The Entrepreneur in You

One of the most powerful and uniquely American passions of our times is the desire to own and manage a business. The dream of reaping the fruits of your ideas, as well as your labor, is a heady one. Indeed, the yearning for economic freedom and self-determination speaks to the very heart of what it means to be African American. We know instinctively that being your own master is the difference between wealth and want.

No wonder the readers of BLACK ENTERPRISE are so enthusiastic about our editorial coverage aimed at helping them find, explore and exploit business opportunities. And thanks to a healthy economy driven by rapid changes in information and distribution technology, the time is ripe for such enthusiasm. No matter where you are at this stage of your professional life, whether a few years out of college or contemplating retirement, this is a great time to find the entrepreneur in you.

Thanks to personal computers, the Internet and advances in telephony applications, cations, a new entrepreneur can establish a profitable niche, even in industries dominated by behemoths. Home-based businesses are now an accepted phenomenon of American industry, and remain the launchpad for a variety of enterprises-including franchise opportunities.

And you don’t have to wait to leave your corporate job to think like an innovative entrepreneur. Bell Atlantic Group President for Retail Services Bruce Gordon did just that when he orchestrated the seamless integration of the products, services and brands of Bell Atlantic and those of NYNEX. By mastering the merger, Gordon earned 1998 BLACK ENTERPRISE Executive of the Year honors and proved once again that the most successful executives in corporate America tend to be the ones who are able to discover and express their entrepreneurial potential. In fact, the ability to leverage career contacts, connections and experience has been one of the chief reasons more African Americans have put themselves into position to launch or acquire businesses.

Ultimately, starting a business need no longer be–indeed, cannot be–a by-the-seat-of-pants endeavor. The risks of entrepreneurship are still many, and the stakes remain high. Have you pursued formal entrepreneurial training and taken courses on the basics of running and managing a business? Have you read the many business books, including my own How to Succeed in Business Without Being White, aimed at helping you reduce the trials and errors of business ownership by focusing on proven entrepreneurial principles? Are you an avid reader of BE’s Enterprise and other magazine sections devoted to successful entrepreneurial management strategies? Do you manage your personal finances in a way that would inspire the trust and admiration of business investment and loan sources? Have you made an honest assessment of your strengths and weaknesses–making plans to play to the former while taking steps to overcome the latter?

Today, the chief factor in whether your business will or will not thrive is you. We’re here to make sure that the entrepreneur in you succeeds.

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