Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Microsoft Teams Up With Yahoo To Compete With Google

I've always been an advocate of Google Adwords ( When done correctly, it can be very effective in generating leads, sales, and overall web traffic. I've been running a Google ad campaign consistently for about 8 years.

I'm also a fan of Yahoo Search Marketing ( and Microsoft Ad Center (, but have found that neither of them are as good as Google Adwords. Google, because it's the more popular search engine, typically produces more clicks to your ads.

Recently, however, Yahoo has announced that they are teaming up with Microsoft to take on Google who owns 88% of the search market business.

If you're not currently doing search advertising with Yahoo or Microsoft, this may be a good time to give it a shot. The partnership will certainly strengthen their reach, especially with the amount of promotion that Microsoft is putting into their new Even more, they claim to have better technology and lower bids on popular keywords.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

FLASHBACK: Learn, Not "Burn", From Your Mistakes

I wrote the following blog last July, but I think it has some very timely reminders for us all. If you read this blog last year, have you made the necessary adjustments to your attitude?

We all have made bad business decisions. Some of them were quite dumb, others were just bad instincts. Maybe you lost money, wasted time, or even both. Despite this, you must recognize that making business mistakes is a natural part of building your career as an entrepreneur.

Here's the key: When you do make a business mistake, learn from it. Start by fully accepting the blame and responsibility, and not putting it on others. There are very few cases when you can place the blame on someone else other than yourself, and this is very easy to determine.

All you have to do is ask yourself: "Was there something I could have done to prevent this?" If the answer is yes, then it was your fault. If the answer is no (which it rarely is), then it wasn't your fault.

The point is that the minute you accept full responsibility, that's the same moment that you actually learn something valuable from your mistakes. As a mature adult, your brain is automatically trained to not make the same unwise decisions over and over again. However, your brain is waiting for you to admit that it was you who actually made the mistake.

Some people, however, end up "burning" from their mistakes. Instead of admitting that they were at fault, they blame other people or factors. They say things like "he screwed me over", instead of "maybe I should have looked closer at the contract." They say things like "he stole my idea", instead of "I should have better protected my idea through patents and trademarks." Or even "he didn't do what he said he would do", instead of "I should have gotten that in writing."

They "burn" from their mistakes because in the future when they face a similar scenario, they will make the same mistake again...and again and again. Why? Because their brain is telling them that last time it wasn't their fault, so there's no reason to proceed cautiously this time.

Please believe that the only way to grow in business is to learn, not "burn" from your errors. We all make bad decisions, but how we respond thereafter determines how successful you will be.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Four Things An Entrepreneur Should Never Say

Nearly every time I'm networking at a business function, I run into people who say things that make me question whether or not they are legit. Here are just some of the things I have heard:

1) Our web site gets millions of hits. First of all, web traffic is not measured in "hits" any more; It's measured in impressions, page views, and unique visitors. Secondly, your web site doesn't get millions of hits. If it did, people would already know and you wouldn't have to broadcast it. Thirdly, I went to your web site before and the design sucks. There is no way a million people go there.

2) We real big right now. First of all, the proper way to say that is "we're really big right now." Secondly, no you're not. If you were "real big", I would already know and so would everybody else. Thirdly, what does that mean? Your statement doesn't mean anything. How are you big? Why are you big? Big in sales? Big in popularity?

3) I'm the hottest thing out. You're hot? Do you mean you're getting tons of publicity? Do you mean you're in high demand? What newspapers have you been featured in? Any radio and TV shows? Generally, people who are the "hottest thing out" don't have to tell people that because people already know.

4) I own my own business in network marketing. You might be making some money, but if you're in network marketing - you don't own anything. You work for somebody else. You're a contractor that gets paid on commission. Just tell people you "work in network marketing."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Business of "Black In America"

African Americans make up more than 14% of the United States population. This may sound like a small figure, but that adds up to nearly 40 million people. As a group, African American consumers spend nearly one trillion dollars a year - creating the largest buying power by far than any other minority group.

Those facts, published by the U.S. Census, makes Black people a very valuable group to advertisers and marketers. Thus, you have Ebony, Jet, Essence, Black Enterprise and hundreds of other Black magazines and newspapers that are a vehicle for advertisers to reach African Americans.

You have web sites such as,,, and others that allows sponsors to create online marketing campaigns towards African Americans.

You have over 400 radio stations that target African American listeners, and you have at least two nationally-syndicated television channels (BET and TV One) that target African American viewers.

Believe it or not, but companies spend billions of dollars annually using these avenues to encourage African Americans to buy into their products and/or services.

Last year, CNN launched the "Black In America" documentary series and were able to get 2 million viewers to tune in. This was a huge success for advertisers looking to reach that market, and so they are back again this year with "Black In America 2".

It wasn't always this way, but these days being Black in America makes you a very valuable asset.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Do What Everybody Else Is Not Doing

In normal economic conditions, its always in your best interest to outthink your competition. During a recession, this is even more important. The key is to try to do things that no one else is doing or even thinking of.

Many entrepreneurs like to take the easy, less tedious route. But now is the time to welcome on the difficult tasks. These are the tasks that will take forever to complete, but will pay off greatly.

You know what they are. You've been avoiding them for quite some time. Start chipping away today. A thousand mile journey begins with the first step.

Also, now is the time to be more bold and take more risks. I'm not advising you to be careless, but I'm encouraging you to live up to your "entrepreneurial" title.

A recession can create lots of opportunities for you that aren't normally available. For instance, many companies struggle during a recession - which can create an opportunity for you to buy your competitor out.

In addition, many companies will cut their advertising budgets - which can create an opportunity for you to increase your budget and take over their market share.

These are general tips, but take a good look at your business model - and pursue a course that your competition hasn't thought of.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Secret #125: Don't Pay For Subscriptions To Business Magazines

Here's secret #125 from my new e-book entitled 500 Black Business Secrets: Don't pay for business magazine subscriptions. and offer 100% free subscriptions to hundreds of different business magazines.

It's not a gimmick either; You don't pay a dime. They literally will give you free 12-month subscriptions to business magazines that pertain to your industry.

Magazines actually need subscribers to be successful, and when they can't get people to pay for subscriptions - they give them out free. As long as relevant people are getting the subscriptions, they're happy and so are their advertisers.

For more business secrets, download my e-book at:

Saturday, July 11, 2009

My Solution For The Music Industry

I don't claim to be an expert on music, but I think I know why the music industry is at an all-time low. Because today's music sucks!

There are two types of music: Music that people tolerate, and music that people buy.

Music that people tolerate is music that people like to hear when driving and when at the clubs. They like the beat, and they'll dance to it - but they're not impressed enough to actually spend money on it. Obviously, this kind of music generates $0 dollars in revenue.

Music that people actually buy is... well, music that people buy. They love they lyrics, they love the beat - and they are motivated to spend money for it.

Unfortunately, most of today's music is just music that people tolerate.

I find it very interesting that Michael Jackson sold 1.2 million albums within a two-week period after his death, but there are tons of well-known artists who haven't sold that many records all year.

For instance, out of an estimated 50 million people who listen to hip-hop and R&B - only 500,000 have bought Keyshia Cole's most recent CD - which has been out for 29 weeks. That's less than 1% of her potential audience.

Other popular artists who get tons of airplay, but haven't yet sold 1 million units this year are: Keri Hilson, Rick Ross, Soulja Boy, The Dream, Anthony Hamilton, T-Pain, Mary Mary, and many others.

I'm thinking this: If you want to increase sales, stop making music that people tolerate - and start making music that people will buy.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Is Your Business In High DEF?

I'm not talking about visual effects, pixels, and resolution. I'm not talking about Blu-Ray, and I'm not talking about VGA, DVI, or HDMI. In fact, I'm not even referring to plasma or LCD TVs at all.

I'm talking about D.E.F. (Demand, Efficiency, and Frequency). Your business should always be in high demand, operating with high efficiency, and involved in a high frequency marketing program.

Here are some tips:

D = Demand: To increase the demand for your company, your services and products should be designed to solve people's problems. Come up with ways to make people feel that they need you and can not operate without you. Create a buzz, and learn how to keep people talking. Remember that up to 80% of your business will come from word-of-mouth referrals.

E = Efficiency: To increase the efficiency of your company, you must learn to be effective without wasting time or effort or money. Especially during a recession, you want to make sure that all of your company's energy is being spent in a valuable way. Find out what is working, and step it up. Find out what is not working, and stop doing it.

F = Frequency: To increase the frequency of your company, you must launch a regular and consistent marketing program. I strongly recommend that you engage in some type of marketing every single day. The more frequently people see your company, the more likely they are to buy in to your services.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Download My New E-Book "500 Black Business Secrets"

I've finally finished my new e-book whereas I reveal everything I know about business - all my secrets. Most of you know that I've been in business for about 10 years now, but few know that I started my company in college and since then have generated nearly $3 million in revenue.

My e-book entitled Black Business Secrets: 500 Tips, Strategies and Resources For African American Entrepreneurs documents every step that I've taken over the past decade.

In the book, I reveal secrets and tips for authors, public speakers, bloggers, local businesses, national businesses, and more.

Topics covered include:

Marketing Secrets, Resourceful People To Know, Customers Service Ideas, Best Conferences To Attend, Twitter Tips, Search Engine Optimization, Web Site Tips, Sales Tools, Networking Tips, Press Release Tips, Hiring Tips, Booth/Exhibit Tips, Negotiating Tips, Best Mobile Apps For Business, Best Organizations To Join, Best Books To Read, Best Blogs To Subscribe To...and my personal favorite - Free Stuff For Your Business.

The book is 123-pages long, but its an easy read - and is available for immediate download.

For more details, visit:

Flex Your Brain Muscles For Better Business Results

Research shows that flexing your brain muscles can help you think faster and smarter, and can even delay the loss of memory as you get older. These are things that can benefit you as an entrepreneur in more ways than one.

You'll be able to out think your competition, come up with more creative ideas, increase your speed reaction time, defuse stress, and better recall tips and strategies that you read about or heard about.

Here are just a few ways to flex your brain muscles:

1) Learn how to say your ABC's backwards. This will not only help you with your memory, but it will train your brain to be more flexible. It can even raise your self-esteem.

2) Start using your other hand. If you're right-handed, learn to write and eat with your left hand - and vice versa. This will you keep both sides of your brain active, which can lead to more creative and innovative thoughts.

3) Learn to skate backwards. If you like to skate, why not learn how to skate backwards? When doing so, you'll be using parts of your brain that never get used.

4) Exercise 3-5 times a week. Regularly exercising will increase blow flow throughout your body and to your brain. Running, jogging, brisk walking, lifting weights, and playing sports can all be helpful.

5) Eat brain food. Everyone knows that fish is good for your brain, but there are more. Organic eggs, fruits and vegetables, seeds and nuts, and other foods with fatty acids are all helpful with concentration and sensorimotor skills. Also, for dessert - try organic dark chocolate.

6) Take herbal supplements. Fish oil, Vitamin B-6, Vitamin B-12, lithium, and Vitamin E are natural supplements that can keep your brain strong and possibly prevent your brain from aging.

7) Download some brain challenge mobile apps. The iPhone has several applications that can help keep your brain active. My favorites are Brain Challenge, Brain Toot, and The Moron Test.

8) Use and These are two web sites that give you access to free brain teasers, riddles, trivia, exercises, games, and more.

Remember that the key to running a successful business is thinking smarter and harder. Make sure your brain is in shape to keep up!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Rise and Fall of Vibe Magazine

Amidst all the news and commentary about Michael Jackson's death, many didn't even notice that Vibe Magazine shut down last week.

Ironically, Vibe Magazine was originally started in 1993 by Quincy Jones - who also produced Michael Jackson's biggest album "Thriller". He had since sold the company, but is now looking to buy it back.

According to Danyel Smith, editor-in-chief of Vibe magazine, "The staff was working on a tribute issue to Michael Jackson when they got the news."

For it's final six months, Vibe had a circulation of 817,825, but had a 42% decline in ad pages in the first quarter of 2009 compared to the same period in 2008 - according to the Publishers Information Bureau.

At one point, Vibe was the biggest magazine dedicated to Black music - bigger than both XXL and Source magazines. There also was a short-lived spin off publication for women called Vibe Vixen Magazine.

Sadly, Vibe is just one of many Black media outlets that have been forced to close their doors. Several local Black newspapers have also folded in the past year.

Even worse, it was just 2007 when the Black Family Channel - an up and coming television network - had to shut down as well.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sony Walkman Vs. Apple iPod

I find it very interesting that it took Sony thirty years to sell 385 million Walkmans, but Apple has sold more than 210 million iPods worldwide in only eight years.

Not only does that mean that Apple will surpass Sony's peak in another year or so, but it also means that Sony didn't maximize on their potential. At this rate, in thirty years, Apple will have sold nearly one billion iPods.

In my opinion, the Walkman of the 80's and 90's only appealed to younger people. I think that Sony made the mistake of assuming that only teenagers would be interested, and marketing mostly to that group.

Apple, however, figured out early to make the iPod appeal to many generations. It appeals to teenagers and adults, including many seniors. This is why Apple has been able to gain so much market share in so little time.

Even more, Apple figured out how to take a consumer group and expand it. In other words, they managed to get people to buy iPods who didn't previously buy portable music players.

Now, Sony who dominated that market for 20+ years, is struggling to catch up as they attempt to introduce new lines of MP3 players.

Sadly, they will probably end up retiring the "Walkman" brand. I believe that one day they will regain a market share, but I think it will take a new brand and a new marketing strategy.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

FLASHBACK: You Don't Have To Be A Pilot To Start An Airline

I wrote the following blog back in April 2008, but it thought it would be great re-post:

You may respond to this by saying "I'm not interested in starting an airline." Well, neither am I. The point of this blog is to emphasize that you do not have to possess industry skills, to start a company in the industry.

In other words, if you want to start an airline - you do not need to learn how to fly. If you want to start a software company, you don't have to be a programmer. If you want to start a catering company, you don't have to be a chef.

The only thing you need to know in these scenarios, is how to find and manage a pilot, a programmer, and a chef. And of course, it would be good to at least understand how these different industries work.

Too often though, entrepreneurs will come up with a great idea for a business, but dismiss that idea after they realize that they don't have the needed skills. Well, with the exception of certain cases like Bill Gates who was a programmer who started a software company - most scenarios are quite the opposite.

For instance, Collett E. Woolman, founder of Delta Airlines was not a pilot. Also, Pierre Bellon, founder of Sodexho (a large catering and food services company), is not a cook - and has never been one.

Broaden your sense of thinking when it comes to business. While you should pursue business endeavors that interest you, don't just stick to ideas that encompass your skill level.

Running a successful business is about management and marketing. Manage the people who have the skills, market those skills to potential customers, and go down in history as a successful businessman or businesswoman.