All Articles Tagged "entrepreneurs"

Got A Minute? How To Perfect Your Elevator Pitch

July 21st, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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Most business experts advise entrepreneurs to get their business pitch down to 30-to-60 seconds, about the time of an elevator ride. The key is to deliver your pitch with just enough passion and business data that it will compel an investor to fork over some money, or convince a new client to use your services.

The perfect elevator pitch is a challenge for most every entrepreneur, marketer, and salesperson. On the surface it seems simple: “[C]ommunicate what you do in the time it takes to ride an elevator from ground level until the door opens and you have to leave,” writes Inc.

But the key is to give your audience what they want and need. A persuasive elevator pitch “communicates a compelling value proposition that attracts customers predisposed to buy,” notes the magazine.

According to Inc., there are a few helpful steps to organize your pitch.

Step 1–Reach Out with Empathy

Yes. Empathy. Think Olivia Pope. Put yourself in your client’s shoes and tell them how you are going to be their “fixer.”

“Create a specific pain statement for the customers you want. You really only want to talk to people who are willing to pay for the problem you solve,” explains Inc.

Step 2–Offer the Solution

Okay, you’ve gotten their attention. They feel you understand their situation. It’s time to tease them with the solution. “So now they are listening and they just got vulnerable. No need to put them on the defensive. They are thinking you might be pretty smart and insightful. Don’t prove them wrong by trying to close just yet,” writes Inc.

Step 3–Offer Differentiation

Closing time. “Now they are 90% there. The best way to close is by explaining why only you are the best to provide the solution they need,” says Inc. You will need to at this point explain–quickly and concisely–how you  are different from your competition. Here’s an example:

My company uses proven project management and storytelling techniques honed from our background in theater. Additionally we use proprietary processes outlined in my #1 bestselling marketing books and my national column on Inc. 

Perhaps I could send you a link to my column or a couple of chapters from my books?

Make sure to offer to send them something because it gives you permission to get their email and create a relationship.

Have you ever gotten any business from an effective elevator pitch?

American Entrepreneurs Hit A Bump: U.S. Now Lags In Creating Millionaires

June 20th, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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People in most other countries think America as the ultimate land of opportunity. A place where anyone can strike it rich. But according to a new survey, the United States is lagging in creating rich entrepreneurs.  The study from Barclays, “Origins and Legacy: the Changing Order of Wealth Creation,” found that developing countries now lead the U.S. when it comes to wealth creation by entrepreneurs.

Globally, 40 percent of millionaires (individuals with investable assets of $1.5 million or more) cited a “business sale or profit” from their business as their source of wealth. And, only a quarter of the millionaires cited inheritance as being the source of their wealth, reports NBC News.

But in the U.S., according to the survey, only 21 percent of millionaires cited business sale or profit as their source of wealth. Meanwhile, a much larger percentage cited saved earnings or personal investments as their wealth sources.

South Africa had 68 percent of millionaires who cite “business sale or profit” as a source of wealth. In Latin America it was 58 percent and in the Asia-Pacific region it was 57 percent—all higher than the U.S.

American entrepreneurial strength seems to be wavering. The Kauffman Foundation recently found that there were 514,000 new business owners a month in 2012. This was a decrease from 543,000 in 2011. In fact, the 2012 numbers were the lowest in five years. More evidence of the drop in entrepreneurialism in the U.S. came from a report by the Hudson Institute that found that brand new companies added 2.34 million jobs in 2010, compared with an average of about 3 million a year dating back to 1977. Though it should be noted that, among minorities, growth in small businesses in the US is robust, giving us good reason to celebrate National Small Business week. Though the numbers are smaller, entrepreneurs are still a large contributing factor to the US economy.

The  Barclays report proposes that the difference between the U.S. and other countries could also be one of basic wealth cycles. “Wealth in developing countries is newer, and therefore there is more wealth from freshly minted companies than from savings or investments,” reports NBC News.

“These [developing] markets have a much shorter history of widespread wealth creation and many of the high-net-worth individuals in these markets are first generation wealthy,” according to the report.

The wealth of entrepreneurs  is more volatile as they are more apt to take risk with investments. Also, they tend to increase their fortunes during the recession in comparison to those with inherited wealth or those who made their money from investments and savings. So the reports, on their own, only tell part of the story. Are you optimistic about the economy?

They Got That Real Money: Savvy Entrepreneurs You Should Know

May 22nd, 2013 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Source: WENN



From StyleBlazer

Entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes, especially when it comes to the web and the world of fashion. These 12 entrepreneurs have given back to the fashion, beauty and creative communities in major ways and we think they’re worth noting. Whether you’re looking for your next stroke of genius or hoping to change the game, take a cue from Tumblr founder David Karp who shows it’s never too early to get a head start!

Marrissa Mayer, David Karp

26-year-old Tumblr creator David Karp poses with Yahoo! CEO Melissa Mayer after announcing the acquisition of Tumblr for $1.1 billion. They may call him the “hipster CEO” but you’ve got to respect a man who founded his own company at 14!

Forgive Me, For I Have Sinned: Temptations Entrepreneurs Should Avoid

April 18th, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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According to Inc. the seven deadly sins not only pertain to the Bible, but to entrepreneurs as well. Start ups, advises the magazine, must avoid the seven deadly sins in order to survive and thrive.

We’ve added our two cents to their take on these temptations.

1. Lust: “The vision of cash, fame, fast cars, and fancy houses can draw valuable focus, energy, and resources away from what is really important about building a business,” writes Inc.

Who doesn’t aspire to the “good” life, but too much of the good life can lead to financial disaster. Add luxuries to your life in moderation with an eye always to your bottom line. Have a financial planner map out with you the goals of your company as well as your personal goals and how to achieve them.

2. Gluttony: According to the publication, “Entrepreneurs seduced by gluttony will take on too much before their infrastructure is solidly in place, ultimately delivering poor performance and ruining their reputation before it’s fully established.”

Gluttony and lust go hand in hand. Moderation and patience are factors entrepreneurs must employ.

3. Greed:  “Entrepreneurs seduced by greed will make immoral decisions that may increase short-term returns via shortsighted policies in pricing, marketing, and personnel, doing damage to their reputation and sustainability,” warns the magazine.

Greed can make people—including entreprenuers—to stupid things just for money. Start up owners must think every action through, putting instant satisfaction aside, and think for the long-term.

4. Sloth: Entrepreneurs can’t afford to be lazy. Starting a new business is not for someone who doesn’t like to work, andentrepreneurs work anywhere, anytime. “Entrepreneurs seduced by sloth will make sloppy choices involving untested business models and marketing techniques, burning valuable resources and putting everyone involved at risk,” notes Inc.

If you find yourself being worn out just at the sheer amount of work it entails when running a new business, make sure to surround yourself with a great team who can pick up the slack.

5. Wrath: “Entrepreneurs seduced by wrath will let unbridled emotion reign, creating fear, anger, and destruction internally and externally,” observes Inc.

No one likes to work for or do business with a hot head. Learn to de-stress and redirect your anger.

6. Envy: Do you worry too much about the Joneses? Drop the envy and focus on your business. “Entrepreneurs seduced by envy will spend so much of their time and resources trying to battle and sabotage competition that they will miss their own unique opportunities to perform and maximize growth,” says tee magazine.

Envy is a distraction that will having you trying to play catch up with your competition. Instead, try to make your product or service better and aim for a different niche.

7. Pride: It is good to be proud of your achievements, but just like anything too much pride is deadly. “Entrepreneurs seduced by pride will insist their ideas are always the best and be closed to outside suggestion just to feed their ego,” advises Inc.

Try to have people with you who will give you an honest assessment of  how you and your company are doing. Having someone in your corner who holds no punches will keep you focused on your goals instead of being surround by ego strokers who will help you get distracted by pride.

Hold Up! Last Minute Tax Deductions Tips For Small Business Owners

April 8th, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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Small business owners, are you trying to get your last-minute tax deductions lined up?  There may be a few items you had not considered — or even know were deductibles. has a few surprising suggestions from a tax experts.

Pinning! How Pinterest Can Benefit Your Business

March 29th, 2013 - By Tanvier Peart
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In just a few short years, Pinterest has become one of the top social media outlets generating more website referral traffic than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn…combined. It boasts over 1.30 million unique users daily and has been giving search engine giants like Google a run for their money in the traffic source department.

More and more companies are turning to Pinterest as a means to site traffic and even selling product. Consumers are even  spending more money on Pinterest than it’s popular counterpart, Facebook. This is major news as tons of businesses aren’t capitalizing on all of these advantages.

So while you may see Pinterest as a fun pastime to collage your wants and dreams, entrepreneurs are seizing the opportunity to generate new business.

Interested in pinning for your business? Here are some tips and tricks to make it beneficial .

It’s Hard Work, But It’s Rewarding: Small Business Owners Are Pretty Happy People

March 12th, 2013 - By Tonya Garcia
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via Bolt Insurance

via Bolt Insurance

No one ever mistook opening a small business for a walk in the park. There’s financial sacrifice, little (if any) free time, hours away from family and friends, and the struggle to take your business from zero to success. But even with all that’s involved, small business owners report being pretty pleased with themselves.

Bolt Insurance has created an infographic that literally illustrates the joy that small business owners have for being on their own. Seventy percent, in fact, say they’re very happy. And 90 percent say they prefer being entrepreneurs to working for someone else.

If you’re thinking about becoming a small business owner, this illustration also gives some info about which of the many responsibilities entrepreneurs have that stresses out them out the most.

If you’re a small business owner or have aspirations of being one, let us know what it is you love about your job.

Why We Need More Black Businesses–The Ones That Are Really Serious About Their Business

February 27th, 2013 - By Clarke Gail Baines
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This past weekend I had the opportunity to meet my baby nephew for the first time. His mother, my sister, had been doing well but working very, very hard to take care of this baby boy by herself while her husband works overseas, and to help her pamper herself after months of being on diaper duty, I wanted us to go get our nails done–on me. Living in New York, the options for a nail salon are pretty unlimited, but as for a GOOD nail salon, that’s another story. I have a huge fear of a clumsy or lazy nail tech somehow managing to cut me to the point that I get an infection, something like the ones you read about or see on those scary health and science channels. And after my sister spoke about getting a huge gash on her foot a few years back and watching a nail tech massage my hands with an uncovered cut a few months ago, I wanted to do some REAL research.

To my dismay, however, I found that on a Sunday night, most of the nail shops were too far out and/or closed by 6 or 7 p.m. Bummed out, we headed to the train from an Indian restaurant in Brooklyn, only to run up on a nail bar two stores down. And when I walked in, I was ecstatic to hear Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite playing over the sound system, cookies and sandwiches on a plate in the corner, folks relishing good conversation, and see black faces doing all the work. A black owned nail salon!? Scooooooore. No disrespect to anybody who works at a nail salon that is owned or has employees of a different background, but I sometimes feel not all that welcomed or appreciated when go to other shops. Either people are speaking in another language in my face, or they’re not really speaking to me at all.

The decor was fancy, the prices were pretty good (I got a mani-pedi for $28) and the people who worked there were very nice and took time (kind of a long time) to be meticulous about their work, especially when it came to the manicures. The woman who did my nails even asked me about myself and offered tips on how to preserve my nail job for more than a few days (apply a clear coat on top of your manicure every two days). The owner, a bubbly, tall black woman, introduced herself to us, and seemed very appreciative of our business–something you don’t see very often.

In the end, I walked out with my nephew and sister, are nails both in a spicy form of orange, and for one of the first times in a long time, I looked at a black-owned business with glee and thought, “I’ll be back.”

I try my hardest to spend my money at black owned businesses, including hair salons, restaurants, accessory purveyors and more, but sadly, the quality of the things sold, the work done or the person who provides the service is not up to par sometimes. I’ve waited more than two hours before to get my hair done. I’ve had a woman poorly cut my hair into a mushroom cut when she didn’t want to be honest about the fact that she couldn’t line me up worth a damn. I’ve had people low-key yell at me when I didn’t pick up my food order fast enough, and gone to businesses that said they would be open at one time, and left me locked out in 90 degree heat in the summer (and then had no air condition when I finally got in that joint). For every genuinely great place of business owned by a committed, hard working black woman or man, there are few I doubt can even take themselves seriously with employees who spend more time talking than working, and care more for their time than yours.

Going to this particular nail bar was great for me, and I do intend to go back. But just the whole experience in itself, with the fun black women doing waxes, giving massages, painting nails and doing everything with a smile and a “Hey girl, hey” look, reminded me of how great we can be when we take things REALLY seriously, listen to customer thoughts and complaints, try and grow from them, and try to provide people with the type of service we ourselves would want. It’s so easy to tell one another to “buy black,” but at the same time, those we’re buying from need to make us want to, and the happy-go-lucky lady who owned this shop definitely persuaded me. Besides, I just really want our entrepreneurs to succeed, because if we can’t support those who tailor their goods and services for our skin, our hair, our tastes and our needs, who else will?

A Female Voice on Satellite Radio: Shawna Renee Is Breaking Barriers In the On-Air Boys Club

February 19th, 2013 - By Lauren DeLisa Coleman
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Shawna Renee


Welcome to another “Behind the Click” profile!  We’ve looked at many sides of tech thus far in the journey, but today we’re going to add satellite to the mix.  That’s right, satellite, as in radio.  Thanks to this type of technology, we’ve been able to expand radio options and add more voices of color to the mix.

Shawna Renee is a pioneer in recognizing that the satellite technology would change the face of radio. She’s been working in this space for 15 years and now owns her own multimedia company entitled Cocoa Mode Media. Find out why Renee has been selected as one of the “Entrepreneurs to Watch” by the Minority Media and Telecom Council. She recently came up on my radar and wanted to share her insight with you.

Current Occupation:  Host, Cocoa Mode on SiriusXM Satellite Radio

Favorite website:

Favorite read: Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Recent readSisters of the Yam: Black Women and Self-Recovery by Bell Hooks

2013′s Ultimate Goal: I have two goals.  1. To complete my book.  2. To expand the Cocoa Mode brand to include a series of workshops and retreats nationwide, designed to inspire and empower women to create extraordinary lives for themselves and their families.

Quote Governing Your Mission or a Quote that Inspires You: “Pursue the things you love doing, and do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.  All other tangible rewards will come as a result.” –Maya Angelou

Twitter handle: @shawnareneelive

Madame Noire:  So where are you from originally? How did you come to choose Howard University?

Shawna Renee: I was born and raised in Detroit.  I knew Howard had an excellent communications department and I was certain that attending a prestigious HBCU would give me the training and the confidence I needed to succeed.  It was by far one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

MN:  It seems radio was your thing from the jump. Did you find it difficult to break into it, initially?

SR: My mother, father, and stepfather work in media related jobs, so it was pretty easy for me to break into the business.  What was difficult was convincing people that I deserved to be here.

MN: So I learned that you worked with terrestrial radio in Baltimore for a time and then made the move to satellite radio.  How did you get involved with SiriusXM Satellite. What is a typical day like there for you? 

SR: I started working with XM Satellite Radio in 2002 as a program director. At that time, I was employed by a company called Wordspace Satellite Radio and we  had an agreement with XM to produce four music channels. I was in charge of the World Music channel called Worldzone. In 2006, while on maternity leave from Worldspace, I “birthed” Cocoa Mode and approached The Power, XM’s African American talk channel, about carrying the show and they agreed. I’ve also worked as a producer for “The Joe Madison Show” and written, produced and hosted a number of specialty programs for SiriusXM as well.

There is no such thing as a typical day for me. My days range from spending four to five hours surfing the Web looking for interesting stories and show ideas, to writing scripts, promos, and blogs posts. I can also be found pre-recording interviews for the show.

Behind the Click: Natalia Oberti Noguera Opens the Pipeline of Angel Investing For Women Philanthropists

February 11th, 2013 - By Lauren DeLisa Coleman
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Natalia Oberti Noguera -


Hey everyone!  We are back with another profile, and for those who are interested in money — from smart investments or building a business — read on!

Investment and the images of women of color may not be synonymous, but if Natalia Oberti Noguera has her way, that will change very soon.  Natalia is founder and CEO of Pipeline Fellowship, an angel investing boot camp for women philanthropists. The Pipeline Fellowship works to increase diversity in the U.S angel investing community and creates capital for women social entrepreneurs.  This is key as women seek to balance the tech industry. Natalia is a game-changer in this area and has some major insight to share!

Name: Natalia Oberti Noguera

Current Occupation: Founder & CEO, Pipeline Fellowship

Favorite Website: Twitter

2013’s Ultimate Goal: Add #morevoices to the table.

Quotations that govern your mission, inspire you, and are just awesome:

When you do the right thing, it may not pay immediately, but it does pay. –Luz Urrutia

Powerful leadership is about understanding that you belong there.@CarlaHarris

[I]f you don’t have a seat at the table: Bring Your Own Chair.@midyaponte

People think #feminism is just for women. No fool, feminism is for everybody.@aminatou

Twitter Handle: @nakisnakis

Madame Noire:  Where are you from, Natalia,  and where did you attend college?

Natalia Oberti Noguera: I’m half-Italian, half-Colombian. My father used to work for the UN, so we moved around quite a bit while growing up, primarily in Latin America (Ecuador, Colombia, Honduras, Dominican Republic). Summers were often spent in the United States, as my maternal grandmother used to live in Pennsylvania. I went to Yale for college and double-majored in Economics and Comparative Literature.

MN:  What were you doing in your career before you started the Pipeline Fellowship?

NON: I built a network of women social entrepreneurs in NYC from about six women to over 1,200 members within two years.

MN: What events led you to start Pipeline Fellowship?

NON: Having the same conversation over and over: “It’s so hard to secure funding as a for-profit social venture.” [It] inspired me to launch the Pipeline Fellowship.

MN:  What have been the results to date for the organization. Why do you feel its important to have Pipeline in place?

NON: In 2011, only 12 percent of U.S. angel investors were women and only four percent were minorities, according to the Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire. The Pipeline Fellowship works to increase diversity in the U.S angel investing community and creates capital for women social entrepreneurs. Since running our first angel investing boot camp in April 2011, the Pipeline Fellowship has trained fifty women and has expanded from New York City to Boston, as well as San Francisco, and plans to head to Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. Pipeline Fellowship alumnae have gone on to invest in their third and fourth startups, as well as launch accelerators and angel groups.

MN: Since you focus on women and diversity, I’d love to know if you felt you’ve ever been challenged due to gender and race. How did you handle it? And what might your suggestions be for other women facing similar situations?

NON: Last year, I was invited to judge a tech startup demo. Judges were asked to sit in the front row and that’s where I found myself when a guy told the guy next to him — loud enough for me to hear, however not directly addressing me — “I thought that only the judges were supposed to sit at the front.” I turned around and said, “And what makes you think that we’re not judges–because we’re women?”  My approach is to call out -isms. As an LGBTQ Latina, it can get tiring. However, after hearing Ruth Simmons, former President of Brown University, mention how important it is for us who speak up to continue to do so because others in the room might not realize that they have the right to do the same, I understood that burning out isn’t an option. If you’re wondering how to handle a situation, remember:

Some conversations are uncomfortable but also necessary.  They are so uncomfortable because they are so necessary.Molly Lambert