Blog Posts

Stories that affect our business community.

This week marks the final week of COP21, in which leaders from 150 countries have gathered in Paris to attend the annual Conference of Parties – to talk about climate change from a global perspective. The goal of COP21 is to identify solutions to issues that threaten our health, the economy, and even our national security. To underscore the importance of this in the Black community, 19 HBCUs have sent a student delegation to participate in these climate talks, including New Orleans’ Dillard University, which was most impacted by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

Recently I was asked to weigh in on climate change and what it means for Black business. I grew up in Oakland, and know firsthand about the impact of pollution in the Black community. Black Americans make up only 13% of the U.S. population; yet largely experience overwhelming health and economic effects of climate change at disproportionally higher rates. When you think about it in those terms, we all need to take a closer look at what we can do to reverse the trend of environmental injustice, and how we can best use Black-owned environmental businesses to lead repair efforts.

USBC exist to support every effort to make the Black community economically stronger. In part, this means we implore ourselves to reach greater fluency in green technology – and advocate for equal access to government contracts. Anything less presents missed opportunities for our own economic advancement. On November 19, USBC and select member Chambers kicked off a series of conversations alongside national civic activists, members of the clergy, university professors and some of the country’s foremost thought leaders on the environment and urban communities. USBC spent time in Austin, Baltimore and St. Louis, and are grateful for the participation of local leaders and local chambers.

Our focus must now be on how the Black community and the economic agenda can be advanced through participation in the green economic boom. This is everything from building and installing solar panels to establishing companies that use only eco-friendly products.

We know climate change is a real and growing threat. And now that we’ve stated the problem, it’s time to rally around the President and his initiatives, primarily the Clean Power Plan, which is set to reduce carbon emission from power plants. The Clean Power Plan also has incredible economic benefits, namely helping us save nearly 7% on our home electricity bills. This is significant.

Our communities are wrought with injustices of various kinds– the lack of healthy, affordable food; poor opportunities to quality education and employment; and limited resources to support business creation. All of these exacerbate the impact of climate change on the Black community. Our need for environmental equality comes in many forms, each requiring deliberate action with deliberate speed.  

Let us play an active role in securing our part of the green economic boom.

 

In the Spirit of Success,

 

Ron Busby, Sr.

President

U.S. Black Chambers, Inc.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC) supports the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) leadership to strengthen the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) in efforts to protect public health.  Reducing the ground-level ozone pollution standards from 75 parts per billion (ppb) to 70 ppb will reduce all Americans’ exposure to ozone, improving health conditions for all, especially those who are the most at-risk.  Many of our USBC members own homes and businesses within underutilized and developing urban areas, and unfortunately, oftentimes these neighborhoods are disproportionately affected by unfavorable environmental circumstances.  Asthma and other lung diseases can lead to higher medication costs and a less effective workforce. 

By cleaning up the atmosphere across the country, we are less likely to see sick students, workers, and community members.  With a healthier local community, our business owners stand a much better chance at success, knowing that they can count on their workforce to perform at their best capacity.

 

Ron Busby

President

U.S. Black Chambers, Inc.

September 29, 2015
 
 
The definition of an entrepreneur is an individual who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so. Transitioning from a homeless single mother to the owner of the largest Black-owned broadcast company in the U.S., Cathy Hughes, founder of Radio One, is the living example of a "risk taker." Most recently, she proved her risk acumen by investing $40 million into the new MGM Grand Casino at the National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland. Just as she took the risk of starting her own radio station in 1980, she is now taking the necessary risk to ensure the company's success.
 
According to consultants hired by the State of Maryland, the $1.3 billion MGM Resort is projected to generate $713 million to $719 million in annual gambling revenue by 2019. At a 1 percent cut, this translates into a projected 7 million dollars annually for Radio One. In recent months, the company lost $32 million and stock value is down to $2.50 per share  This investment could mean a complete financial turnaround for Radio One. Hughes' investment may result in future opportunities to broadcast MGM Grand boxing matches, concerts, and other events on Radio One-owned radio stations (Jonathan O'Connell, Washington Post).
 
Aubry Stone, Chairman of USBC, Cathy Hughes, Founder of Radio One, and Ron Busby, President of USBC at the 2015 SCBM
 
This deal is an example of what can happen when companies are required to include a minority-owned business in on the conversation. Aside from the Radio One deal, MGM Grand is committed to diversity and inclusion. Recently, they donated $1 million to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Minorities also account for 65% of MGM Grand's employees. MGM Chief Executive James Murren, says, that diversity "has been the driving force behind the entire company."
 
Official layout of MGM Grand at the National Harbor in Oxon Hill, MD
 
It is our hope that more companies like MGM Grand will commit themselves to providing more opportunities to minority owned businesses, outside the confines of mandates and set asides. As minority-owned businesses continue to grow and Black spend hits $1.1 trillion, corporate entities can no longer afford to exclude and ignore Black businesses and consumers. Congratulations to Cathy Hughes, and the rest of the Radio One team on a big win and we look forward to hearing MGM Grand events on Majic 102.3!

By: Lisa Stevens, Wells Fargo Head of Small Business Banking

Having a well-thought-out business plan can help a business owner stay focused on company goals and objectives, yet according to a recent Wells Fargo survey, only 33 percent of small business owners said they have a formal, written business plan. Even though many business owners have ideas for plans in their heads, those who put plans in writing are more optimistic about the coming year. In the survey, business owners with formal plans were more likely to say that in the next 12 months they planned to add jobs at their companies, expected revenues to increase, anticipated increasing their capital spending and intended to apply for new credit.

Why do business owners with written plans have more optimism? While there may be many reasons, from our experience working with small businesses, business owners in general benefit from creating a formal plan because it serves as the foundation for long-term success. It can help you prioritize how to spend your time and money, and set effective business goals. The challenge for many business owners is getting started. To help, we’ve identified four critical components that should be in any business plan. Here are the key areas we recommend for every plan:

Company overview – The overview should provide a description of the business, including what products or services you sell. It should outline your professional or industry experience, the history of your business, and your business structure, including staffing and management roles and responsibilities. In addition, the overview should house a detailed marketing plan.

Analysis – Competitive intelligence and customer insights are a key part of developing your business plan. In this section, you should include data on competitors within your industry. It’s also a good place to explore prospective customers that might be a fit for your products and services, and define how you intend to reach them. Building this information into your business plan is intended to provide you with a competitive advantage, and helps you to fine-tune your marketing efforts and maximize sales.

Financial Data – A business plan should include a financial data section. It’s the place to outline your starting balances, how you plan to make money and sales forecasts. Keeping financial information updated and organized can be a challenge for many business owners, yet an essential process to more easily plan for growth, manage cash flow and prepare for unexpected expenses.

Executive Summary – This part of the plan is often considered the most important when seeking financing. This section provides a high-level summary of the business, and recaps the key features of your business plan in one page or less, including who you are, what you sell, and who you sell to, and a financial summary.

To help simplify the business planning process, Wells Fargo recently introduced a new, comprehensive resource on WellsFargoWorks.com: The Business Plan Center. This new, complimentary offering includes two new tools:

- The Business Plan Tool is step-by-step guide for creating your own written business plan;

- The Competitive Intelligence Tool provides business owners with up-to-date insight on competitors in the market.

The Business Plan Center delivers an integrated learning experience, and is available to all business owners – both customers and non-customers. It is a natural extension of the support we currently offer through Wells Fargo Works for Small BusinessSM.

Developing your business plan isn’t a one-time process. It requires regular maintenance as your business evolves and your needs change. Every business owner will experience successes and challenges on their entrepreneurship journey, and revising your business plan during these times will help you celebrate accomplishments, establish new goals, and plan for the future based on lessons learned.

As a business owner, your focus is on running the business, and time away from day-to-day tasks is limited. Yet we’ve learned from business owners we serve that taking time to develop and maintain a streamlined business plan can save you time and better manage your money in the long run.

To help more small businesses achieve financial success, Wells Fargo introduced Wells Fargo Works for Small BusinessSM – a broad initiative to deliver resources, guidance and services for business owners.  For more information about Wells Fargo Works for Small Business, visit:

WellsFargoWorks.com. Follow us on Twitter @WellsFargoWorks.

© 2015 Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. All rights reserved

The Department of Labor (DOL) recently released a report on the latest hiring trends in June 2015. Dr. Heidi Shierholz stated that since the drop of employment in 2009 and 2010 (due to the recession), there has been a noticeable increase in employment in the country. She also highlighted that when there is an increase in in hires, with layoffs on the decline, there tends to be a rise in “quits”. Additionally, when the economy starts to improve people gain confidence and can leave a job on their own accord without the fear of being unemployed for a substantial amount of time. Layoffs increased to 2.5 million between 2008 and 2009, but appear to remain in between the 1.5 and 2.0 million levels.

It is important to also note that the largest job openings were in the Professional and Business services. Professional and Business service can consist of and vary from attorneys, accountants, and administrative services, and etc.

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