Daily Archives: March 16, 2009

Mixed Signals: The State of Black Entrepreneurship

The gap in businesses ownership rates between whites and blacks is widely regarded as evidence of inequality. How bad is it really, and what can be done?

When he started his company, Donald Coleman had nothing but his personal savings and a few faithful friends to fund it. Twenty years later, GlobalHue, Coleman’s marketing communications agency that focuses on minority consumers, closed 2008 with $825 million in billings. Numbers like that earn Coleman membership in an all-too-exclusive club: He is a successful black entrepreneur. And he has an idea why there aren’t more people like him.

“I think it’s quite evident that the lack of access to capital is the reason why there aren’t more minority entrepreneurs,” he says.

Coleman’s experience resonates with studies like Race and Entrepreneurial Success, published last year by University of California, Santa Cruz economics professor Rob Fairlie and research associate Alicia Robb. They analyzed confidential data from the U.S. Census Bureau to paint a comprehensive picture of minority business ownership, and the results, at least for black entrepreneurship, are bleak. Overall, the number of black business owners is far lower than the national average, and their businesses also “tend to have lower sales, fewer employees and smaller payrolls, lower profits, and higher closure rates.” ….more at Mixed Signals: The Progress of Black Entrepreneurship – Business Ownership – Entrepreneur.com, published 9 March 2009.

Photo credit: Royalty-Free/Corbis

By | March 16, 2009|Blog, Diversity|0 Comments

Be It Twittering or Blogging, It’s All About Marketing

Passionate New York Jets fan. Keen Knicks fan. Spends hours a day on the social networking sites Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. Imbued of an entrepreneurial spirit — he even dreams of owning the Jets someday.

Gary Vaynerchuk may sound like an all-American boy, but at 33 he is a successful, grown-up businessman who has put his enthusiasms — and his penchant for publicity — to work in achieving 15-fold sales growth in his family’s wine business in the last decade, to $60 million.

He rebranded the shop, which was founded by his father, Sasha Vaynerchuk, a Russian immigrant, in Springfield, N.J., as the Wine Library and began online sales in 1997, when he was still in college. Since then he has steadily advanced his Internet-based marketing skills. His sites are tv.winelibrary.com, where his daily webcast, “The Thunder Show,” has won a wide following, and garyvaynerchuk.com.

Last December, seeking to enhance sales, he offered free shipping and promoted it three ways. As a result, he said, a direct marketing mailing cost $15,000 and brought in 200 new customers; a billboard ad cost $7,500 and won 300 new customers; and tweeting the promotion on Twitter attracted 1,800 new customers… Read more at Be It Twittering or Blogging, It’s All About Marketing – Question – NYTimes.com, published 11 March 2009

Flickr photo credit: respres

By | March 16, 2009|Blog, Online Marketing|0 Comments

When Banks Say No, Microlenders Say Yes

When banks say no, owners of cash-starved small-businesses aren’t giving up on finding loans. Many are turning to microlenders for the money they need to meet the payroll, buy supplies, pay the rent and keep the lights and heat on.

These microlenders — community-based nonprofit lenders that draw on a varying mix of financing from the Small Business Administration; other federal, state and local government agencies; and some philanthropies — say small businesses and entrepreneurs are increasingly seeking financing as home equity loans, credit lines and other loans have all but evaporated.

Adding to the pinch, credit card companies are slashing spending limits for many cardholders, including some longtime small-business customers who have relied on their credit lines as a source of ready cash.

Even profitable small businesses that once relied on banks for financing are depending more on microlending, a resource that was originally intended to be a lifeline for women, low-income and minority entrepreneurs.

Microlenders around the country say they are encountering a rush of inquiries and an increase in applications for their loans, which usually range from $5,000 to $35,000… Read more at When Banks Say No, Microlenders Say Yes – NYTimes.com, published 11 March 2009

Flickr photo credit: Daniel Y. Go

By | March 16, 2009|Administration & Finance, Blog|0 Comments