Dawn Of A New Era

Black businesses must develop a financial plan to remain viable in the new century

There is no denying that a movement is afoot. According to Aida Alvarez, administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, 1 million new businesses start up each year. One statistic indicates that a new business is started every 11 seconds. This growth, says Alvarez, is due, in part, to favorable economic factors, such as more than 100 months of economic growth, the lowest unemployment rate in 29 years, and more than 20 million net new jobs.

According to Cahner’s In-Stat group, one-fifth of all U.S. small businesses experienced growth of 20% or more during the mid-to-late 1990s. By 2002, 300,000 new small businesses will have been started, bringing the total to 2.06 million. Very small businesses with five to nine employees will grow from 1.15 million to 1.26 million in 2002, accounting for about 50% of small businesses.

In record numbers, African American men and women are leaving their corporate gigs to hang their own shingle — whether it’s at their kitchen table or a high-rise downtown office. There are more than 881,000 African American-owned businesses, which produced $59.3 billion in revenues in 1997 and employed 580,000 workers.

Industry sectors that present opportunities for black businesses include technology, such as software development, dotcoms and Website development, as well as the manufacture of household and business products, construction and human resource labor, says John F. Robinson, president and CEO of the National Minority Business Council Inc. in New York.

For 30 years, black enterprise has chronicled the emergence and growth of black businesses, celebrated their successes and lamented their failures. In this article, we prescribe an action plan that will enable you to forge ahead into the next 30 years and beyond. Truly, in order to survive and thrive in this millennium, black businesses must develop financial plans to remain viable and grow, use technology to the fullest advantage, participate in the global economy, and be advocates of the preservation and creation of black wealth through entrepreneurship.

n use technology to embrace business-to-business opportunities. Not many would argue that the Internet is the most important development of the early 21st century. And no other technological innovation will play as great a role in shaping the future development of our society.

The New Economy is characterized by low inflation, low unemployment, increasing productivity, and higher growth rates than previously thought possible. Also add a technology-enabled business model. Businesses of all sizes want to exploit the advantages of e-commerce. It is estimated that business-to-business e-commerce will jump to $1.3 trillion by 2003 from $43 billion in 1998.

“Black businesses must be prepared to join the high-technology arena and be prepared to communicate with anyone and everyone through e-mail, the Internet, and other means,” says Harry C. Alford, president and CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C., which is hosting a conference in August, “E-Power to the People,” devoted to the topic of e-commerce.

According to Bennie L. Thayer, president and CEO of the National Association for the Self-Employed in Washington, D.C., “Those who want to compete have

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6
ACROSS THE WEB