Friday, September 28, 2007

Give Your Web Site A Makeover

If your web site still looks like a web site from the year 1995, there is a problem. Yes my friend, 1995 was 12 long years ago when the Internet first became popular.

Sadly, many black-owned businesses still have elementary-looking web sites. I'm not saying that your web site shouldn't be simple. However, there is a great difference between it looking simple and it looking unprofessional.

Point blank: Too many black web sites still look unprofessional.

The best way to determine whether or not your web site needs some tweaking, is to compare your web site to other leaders in your industry.

For instance, if you have a web site where you are selling cars, then you need to compare your web site to - the leader for that industry.

If you have a web site selling flowers, then you need to compare your web site to - the leader for that industry.

Once you finally admit that your web site needs a redesign, here are some basic tips:

1) Keep the design simple. Your site does not have to be intricate with a lot of details. Simplicity is always a winner.

2) Feature only 2-3 colors. Develop a consistent color scheme, and stick to it.

3) Don't over do the multimedia. Don't use animated images, unnecessary music and sounds, and unrelated videos on your web site. (Stay away from Java applets.)

4) Summarize your text if possible. Just because you have the space, doesn't mean that you have to fill it all up.

5) Be honest with yourself. If you're not a professional web developer, hire someone. It's not that expensive. Just shop around.

Listen To The Pros

I'm not saying you have to do everything they say. You don't even have to agree with how they ran (or continue to run) their companies.

However, it is a very good idea to at least listen to some of the Black entrepreneurs who have made it. Bob Johnson is one of them (see video below). Farrah Gray is another. Others include: Oprah Winfrey, Madame C.J. Walker, Ephren Taylor, and John Johnson.

Whether they are old or young, dead or alive, you should listen to what they have to say. If dead, then you should at least know their story.

I promise you that you will walk away with at least one piece of knowledge that will benefit your company. Many of these entrepreneurs had to overcome the same struggles that you face.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Lower Your Tone

No, I'm not talking about the pitch of your voice. I'm talking about your printer ink. Did you know that most small businesses spend anywhere from $2,000 - $10,000 a year on printer ink? Some pay more than that!

Well, here are some tips to save you some money:

1) Don't print in color unless you absolutely have to. Tell your employees this too.

2) When printing in black and white, change the printer settings to "FastDraft" or "FastNormal". This will lower the printing quality slightly, but it will still look professional.

3) Shop online for printer ink at web sites like or Their prices are much cheaper than Staples or Office Depot.

4) I haven't tried this myself yet, but I heard that Walgreens allows you to come in and refill your ink cartridges for only $10 - $15. Try it and see what happens!

Open Your Eyes...And Your Wallet

The moment that you realize that it takes money to make money, that's when your company will take off. Black entrepreneurs, in particular, have a problem understanding this concept.

We have to open our eyes, and snap out of it! I'm very confident that this is one of the reasons why Black businesses are more likely to fail than our white counterparts.

You must invest in your ideas. Not just time and energy...but money too! If you don't have a lot of money to invest, then learn to make sacrifices. Cut back on all those clothes you buy, those vacations you take, those cigarettes you smoke, etc.

Ask any successful entrepreneur, and they will tell you that in the beginning they had to make sacrifices so that they could invest more money into their ideas.

Worse come to worse, you need to get out there and start fundraising. That's right, fundraising - just like they do in elementary school. Oh, you thought this would be easy? Think again.

Be Controversial

I'm not saying to do something stupid, and I'm definitely not saying to be like OJ Simpson. However, I am saying to be edgy and debatable. That's what publicity is all about. You want to create a situation whereas some people love you, and others hate you.

If OJ Simpson could do something controversial that wouldn't incriminate him, he would realize how profitable publicity can be.

The news industry thrives off of controversy because that is what readers and viewers like. Whenever a controversial issue is taking place, the news ratings go sky high.

So be creative. Come up with a way to put your company in the limelight, but remember that you don't want to do anything stupid.

Sounds complex, right? But if you can figure out what I'm saying, your company will reap so many benefits. Publicity can be valued at millions of dollars of free advertising.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Envy Is A Deadly Workplace Sin

In his blog, Donald Trump says that envy is one of many deadly workplace sins. He says, "Jealousy is stupid. It is a waste of time and it’s destructive. Nothing good can ever come of it, so there’s definitely no room for it in the workplace."

I agree 100% with these statements. Jealousy and envy will consume you, and will interfere with your productivity. Instead of being jealous of a successful person, why not be happy for them. This way, when you succeed - people will be happy for you.

Why not ask him/her to be your mentor? Most successful people love to mentor others, and help them achieve their goals.

Urban Radio Advertising Can Be Effective With The Right Budget

Target Market News reports: "Urban radio has an unmatched ability to reach and motivate African American consumers on behalf of advertisers and marketers, according to a new presentation by ROI Media Solutions that debuted at Interep’s 9th Annual “Power of Urban Radio Symposium."

This is very true. Think about it. Radio One makes more than $200 million every year, by charging companies to advertise on their radio stations that have African American listeners.

Don't be fooled though! Although it may only cost you $30-$50 to have your commercial run one time on-air, the effectiveness in radio advertising comes with a campaign that runs all day for several days.

Full Article:

Every Company Is A Marketing Company

I don't care if you own a flower shop or an investment firm, your company is a marketing company. It doesn't matter what you're selling, you won't sell anything if you have no way to let potential customers that you exist.

If you are starting a new business, this is the time to be coming up with an effective marketing plan.

Marketing is more than just passing out flyers, or putting an ad in the local newspaper. Marketing is about realistically assessing how you are going to get a constant flow of potential customers.

This involves market research, assessment, and experiments. Marketing is a science. There are no hard fast rules. You have to figure out what works for your company.

Know Your Acronyms - IRA, ROI, and RFP

You must learn the business acronyms if you plan to be successful in business.

IRA stands for Individual Retirement Account. If you're an entrepreneur, you will need to plan your own retirement.

ROI stands for Return On Investment. Whenever you invest money or services into your company, you want to have a clear understanding of what your success rate will be.

RFP stands for Request For Proposal. If someone gives you an RFP, it means that they are requesting a proposal from you. They are interested in doing business with you, but want you to propose some ideas and a budget.

The last thing you want to happen is for someone to use a common business acronym, and you have no idea what it means.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Is Your Office A Source of Unhealthy Habits?

A recent report by Nationwide Insurance found that "many employees may not eat as healthy or remain as active as they could while at work and employers could certainly be doing more to encourage healthy habits."

Don't allow your business to become an open door to bad health. While working in your office, develop good habits. Drink a lot of water, and munch on healthy snacks. Encourage your staff to do the same.

Remember that you can't run your business if you're in the hospital or dead.

Full Article:

Write A Book

So what, if you're not an author. You don't have to be an author to write a book. Russell Simmons didn't write his book. Neither did Donald Trump. Hire a ghostwriter, and have them write the book for you.

Writing a book is a great way to establish yourself as a reliable source. Plus, its one of the best ways to get free publicity.

Here are some great resources if you want to get started:


I have written three books, and I can personally vouch for the fact that writing a book (whether you sell books or not) will make you more money.

Don't Use A Payday Loan To Finance Your Business

Every business will have cash flow problems at one time or another. Despite this, don't ever resort to using payday loans. This will only make your problem even worse. Now they have payday loan services specifically for businesses. Check out this article recently featured on

I have heard so many horror stories about Payday loans. Don't be fooled! These loans are malicious and are designed to keep you in a cycle of paying interest.

Every Black Entrepreneur Should Subscribe To Black Enterprise Magazine

You're Black and in business, but you're not subscribed to Black Enterprise Magazine - the magazine for Black people in business?

Black Enterprise Magazine is a great resource for minority entrepreneurs. The magazine offers great content, fresh ideas, and valuable tips. If you haven't subcribed to this magazine, you are missing out on productive ways to grow your business.

I have been a personal subscriber to Black Enterprise for at least 7 years, and not one issue has let me down! What inspires me the most, is to constantly see that there are tons of Black entrepreneurs in this country that are making it big.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Send Out A Monthly Or Weekly Newsletter To Your Customers

Stop making excuses about creating a newsletter! It's now easier than ever to create, maintain, and distribute one. And who said anything about a print newsletter?

All you have to do is create an account with or - and, in seconds, you can be sending out email newsletters. These services are very user-friendly.

My company has distributed 2-3 different newsletters every single week, since the year 2001. I am 100% confident that doing that this has kept us in business.

Every Black-Owned Business Should Be Using Google

Google is the most innovative and helpful technology company of all time. Yes, more innovative than Microsoft, Yahoo and Ebay. Mark my words!

The reason why: Google helps small businesses prevail. Google Adsense helps small web sites make money without doing anything. Google Adwords helps small businesses effectively market themselves.

My company utilizes Google every single day to get leads, sales, and generate more revenue. We've been customers of Google for 5 years now, and plan to be for at least the next 20 years.

Get Your Cut of the $719 Billion That Black Consumers Spend Annually

According to Target Market News, black households across the U.S., especially middle-class families, are increasing their purchases of lifestyle and leisure items. Products such as cell phone service, travel, restaurant meals and entertainment and leisure increased significantly in 2005.

With home ownership growing and unemployment down, African-American consumers are increasing expenditures on goods and services that are lifestyle-oriented. According to the newest edition of “The Buying Power of Black America,” there are indications that black households are feeling more confident about making purchases that they have denied themselves in recent years.

If I were going to start a new business targeting Black consumers, I would highly recommend the entertainment industry. However, targeting Black consumers with just about anything should work.

You Can't Grow A Business With Jacked Up Credit...

Choice Credit Group, a Black Owned Credit Repair Organization, announced the continuation of offering their services free nationwide. Choice Credit Group kicked off this campaign at The Detroit Buy Black Weekend in May 2007. The need for credit report and repair information was so enormous that Choice Credit Group has decided to continue their services one weekend out of each month free to the public.

For more info, visit or call toll free 1-877-380-DEBT(3328).

If I had bad credit, I would work every single day to fix it. Credit is more important than cash. You can't get a business loan or a business line of credit, if your credit history is jacked up.