Thursday, August 23, 2007 at 2:24pm by Site Administrator
Starting out is difficult for any entrepreneur. Acquiring funds, generating publicity, fighting the competition and getting established are only a few obstacles that make the transition from amateur to professional a rocky one.
For many black Americans, the entrepreneurial adventure is doubly challenging. Simple tasks like gathering support in the community can sometimes be a problem because of archaic but still existing stereotypes or biases. To help you start your business with as few unnecessary race-related barriers as possible, we’ve formulated this list of networking tools, guides and links for you to consider. Armed with a new set of ideas, your business will be back on track to shared successes.
Rather than trying to constantly reinvent the wheel when it comes to business strategy and ideas, its smart to rely on the advice and lessons of others. In this section we’ve compiled the best links and blogger resources to help you learn from others as well as some to help you grow your audience through technology.
BlackBusinessBlog.com has been on the Web for a little over a year, posting brief articles about business news, tips for creating and maintaing your business, and inspirational stories that will keep you motivated. This blog also lists links to the National Black Business Trade Association and the Black Business Directory.
BlackEdition.com is a directory of black Web sites from entertainment to business to money to religion. Keep informed about your target market and competition by checking out the sites frequently.
This blog features the history of black business owners, articles about current business trends, profiles on successful black men and women, and more.
- CTHerd blog
ctherd.blogspot.com gives tips on applying to colleges and internships, as well as giving advice and providing links about taking college prep tests and getting scholarships.
- Dr. Wright’s blog
Dr. Wright addresses the challenges and concerns faced by today’s women entrepreneurs.
- Power Networking Business News blog
The Power Networking Business News blog will keep you in the know about business conventions and events around the country. It also includes articles that give tips on helping your business grow.
- UrbanBOE blog The author of the Black Online Entrepreneurs Web site, LHenry, has numerous blogs on the Internet, but the UrbanBOE blog is designed to help black enterpreneurs support each other’s ventures, goals, and businesses.
This Web site is devoted to training, encouraging, and developing the black entrepreneurial spirit. Become a member and gain access to resources, links, and exclusive information on how to make your business a success.
Entrepreneur.com isn’t exclusively about black entrepreneurs, but it provides a full arsenal of marketing tools, fundraising advice, managerial advice and human resources articles that you just can’t afford to miss.
This Web site is perfect for anyone wanting to increase their networking contacts. Browse through lists of other black business owners and post your thoughts and questions on the site’s forums.
- National Black Business Trade Association
The NBBTA Web site helps black entrepreneurs keep in contact by posting a member directory and encouraging the support of member business.
.org The NBBC provides resources for making your business grow. Check the Web site daily for listings of events, news updates, and insider tips.
Another blog from LHenry, the black woman who’s generous enough to share her success stories so that others can develop their businesses beyond their wildest dreams.
Find tips on getting small business loans and building up your credit.
Learn more about what it means to be an African American entrepreneur today.
- Black Buzz News
Get your daily dose of information about black teen entrepreneurs and black women entrepreneurs, as well as links to bookstores, college information, entertainment and style
Called "The Daily News for Black Professionals," this Web site will keep you informed on everything you need to know to be a successful black businessman or woman.
GoBigNetwork.com offers information on starting up your business, providing resources that deal with raising money, networking, and developing ideas.
Get information on how to attend the premier conference for the leaders in minority business and economics.
There are literally hundreds of books, magazines and other literature available to help guide black entrepreneurs. In this section we’ve highlighted a few of the best of the best.
- The History of Black Business in America
This book chronicles the history of all types of black business as it developed in America from the dawn of the nation to the present day.
- A Black Online Entrepreneur’s Web Guide: Build Your Business Online
Find out how to successfully network by using the internet, connect with your target market, and take advantage of publicity by reading LaShanda Henry’s guidebook.
- Encyclopedia of African American Business History Another take on understanding black business history, this book is a resourceful tool in understanding the background where you, as a black business owner, come from.
- Black Enterprise
This magazine contains articles and support for small businesses, types of careers, business news, and more.
- The Black EOE Journal The Black EOE Journal will introduce you to their motto "Strength in Diversity," as well as helping you advance your career and connect with other smart, successful African Americans.
- Turning Point Magazine
Aimed at the black business owners’ community, Turning Point Magazine helps new entrepreneurs find their way among the obstacles and rewards of beginning a new business.
- How to Succeed in Business Without Being White:Straight Talk on Making it in America.
Earl Graves’ book encourages black business owners despite the unique obstacles they face against American business culture.
- Success Runs in our Race: The Complete Guide to Effective Netowrking in the Black Community
This book by George Fraser encourages black entrepreneurs to network in both the business worlds and personal worlds, never ignoring the possibility of meeting a new contact.
- Sister CEO: The Black Woman’s Guide to Starting Her Own Business
Being a successful black woman is not as difficult as you might think, argues Cheryl Broussard. In her book, Broussard walks black women through the step-by-step process of opening your own business.
- Black Entrepreneurs in America: Stories of Struggle and Success
Michael D. Woodard’s collection of interviews and stories responds to the stereotype that making it big in the business world is impossible if you’re black.
- Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire
Read the inspirational, true story of A.G. Gaston, the first African American millionaire.
The Startup Journal, published by the Wall Street Journal, is an excellent source for entrepreneurs. The site includes articles and regular advice columns, an idea bank, marketing strategies, brokerage directories, and lots more information that you’ll need to start up your new company.
Leveraging technology and the information of others to accelerate your business’ growth is what being a bootstrapper is all about. In this section we include links to some of the most essential tools for entrepreneurs on the net.
- Business cards
Never leave home without your business cards. Pass them out to people so they’ll remember your name, business, and have your contact information. You don’t have to be talking business to hand someone a card. Slip it to someone as a way the two of you can keep in touch socially. Design your own on the VistaPrint Web site.
- Beef up your Web site with Build-Website.com
Become a master at web design. You want visitors to get information on you, your company’s background, and the products and services you provide. Make your site clear and inviting, and you’ll receive positive feedback.
- Urban Dynamics
Become a member of this Web site and enjoy access to all sorts of business tools which cater to the black entrepreneur. You’ll be linked up to other members and learn valuable marketing tips, read advice on how to make "sense of Google AdSense," and more.
If you’re starting your own company, chances are you don’t have to funds to hire someone to supervise all of your business’s accounts. With QuickBooks, you can quickly manage payroll, taxes, and other sales and expenses you acquire.
Become a member of Planzo.com, and you’ll never have to keep all your calendars or planners floating around your office, home, or briefcase. Update your lists of meetings, holidays, and deadlines on the online event calendar, and your life will become a whole lot more organized.
- FreeMind mind mapping software
FreeMind is a free mind mapping software designed to help you better organize your business, from your day to day priorities to long term goals. Use the above link to download the software and learn about how it can increase your productivity and keep you organized.
Now that you’ve read about the stories of other entrepreneurs on their blogs, it’s time for you to start your own. Use WordPress to create a blog for free. Include information on fundraising goals and upcoming events and promotions to attract new readers and potential customers.
Creating and sending out regular e-newsletters and updates will help you maintain close relationships with clients. Use Breeze to help you create, manage, and send e-mail campaigns.
Nolo is an online resource that provides readers with information on law, patents, copyright information, and other legal information you need to know.
The folks at Moo "love to print," as it boasts on their Web site. Visit their Web site if you’re thinking of printing promotional materials like flyers, bumper stickers, or mailers.
If you don’t have a brick and mortar in which to sell your products, start selling online with the help of Vstore. This free software helps set up your Web site with online shopping carts, logo design, and more.
Organize your business files more easily with Box, which allows you to send and share documents quickly and easily.
Zoho is an almost entirely free office suite service that features word processing, presentation tools, spreadsheets, planners, and more.
Create a MySpace page for networking purposes. Your contacts list will grow immensely as you meet new "friends" online and share with them news about your budding business.
Browse this Web site to find software aimed to help your business succeed. Marketing strategies, meeting plans, and other great ideas are just a click away.
Facebook is another online networking tool that proves beneficial to spreading the word about you and your entrepreneurial vision.
Guides and How-tos
In case you need a little extra direction when you design your Web site or start organizing the administrative aspect of your new business, these guides will walk you through the process.
- Business Resource Software
Invest in Business Resource Software, and watch your business plan evolve from bright idea to profitable reality. The computer program comes with tutorials on marketing, planning, and sales strategies, as well as a directory of consultants waiting to help walk you through the process of becoming a successful entrepreneur.
- The Small Business Sourcebook
The Small Business Sourcebook contains listings of conventions, guides, and other information about every type of business industry in the country. Refer to this book often to learn more about upcoming events in your industry, find out about your competition, and research high-profile leaders in the business world.
Inc.com claims to be "the daily resource for entrepreneurs," and with its articles and advice columns dealing with everything from operating your company on a global scale, client relations, sales, and acquiring capital, it proves to be a valuable source worth referring to.
- Host a fundraiser with the help of Party411.com.
Plan a party for your business and ask each guest to make whatever donation they can. The fundraiser can be held in a fancy ballroom with lots of press, or you can make it fun and casual in your backyard. Just make sure your guests are comfortable and don’t feel pressured to give more than they can…otherwise they might resent you and your new business.
- Free Management Library
The Free Management Library serves as an online database of business tools and resources to help you organize your new company.
Search this Web site for helpful tips on how to manage all aspects of your business.
AllBusiness.com gives readers expert advice on entrepreneurial matters, from mapping out your career goals to marketing your new company to budgeting employees.
FindLaw puts new business owners in contact with the legal advice experts that help answer questions about contracts, property rights, and other legal issues.
- U.S. State Department Travel Web site
On this site, the U.S. State Department outlines travel information and security alerts, as well as currency, trading, and customs information for the business traveler.
This directory of online businesses with help you stay abreast of the competition.
- Internal Revenue Service homepage.
It’s probably not your favorite time of year, but when your taxes are due, you’d better make sure they’re in order. This site gives information to small business owners so you can keep track of the right forms, expenses, and employee tax information.
- American Red Cross Business and Industry Guide
This how-to prepares "your business for the unthinkable" by helping you determine plans for all types of emergencies.
- Entrepreneur.com How-To section
This database from entrepreneur.com features titles like "25 Ways to Simplify Your Business" and "Top Tips for Dealing With Biz Disasters."
- International Business Center
This Web site gives readers access to all types of information and advice for doing business globally.
- The Closet Entrepreneur
The Closet Entrepreneur is a blog full of advice on how to expand your business without spending excessive amounts of time or money. Browse through titles like "5 Steps to PowerPoint Enlightenment" or Business Backwards 101."
Nonprofit and Government Resources
Just because your business if for-profit, doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from some assistance from non-profits and governmental organizations. In this section we highlight some of the most useful groups to help you get your busienss off the ground.
The mother of all social and minority organizations, the NAACP is a powerful resource. Contact your local chapter and find out what kinds of opportunities they have for you, whether it’s volunteering, sitting on a board of advisors, or supporting your business.
- Minority Business Development Agency
The Minority Business Development Agency, or MBDA, is a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and according to its Web site, is the only "federal agency created specifically to foster the establishment and growth of minority-owned businesses in America." The agency has several centers across the country, or you can just refer to the Web site to gain access to tools on how to better your entrepreneurial ambition.
- The Encyclopedia of Associations
There are several different volumes of this encyclopedia, ranging from international to national directories of nonprofit organizations.
- U.S. Small Business Administration
The SBA, as it is most commonly referred to, was created to protect and nurture the small business owners of America. Visit the Web site to access tools on formulating a business plan, developing sales, and maximizing profits. You’ll also find information on your basic rights as an entrepreneur in the United States.
Visiting this Web site will answer all the questions you have regarding your rights, opportunities, and restrictions when dealing with the U.S. government. For instance, if you wish to sell products or form a partnership with any government group, you will have to research all the rules, regulations, and documents you’re required to adhere to.
- Library of Congress
The Library of Congress’ Business Reference Services is a comprehensive resource for any entrepreneur who wants to learn more about his or her own industry, learn more about starting up a new company, or stay abreast of general business and economic news.
Sources of Capital
It takes money to make money. And whether your business is big or small, coming up with business capital is an important way to accelerate your companies growth. In this section we highlight some important ways to get the cash you need to make it.
Prosper is like an online social networking community, but its purpose is to encourage the borrowing and lending of capital.
- Online grassroots campaign with Startupnation.com
Visit StartupNation.com to find out how you can get to the top through grassroots marketing.
- The Black Capital Network
The Black Capital Network is devoted to "promoting African American businesses and the black community" by helping black entrepreneurs form relationships and assist each other financially.
- Harvard Capital Group
The Harvard Capital Group aids entrepreneurs in their pursuit to raise capital and start running a profitable business. Click on the link above to read tips for the president of Harvard Capital Group to get an idea on how you can work to find the right kind of investors.
- vFinance, Inc.
This Web site boasts of large directory of capital firms and investors, allowing you to search through their lists on the basis of amount, industry, and location.
Another online directory of loan and business capital firms, BusinessFinance.com also walks visitors through the process of applying for and securing loans, approaching potential investors, and more.
Though they may seem like an unlikely resource for securing startup capital, the boys in brown have an entire system devoted to helping entrepreneurs finance their new companies. Visit capital.ups.com for more information.
This online network helps you find the right investors who are most willing to back your enterprise.
- How to Raise Money for Your Business
Read this article from Entrepreneur.com to find ways to effectively raise capital.
In this article, Isabel M. Isidro explores the many tools and resources you need to raise money for your business.
Janet Attard from BusinessKnowHow.com helps visitors to the Web site find investors and raise money for new businesses.
- How corporations Raise Capital
This tutorial explains how big corporations raise capital and how you can learn from their success stories.
VentureWorthy.com helps entrepreneurs and investors recover from the dot-com hysteria and prepare them for doing business in a new economic climate.
- The Capital Raising Program
Follow this 5-step program to reach your fundraising goal.
Take notes from the folks at SurePayroll.com, who give readers plenty of advice on all the aspects of raising capital.
- Direct Public Offering
Read this article at GoPublicToday.com to find out about a new form of acquiring capital through the stock market: direct public offering.
FundingPost is another online brings entrepreneurs and investors together on the Web and by scheduling events for them to meet face to face.
This site is "where entrepreneurs and investors meet," according to the Web site. Log in and start searching to find your company’s match.
Profiles of Successful Black Entrepreneurs
Rather than forging ahead relying entirely on your own wits, why not take a page from the lessons learned by other black entrepreneurs. This section will highlight some of the most inspirational african american entrepreneurs which will help inspire and guide you on your path.
- Andrew Jackson Beard
Though this former slave came from humble beginnings in 19th-century Alabama, he is most known for his patented invention of the plow. With the money he earned, Beard started his own real-estate business.
- George Washington Carver
Also a former slave, George Washington Carver was born in Missouri, where he became known as "the Peanut Doctor" because of his unusual gift for nurturing plants and food crops. Eventually the Director of Research and Experiment at Tuskegee University in Alabama, Carver invented new trends in agriculture, including crop-rotations and developing uses for the peanut plant.
- Elijah McCoy
After escaping North America to avoid racial discrimination, Elijah McCoy was educated as an engineer in Europe. He eventually made his way to the United States, where he began inventing valuable tools for the Michigan Central Railroad, including various kinds of lubricators.
- Madame C.J. Walker
After growing up as a sharecropper in the Reconstruction-era South and as a domestic servant in St. Louis, Madame C.J. Walker (who was known at the time as Sarah Breedlove), developed an original line of hair care products for African American men and women, including straightening serums. Eventually, Walker began selling her hair care and beauty products, opened a beauty school, and moved to New York City, where she became one of the first black women millionaires.
- John Merrick
As the founder of the North Carolina Mutual and Provident Insurance Company, John Merrick is widely regarded as one of the more important black entrepreneurs. Raised by a single mother, Merrick went on to found other insurance companies and banks during the turn of the twentieth century.
- Dr. Aaron McDuffie Moore
A sometime partner of John Merrick, Dr. Aaron McDuffie Moore also founded many insurance companies, especially health-related organizations, in Durham, North Carolina.
- Daymond John
As founder and CEO of the iconic clothing line FUBU, Daymond John assisted in creating the image of African American youth in the last decade.
- Kenneth I. Chenault
According to CNN.com, Kenneth I. Chenault is "one of the most powerful and influential people on Wall Street. As Chairman and CEO of the American Express Company, he is also "one of only three African-American CEOs of a Fortune 500 company."
- S.B. Fuller
Originally a door-to-door salesman in Louisiana, S.B. Fuller eventually started his own lucrative cosmetics business before buying out many other large corporations, including the Courier newspaper chain.
One of the most popular and influential entertainers around today, Jay-Z is also responsible for launching a wildly successful enterprise including his famed Def-Jam and Roc-A-Fella Records, as well as his clothing line Roccawear, co-founded with partner Damon Dash. Jay-Z is also the co-owner of the New Jersey Nets basketball team and is worth a reported $340 million.
One of the most recognizable faces on the planet, Oprah Winfrey is one of the wealthiest, most successful public figures ever, let alone a notable Africna American entrepreneur. Widely regarded as one of the most influential people in the world, Oprah overcame poverty and molestation during her upbringing in the Deep South. Now the president of Harpo Productions, Oprah is also an actress, philanthropist, and the publisher of O, The Oprah Magazine, and O at Home Magazine.
- Catherine L. Hughes
Catherine L. Hughes is the founder of Radio One, the largest African American run broadcast company. Her son, whom she had when she was just 17 years old, now runs the Washington D.C.-based company.
- Arnold W. Donald
As the President and CEO of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International, Arnold W. Donald continues to enjoy his prominent career as a leader in the business world. In 2000, Donald founded the Merisant Company, which is devoted to discovering foods and sweeteners — such as Equal– that are healthy and nutritious.
- Emma C. Chapell
Emma C. Chappel’s struggle to found the United Bank of Philadelphia proved successful in 1992 when she opened the first black-owned Philadelphia bank in several decades. A champion of the black entrepreneurial spirit, Chappell is also an authority when it comes to networking and developing relationships with investors.
Armed with these networking and business tools and a healthy dose of much-deserved self-confidence, you’re ready to take your business to the next level. Rely on the support of your family and community, and be proud of your success.
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