Black women lead the way in entrepreneurial businesses

Emogene Mitchell spent two decades in the cocoon of a multinational research institute, rising to vice president in charge of events planning. Then the economy tanked, and the workload shriveled.

In the heart of the Great Recession, Mitchell was ready to join the soaring number of minorities and women who are starting their own businesses and are expected to fuel much of the job growth over the next decade.

During a meeting on cost-cutting last year, Mitchell, who is African American, told her bosses they should axe her position and replace her with a contractor — Mitchell’s Meetings and Events, the company she runs out of a home office in Arlington County with her husband, La Mont. Her old firm is now one of her main clients.


Malaak Compton-Rock on Philanthropy

Howard Alum Malaak Compton-Rock speaks to Tavis Smiley about philanthropy, activism and her book “If it takes a Village, Build One”


Clarence Otis Jr, CEO of Darden Restaurants, Inc.

Screen shot 2010-03-23 at 12.20.41 PM

Each week tens of thousands of diners eat at an Olive Garden or Red Lobster restaurant. Few of these diners know that the CEO heading these large restaurant chains is a black man.

Clarence Otis Jr. Is the CEO of Darden Restaurants Inc., the largest casual dining operator in the nation. The firm operates nearly 1,400 company-owned restaurants coast to coast serving 300 million meals annually. Darden employs 150,000 workers and has annual revenues of $6 billion.


San Diego’s LT is a GENIUS if you ask me. Intro the LT Slide

Self proclaimed New Century Hustler Ali Muhammad (@MrMuhammad) has been getting some good run on twitter lately talking about the importance of creating a catalog of property. In a move that may receive ridicule in the locker room (yeah… it IS funny), LT could well net several new millions of dollars. Don’t believe me? Reference Mr. C of Cha-Cha slide fame, the electric slide AND Heyyyyyyy Macarana.


Why You Need a Website


Even if you’re not planning on selling online, a well-crafted site is essential for any business.

Q: My business is very small, just me and two employees, and our product really can’t be sold online. Do I really need a website?

A: That’s a good question. In fact, it’s one of the most important and most frequently asked questions of the digital business age. Before I answer, however, let’s flash back to the very first time I was asked this question. It was circa 1998, during the toddler years of the internet.

I was giving a speech on the impact of the internet on small business at an association luncheon in Montgomery, Alabama. Back in 1998, which was decades ago in internet years, the future of e-commerce was anybody’s guess, but even the most negative futurists agreed that all the signs indicated that a large portion of future business revenues would be derived from online transactions or from offline transactions that were the result of online marketing efforts.

So should your business have a website, even if your business is small and sells products or services you don’t think can be sold online? My answer in 1998 is the same as my answer today: Yes, if you have a business, you should have a website. Period. No question. Without a doubt.

Also, don’t be so quick to dismiss your product as one that can’t be sold online. Nowadays, there’s very little that can’t be sold over the internet. More than 20 million shoppers are now online, purchasing everything from books to computers to cars to real estate to jet airplanes to natural gas to you name it. If you can imagine it, someone will figure out how to sell it online.

Let me clarify one point: I’m not saying you should put all your efforts into selling your wares over the internet, though if your product lends itself to easy online sales, you should certainly be considering it. The point to be made here is that you should at the very least have a presence on the web so that customers, potential employees, business partners and perhaps even investors can quickly and easily find out more about your business and the products or services you have to offer.

That said, it’s not enough that you just have a website. You must have a professional-looking site if you want to be taken seriously. Since many consumers now search for information online prior to making a purchase at a brick-and-mortar store, your site may be the first chance you have at making a good impression on a potential buyer. If your site looks like it was designed by a barrel of colorblind monkeys, your chance at making a good first impression will be lost.

One of the great things about the internet is that it has leveled the playing field when it comes to competing with the big boys. As mentioned, you have one shot at making a good first impression. With a well-designed site, your little operation can project the image and professionalism of a much larger company. The inverse is also true. I’ve seen many big company websites that were so badly designed and hard to navigate that they completely lacked professionalism and credibility. Good for you, too bad for them.

You also mention that yours is a small operation, but when it comes to benefiting from a website, size does not matter. I don’t care if you’re a one-man show or a 10,000-employee corporate giant; if you don’t have a website, you’re losing business to other companies that do.

Here’s the exception to my rule: It’s actually better to have no website at all than to have one that makes your business look bad. Your site speaks volumes about your business. It either says, “Hey, look, we take our business so seriously that we have created this wonderful site for our customers!” or it screams, “Hey, look, I let my 10-year-old nephew design my site. Good luck finding anything!”

Your website is an important part of your business. Make sure you treat it as such.

Read the original article here written by: Tim W. Knox


Intelligent Entrepreneurs Tweet Smarter

Of course you have heard of Twitter; the free social networking and micro-blogging service which allows users to communicate with other users, or “tweeters” in bite-sized 140 character snippets. You’re probably on Twitter as well. You know it’s good for business and broadening your network.

But are you using Twitter wisely?

Many entrepreneurs know they’re supposed to use Twitter, but aren’t necessarily sure how to get the most out of their minutes invested. Though there is little remaining doubt that the social network is a potent tool when placed in the right hands, many entrepreneurs have felt the frustration of not knowing how to effectively pull the most benefit from the service.

The key is in your expectations. Those entrepreneurs who try to mine money directly from the service are often setting themselves up for disappointment. Though this can be done, it is not always wise. Twitter is not necessarily the best place to get clients directly. Twitter is all about building relationships, showing the most authentic side of yourself and building your authority as a distributor of quality information.

Getting started with Twitter is easy, and getting going even easier. Simply follow those people you find most interesting, especially those users who are in your target market or primary field of interest. The more you tweet the easier it gets. Be personal, but don’t over share. Others will care far more about interesting things you may have found that day to read or improve their lives in some way than they will be with what you had for lunch or are planning to have for dinner.

One final note, use your own photo rather than a company photo or icon. Twitter is all about being yourself. People are far more apt to follow you if you look like a person rather than a product or service, and you can’t possibly build the relationship without getting the follow first.

article written by: Gary Rae


Thinking of starting your own business?

Finally we kick the new year off with the new Business section on So for those business minded individuals that are or have been dabbling with the idea of going out on their own and starting their own business, may I suggest to you the first book that you should read, and New York Times #1 seller for over 6 years, “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki.