Here is a great opportunity for you to get out and network if you're in the Chicago area. The Black Women's Expo is being held in Chicago during the weekend of April 7-9, 2017. The event is being put on by MGPG Events, Inc. and it looks like Walgreens is one of their major sponsors.
Entertainment lined up for the event includes music star, K. Michelle and Sevyn Streeter. Here's a quote from their website, "Now in our 23rd year, The Black Women’s Expo presents an array of dynamic speakers and celebrities in seminar sessions, top musical artists on our main stage…and a lively marketplace for corporations and small business exhibitors to engage with the powerful and growing African American consumer!"
Learn more about this event by visiting their website:
It has been difficult for small business owners to obtain capital in order to create and maintain viable business enterprises. For African American business owners, the task has been especially hard. In June 2016, the National Urban League was invited to attend a strategic dialogue on African American small business lending hosted by the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Milken Institute. That meeting revealed many statistics that show that Black business owners are having disproportionate difficulties raising funds for their businesses.
According to The Fundera Ledger, about two-thirds of business survive 2 years in business, half of all businesses will survive 5 years, and one-third will survive 10. These are very daunting statistics. Often times, it is a business owners access to additional funds that can make the difference between surviving, thriving, or closing their doors.
Fortunately, there are a few alternative lending companies that have started and offer loans to businesses outside of the traditional bank options. One of those alternative lending options that i would like to feature today is 5Linx Capital. This company has been finding loans for business owners who meet certain qualifying conditions. One of those conditions is that a company make at least $10,000 per month in revenue. Your credit score is looked at, but does not play such a significant role as when applying for traditional loans.
You can learn more about 5Linx Capital by visiting their website.
5 Linx Capital is just one of the new companies that offer alternative business loans to established businesses. In future posts I will explore more alternative lending sources and feature companies that give loans to startups as well as established businesses.
Until then. Stay positive and keep growing.
It is very important that you know what your competition is doing at all times. This is something that is critical to the success of your business. I have heard some people say, "We're only concerned with what we're doing. We don't worry about the competition." I'm here to tell you that thinking in that way can kill a business enterprise... fast. No one in your business should ever utter those words. Here is a list of 4 good reasons you should keep up with "the other guys."
1. Being Different Is How You Can Stand Out In A Crowd, Win Fans, And Grow Exponentially
There is no question that the best way to stand out in a crowded field is to be "different." You must have something that you do that is very unique from everyone else. Once you identify something that you can do that makes you special, make sure that you do that thing extremely well. Doing something unique and wonderful will make others talk about and recommend your business to others. That is how you build a following that will be loyal to your brand. Knowing what your competition is doing will allow you to find opportunities to turn clients into fans.
2. If You're Doing Something Unique and Great Today, Your Competition May Have Started Doing It Too!
After you find the thing that makes you unique in the marketplace, you still have to monitor your competition because yes, they do steal your good ideas. I like to use the example of Chic-Fil-A. The company was really the first fast food restaurant to bring high customer service to the industry. Their reputation for service is really legendary. They have built a very loyal fan base of customers and stand way above their competition. One of their signature customer service points is that they always say "my pleasure" after serving a customer. Well, lo and behold, after a while I started to hear the familiar "my pleasure" words uttered by another fast food restaurant's employees. Wow. They stole their signature saying. Well, after a while, saying "my pleasure" will no longer be unique. So how will they stand out in the crowd when other companies start to steal their great ideas? Well, the only way you can stay ahead of the competition is to know what they are doing. Always, always, always, monitor them to see if they have taken your great ideas and then look for new ways to be unique.
3. Learn From The Mistakes Of Your Competition
Keeping up with what your competition is doing may also allow you to learn from any mistakes that they make. Learning from other people's mistakes is the best way to learn. If your competitors have newsletters or email lists, subscribe to them so that you can always be in the loop with what they are doing. You can also go to Google News and set up a news alert for your competitors. If any news item or press release is posted about them, it will go directly to your inbox. Keep your eyes and ears open so that you can pick up on any missteps from your competition.
4. You Can Make Sure Your Products Or Services Are Priced Right For Your Market
Businesses who don't keep up with how much other companies are charging for similar products or services can price themselves right out of business. Consumers are very savvy these days and routinely go online to get price comparisons. If they can find your product or service at a similar quality but at a lower price, you will probably not get their business. This is why you MUST know how much people are being charged for similar services. The more intelligence you gather from your competitors the more ammunition you have in your fight for market share.
I sincerely hope that these tips will allow you to see just a few reasons why you should always stay on top of what your competitors are doing in your market.
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Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Black business advocate and educator who has started his own online school that focuses on teaching skills to those who wish to develop their own businesses.
He has released a video on his YouTube page that depicts a typical interaction between a Black person and their family when they announce that they are starting their own business.
The video has been received with mixed reviews when reviewing the comments posted on the YouTube page.
In my opinion, it shows how it's common for people to not do their proper homework and preparation before asking family members to invest in their business ideas. It's really insulting when you think about it. Your family member works hard to accumulate capital and assets and you ask them to depart with those funds just because you "have an idea." If you're truly serious about your idea, you'll do what it takes to have a proper business plan and presentation. Only then should you be taken seriously. If you don't know how to set up a business plan, then get help ASAP.
Yes. There is money available in the Black community for people to invest in your ideas. But only AFTER, you've done the work of getting your idea professionally packaged so that you can present it properly.
I'll let you decide what you think.
Watch the video.
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