Sunday, January 31, 2010

2010 FraserNet PowerNetworking Conference In Atlanta

There will be two major Black business-related conferences in Atlanta this year. I've already blogged about the upcoming Black Enterprise Conference, but the city will also host the 9th annual Frasernet PowerNetworking Conference.

Held on June 10-12, 2010 at the Mariott Atlanta Marquis, this conference is a must-attend. George Fraser, founder of the conference and best-selling author, has created a unique organization of thousands of African American entrepreneurs and professionals that meet annually at this event to network, brainstorm, and exchange ideas.

There will be educational workshops, power panels, power luncheons, an exhibit fair, a national town hall meeting, and more.

Featured speakers include: Les Brown (worldwide motivational speaker), Marc Morial (president of Urban League), Dr. Randal Pinkett (winner on Donald Trump's "The Apprentice"), Ephren Taylor (youngest Black CEO of a public company), Judge Glenda Hatchett (of the Judge Hatchett Show), Lisa Nicols (best-selling author), and many more.

I've attended this event several times, and was able to network with several key contacts who eventually became clients of mine.

If you are an existing or aspiring business owner, I highly recommend you attend!

For more details or to register, visit:

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Apple Introduces The iPad

Apple has struck gold again as they prepare to release the iPad - a very innovative touch-screen "Tablet" that looks like a super-sized iPod Touch.

I have to admit; It looks very, very impressive. I'm a big fan of the iPod and the iPhone, and the iPad seems to be bigger and better.

Not only will it include a dedicated keyboard dock, which holds the iPad upright while providing a full-size (but no-keypad) Apple aluminum keyboard, but the iPad will also work with standard Bluetooth keyboards.

With AT&T as the wireless provider, the iPad will support iPhone apps and, of course, will play music from your iPod.

Along with iPad, Apple will be releasing iWork - software that allows you to create, edit, and present presentations; work on spreadsheets and word-processing documents; and create newsletters and other basic page-layout documents.

Even more, the iPad will compete with Amazon's Kindle and Sony's eReader as it will fully support the iBook e-reading app - enabling users to store and read entire books.

Depending on how much memory you want, the iPad will retail within the very reasonable price range of $499 and $829 - the typical cost of a laptop.

I am truly impressed, and plan to get one as soon as they are released.

Friday, January 22, 2010

2010 Blogging While Brown Conference In Washington, DC

This unique conference for African American bloggers is scheduled for June 18-19, 2010 in Washington, D.C at the historic Henley Park Hotel.

Blogging While Brown promotes intellectual, social, and cultural development of the blogging community by bringing bloggers of color together in one location. The purpose of the conference is to facilitate conversations that lead to collaboration and innovation among bloggers of color.

Last year's conference was held in Chicago and was attended by activists, entrepreneurs, journalists and others interested in expanding digital media content creation and distribution among people of color.

This year is expected to be bigger and better. There will be intensive workshops for beginners and experts.

Early registration is only $99.

For more details, visit:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Automatically Backup Your Computer With Carbonite

I'm always surprised when I hear entrepreneurs say that their computer crashed, and they lost everything. Put simple, you have to back up your computer regularly. If not, you could lose everything - and there may not be anything you can do about it.

I personally use a service called Carbonite that automatically backs up your files and stores them online. If you're like me and hate manually backing up to a CD, flash drive, or hard drive - this service is perfect.

What I like best is that you can access your files remotely, and their cost is super low. For only $54.95 per year, you can back up your entire computer - no matter how much stuff you have. If you create a new file or edit an existing file, it too will automatically get backed up.

Plus, they have a free iPhone app that allows you to see, open, and share your files right from your cell phone.

Even more, it's super simple to install. You don't have to be a network administrator, and you don't need technical skills. It's very easy!

I usually don't endorse products like this, but honestly - I couldn't resist. I highly recommend you use it!

For more details, visit:

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Celebrity Voices For GPS Navigators - Now That's Smart!

Creative and unique ideas always make money, and I think Tom Tom has just hit it big.

Tom Tom, if you don't know, is the leading developer and manufacturer of portable GPS car navigation systems. They make about $650 million a year.

Recently, they came up with a great concept: To allow the voice of their GPS devices to be that of well-known celebrities. In other words, instead of hearing that dull computer voice that says "Turn left" or "Take this exit" - you can hear Snoop Dogg or Homer Simpson say it.

The concept is very unique because the voice-overs are very fluent and don't sound robotic at all. In addition, they include ad-libs or improvisations that reflect the celebrity's personality.

As the industry is getting more competitive, Tom Tom made the right move here to differentiate themselves from everybody else. Unfortunately, unless they patented the concept (which I don't think they can) - the competition will jump on the bandwagon and implement the same feature.

Before you know it, celebrities all over the world will be getting paid millions of dollars to do voice overs with GPS device companies. But, hey that's business!

For a demo of how this works, visit:

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Don't Assume; Find Out For Sure

It's a constant bad habit that all entrepreneurs have. Instead of finding out for sure, we make assumptions. We typically do this because of time contraints, but be careful because this is one bad habit that can really hurt you in the long run.

For instance, suppose you are interested in exploring new marketing avenues. You've thought about postcard marketing marketing or search engine advertising, but you haven't moved forward because you don't THINK it will work. The truth is, you'll never know if it works until you find out for sure.

So, why not run a small test to see what happens? Invest $100 and a week's worth of time. If it works, it works. If it doesn't, it doesn't - but at least now you'll know for sure.

Here's another example. Suppose you assume that all your customers and clients are satisfied with your company's services. You've thought about asking them, but you haven't done so because they SEEM to be happy. The truth is, you don't really know if your clients are happy until you ask them.

So, why not ask them? Send out an email with a brief online survey or questionnaire. Or when speaking with them, ask: "Are you pleased with our services? How can we improve?" Maybe they are happy, maybe they are not. At least now, you'll know for sure and can make enhancements if necessary.

Many times basic assumptions such as these will have you missing out on opportunities that you never knew existed, and losing opportunities that you never knew could be saved.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Free Small Business Tax Workshops, Phone Forums and Webinars

The IRS' small business workshops are designed to help the small business owner understand and fulfill their Federal Tax responsibilities. The workshops are sponsored and presented by IRS partners who are Federal Tax specialists.

Topics vary from a general overview of taxes to more specific topics such as record-keeping and retirement plans.

Although most are free, some workshops have fees associated with them. Any fees charged for a workshop are paid to the sponsoring organization, not the IRS.

If you are unable to attend a workshop in person, they are available on CD and online as webinars.

You can also take advantage of their phone forums, which are free of charge, and can be held either at the local or national level.

For more information and a listing of upcoming workshops in your area, visit:,,id=99202,00.html

Monday, January 11, 2010

2010 Black Enterprise Conference Comes To Atlanta

The 15th annual Black Enterprise Conference and Expo is coming to Atlanta, Georgia on May 16-19, 2010. The theme is "Building Business Beyond Tomorrow". The event will be held at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis Hotel, and early bird registration is only $295.

The event will consist of several functions including:

The Deal Maker's Expo - a marketplace that offers a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs to connect with each other and build business relationships;

The Small Business Awards - a star-studded award show created to provide special recognition to African American entrepreneurs;

The Kidpreneur/Teenpreneur Conference - a program that encourages young business talent to network and collaborate with each other;

and countless workshops and speaker sessions.

I don't think the event has ever been hosted in Atlanta, but if so - it has definitely been a while. This, in combination with the annual FraserNet PowerNetworking conference (which is also hosted in Atlanta this year), should be a real treat for Black entrepreneurs locally and nationally.

I will personally be at both events this year.

For more details about the conference or to register, visit:

Saturday, January 9, 2010

FLASHBACK: Exercising Makes You A Smarter Entrepreneur

I wrote this blog post in November 2008, but decided to re-post it since everybody is making their New Year's resolutions. It has some great reminders.

Studies have always shown that exercise is good for your body, but recent findings in neuroscience have shown that it's also good for your brain.

According to Kristin Wehner, a health and wealth consultant coach, "Bodies that exercise regularly stimulate brains to have higher levels of BDNF; brains with higher levels of BDNF have greater capacity for knowledge."

This, in turn, will help you to make better and wiser decisions as an entrepreneur. It will help you better recognize opportunities that will advance your company, and dismiss those that are time wasters.

Wehner continues, "... in the words of John Ratey, Harvard psychiatrist and author of Spark: The Revolutionary Science of Exercise and the Brain, BDNF is like 'Miracle-Gro for your brain'. Studies have shown higher circulating levels of thought-facilitating and mood-stabilizing neurotransmitters (namely, dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine) within an hour of exercising."

Even more, exercising will help you better deal with the stress that comes with running a business.

"...if you're feeling antsy, frustrated or you're having trouble concentrating, get up from your desk and get moving. It'll help you focus today, and, with enough days of activity strung together, before you know it, you'll be in BDNF city," she says.

For the complete article, visit:

Monday, January 4, 2010

Not Every "Good Idea" Is A Good Idea

Coming up with a good business idea, doesn't necessarily mean that you should pursue it. This may sound unorthodox, but many good ideas should be left alone. A "good idea" can cost you a lot of money, a lot of time, and bring you no results.

Here are some questions to ask yourself before you pursue a "good idea":

1) Is this idea easily duplicatable?
Trademarks and patents can protect your idea, but not every idea can be trademarked or patented. For instance, if you have a unique service to provide - you can not exclusively own this. If a bigger company with more resources notices that you are on to something, they can easily (and legally) steal your idea and create a major challenge for you.

2) Does this idea require a lot of funding?
Many entrepreneurs have great ideas, but fail to realize that some ideas are just too expensive. Bringing in investors and venture capitalists to solve this problem can be a complicated process, and you'll be giving up ownership shares. I would never discourage an entrepreneur from seeking funding, but make sure you know what you're doing.

3) Do I have the expertise to bring this idea to life?
You may have a good idea about the end product, but make sure that you fully understand and have experience in the field to get the job done. Be realistic. If you have a very innovative technological idea, you must also have the knowledge and intuition to go with it. Otherwise, your idea will always be just an idea.

4) Will the patent for this idea expire before it comes to life?
Many entrepreneurs tend to forget that a federal patent expires in 10 years. Unfortunately, it can take that long to make your idea come alive. If your idea has not manifested itself within that period, your patent will expire and your idea becomes open and available for anyone to use.