The Reader Is Always Right

Your priorities shape our agenda. Here's what you had to say about what our priorities should be in the new century.

too. “Small black businesses need access to nonfinancial resources such as technology to compete for more profitable clients and assignments. In the 1990s, forming strategic alliances was considered the best strategy for small businesses to compete for larger contracts and larger clients. This strategy has worked for some small businesses, but not for all. But for the majority of small black businesses to compete, there needs to be some portal or vehicle which connects the resources of other small businesses and removes some of the barriers that have not facilitated a more strategic alliance among small businesses, such as geographical location or current business structure.”

Carr adds, “Instead of investing limited financial resources in technological resources, which may not be in their long-term business strategies, small businesses can create virtual partnerships or virtual teams, temporary relationships facilitated through technology (video conferencing, Website hosting of collaborations on projects) to compete on a short-term basis for certain projects. Limited financial and technological resources will require small businesses to create virtual partnerships to compete.”

As Murphy explains, “We can’t be afraid of technology. There’s a tremendous opportunity, a new horizon for entering into the world of business and commerce, and every company across America has or will have a need for talented people who have a background in technology.”

Do you plan to start a business within the next year? Where do you think the greatest business opportunities for African Americans lie?
About half of the respondents plan to start a business within the next year. The greatest business opportunities for African Americans are thought to lie in the field of technology (75.4%), followed by professional service (65.3%). Automotive (16.1%) and manufacturing (18.4%) are thought to have the fewest opportunities.

Both male and female respondents agree that acquiring financing (58.2%) is the biggest problem facing small black businesses, followed by planning and goal setting (19.1%). The majority of the sample (88%) is confident that it will see a black woman leading a Fortune 500 firm within the next 10 years. In terms of advancement opportunities, 82.9% feel that race and gender are major hindrances, and 75.1% feel that affirmative action will be necessary for career advancement 10 years from now.
“Owning our own businesses is something else that is very important,” said Thomas. “It’s not for everyone, but it’s definitely a good thing. If you have the drive to own your own company, then you can ease into it gradually. It’s a good strategy for creating wealth.”

“Entrepreneurship is important,” says Lewis, “but it’s not for everyone. It’s a tough road, but if you have the skill, the heart, and you have the financial backing, then you can begin to build wealth. And don’t be afraid to fail. Sometimes you might have to fail several times to succeed, but you [should] never give up.”

And White reminds us that women and minorities are the fastest growing segment to start their own businesses. And she says we should start our own businesses so that we have something to pass to our

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