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Want to help out a black-owned business? Here's how - CNN

Want to help out a black-owned business? Here's how - CNN

Want to help out a black-owned business? Here's how - CNN

Posted: 03 Jun 2020 01:34 PM PDT

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Want to help out a black-owned business? Here's how  CNN

How To Be A Leader For Your Small Business - Forbes

Posted: 03 Jun 2020 08:05 AM PDT

Pop quiz: are you more of a leader or a manager in your business?

When you're a solopreneur, you're the CEO, the janitor, and everyone in between. It's hard to think of yourself as being a leader because the only person you're leading is yourself. Yet simply managing the day-to-day of your business isn't going to set you up for growth and success. You need to look at your business through a different lens if you want to achieve the vision that made you go into business in the first place. 

How should you juggle all these hats?

I was recently rereading one of my favorite booksThe 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and came to the part where Covey talks about the difference between leadership and management. He says:

"Management is bottom-line focused: how can I accomplish certain things? Leadership deals with the top line: what are the things I want to accomplish?"

Usually, when we think of managers and leaders, we think of large companies, but as I read this for the umpteenth time, it finally dawned on me that the exact same thing is happening inside of my business where I need to be both the manager AND the leader. And actually, some of my biggest struggles in business have been a result of not realizing the difference nor giving myself the tools to take on each role at the appropriate time.

Manager vs. Leader: What's the Difference?

In the words of Peter Drucker, "Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things." 

Leaders instill their vision in others and motivate them to take ownership of their part. People believe in the leader and what they're trying to accomplish, and they willingly work toward those same goals.

A great manager, on the other hand, is tasked with making it happen. They don't come up with the vision, but they use the vision to guide them on execution. Great managers can manage schedules and budgets, oversee productivity, and even resolve conflict. These are very important aspects of any business, and I dare you to find a business that isn't thriving with good managers in place.

But as entrepreneurs, we must be both leaders AND managers in our business, and that can get confusing. Since these roles require two different skill sets, finding your weakness in one of these roles may be the key to your business' future success.

The Dangers of Choosing Sides

In my case, I spent years stuck in the "manager" role trying to build an agency that I ultimately didn't even want! I knew I wanted a business that gave me freedom in my life, but without thinking like a leader, and only like a manager, I defaulted to building a big business that looked like everybody else's.

This led to a lot of hustle and hard work that, in retrospect, wasn't getting me closer to my goal of freedom. I was working harder and harder to land bigger clients to increase my revenue to hire more people. If the goal was freedom, I was going in the opposite direction as I became more and more enslaved to my employee's payroll, my overhead, and my need to bring in an ever-increasing revenue. 

It was only when I took a step back and approached the business from a leadership perspective that I realized that my ultimate goal, freedom, could be achieved without all the hassle and annoyance of building a team and getting huge clients with lots of people involved in each project to manage.

Only when I put on my leadership hat did I realize that I didn't want a huge agency at all—I just wanted a business that gave me freedom! And because I had been thinking like a manager, I assumed that meant building a large business.

With my leadership hat on, I took a step back and built a vision for myself and my business, and it looked very different from the agency I was building. Then, only after that vision was created, I put my manager hat back on to make it happen. 

If I had stayed in leadership-thinking and left my managerial duties to rot, I wouldn't have actually made it happen! When you are your own business, if you spend all your time in leadership-thinking mode, you'll spend way too much time thinking and dreaming without the follow-through (a common pitfall for creative, visionary thinkers). When you are your business, you delegate the execution to the manager side of the business, which is also you.

My business took a 180 in the right direction when I realized I needed to consciously wear both hats at different times: I needed to schedule time to step back and figure out the big picture of what I wanted and how to get there strategically, and then focus at other times on making it happen.

How to Strike the Manager-Leader Balance

Perhaps this is why most people aren't cut out to be entrepreneurs: to be successful, you must be able to move back and forth between these two very different roles. We need to execute well to make sure our business runs smoothly, but at the same time, we must constantly be asking ourselves if we are executing based on a bigger vision and whether it even makes sense.

It's an exhausting tennis match that never seems to end, and more often than not, people end up heavily favoring one side and either get stuck mindlessly executing a plan that lacks the clarity of vision (like I did), or stuck with way too many ideas with a difficult time following through (which is what a lot of my creative clients experience).

Because I am naturally a doer, I ended up wasting a ton of time executing, checking boxes off my to-do list daily, without the results I wanted. I would go to networking events and have coffee dates with dozens of people each week and feel accomplished, even though, in retrospect, it was a complete waste of time because I was pitching the wrong services to the wrong people because I lacked a vision. 

When I started thinking like a leader, it allowed me to realize that I could have the freedom I dreamed of MUCH sooner, and without the headache, by building a different kind of business. So that's what I did: I changed course and built a small but mighty and profitable branding company with just me and my partner doing very high-end and highly profitable work for very small businesses, thus achieving my ultimate goal with much less effort. One of the most important steps in that effort was to figure out what I needed to charge in order to actually be profitable, the "Price to Freedom" as I like to call it. Finding out my price to freedom changed everything, and that knowledge has been the guiding factor in all my business decisions since. (If you don't know your number, you can find it here.) 

Put on your leadership hat to build the vision and map out the 50,000-foot view of how to get there, and then put on your manager hat to execute as efficiently as possible without getting lost in daydreams along the way (and outsource the janitorial work as soon as possible!).

This has helped me to become a better "doer" in my business to get things done the way they should be and maximize my time. It's also allowed me to set an example for my clients to follow while they master the leader-manager song-and-dance.

George Floyd: What small-business owners can do to be community allies in a time of protest - USA TODAY

Posted: 03 Jun 2020 12:18 PM PDT

Rhonda Abrams, Special to USA TODAY Published 2:03 p.m. ET June 3, 2020 | Updated 3:16 p.m. ET June 3, 2020


Friends and family of George Floyd express how they want him to be remembered. USA TODAY

Right now, you're probably just trying to ensure that your small business survives the impact of COVID-19. But America is at a turning point, and your voice matters. Small-business owners are some of the most respected members of their communities. What you say and what you do is important.

On Memorial Day, an unarmed African American was killed at the hands of police. Watching the video of the death of George Floyd is heart-wrenching. But it's just the latest in a string of police killings of unarmed black victims.

Last week, Christian Cooper was bird-watching in New York's Central Park. When he asked Amy Cooper, a white woman, to leash her dog in an area where dogs were not allowed off-leash, the woman called the police, claiming an African American male was threatening her, even though she was the one breaking the law.     

The death of George Floyd has made it all too obvious that America is a country where an unarmed person of color can be killed by a person in authority for the smallest reason, or no reason at all. That is the definition of a police state.   

Peaceful protesters have taken to America's streets to demand justice. Others turned to destruction and looting. All too often, it is small businesses that are the victims of such destruction. That makes us angry and afraid.

More: Their stores were burned, ransacked and looted. What's next for Minneapolis-area small-business owners?

More: Reopening your small business? Here are 3 important steps to take

More: Your small business and coronavirus: What you should spend money on now

But boarding up the windows of your small business, or getting a security camera, or even getting a gun won't make you safe. More police won't make you safe, either. The only solution to injustice is justice.

Here are things you need to know:  

Police killed 1,000 Americans in 2019, an average of three a day. In comparison, in 24 years, British police killed 55 people; German police killed 15 people in 2010 and 2011 combined. Killing is often the first, not the last, resort in American policing.

Blacks are 24% of those killed in America, though they are only 13% of the population.

• Over the past three decades, spending on prisons and jails has grown three times faster than spending on K-12 education. The disparity is even worse when it comes to spending on college education. 

• California, like many states, spends six times as much on a prisoner than on a student – $64,642 per inmate versus $11,495 per student.

• Income inequality is great and growing. In 2016, upper-income families had 75 times as much wealth as lower-income families. In 1983, they had 28 times more.

Years ago, I asked a Texas school specialist what could be done to reduce juvenile delinquency. His answer surprised me: "Give workers a living wage." Most parents, he said, want the same things for their kids – for them to get a good education, to behave, to get ahead. When a parent has to work two, three, even four jobs to put food on the table, they don't have time to sit down and do homework or go to church or eat dinner with their children. And that was before the "gig economy" and outsourcing and internet platforms that keep essential workers in position as underpaid, overworked "independent contractors."

We must change American priorities, culture and attitudes. What can we – you and I – do?

1. Contact elected officials – at federal, state and local levels. Demand a change in our spending priorities: more money for education, housing, health care; fewer resources for police and prisons.   

2. Demand accountability. Call for those who abuse power – including and especially the police – to be held accountable for their actions.

3. Call on police officers of good will to speak up and insist the culture of policing in America be demilitarized. Let's have police who are once again public servants instead of public threats.

4. Be very, very careful before calling the police on a person of color for a minor crime. Recognize they might be put in a life-or-death situation for something as small as running a stop light or passing a bad bill. 

5. Talk to your children and to your friends and family members. Let them know that although we may want a color-blind society, it doesn't exist, and people of color are treated differently in every aspect of life.  

6.  Pay a living wage. Create jobs that pay enough so your employees can go home to their families at night instead of needing a second or third job.   

7. Make common cause with entrepreneurs of color to demand a change in priorities and justice. Mentor a young person of color to help him or her become an entrepreneur as well.

8. Vote. Be sure to register. This November, your vote can help change the tone and direction of America.

When you see looting or rioting (and this is not to excuse it) and you or your neighbor says something like, "Well, those people behave that way, what do you expect?" ask yourself a more pertinent question: "If our society behaves this way – if we do not give people respect, equal opportunity, quality education, decent housing, access to affordable health care, a chance for a better life – what do WE expect?"

Americans like to think we're the greatest country in the world. But America is not great if it is only great for some. For America to be great, America must be fair and just. As small-business owners, our voices have weight. We must demand accountability for those who abuse power. We must work for equal opportunity for all. And in November, all of us must vote – vote for leadership that works for a just and fair America, an America that works for everyone. Your voice matters. #BlackLivesMatter

Rhonda Abrams is the author of "Successful Business Plan: Secrets & Strategies," the bestselling business plan guide of all time, just released in its seventh edition. Rhonda was named a "Top 30 Global Guru" for startups. Connect with Rhonda on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @RhondaAbrams. Register for Rhonda's free business tips newsletter at

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Small business is careening from quarantine to curfew and needs help - Fox Business

Posted: 02 Jun 2020 08:56 PM PDT

All Americans can agree that George Floyd's death was ghastly and wrong. The racism that was a root cause of that horrific, dehumanizing act in Minneapolis must be rejected as immoral and un-American. That rejection is one of the things that unites the United States.

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Another tenet of our republic is the need to protect life and property. Our democracy can't survive without respect for law. Indeed, Floyd would be alive today if basic decency and the norms of civilization had been maintained.


These two beliefs – abhorrence of racism and respect for the law – aren't contradictory. They are, in fact, what make us Americans in many ways. They are fundamental to what we understand to be justice in our country.

That's why it has been so awful to see demonstrations meant to support the first of these beliefs turn into an abrogation of the second. Agitators have hijacked justified – and entirely legal – expressions of outrage against racism and turned them into violence that has destroyed downtowns across the U.S. in wanton violation of the law.

Even sadder is that this destruction has ruined thousands of local businesses that are the heartbeat of those communities. Small businesses already were hurting. They were desperate to reopen after months of lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Everyone – from the political left and the political right – understands that speaking out against the bad behavior of one person should not be used as an excuse for bad behavior by others. Quite the opposite is the American way.

But now, instead of opening up, too many of them are boarding up. They have gone from quarantine to curfew.


The American economy and, in effect, all of us, are the losers in this terrible turn of events.

President Trump is correct when he says that such criminality must be prevented and punished. Unfortunately, his declaration has been twisted by partisan opponents as an attack on the legitimate protesters rallying against racism and Mr. Floyd's murder. And that's a shame.

Everyone – from the political left and the political right – understands that speaking out against the bad behavior of one person should not be used as an excuse for bad behavior by others. Quite the opposite is the American way.

Peaceful and open expressions of opinion – especially against injustices like racism – are what the U.S. was built on. That is our civilized alternative to the anarchy we have seen on our streets. In fact, the right to peacefully assemble and express a point of view – even an anti-government point of view – is one of the things foreigners most admire about America.

So, government needs to enforce the laws that protect free expression and safeguard our citizens from the abusers of that right. In this case, in addition, more than principle is at stake. So are the livelihoods of millions of Americans.


Small businesses have too often been the innocent victims of this lawless violence. Only law enforcement can protect them. That action by authorities is needed to protect our democracy but its doubly important for financial reasons as well.

Small businesses are the drivers of economic growth and job creation. If small businesses don't restart, our economy will stay mired in the deep recession we've all suffered because of COVID-19. The conditions that helped cause the outbursts that have marred our nation's cities over the past week or so – poverty, inequality and despair – will only get worse. Economic revitalization is absolutely required to begin to heal the nation from the deep wounds of the pandemic.

America survives thanks to acceptance of a dual consensus. As a nation, we have agreed to treat each other humanely and under the guidance of a set of laws that protect us all. During the pandemic, these principles are vital for practical reasons as well. Local businesses need the physical protections that the law provides so we can return to something close to normal and what we all hope will again be prosperity.

Alfredo Ortiz is President & CEO of Job Creators Network.



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