best to do a survey of other centers in the area. Find out which ones are most popular amongst parents. Figure out what the going rates are. Read up on the legalities and licenses needed in order to operate your daycare. Do as much as prior research as you can so that you can avoid having to put out fires along the way.
Also, we have to learn to focus more. The internet, friends, relationships, etc are all distractions. Business owners have to learn to keep their eyes on the prize if they wish to have a successful business. Individuals may have to cut friends off for some period of time. Dating may even become a thing of the past. The key word here though is “sacrifice”. You will need to sacrifice some of life’s luxuries in order to build your company. Meditation, walks in the park, or even random spa visits may be needed in order to keep your mind at balance and stress free. Whichever stress-reliever is the best for you, use that time to hone in on business situations and figure out ways to make them better.
2. Failure To Find A Niche
Now, this mistake is important in that this is what sets minority businesses apart from the others. The greatest and most successful companies started as a crazy idea that was unique in nature. Facebook, for example, wasn’t your average social networking site. In the past, chat rooms were heavily used by young kids as a way to network and gain new friends. Facebook came along and took that premise but added a new way of socializing and has yet to be compared to or topped. Facebook is highly successful because it stands out on its own as a social internet-based application (as does Twitter).
The key for any minority is to create something new. Even if you try to recycle an old idea, find a brand new way to run the business. Also, use a different approach to marketing. If you are great at baking cakes, figure out what is your specialty (i.e. red velvet or alcohol induced cupcakes). Once you know your specialty, research other businesses (or bakers) to make sure they aren’t offering the same services or products. If not, take your niche and run with it. We are sometimes lazy not only with house chores but with ideas as well. It is easy to copy off the next man. But, copying off of someone else hinders the success you could potentially receive. So, be unique with your business and soon you’ll find out that this was your best decision yet.
3. Setting Expectations Too High
The unfortunate part about being a business owner is that it may take years before we see success. We go into it thinking everything will jump off quickly and money will start flowing in. That is simply not true. It takes time and effort in order to make a business successful. When planning, try not to set your expectations too high. Setting them too high will only end up in disappointment. Understand that obstacles are normal. No one who has ever entered into some form of business for themselves has experienced an easy road. Business deals may fall through the cracks. Hiring a full staff may take longer than expected. But, don’t get depressed about it. Expect the unexpected and develop strategies that will immediately diffuse those issues as they come.
4. Lack of Teamwork and Partnerships
Our society has dealt with oppression for many years. When it comes to business, however, this state of mind spills over into our dealings with one another. So much so that it is very difficult for us to work together. This is something you just don’t see in other cultures. The Vietnamese couple that owns the local nail shop is celebrated by their culture. They hire their own. They pass their businesses down from generation to generation. African-Americans have a hard time doing that. We get so caught up in selfishness and greed that our businesses fail because our partnerships failed. Everyone can not be the boss or lead. Everyone is not smart. We have to value what each one of us brings to the table and learn to work together.
5. Failure to Educate Yourself
“A mind is a terrible thing to waste,” quoted from civil rights leader Malcom X. It most definitely is when you are in business for yourself. In order to stay on top of the industry you’re in, you need to continue educating yourself. Read up on new compliance laws and regulations. Find out what are the new employee tax laws via the IRS. Go and get your yearly certification renewed. As a minority business owner, we have no choice but to stay updated. There are plenty online web-based classes on SBA.gov and various other small business sites. You can even go to YouTube and watch a tutorial. The key is to be on top of your game at all times. New developments in your industry are revealed on a daily basis. Don’t get left in the wind for simply not reading the Sunday paper, for instance.
Hopefully, these 5 Mistakes Minorities Make When Going Into Business can help you recognize your faults and correct them. If there are others you’d like to share, feel free to leave your opinions in the comments section below.
When thinking of my next project as an entrepreneur, I knew I wanted it to be something that represents me and my passions. Knowing that I loved music and had experience in finance, I immediately thought of a great way to share some of the information I’d worked so hard to learn. Thus, my first editorial project STACKS Magazine was born. With the help of two friends, who too had a passion for writing, we began this journey into the publishing world.
So many people sit around and come up with ideas to start a business. Whether it is in your 20s or 40s, time soon reveals that one revelation that may become the next big thing. Age doesn’t matter. When the creative juices start flowing, this is the time to strike and began pulling the pieces together. Ideas can come from any source. They can come while in the strangest of places. The key is to make sure you are ready to start making your dreams become reality. But in case you have an entrepreneurial spirit and is having the hardest time thinking of something unique and impactful, the WSJ recently posted an article that can help you get started.
Here are a few ways experts suggested to create a great business idea.
Be Present In Life
“Start brainstorming with problems you are personally invested in. Building a business is hard as hell and it takes that kind of relentless dedication that comes from personal passion. The next big question is “How?” Great ideas and innovation comes from executing on your idea in a different way than everybody else is attacking it, if they are attacking it at all. A great way to do this is to look outside your industry to see how others are solving problems. Approaches that they think are routine might be out of the ordinary for you-and inspire great ideas.” – Angela Benton, Founder/CEO, NewME Accelerator
Let Your Subconscious Do The Work
“When the mind is occupied with a monotonous task, in can stimulate the subconscious into a eureka moment. The subconscious mind run in the background, silently affecting the outcome of many thoughts. So, take a break and smell the flowers, because while you’re out doing that, your mind may very well solve the problem that you are trying to solve or spark a solution to a problem you hadn’t considered before.” – Ben Baldwin, Co-Founder and CEO, ClearFit
Head Into the Weird Places
“For entrepreneurs to stretch their brains, they should seek out the unusual. Watch and listen to weird stuff. Walk in weird places. Talk to weird people.” – Victor H. Whang, Co-Founder/CEO, T2 Venture Capital
Listen to People You Know
“Get customer feedback. Listen to customers and create products and services that give them more of what they like and/or remove what they dislike. Listen to the front-line employees. Reserve assumptions. For example, the old assumption that a bank needed to have tellers and branch locations. The ATM concept asked: How can we offer banking services without having a branch location and tellers?” – Dave Lavinsky, Co-Founder/President, Growthink, Inc.
Be Prepared to Shift Gears
“Entrepreneurs need to understand two things. For one, their first (or second or third) idea is often not the real opportunity. In fact, it might stink. They have to be on the lookout for why it stinks and be willing to shift course.” – Donna Kelley, Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship , Babson College
Many more ways to generate that great business idea is prevalent. It just take time and passion to come up with your next business plan.
I’ve been thinking about the word “success” for quite some time now. So, after making the decision to branch out on my own and run STACKS Magazine on a full-time basis, the thought of what “success” entails popped up in my head again. What does it really take to become successful? Is there a process? Are there actual steps I need to take? Those are some of the questions that I began to seek and find answers for. What I found out in my research is that every person have their own path to success. There is not one defined process to achieve success. Instead, there are only key components that each person or business need in order to reach the pinnacle of what they define as success.
Thus, it’s necessary to use this platform to break down these key items. Each component (or trait) must be incorporated into your goals, daily tasks, and overal outlook so that you can reach your success. Here’s my 5 Ways To Determine Your Success (in no particular order):
- AMBITION - Not every one will have it (and thats truth!). But, in order to see a dream come to full fruition, you have to ultimately have an inner ambition. You need to internally have “desire”. This desire will help fuel everything else. Ambitious people will do what it takes to get the job done. They have the desire to become somebody. They desire to be of value to this society.
- COURAGE – Every goal will not be accomplished. But, should that make you quit going after it? NO! Having courage means that you are willing to do whatever it takes to get it done. You are willing to take risks. You understand that success comes failures. The most successful people in the world have had many failures. But, those brief setbacks didn’t stop them for continuing the journey. Courages individuals have the ability to fight through the BS and keep on moving. Even the most timid person and become the most courageous. Just look at the cowardly lion in The Wiz….
- EDUCATION – I’m a firm believer in being educated on whatever your endeavour is. If you have a great idea for a business, but never worked in the field, it is best to research that industry. Research may take reading books, Googling information on the internet, meeting with others who have had success in that industry, etc. The more information you are equipped with, the better off you will be at running your business. Education is the key! You must educate yourself and understand the ins and outs before (and during) you pursue your goals. This will help you make the best decisions for your business.
- INNOVATION – Be different! It’s just that simple. The consumer like to see new things. They gravitate to things that aren’t like the rest. Take the success that Trinidad James has seen (after only rapping for 10 months) for instance. He immediately rose to fame and $2 million record contracts because he brought a different look and sound to the music game. James and his Gold Tooth Gang was very innovative in their marketing approach. It was the weirdness in his fashion sense and simplicity of his “All Gold Everything” song/video that shot him to the top…so quickly. So, don’t be afraid to think outside the box.
- PERSEVERANCE – When it seems like the world is against you, don’t give up. Despite the failed ideas or doors slammed in your face, please know that you are worthy of being successful. You are worthy of seeing riches. You are capable of making great achievements in your field of work. All it takes is a strong belief that YOU CAN DO IT! Stick to your plans, fight the distractions, and power through all the obstacles.
Hopefully, you read each component and have a better understanding of what it takes to reach success. If you have some others to share, feel free to leave comments.
When I decided to start an entertainment company in 2006, I made sure I was already prepared. Prepared mentally for the emotional and personal strain running a business would take on my mind and life. Prepared “somewhat” financially for the enormous amount of expenses it will take to jump start the business (ie. marketing, state and federal registrations, trademark, daily operational needs, etc). And I was prepared for the success. Because I knew that with determination and constant nurturing, my business would blossom into a major brand and be financially successful.
But, many new entrepreneurs do not prepare themselves. Some are just infatuated with the idea of being their own boss. Not realizing that before you make it to the mountain top, you got to first strap on your boots and hike up that bad boy! Conduct your own self-evaluation. See if you are that type of person that will give it 110%. Do some research. READ, READ, READ! The more you read, the more information you can learn regarding the business you’re trying to get into, its finances, the legalities, etc. If you have a library card, cool…go to your local library. We’re in a recession. So there are other ways to find publications to read without spending money. One way is checking the internet! I personally love the internet. It’s very convenient for me. I can find information fast, read about it, and then implement those things into my business.
So before you jump out the window, thoroughly think it through. Make sure being an entrepreneur is something you REALLY can devote the time, money, and passion to. Instead of loathing for the attention of being the Boss Man or Boss Lady, be honest with yourself first. I’m sure you’d rather be prepared than unprepared prior to starting this process.
As I mentioned, I read. So while surfing the net, I came across this interesting article at the WallStreet Journal website titled “So You Want to Be an Entrepreneur?”. The article touched on being prepared and also lists 10 questions you should ask yourself in order to see if you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur.
Here are WSJ’s 10 questions and very realistic views for each:
1. Are you willing and able to bear great financial risk?
…you must be realistic about the financial risks that come with owning a business — and realize that you could very well lose a sizable chunk of your net worth. Entrepreneurs should be sure that “if they lose this capital, it either won’t destroy their financial situation, or they can accept the concept of bankruptcy,” says Scott Shane, an entrepreneurship professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. “Some people thrive on the financial risk; others are devastated by the thought of losing even $10,000.”
2. Are you willing to sacrifice your lifestyle for potentially many years?
Creating a successful start-up often entails putting in workweeks of 60 hours or more and funneling any revenue you can spare back into the business. Entrepreneurs frequently won’t pay themselves a livable salary in the early years and will forgo real vacations until their business is financially sound. That can often take eight years or longer, says William Bygrave, a professor emeritus of entrepreneurship at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass.
Jennifer Walzer learned those lessons the hard way. In 2002, after being laid off from a $100,000 consulting job when the company closed, she started Backup My Info! Inc., which sells online data-backup services to businesses.
For the first year, the New York-based company brought in just $29,000 in gross revenue. Ms. Walzer didn’t pay herself a salary until the third year, and even then it was a slim $30,000. She could have taken more out, but she wanted to shovel as much money into the business as possible to keep it financially sound.
Now that her business generates about $2 million in annual revenue, the tables have turned. Ms. Walzer says she earns more from the business than she did as a consultant,…
3. Is your significant other on board?
You can avoid the heartache by talking at length with your spouse and family about how the business will affect home life, including the time commitment, changes in daily schedules and chores, financial risks and sacrifices. They must also understand the huge financial gamble they’re making with you.
4. Do you like all aspects of running a business?
In the early stages of a business, founders are often expected to handle everything from billing customers to hiring employees to writing marketing materials. Some new entrepreneurs become annoyed that they’re spending the majority of their time on administration when they’d rather be focused on the part of the job they enjoy, says Donna Ettenson, vice president of the Association of Small Business Development Centers in Burke, Va.
5. Are you comfortable with making decisions on the fly with no playbook?
With a new business, you’re calling all the shots — and there are a lot of decisions to be made without any guidance. You might not be used to that if you’ve spent years working in corporate America, says Bill Wagner, author of “The Entrepreneur Next Door,” a book that lays out the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs.
“For most entrepreneurial ventures, there’s no structure,” he says. “You’re going into a business, and nobody has told you how to be successful.”
6. What’s your track record of executing your ideas?
You might have a wonderful concept, but that doesn’t mean you possess that special mix of drive, persuasiveness, leadership skills and keen intuition to actually turn the idea into a lucrative business. So, examine your past objectively to see whether you have assumed leadership roles or initiated solo projects — anything that might suggest you’re good at executing ideas.
7. How persuasive and well-spoken are you?
Nearly every step of the way, entrepreneurship relies on selling. You’ll have to sell your idea to lenders or investors. You must sell your mission and vision to your employees. And you’ll ultimately have to sell your product or service to your customers. You’ll need strong communication and interpersonal skills so you can get people to believe in your vision as much as you do.
If you don’t think you’re very convincing or have difficulty communicating your ideas, you might want to reconsider starting your own company — or think about getting some help.
8. Do you have a concept you are passionate about?
If you’re not that exuberant about how you’ll be spending your time — or the business concept itself — running a business is going to be a rough ride.”If you hate doing paperwork, the last thing you want to do is become a bookkeeper,” Ms. Ettenson says. “If you’d rather be outside taking people into the wilderness, then that’s the type of business you should be in.”
9. Are you a self-starter?
Entrepreneurs face lots of discouragement. Potential buyers don’t return
calls, business sours or you face repeated rejection. It takes willpower and an almost unwavering optimism to overcome these constant obstacles.
…”The Hypomaniac Edge,” theorizes that many well-known entrepreneurs have a temperament called hypomania. They’re highly creative, energetic, impatient and very persistent — traits that help them persevere even when others lose faith.
10. Do you have a business partner?
If you don’t have all the traits you need to run the show, it’s not necessarily a hopeless endeavor. Finding a business partner who compensates for your shortcomings — and has equal enthusiasm for the business concept — can help mitigate the risks and even boost the odds of success.
Someone who likes to take risks and be in the spotlight, for instance, might choose a cautious partner who prefers to work in the back room. “If they’re willing to work with that person, and not just look at them as a wet blanket, then it can be great,” Mr. Gage says.
But taking on a partner isn’t a light decision. Many partnerships split due to conflicts over everything from attitudes about money to miscommunication and contrasting work ethics.
Mr. Gage recommends that potential partners spend several days hashing out the specifics of the business and how the arrangement will work to see if they’re compatible.
No matter what type of business you decide to go into, these are the types of things you should think about. It’s better to be prepared, than not. Although we all may hit a few rough spots on that hiking trail, and we may even slip and fall and have to start again at the bottom, just know that with these questions answered you will have a better chance at making it to the top of that mountain.
Even though he introduced himself to the world as a rapper, I think it’s becoming more and more evident that 50 Cent is less of that these days and more like an entrepreneur. A few weeks ago we told you about his upcoming venture to release his fitness book, Formula 50: A 6-Week Total Body Transformation Plan. While the book is not scheduled for release until December, 50 is already setting the promo trail ablaze recently release a promo video for the book. Check it out below and let us know in the comments if you’ll be getting your workout on with the G-Unit boss.
Rapper, actor, and entrepreneur Curtis ‘50 Cent’ Jackson is embarking on yet another business venture. This time in the form of a fitness book, the Queens native is about to help you transform your body. Partnering with publishing house Penguin Group USA, 50 is set to release Formula 50: A 6-Week Total Body Transformation Plan.
According to a press release on why he went this route, 50 said, “I had a strong desire to write this book because it is very important to me to help people make positive changes and take charge of their overall health. FORMULA 50 is a radical six week mind-body transformation plan geared to help readers develop mental toughness to achieve optimum results while offering a nutrition component.”
Formula 50 will hit store shelves December 2012. Will you copping the book and working it out the Formula 50 way???
For about a month or so now, we’ve been searching for individuals who own and operate their own business (or hustle). We’re not looking for the average job (i.e. selling t-shirts), but instead services you provide to make money that are unique and off-the-wall.
Does this sound like you or somebody you know? If so, tell us your hustle at firstname.lastname@example.org for the opportunity to be featured on our website!
And remember…emails that contain anything ILLEGAL will be ignored!!!
In recent 50 Cent news, the frustration has built up in the Queens rapper/entreprenuer. All year, Fif has stated his disgust with his label, Interscope Records and the chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M Records, Jimmy Iovine.
Contractually, 50 Cent’s record deal is non-existence. But, apparently, Interscope has yet to bring a new record deal to the table and this has pissed-off the multi-platinum rapper. So in true 50 style, he let the world now how he really feels (“tell’em why you mad son!”) via Twitter.
“Ok I need a record deal jimmy iovine, call me early tomorrow or I’m putting out another mix tape.”
While many speculate if 50 can still sell records, his recent mixtape The Big 10′s first video “Put Your Hands Up” garnered over 3 million views in three days. The Big 10 mixtape has also received various accolades from several creditable news sources. So, 50 still got the “it” factor and talent to make hits.
Hopefully, Interscope and 50 Cent can come to an agreement soon. It is rumored that 50 already has his next album completed and ready for shelves. Let’s cross our fingers and hope that he’s able to release an album in 2012.
In more positive 50 Cent news, the uber-entreprenuer announced on Twitter that his new Street King energy shot drink will now be distributed by the Pepsi Company.
I did a deal with Pepsi to distribute streetking its gonna be every where buy a bottle feed some one in need,” 50 Cent tweeted.
As we reported a while back, 50 Cent Launches “One Like = One Meal” Campaign, the goal is to have his products promote philanthropy. In 5 years, he wishes to have fed over 5 billion people in Africa. Great cause 50!
Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson talks to Lee Hawkins, over at the Wallstreet Journal, to discuss his new SMS audio headsets and what separates his product from others like Beats by Dre. In addition, 50 let us in on his philanthropic efforts alongside Feed America, his upcoming mixtape (“Big 10″) and the evolution of his image.
Check out the 10 minute video below:
When we interviewed Ms. Kandi Burress a while back, she clearly had her head on straight when it comes to money and business. Outside of the music, she’s proven this so by venturing into other avenues like TAGS Boutique, Kandi Koated Nights online video show, and becoming a reality star on Bravo’s Real Housewives of Atlanta. Well this year, Kandi has spread her wings into other business opportunities.
Coming in 2012, Kandi will star in her own reality show. “The Kandi Factory” will follow her as she teaches two artists the “real” ropes of the music business. As Kandi focuses on the Song, the Look, and the Performance, she’s sure to turn these two into tomorrow’s superstars.
Bedroom Kandi sex toy line is hitting bedrooms worldwide… hard. The line offers a variety of products suited for women, couples, etc. Whatever you need to get it popping, Kandi’s got you. Check out the website at www.BedroomKandi.com.
Do you enjoy a good game of spades? Well, Kandi is now offering a spades app via iTunes. For only $0.99, you can play Kandi Koated Spades with multiple players as if you were sitting at someone’s kitchen table. The new app showcases features like “Reneg”, “Dueces Wild”, and “Jokers” to make your experience an true authentic one. So, go cop the new app now!
Remember, before cable tv and the internet, kids had to play with jacks or marbles to pass the time. We know those games sound a bit “ancient”. But there are a few kids out there that still find them very entertaining. Like eight year old Harli Jordean. He has taken his passion for marbles to the next level. With his mother and brother serving as co-partners, Jordean aka the “Marble King” has launched his own website, www.marbleking.co.uk.
Harli used to sleep with marbles under his pillow,” his mother, Tina, told the Daily Mail.
“The last thing he talks about before going to bed is marbles and they are the first things he mentions in the morning. His obsession became so big we started calling him the Marble King.”
Since its launch, the site has raked in thousands of dollars from across the UK and even orders from the U.S.
Check out the video below to hear what Cash Money co-founder Birdman has to say as he sits down with Forbes to discuss his finances and gives you a peek into his empire.
“Richer than the richest; We certified gettin it; CM YM Cash Money business”
It is no surprise that Sean “Jay-Z” Carter is the second richest hip-hop artists [read here]. With a net worth of $450 million, his ability to strategically create a successful brand and various business ventures proves that this former street hustler is smarter than your ivy-league spun CEOs.
Forbes writer, Zack O’Malley Greensburg, recently penned a book about the mogul titled Empire State of Mind: How Jay-Z Went From Street Corner to Corner Office. The book highlights the highs and lows of Jay-Z’s rise to the top. With many successes under his belt, the book also shines a light on several failed business ventures of Mr. Carter.
Check out this video of Mr. Greensburg with Dan Gross/Yahoo!:
To read the full article, check out Yahoo! Finance.
You can hate on the woman all you want. But one thing’s for sure, Aunt Viv is a “can’t stop, won’t stop” type of lady! The actress/entreprenuer got a young tenderoni on her arms, millions in the bank, and now a wig line for all the divas that want to keep their hair tight like the boss lady. Recently, Vivica snapped these promo pics for the 2011 Vivica Fox Hair Collection.
The wigs are set to begin advertising in publications next month!
This week, Jay-Z and his business partners met up with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed to discuss plans to bring the 40/40 franchise to the city. Although the sports bar’s location is yet to be confirmed, the Hartsfield Jackson Airport is said to be the “it” spot. In true ATL fashion, the Mayor continued the business meeting at the local Busy Bee soul food restaurant. Channel 2 News’ Jovita Moore was granted the only interview with the rapper. Click here to view the video footage.
Antonia “Toya” Carter, from the “Tiny and Toya” show, recently made a power move and opened up her new fashion boutique called GARB Boutique. She’s steady pathing a path of businesswoman…so stop calling her Lil Wayne’s baby momma!
The boutique features the latest trendy clothing and accessories for women. Settled in a quaint location on Magazine St in her hometown of New Orleans, the store is just the first of many endeavours Toya has up her sleeve to accomplish.
Here’s a few pics from the grand opening:
L to R: Rasheeda, Toya, and Kandi
L toR: Toya and NO Councilwoman