Saturday, January 31, 2009

$40 Million In Sales From Snuggies - What The Heck?

I recently blogged about how well the video game industry was doing despite a struggling economy. Well, it appears that another industry has found similar success. That would be the blanket industry.

Likely by now, you have heard of the Snuggie™. It's nothing more than a blanket with sleeves. Yes, plain and simple. It sells at two for $19.95, and allows people to work on a laptop, eat, and use the TV remote while remaining under the comfort of a blanket.

I've seen the commercials a million times, but I had no idea how big this product is. According to MediaPost, 4 million of these blankets were sold in a three month period. That comes out to just under $40 million in revenue.

Allstar Marketing Group is the company behind the product. They are based in Hawthorne, NY, and make the blankets in China. They're product is so hot that they struggle to keep up with the demand, but are expecting even more in sales in the next three months.

I have to admit: If a friend of mine tryed to convince me to invest in this idea, I would have laughed in his face. But after $40 million in sales in just three months, I'd be feeling mighty stupid right now.

For more details about this product, visit:

Friday, January 30, 2009

iPhone Vs. Blackberry

Don't worry. This won't be a long blog. I'll get right to the point. Blackberry sucks. iPhone rules. Hands down.

Before you react, please understand that I have had both phones. I'm not speculating, and I'm not just repeating what I've heard. I am speaking first-hand.

Blackberry is like having an Atari (if you know what that is), and iPhone is like having a Playstation 3.

Blackberry is like having a go-kart, and iPhone is like having a Lamborghini.

Blackberry is like having a small black and white TV with three channels, and iPhone is like having a 60 inch flat screen HD plasma with 1,000 satellite channels.

Put simple, Blackberry sucks. I don't know what the big hype about it is, but there is nothing about the Blackberry that is worth any hype. I'm thinking maybe it was the best phone around, until the iPhone was released. I don't know; I can't say for sure.

But I can say this for sure: If you try the iPhone, you will never go back.

Oh and yes, it is well worth switching to AT&T Wireless. If your network doesn't work with the iPhone, you're with the wrong network.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

More Business Woes: Boeing and Starbucks Make More Cuts

With demand for commercial jets losing altitude, Boeing has reported a $56 million net loss for the fourth quarter of 2008. This forces them to increase their recent estimate of 4,500 jobs to cut to an astounding 10,000.

In addition, Starbucks who just closed 600+ stores last year, has to close another 300 stores and cut nearly 7,000 workers as it continues to stagger from overexpansion and a sharp sales slowdown.

Drinking coffee on airplanes may soon be a thing of the past. In the words of Captain Scully: "Brace for impact."

Post Office May Stamp Out Six-day Delivery

The Los Angeles Times reports: The nation's postmaster general says delivering mail six days a week may no longer be feasible for an agency facing deficits in the billions.

John E. Potter told a congressional panel that cutting mail delivery by one day a week may be necessary to curb a projected loss of more than $6 billion for this fiscal year. He asked a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee to lift the six-day delivery requirement mandated in 1983.

"It is possible that the cost of six-day delivery may simply prove to be unaffordable," he said.

But the proposal was not well received by some subcommittee members.

"I am very disappointed that Postmaster Potter would come before the committee and advocate, as a potential solution to this economic crisis, the elimination of the requirement of six-day-a-week delivery," said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), ranking member of the Homeland Security committee.

Potter attributed the Postal Service's $2.8 billion debt at the end of fiscal 2008 to decreased mail volume and higher costs. The service has been hit hard by an increase in e-mail usage. Mail volume dropped by 4.5%, or more than 9 billion items, last year, to about 202 billion items, according to the service.

But lawmakers aren't convinced that reducing service days is the best solution.

"Rather than helping it recover, I believe cutting services would ultimately be a death spiral for the postal service," because business would look elsewhere, Collins said.

"Cutting back the days of postal service should be a last, not first, option to keep the postal service afloat during these difficult economic times," said a spokesperson for Sen. Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.), who is the subcommittee's chair.

Potter also asked that Congress alter the postal service's payment schedule for funding retiree health benefits, which he described as a "crippling cost burden."

He said the agency had cut costs by freezing executives' salaries, halting new construction and reducing its workforce by more than 120,000 employees since 2002.

For the full article, visit:,0,373829.story

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

When To Say When

How do you know when to give up in business? That answer is easy - never. Never, ever give up in business. But it may be reasonable sometimes to give up on a certain business idea. So, how do you know when this is a wise thing to do?

Well, when things are consistently moving backwards, not forward - this is a strong indicator that it may be time to pull the plug. Remember that its normal to lose money in the beginning, and perhaps feel like you are wasting time. But with a successful business, you should eventually start to lose less and less money as time goes on.

The key is to be honest with yourself, and honest with the situation. For instance, lets say you invested $1,000 into a business idea. You find that as time goes on, you have to keep investing $1,000 a month to keep things afloat. Over a 12-month period, not only have you not made any profit - but you feel that you need to start investing $1,500 a month. This, obviously, is a business idea that needs to get axed.

On the contrary, lets use the same scenario and say that you were seeing an increasing return on your investment each month. January - $100, February - $200, March - $300, etc. Well, this may be a idea to hold on to because by October you're going to break even and by November you'll be profitable. Even if your expenses went up, the pattern shows that you are closing the gap - and that is exactly what you want.

Never give up on an idea that is showing all the signs of eventually becoming profitable. Always remember that it is normal and common for it to take months or years to reach profitability.

There are no hard rules, however. Use your discernment and learn to develop entrepreneurial instincts. A true entrepreneur, although patient, is not stubborn - but instead, knows when to say when. If you find that you did make a stubborn mistake, don't become a repeat offender.

Are You A Serial Entrepreneur?

There are two types of entrepreneurs. Both are risk-takers, and both are driven. One, however, will start a business and quit if it fails. The other one will start business after business, until he finds one that works. The latter is called a serial entrepreneur. Does this describe you?

Consider this recent article from Entrepreneur magazine:

Clemson University professor Wayne Stewart has taken a close look at how serial entrepreneurs differ from their more novice counterparts. In one study, Stewart and his colleagues concluded that serial entrepreneurs were bigger risk-takers, more achievement-oriented, and had a higher preference for innovation. "The results," he says, "suggest that there is a psychological profile that drives serial entrepreneurs, predisposing them to multiple venturing."

As for whether serial entrepreneurs are born or made, Stewart tends toward the former. While environmental influences such as parenting, education and culture do affect behavior, innate characteristics like leadership and intelligence manifest themselves very early on in life, he explains.

But what is certain is that serial entrepreneurship is an extremely important economic and social phenomenon. "Estimates are that about one-third of new ventures are initiated by serial entrepreneurs, and their firms tend to be larger," Stewart says, noting that higher business success rates may be attributable to prior experience and the resulting ability to leverage a wider network of key customers, suppliers, partners and financiers--all crucial to business creation. The subject, he concludes, "deserves more research in order to provide better prescriptions for practice, and to facilitate policy that encourages entrepreneurial activity."

For the full article, visit:

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sprint Nextel is On Its Way Out

A series of companies went out of business in 2008, including several airlines, banks, and retailers. Just one month into 2009, Circuit City was added to that list. Now it looks like Sprint Nextel will be next.

Here are some snippets from a recent USA Today article:

Sprint Nextel has announced 8,000 job cuts and other cost-saving measures that CEO Dan Hesse told employees in an internal memo kept the company from having to cut 3,000 additional jobs.

Sprint's decision to cut 15% of its workforce is the latest in a series of moves aimed at turning around the ailing wireless carrier. Sprint has been losing customers by the thousands, and the bleeding continues. The cuts will save $1.2 billion annually, the company says.

Despite major improvements of Sprint's two cellphone networks, many consumers still regard Sprint's service as substandard.

Rumors of a Sprint acquisition have been swirling for months, in part because the shares are so cheap - hovering around $2.49.

As part of its cost cutting, Sprint will freeze salaries and suspend matching contributions for its 401(k) — actions that saved the company from 3,000 more job cuts. The pay freeze also applies to Hesse, says Sprint spokeswoman Leigh Horner.

Sprint lost more than 1 million subscribers in the third quarter and is expected to lose as many in the fourth quarter.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Sasha and Malia Dolls - A Good Business Idea?

I'm sure by now that you've heard of the Sasha and Malia dolls that are being sold by Ty Inc., the company that makes Beanie Babies. The dolls were made as replicas of President Obama's daughters.

First Lady Michelle Obama recently expressed her discontent about this by releasing a statement saying: "We believe it is inappropriate to use young private citizens for marketing purposes."

In response, a spokesman from Ty Inc., released a statement saying that "the dolls are not modeled on the first daughters."

Obviously though, we know that they are lying.

Prior to this, plenty of companies have been profiting off of various forms of Obama paraphernalia - cookies, waffles, t-shirts, hats, watches, gold coins, etc.

Did Ty Inc. go too far by throwing the Obama girls in the mix? Or was this a great business idea?

My personal answer to these questions is: Hmm...I don't know.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

2009 Blogging While Brown Conference

The annual Blogging While Brown Conference will be held in Chicago, Illinois on June 19-20, 2009.

This is the only international conference for bloggers of color, and its their 2nd annual event. Last year's conference was extremely successful.

Hosted at the high-tech University Center, the 2009 conference promises to bring the best of the 2008 conference with more opportunities to network and learn about the issues and concerns that face new media content creators.

Blogging While Brown was created in response to widespread dissatisfaction with the level of diversity in some of the largest blogging conferences.

One of the new features of the 2009 conference is the Beginning Blogger’s Boot Camp. This session is geared towards new bloggers or those interesting in starting a blog, providing training on the technical aspects of blogging.

More information about registration, housing, scheduling, sponsorships, and the conference location is available at They also have plenty of photos and video from last year, including the official conference video.

I will personally be there, and hope to see you there as well.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

New Service Helps Black Entrepreneurs Obtain Business Credit

There are a record number of new Black-owned businesses being formed every year. Unfortunately, very few of them have access to business credit. Many of them run on low cash flows, and as a result - most are expected to fail within the first 5 years.

Choice Credit Group, a Black-owned firm in the Detroit area, has recently launched a service specifically designed to help African Americans obtain what is needed to get business loans, business credit cards, and a business line of credit.

The service is available to existing small business owners including CEOs, home business owners, network marketers, and more. The service is not available to individuals who are running a non-profit organization, or who have not started a business yet.

For more details, existing business owners should visit:

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Almost Doesn't Count

Either you're going to see this thing through, or you're not. There are no in-betweens. If you quit and never make it, you may as well never mention that you were an entrepreneur.

Think of it this way:

* Does a high school student who drops out before graduation get credit for attending 9th, 10th, and 11th grade?

* Do people talk for long about the candidate who was running for office and lost by one vote?

* Years later, do basketball fans remember the point guard who almost made the last-minute shot?

* Years later, do football fans remember the wide receiver who almost caught the touchdown pass with no time left on the clock?

In all of these scenarios, the individual almost made it. However, the reality is that "almost" doesn't count. Likewise, you can spend as much money and time as you want on starting a business - but if you quit before you reach success, it doesn't count.

People don't walk around saying "I almost was a successful entrepreneur" because they know that no one wants to hear that.

Always remember that it's okay to give up on a business idea, but never give up in business.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Power of Wii

Despite a struggling economy, the video game industry is alive and booming. According to USA Today, Nintendo is the undisputed leader.

During the month of December 2008, Nintendo sold 2.1 million units of their Wii console - 40% more units than the combined total of all the other devices on the market. This brought its 2008 total to over 10 million units sold in the U.S.

In comparison, Microsoft sold only 4.7 million Xbox 360 units and Sony sold only 3.5 million Play Station 3 units.

In addition, the four best selling video game titles for 2008 were for the Wii. Those included "Wii Play," "Wii Fit," "Mario Kart" and "Super Smash Bros: Brawl."

"Wii Play" was the top-selling video game of the year, selling more than 5.3 million copies.

You don't have to be in to video games to care about this information. All entrepreneurs can take note of this to see that even during a recession, there are consumers out there who are spending money.

Despite a record amount of jobs lost in 2008, U.S. consumers spent more than $5 billion on video games.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Biggest Lie of Network Marketing

I'm not really against network marketing; It's just not my cup of tea. I know a few people who are making a living off of it. And, I am fully aware that there are about 10 network marketing companies out there that do hundreds of millions (if not billions) in annual revenue. Despite this, I have some bones to pick.

Network marketing is very deceptive, and many who are involved don't even realize the biggest lie that they tell you - that "you can own your own business."

My question is simple: What exactly do you own?

Business ownership is when you possess and control all the entities within the company. You own the trademarks, the copyrights, the storefront, the inventory, the web site, and most importantly - all the profits. You even own the right to make major decisions for the company.

As a network marketer, you don't own any of these.

That makes you nothing more than just an employee, a contractor, or a sales person - however you want to word it. Neither of these are bad titles, as long you understand that the only thing you actually own is that lie you just bought.

Friday, January 16, 2009

US Airways Passengers Survive Plane Crash, But Circuit City Is Killed In Market Share Crash

Just one day after the "Hudson River Miracle", there apparently was no miracle in Richmond, Virginia at the headquarters of Circuit City.

The popular electronics retailer is officially closing its doors forever. All 623 Circuit City stores across the country are immediately shutting down their operations, and more than 30,000 employees no longer have a job.

Who was to blame for all of this? Apparently, their long-time rival Best Buy. For years, Circuit City had seen sales decrease as it lost ground to Best Buy.

Although Circuit City is the older of the two companies, by 1996 Best Buy had surpassed them in sales due to their aggressive expansion. Circuit City fought back by remodeling and redesigning the layout of older stores and opening new stores, but this obviously did not work.

Best Buy's victory is credited for their strategic expansion techniques, their popular "Reward Zone" rewards program, their competitive pricing, and their e-commerce web site which was one of the first to allow customers to order products online and pick them up from a local store.

Best Buy was also incredibly skillful in gaining market share in the sales of laptops, LCD and plasma televisions, digital cameras and camcorders, and of course - iPods and iPhones.

Moral of the story: Don't allow your competitors to replace you.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Jumpstart Your Publicity With Monique Caradine

My friend and colleague Monique Caradine is launching a tele-seminar workshop series that will teach you the secrets of getting free publicity. She knows her stuff, and I highly recommend that you register right away.

Monique is an industry expert and veteran who has been featured on CNN, National Public Radio, Chicago Public Radio and the FOX News Network. She also runs Momentum Media Group - a thriving media consulting and development company in Chicago.

She will be hosting 6 motivational and information-packed tele-seminar sessions every Wednesday and Friday starting January 28– February 13, 2009 from 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. CST.

Listeners will learn:

* The top 4 things you absolutely must do before you launch a powerful and effective publicity campaign.

* How to create a publicity plan that works.

* The easiest ways to position yourself as an expert and become a media magnet.

* The 7 deadly sins of press releases and how you can avoid them when writing your press release.

* The secrets to building media relationships.

* The correct way to pitch the media.

Guest speakers during the workshop series include Toyia Baker - a former producer for the Tavis Smiley Show; Dante Lee (me) - an internet marketer and PR strategist; and many others.

To register for the event, visit:

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Why Business Grants Will Never Go Out of Style

Business grants were originally created by federal and local governments to provide financial assistance to entrepreneurs and business owners. The goal was and still is to help stimulate the national and local economy, and to help fund research that will help a certain industry. In more recent years, non-profit organizations and major corporations began to give out business grants. They had similar goals, but also found that giving away grant money is great for public relations and is a great tax write-off.

For nearly 100 years now, business grants have helped thousands of individuals across the country either start or expand an existing business. Some business grants have even provided free tools and services (software, hardware, consulting, coaching, etc) to underrepresented minorities and disadvantaged women who want to start businesses.

Many are concerned though that a bad economy might lead to the end of business grants. They reason that companies will no longer be able to afford to give money away, and that government agencies will reallocate funds to more needy issues. That reasoning, however, is mostly false.

The good thing about business grants is that, unlike business loans, they will never go out of style. Remember that business loans are given by greedy companies looking to make a profit. Business grants, on the other hand, are given as charitable gifts. Their availability is not as dependent on the economy, and because they never have to be repaid - they don't and never did pose any risk to the grantor. Even more, business grants are great tax write-offs for major corporations - even if they are doing bad financially. Granted, some companies will reduce the amount of grants that they give out - but they generally won't terminate the program completely.

Government agencies too may reallocate some of the funds that normally were for business grants, but their business grant programs will always exist. This is because local and federal government officials realize that small businesses drive the economy and create jobs. They would dare not destroy programs that can help small businesses thrive - especially during a recession.

Therefore, don't give up in your search for the business grant that is right for you. They are still out there, and many entrepreneurs are receiving such assistance every single year. To find relevant opportunities, remember to check the web sites of all major companies and smaller companies. You also want to check with your local city, county, and state government offices.

The National Institute of Business Grants provides free tips and secrets on how to obtain business grants. For more details, visit

Does Money Equal Power?

This question can be argued by many different people from many different angles, and each time you'd get a different answer. My answer would be "no".

I don't believe that money gives you power. Having a lot of money just gives you freedom. Freedom from working, and freedom to go where ever you want to go, and do whatever you want to do.

Power is different. Power is when you are influential. People follow you. People respect you. People listen to what you have to say, and they take action.

As an entrepreneur, don't focus so much on making a lot of money; The money will come in due time. Rather, focus on being powerful and influential. Make people view you as a resource that they can't do without. Make them follow you. They should follow you on Twitter. They should subscribe to your blog. They should read all your books, and they should call in to all your tele-seminars.

In time, these followers will become your clients, and these clients will refer you to more followers. Before you know it, you are considered a mogul - an expert, a guru.

Consider Martin Luther King, Jr. He was not a rich man, but he was a very powerful man. Can you imagine how many books he would have sold, if he were still alive today? Can you imagine how many people would attend his conferences? Can you imagine how many subscribers he would have to his blog?

That, my friend, is the power of power.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

5 Things You Don't Know About Magic Johnson

Not too long ago, I posted a blog about Magic Johnson's new book. Since then, I've become aware of some very interesting facts about his successful career as an entrepreneur. Here they are:

1) He was the first NBA player ever to have an exclusive licensing deal from the league to sell his own t-shirts.

2) Despite the fact that Starbucks doesn't do franchises, he convinced the CEO to make an exception for him. Now, his Starbucks franchises are the most successful ventures in his portfolio.

3) In 1990, he opened a sports paraphernalia shop called Magic 32 that immediately flopped. He lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

4) Wanting to rebuild an old run-down movie theater in Los Angeles, he partnered with AMC Theaters and opened the Magic Johnson Theater in 1995 which went on to become one of the top-grossing theaters in the country. Now, he owns a dozen successful theaters.

5) He is worth an estimated $700 million - nearly ten times as much as when he was playing for the NBA.

Just like any other entrepreneur, Magic has seen ups and downs. However, he's weathered the storms and has ended up on top. You can do the same.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Federal Bailout Money For...The Porn Industry?

I was hoping this was a joke, but it seems to be very real. CNN is reporting that the porn industry is asking for bailout money from the federal government.

It's specifically Hustler Magazine publisher Larry Flynt and Girls Gone Wild CEO Joe Francis that are requesting that Congress allocate $5 billion for a bailout to the adult entertainment industry.

Francis said in a statement that "the US government should actively support the adult industry's survival and growth, just as it feels the need to support any other industry cherished by the American people."

Okay, this sounds really silly to me - but apparently its serious enough where as its making national headlines. If Congress approves this and bypasses more small business owners like me and you who could allocate such funds to something a lot more meaningful, that would be a sad day in American history.

In my opinion, the porn industry stimulates everything - except the economy.

For more details about this, visit:

Friday, January 9, 2009

Russell Simmons Does $2 Billion In Transactions

You've probably seen the commercials with hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons promoting his prepaid Visa RushCard. He even has a card for women that's co-branded with BabyPhat - a popular clothing line ran by his ex-wife Kimora Lee Simmons. Anyhow, the company just reached a milestone of $2 billion in cardholder deposits.

For the past five years, RushCard members have been part of a growing movement of people using the card to take responsibility for their finances, manage their money and build their credit.

RushCard members have access to all the conveniences of a Visa debit card, including the ability to make purchases and pay bills online, rent a car, and book hotel accommodations.

The funny thing is that I never realized that RushCard was that big. I couldn't really imagine a whole lot of people buying into the service, but it apparently is a huge success. Obviously, he did his research and found a huge void that needed to be filled - and filled it.

Let this be a lesson to us all!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Do You Bank At A Black-Owned Bank?

Do you even know of one? Well, it may be a good idea to find out about the ones in your area. Black Enterprise is reporting that a group of executives are working to create a black-owned holding company that will make millions in capital available to black-owned banks.

More capital at a black-owned bank means more loans and lines of credit for African American entrepreneurs and business owners. The article reports that "a typical investment in a black-owned bank might total $5 million to boost the bank's capital base, allowing it to leverage that money to make new loans of up to $50 million."

Unfortunately, the government's $700 billion rescue package has so far only helped one black-owned bank - Broadway Financial Corporation in Los Angeles. So this initiative is very much needed, and if successful, should stimulate the local economy in many black neighborhoods.

For the full article, visit:

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

"I See Your Name Everywhere"

There's nothing more satisfying to an entrepreneur than to hear someone say those words to you. It's a dream come true.

I've had it said to me on a couple of occasions by some very notable people, and it definitely makes you feel like you are doing your job. That's when you realize that all those PR strategies you've been working on over the past few months or years, have been working.

If you have never had that phrase said to you, here are some things to do:

1) Recognize that public relations is very key in your marketing agenda. Yes, people should know about your brand, but they should also know about the person behind the brand - you.

In many cases, consumers are more apt to buy into what your company is selling if they know and respect the face of the company. This is also why celebrity endorsements work so well. People recognize a face, and gain confidence in the product.

2) Include your name and face in all of your marketing efforts. A professional head shot and profile of you should be on your web site, you should be quoted and referenced in your press releases, and a brief mention of you should be on your marketing materials (brochures, media kits, etc.)

Be careful though, you don't want to over saturate yourself. Nor do you want to discredit yourself with annoying self-promotion strategies. The key is to find a balanced way to skillfully incorporate yourself into your company's image.

3) Order the new book by Pam Lontos entitled I See Your Name Everywhere. The book has a perfect title, and was authored by the perfect person. Lontos is an industry veteran who runs a very successful public relations firm in Orlando. Her book is filled with tons of useful PR tips and secrets.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Increasing Your Advertising During A Recession Really Works

Back in April 2008, I wrote a blog about how entrepreneurs can beat the recession. My very first point in that article was to increase your marketing efforts - something that has been reiterated over and over again by business experts. Well, I practiced what I preached and it worked!

I had every indication that this past November and December would be extremely slow months for my company. Despite this, they turned out to be extremely profitable months and December turned out to be the best December my company has had in the past 8 years.

My strategy was to blitz my existing and potential customers with tons of helpful tips and advice so that they would see me as a dependable resource. This, in turn, would encourage them to buy into my services. My goal, specifically, was to increase transactions for my,, and services.

Here's a list of the top 10 things I did:

1) Attended, networked, and had a booth at Black Enterprise's conference in Charlotte, FraserNet's conference in Atlanta, and the Diversity Business conference in Orlando.

2) Attended, networked, and spoke as a panelist at the African American Internet conference in Chicago, at the Turning Point Urban Business Summit in Los Angeles, and at the Junior Black Chamber of Commerce National Conference in Los Angeles.

3) Attended and spoke as a keynote speaker at the Booker T. Washington Economic Development Summit in Tuskegee, Alabama.

4) Increased my budgets allocated to online advertising through Google Adsense, Yahoo Marketing, and Adbrite.

5) Sent out direct marketing postcards to all 3,000 of my previous and existing clients - encouraging them to use our services again.

6) Started emailing all of my clients to encourage them to use our services more frequently.

7) Created a list of influential people, and started sending them our company press releases on a bi-weekly basis.

8) Started reaching out to my biggest clients to create a personal relationship with them. I even met with some of them and took them to lunch.

9) Started blogging more frequently on

10) Created a Twitter account ( and started using it on a daily basis.

As you can probably suspect, I had to spend quite a bit of money and time for each and everyone of these things. But it was well worth it. Not only did I make a 400% return on what I invested, but I ended up with more than 120 new clients.

All those conferences back-to-back worked extremely well; This was where we recruited a lot of our new clients. The other strategies helped a lot with branding and turning existing followers into paying customers. For instance, I was successfully able to convince the majority of the people who follow this blog to buy into my services.

Take my word: When the economy is bad, increase your marketing activity. It really does work!

Friday, January 2, 2009

2009 Trends To Watch

Entrepreneur Magazine just released their pick of the top trends to watch in 2009. The word "trend" is defined as a general direction in which something tends to move, a general line of orientation, and a general tendency to change.

In the business world, a trend is a consumer behavioral pattern that shapes how people think and how they spend money. With that in mind, try to implement these into your new or existing business plans for the new year:

1) Green
Decades in the making, this $209 billion market has its roots in everything from water to energy to food. Look especially to organics, clean energy, alternative fuels, and water reuse and reclamation services.

2) Economy
What goes up, must come down. Consumers are no longer trading up when making their purchase decisions, but rather trading down. Even more, people are very interested in bargains and discounts.

3) Health
Thanks to the web and aging boomers, we know more than ever about our health, especially what may harm it. Sectors from exercise to plastic surgery are open for the entrepreneurially inclined.

4) Millennials or Generation Y
Want to bridge the generational gap? It may take a little research, but you’ll find opportunities in marketing, web apps, social networking, and anything that promotes culture and community.

5) Boomers
Representing the biggest wealth transfer in history, these individualists started the green movement and are ready to cash in on the environment, health, financial planning, travel and everything in between.

6) Digital
The web holds endless opportunities for business pioneers, and almost everything you’ll ever do from here on out will somehow tie back to it.

7) Odds & Ends
The fact that cities are creating laws against trans fats and that companies are selling 100-calorie snack bags doesn’t take away from the popularity of bacon. Consider the Bacon of the Month Club and odd offerings like bacon mints.


Thursday, January 1, 2009

Do You Keep Up With The Black Internet?

Millions of African Americans use the Internet every single day, and there are quite a few companies like mine that offer marketing services to reach Black consumers online.

Many people don't realize that Black people spend nearly a trillion dollars a year, and are arguably the most influential minority group in the country.

There's a blog called Black Web 2.0 that I highly recommend you subscribe to. They cover website and application launches; culturally relevant Internet industry news; and mainstream Internet industry news from an African-American perspective. They also analyze emerging web trends and how they apply to web properties that target African-Americans or African-American culture.

Another good resource is Target Market News, a publication ran by my good friend Ken Smikle. They report on business activities in advertising, marketing and media targeted to Black consumers - both online and offline.

The concept may sound new, but target marketing to niche groups has been around for some time. Remember that John Johnson founded Ebony and Jet Magazines over 60 years ago, in order to help print advertisers market to African Americans.

Likewise, other groups that have been targeted by marketers for years include Hispanics, Asians, Gays/Lesbians, Senior Citizens, Tweens, and many more.