Friday, September 7, 2007

Closing your business

There comes a time when it may be time to sell your business. Maybe you are ready to "retire", or age and illness has forced you to shut the doors. Some of us even go back into the corporate world. Whatever the reason may be, closing a business is not an easy task. Other than just physically shutting down, there is legal paperwork that needs to be filed. Permits and licenses that are filed with the state and/or county the business is located in needs to be completed. "Abandonment" paperwork also needs to be filed if your business is under a fictitious name. This needs to be published in your local newspaper.

Don't forget to notify your suppliers, customers, employees, lenders and other service providers of the pending close.

This is not meant by any means to be an exhaustive list. Please, please, please check with your state and county to find out much more information.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Backing Up Data

I don't know about you but I HATE when I loose things. I can settle for losing or misplacing my keys, mail, phone numbers, my mind( just kidding) but I can't stand it when I work on something for days, weeks or even months and in a flash everything disappears. I have yet to experience MAJOR losses on my computer, but I did have a mini one a few weeks ago. I was working on a newsletter for a private school and after several hours I decided to take a break. Over the years I've got into a habit of saving files every 30 minutes or so. Well, this particular day (must have been a full moon) I decided I was done for the time being and closed my laptop. When the next morning came I opened it up only to find that ALL the work I had done the previous day was gone! I could not believe it, so long story short- back up your work.

A few companies I would suggest for you to use would be Carbonite ( Rebit ( Yes, a good backup system may set you back a couple hundred dollars. But, I'd rather spend $200 on a backup system than loose everything I've worked on.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Is Moonlighting For You?

According to, Moonlighting is defined as working an additional job after one's regular full-time employment, as at night. Many people moonlight in different forms. Some people work their regiular 9-to-5 job along with running their own business. While others may decide to only run their business at certain times, i.e. weekend only hours.
There are also many reasons why some small business owners deicde to moonlight, rather than quitting their full-time job. For some, it's just another way to supplement their income, for others, it is an alternative work option in the even that they may be laid off.

Tips for Success
  • Make a weekly list of all your duties, meetings, and other business activites.
  • Try to save up six months enough living expenses before your quit day job.
  • Set a timetable of how long you plan on moonlighting before you cross over to the other side. Some suggest anywhere form six months to a year.
  • Plan on writing a business and/or marketing plan.

Good Luck and Happy Moonlighting!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Update Blog

It's interesting how a week off can through your whole balance off. I admit, I have been fooling around with updating my blog. I should have not procrastinated and so I apologize. Hopefully, I haven't ran off the few folks who took an interest to my blog. Later this week I will make it up to you with a REAL business blog post. Until then, have a good day!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Happy Independence Day!

I am out of town and on vacation until the week of July 9th. Enjoy your 4th of July and have a good week!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

P.I.F. Today

Today I will P.I.F ( Pay It Forward) to a blogger who is not only a fellow woman business owner but also someone who has posted good advice about making a living as a freelance writer. Her name is Yuwanda Black and her blog is found at
Sometime late last year I found her blog after browsing for freelance writers. Her topics have ranged everywhere from trying to live a non-debt life to what you should be paid as a freelancer. Yuwanda has given some good advice and I encourage everyone to take a look at what she has to say, and if you are interested, sign-up for her newsletter as well.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Financial Empowerment

It is no surprise that many communities in the Black neighborhood are in a state of need. From our schools, neighborhoods, and income levels- we are have fallen behind. Yes, we have made succeded in some areas, but we still have work to do. Black Enterprise has created a written declaration to help us achieve in these areas. It is widely know that if something is written down, merely than spoken aloud, we retain the information better and we make more of an effort to achieve that goal. Last year, I decided to adopt the 10 practices in the Declaration of Financial Empowerment. And it goes as follows:

From this day forward, I declare my vigilant and lifelong commitment to financial empowerment and hereby pledge the following:
  1. I will use home ownership as a foundation to build wealth
  2. I will be proactive in managing my budget, credit, debt, and tax obligations.
  3. I will maximize my earnings potential, live within my means, and commit to save and invest at least 10% of my income.
  4. I will ensure that my investments are properly diversified and correspond to my current financial needs.
  5. I will immediately commit to a program of retirement planning and investing .
  6. I will preserve and protect my assets through proper financial and insurance planning.
  7. I will ensure that my children receive a thorough education on financial matters and business issues.
  8. I will ensure that my wealth is passed on to future generations through proper estate planning.
  9. I will actively support the creation and growth of viable, competitive black-owned enterprises.
  10. I will use a portion of my wealth to strengthen my community.
I admit I haven't got a chance to put all of these to use. But, the two I am most proud of is that I purchased my first home least year and I started a 529 college plan for my daughter. As everyone says there is NOTHING like owning your own home. All the paperwork and stress has been worth it, because there is nothing worse than being on government assistance and the workers treat you like you are a third- class citizen, never mind that you go to school full-time and work.

Source: Black Enterprise

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Apply for your MWBE Certification

If you a owner of a minority or woman business, you may qualify to earn a certificate as a MWBE ( Minority- Women Business Enterprise). There is certain qualifications to be certified as a Woman Business Enterprise. Some of these include:

  1. Fifty-one percent ( 51%) of the ownership is by a woman or a group of women.
  2. Evidence of proof of 51% majority control of the business, i.e. by-laws, hire-fire authority and other decision-making roles.
  3. Must seek certification in expertise area.

Obtaining a MBE is a little different due to the fact that the certificate is processed at the local level or regional level. Some offices require the company to have at least a 75% ethnic heritage ownership. The best way to find specific information would be to contact your city or municipal offices. You can also log onto to get general information.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Apply for Woman Entrepreneur of the Year

Ladies get ready! is hosting their fourth annual " Woman of the Year" contest. The qualifications are:
  • Be a woman business owner
  • Be a founder of the business
  • Own at least 51% of the business
  • Be actively involved in day-to-day operations
  • Have been in business for at least one full year
  • Have 2006 sales of at least $1 million, and
  • Have less than 100 employees

To apply you must go to, visit the site to review contest rules and apply before the September 15 deadline.

New Fashion Website

Yes, yes I know this is supposed to be a " small business" blog but hey a woman needs to know where she can shop and buy clothes that fit! There is no point in trying to snag a new business loan at your local bank if you have shabby clothing. At they help you find clothes that fit and flatter your body shape. Customers can register and create a myShop that allows you to enter your body measurements and your style preferences and they will find clothes for you. When you register ( which literally only takes 2 minutes) you can even request a free tape measure to be sent to you!

If that sounds too tedious for you, you can always select one of seven body types they have listed online for similar results. My favorite part is that you can even match up your color palette to suit your preferences It is like your own personal tailor online! Very nice. Anyone who creates their personal shop will also receive $25 off their first purchase. Check them out at .

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Power of Networking

Recently, I attended a networking event and I have to say that I very much enjoyed myself. I've only attended a couple of these networking events in the past few months and just now realized how important they are. Being somewhat of an introvert, I find myself much more comfortable at home or meeting people one-on-one. Hob-nobbing with the locals has not been my strongest skill. But why should extroverts have all the fun?

Small business owners need to understand and harness the power of networking. Actually, I like to think of it as more netweaving. Yes, you are trying to increase your sales. But, it is important to build a relationship first. Your clients need to know that you can be trusted. I'd suggest going around to a few different types of organizations in your area to see what best fits you. Instead of the usual chamber of commerce, how about small & home business networks, neighborhood clubs, women or minority focused networks, and trade specific networks. If you live in a mid-sized to large city there may be more than one of these in your city.

For networking tips check out this book: Why Should Extroverts Make All The Money?: Networking Made Easy for the Introvert, by Frederica Balzano.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Create a Marketing Plan For Success

We all know that a business plan is necessary to receive a small business loan. But did you know that it is also advantageous to create a marketing plan as well? Marketing plans specify key marketing objectives that you will use to market your product, service, and/or brand. Typically marketing plans are used for one year. However, you can create a five-year marketing plan for long-term goals. Marketing plans can stand alone or included in your business plan. As a small business owner some key statistics will be needed in order for your marketing campaign to succeed. Some ideas to think about are: Demographics, Pricing Strategy, Competition, Marketing Budget, Description of your product or service, and Market Segmentation.

For assistance in creating a marketing plan, check out the website for more information.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Marekting to Generation X, Y

If you are marketing or trying to advertise your services to many groups of people, you may want to keep in mind the buying differences in two groups that have made an impact in the last several years. About 51 million people are in the Generation X category. This generation was born approximately between 1965-1977. Research studies have shown that the events that shaped their lives were corporate layoffs, high divorce rate, end of the Cold War, latchkey kids, and an increase of mothers going back to work. Generation X'ers are also considered to be independent, strive to find a work/life balance, wary of commitment, and tend to be self-sufficient.

Marketing to Generation X'ers can be a little tough. Unlike the baby-boomer generation, they are not known to show loyalty to any one particular brand or company. But if you are offering a deal or special discount it may encourage them to stay around a little longer. Give them benefits of using your product and WHY it would help them. Is it of good value? Try not to market to just stay-at-home moms. Starting with this generation, many more dads decided to stay home with the children and/or spend much more of his time than his own father did.

Now on to Generation Y, also called Millennials. This generation is generally regarded as born between 1978-1997. They number a whopping 75 million and are entering the workforce in large numbers. Their lives have been defined by growing up with school shootings, AIDS, widespread use of computers, the 1990s economic boom and the Internet. They are tech-savvy, racially diverse, self-empowered and extremely independent. Since this generation was raised in a technology driven world, some professionals see them as impatient and image-driven. However, they use these same skills when purchasing a product by using market research and visiting websites in order to find all information about the product. The Internet is their medium.

Whatever generation your target audience is remember to tailor your marketing campaign to that particular audience.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Taxes Due

I'm overdue on my posts- sorry had an illness to take care of. Anyways just wanted to remind everyone that taxes are due tomorrow, April 17, 2007 by 11:59 p.m. I will post another update later on this week!

Friday, April 6, 2007

April is Financial Literacy Month

While the month of April may be known for Easter, spring time, and rain showers, it is also Financial Literacy Month. Financial literacy can mean many different things to different people. For some it may mean teaching their children to be financially responsible. For others it means living a debt-free life. It's not a secret that many Americans, especially in the 18-40 year-old range are living with an enormous amount of debt. Why not start today by choosing to become more financially responsible? As small business owners it is very tempting to overlook these things without thinking about how it can affect us later on.

Some of my suggestions are:
  • State 529 Plans for your child's education: All 50 states are offering a 529 Plan. Even states such as Kansas, Maine and Pennsylvania offer a deduction on your taxes to ANY state-sponsored 529 Plan. Check out Kiplinger's for all the state 529 Plans.

  • Invest or contribute to a SEP or SIMPLE IRA: This is something that ALL small business owners should be doing. Since we are business for ourselves we cannot rely on a 401k or pension plan to help us during " retirement." Investing in a SEP or SIMPLE IRA still allows you to have a retirement account while still being a small business owner. The website offers much more insight on these types of plans and how they can benefit you. Check them out.

  • Other choices can be investing in mutual funds or stocks outside of your IRA, buying individual stock, or even creating a monthly budget.

  • Create a living will or trust acct. In the event of your death your wishes will be carried out from what is stated in the will or trust. This may eliminate going through probate court- which can be a very length and emotional process. Sites such as or can assist you in creating a living will for a small fee. The wills are legally binding and are much cheaper than going through a lawyer.

The possibilities are virtually endless. It is up to us to become more financially responsible. Happy Financial Literacy Month!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Company Profile: OneUnited Bank

Starting almost 50 years ago as Unity Bank & Trust in Boston, MA, One United Bank has grown into being the first Black-owned Internet bank. With locations in Los Angeles, Miami, and Boston, OneUnited has solidified it's position as being a bank that supports economic development in urban communities. According to the website, the bank plans on doing this by:
  • Offering affordable financial services to all.
  • Providing customers w/ superb state-of-the-art technology
  • Maintaining excellent financial performance
  • Garnering the spending power of the Black community and re-channeling it back to the community.

Fully insured by the FDIC, OneUnited Bank has over a half a billion in assets and has a satisfactory CAEL rating ( Capital, Asset quality, Earnings and Liquidity). OneUnited has also been recognized with the U.S. Department of Treasury for outstanding lending practices in community development.

Please check out their website at

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Small Business Summit

Microsoft's Small Business Center is hosting a Small Business Summit this week from March 19-23. Each day a new topic will be discussed via live podcast from 9 a.m. through 1 p.m. Pacific Time. If you are like most other small business owners you probably won't be able to view the live podcasts. However, don't despair! Microsoft has all the podcasts available for you to view on-demand 72 hours after the live broadcast.

Some of the past broadcasts included, Small Biz Success Stories, The Art of Innovation, 4 Ways to Avoid a Lawsuit, Building Customer Trust, Buzz Marketing and Finding New Customers.

If you would like to attend of the live broadcasts or are interested in viewing them later please click on this link: Microsoft Small Business Center
Enter your zip code and you will be taken to a list of all the broadcasts.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Marketing to a growing Hispanic population

By 2010, gross revenue advertising targeted to the Hispanic community will reach $5.5 billion, according to Kagan Research. While marketing to a primarily Hispanic audience is a lot like marketing to other audiences, there are some fundamental differences in how to successfully market to them. Below are four ways to market authentically without being offensive.

  • Know your market. Marketing to first-generation Hispanics is very different than marketing to second (and beyond) generations. These second, third, and fourth generations live a mostly Hispanic lifestyle, but also speak English.

  • Be aware of cultural nuances. Learn that Mexicans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, and other Latin American cultures are all very different and do not all share the same customs or beliefs.

  • Be sincere. If you are trying to market to the Hispanic community to make a quick buck, you are in the wrong industry. Show your audience that you sincerely care about their needs. Believe me, they will notice.

  • Follow up. Take time to develop your product. Successful marketing takes time and patience, don’t expect to receive instant results.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

More Women in Poorer Nations Becoming Entrepreneurs

According to a new survey, women who live in low-mid income nations are found to be more than twice as likely to be entrepreneurs or involved in the early stages of business start-ups. The study conducted by Babson College and the London Business School found that 22.5 percent of all entrepreneurs in the Philippines are headed by women who are/were heavily involved in the early stages of the business, for Russia that number jumps up to 39.9 percent. Wealthier nations such as Sweden or Belgium, the numbers are at a paltry 2.3 and 1 percent, respectively. Women living in wealthier nations are also more than likely to have benefited from higher education and better income. While these options may not be available to women living in poorer nations, networking opportunities, access to social capital and other resources have driven more of these women to start their own businesses.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

My very first day!

Good Day!
This is my very first day of blogging and I am happy to be here. I am a Commercial Freelance Writer and I decided to create The Small Business Weekly to assist small and minority business owners with tools to help them succeed. The Small Business Weekly will be updated on a weekly basis (at least at first) that will feature news articles, polls and other links that I will incorporate into my posts. Have a good day and enjoy!

P.S. You can also visit my website at