Black Owned Business Network

 
Black Owned Business Network

Black Owned Business Network


Attending networking events is a great idea for your business.  But with so many people at these events, you need optimize your time.  If the networking event lasts 2 hrs, here is no possible way for you to meet and greet with everyone.  So why not have potential clients approach you?

By wearing your logo on your shirt, hat, or computer bag, you are telling everyone in the room what you do.  The people who are interested in your services will approach you.  With this method of networking, you are not wasting time networking with those who are not interested in your product or services.  You will also find that you will generate more true leads using this method.

What advice would you give to people who want to make the most of their time better at networking events?

Are you still using Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL, or Gmail for your professional email address?

The saying remains true, first impressions are Everything.  In the online world, your first impression is usually through email.  The first thing your contact sees is your email address. Receiving an email from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. carries the notation that you are dealing with either a fly by night business or fraudulent business.  Earn the trust of your clients by creating an email through your domain.  Create a professional email like This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Having a professional email offers the following benefits

    1. Advertising - Every time you send an email, you are advertising your business name and sharing your website address.  Why advertise for Hotmail, Yahoo, or other companies when you could be advertising for yourself?

 

    1. Trust - Do you want your clients to take you serious? People like to do business with trustworthy companies.  Start building trust by using an email address that looks official.

 

  1. Branding - Your email is a part of your brand.  It's how people online know you.  Make it easy to remember you by using the same email as your website.

How do you feel about businesses who don't use professional email addresses?

Having a business...EASY.  Getting your name out there ... NOT SO EASY

Marketing is not as easy and is certainly not cheap. Especially if your business has limited time or money. So here are a few options for you to capitalize on your marketing dollars.

Take advantage of free and low cost marketing opportunities
You don't have to have millions of dollars to begin marketing your business.  Start with the free or low cast marketing plans that include  creating a Facebook fan page, Tweeting about your business services, or listing your businesses in free directories like the Black Owned Business Directory found here. 

Email Subscription Services
Allow visitors to your website to subscribe to a mailing list. Then send them regular updates on your services.

Take advantage of business card promotions
Companies like www.vistaprint.com free or low cost corporate identity packages including business cards, brochures, and postcards and all you pay is shipping.  Sign up to their mailing list to receive these offers.

Take advantage of Web Design Deals
Having a website is critical in today's marketing world.  Companies like Dee's Solutions offer promotions like free Facebook fan page designs when you purchase a new website.  They go even further by offering payment plans to help with your expenses.

Tell us how your business has saved on marketing?

 

So you've invested your time and money in training them.  They know the ends and outs of your business. They know your clients. Your clients know them.  The truth is, you can't afford to lose them as an employee because retaining your best employees is critical in the success of your business.

There are several things that you can do to keep your good employees where they should be

    1. Offer competitive salaries and benefits. All employees are not motivated solely by money and all companies can't offer increasing salaries.  Offset the salaries by offering valuable benefits.  Offer an extra week of paid vacation or the benefit of working remotely from time to time.  Be flexible with your employees work schedule.  Your goal as an employer is to keep your employees happy.  Competitive Salaries and benefits make employees happy.  Happy Employees don't leave.



    1. Make sure your managers are trained. Employees leave their managers and supervisors more often than they leave their companies.  Not only should your manager evaluate your employees, but you should give your employees the opportunity to evaluate their managers.  Manager evaluations can be used as tools to improve your managers skills.  Finally,  if your manager is not performing in the position, put someone there who will perform.



    1. Offer a career not a job. Great employees want something to look forward to.  Offering career development programs, like tuition reimbursement and six sigma certifications, makes employees feel that you are investing in them.  It also gets your employees ready to be promoted within your company.



  1. RESPECT YOUR EMPLOYEES. Good employees not only want, but they deserve your respect.  They work long hours.  They put in work to make you money.  Tell them thank you for their hard work.  Acknoledge when they have done a good job.  Give them credit when they come up with a new idea.  Good employees know that they are good employees.  They also know that they can be just as good of an employee for someone else as they can for you.

As a business Owner, what do you do to keep your Great employees. As an employee, what makes you stay at your job.

Check and respond to your business emails and phone calls and voice mails daily.

Clients don't wait, they find other services.  When a client makes a request, they want to know that they are a priority.  They want your assistance.  They need information, or a solution to some problem. 

Your response time could mean the difference between a new customer for you or a new client for your competitors.  Customer service is everything.  Respond to your clients immediately, even if it's just to let the client know that you are working on a solution to their problem, or a time frame on when you will be able to address their problem.

Do you have a system in place for keeping up with your clients requests?

You need repeat customers to have a successful long-term creative business.

Repeat customers are the easiest customers.  Think about it, they know your product or service. They trust your brand.  Most importantly, you already have a relationship with them.  It is easier and cheaper to get someone to buy from you if they have bought from you before.  So what does it take to turn a new customer into that favored repeat customer.  Here's a couple of tips:

1) Have a great product or service at a competitive price.

When you have a quality product or service, it will usually sell itself.  Your customers will come back because they value and trust your product or service and your price is competitive. 

2) Keep in touch

Sometimes your clients forget about you.  Send them a thank you note for doing business with you. Notify your clients when you offer new products or have promotions.  Not only is this a good gesture, but it keeps you on the clients mind.

3 ) Offer special discounts to repeat customers

Everyone loves a sale.  Offering a special discount to your customers makes them feel appreciated.  It makes clients feel like they are getting something exclusive.  It makes clients feel important.


What tips do you have for turning your first time customers into repeat customers?

*** CLICK HERE TO ADD YOUR BUSINESS TO OUR DIRECTORY ***

Our goal is to empower black businesses with tools to strengthen networking abilities and to provide valuable business resources that will enable us to close the gap in the profit margin between black owned businesses and non–black owned businesses.

In 2007 there were over 1.9 million black owned businesses in the United States. That number is growing rapidly. According to the US Census, the average black owned business grosses about $72,000 per year. This is below the national average for other minority businesses which gross an average of $179,000. In addition, non-minority firms gross an average of $490,000 per year.

Improved networking is the key to the success of the black owned business. We will start by giving black businesses the ability to network with other black owned businesses. We will provide valuable resources to businesses that will enable businesses to move forward and focus on their business needs. These resources include the following:

  • Black owned business directory that will offer business a free listing to all black owned businesses
  • Scholarship listing that will list scholarships that target African American students
  • Job board that will list jobs that are offered by African American business owners
  • Discounts on web design services to black owned businesses who do not have a web presence
  • Discounts on Lean Six Sigma training to businesses to give black owned businesses a means to increase profits internally.

 

Let's face it.  For every service you provide, there are hundreds of others who provide the same service.  When a potential customer or client tries to contact you or your business for your services.  You usually only get one shot.  Make it easy for your clients to get in touch with you.  Make sure that your email address, physical address, and phone number are correct on all of your media including your website and business cards.

 


When I was a child my mother often spoke of a time when the black community looked out for the black community. She would speak of the times when everyone in her neighborhood was considered a family. She spoke of times when the black community thrived and worked to improve their own community. She spoke of a time when blacks were PROUD of their communities.

That was my mother’s generation. My generation is different. I come from a time where the black community does not take care of itself. I come from a time when everything you hear about the black community is negative. I come from a time when the idea of Black Owned is considered negative. I come from a time where people just DO NOT CARE.

Well, at least I THOUGHT that African Americans did not care about their community. That was until I learned about a group called “It Takes A Village Y’all”.

“It Takes A Village Y’all” is a not a nonprofit. They are regular people like you and me. They live in their community. They work in their communities. Most importantly they give back to their community. They honor and celebrate the seniors in their Detroit community. They encourage and motivate the youth in their community. They promote unity within their community. They ARE making a difference in their community. They are “Changing Detroit for the better one block at a time”.

So how do they do it? Do they solicit funds from others? NO. Do they apply for government grants? NO. Are they funded by some big corporation? The answer is NO. They use their own hard earned money and resources to take care of THEIR community. They formed partnerships with a host of other groups with the same goal. They invest their time and money to improve their own community. They took the concept of It takes a Village and applied it literally.

It Takes A Village Y’all is an inspiration to me because they believe in their community. Not only that, they inspire others to believe in their community. They serve as proof that when we UNITE, we can move mountains. Most importantly, they represent HOPE for the community.

It Takes A Village Y’all was founded by Robert L. Robinson II. Find out more information by visiting www.ittakesavillageyall.com


 

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