Strategies to Small Business Success

Down economy has many entrepreneurs struggling to stay afloat

handshake1“Success always comes when preparation meets opportunity,” famed artist Henry Hartman once said. It is an old adage that many entrepreneurs have adopted to tell their stories of business success. LaTanya Junior, owner of TCB360.com, is no exception. Junior’s company, which teaches large and small businesses brand development, strategic planning, implementation, marketing, and media, has nearly $1.2 million in revenue and an online radio show rated No. 26 in the world by Live 365, the largest distributor of Internet radio. But business has not always been so highly lucrative.

In fact, when Junior, 44, opened shop in her home in Brooklyn, New York, in 2001, she mentored small minority businesses through a column she wrote for a handful of African American publications. She also conducted 40 workshops in two U.S. cities and Canada, but did it all on her own dime and without securing a single fee. A year later Junior, who had worked more than a decade as a brand development and marketing executive for ad powerhouses Young & Rubicam, Grey Advertising, the Mingo Group, Stedman Graham & Associates, and Ogilvy & Mather, was still speaking for free, but a chance meeting with a brand icon gave her the client and clout she needed to take her company to the next level.

“I flew in to Atlanta for an event, and when I got in the limousine, Dick Gregory, who was the keynote speaker at the event, was in the limousine. We had an hour together and he said that he would come to hear me speak later that day, and he did,” Junior says. “In fact, for the next three years, he showed up to all of my presentations that targeted larger companies. Then one morning he called me and asked me to meet him at the airport in Tennessee,” she adds. Junior was in New York when she got the call, but that didn’t stop her from getting a flight to the South.

She was brought in to participate in a preliminary meeting about marketing a series of cleaning products with the George Foreman name. Two weeks later, John Bellamy, owner of the marketing product development firm, offered her a three-year contract to develop the media and strategic planning for the products, a deal that earned her a $75,000 fee and 1% of the product sales.

Today, Junior has 60 clients under her belt, including Jackson State University, Arlene Weston, owner of Maroons Restaurants, Johnnetta Cole, Spelman College’s first black female president, and Anita Estell, an adviser in the Clinton administration.

Preparation is a critical component to business success. But keeping your shop afloat, especially in a down economy, requires innovation, strategic planning, and some basic business tools. Here are five ways you can gain momentum and build more business along the way:

1. Develop a brand plan: “Defining yourself as a brand is what separates you in the market,” Junior says. But then you must develop that brand. Start by

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  • http://focalpointadvertisingagency.com shearron

    I am the proud owner of a small advertising agency. Due to the market advertising budgets are cut out of clients budget. I have wrked in media for eighteen years and fill lost. Considering bankruptcy…Suggestion needed

  • http://toniruppert.com Toni

    Thank you for this valuable information. Though I have been a fine artist for almost 15 years, as a business owner, I feel like a three year old. I love reading about how other people – like Ms. Junior – got their start. I really appreciated her idea of hiring a business coach. I plan to incorporate that into my short term goals.

  • http://N/A Arthur

    Hi and thank you for this valuable information, but I am not sure how to apply this information because I do not have a small business. I live in Dallas, GA. 40 miles west of Atlanta, GA., so who would you recommend that assist undiscovered and undeveloped entrepreneurs who want to get started? Please reply at your leisure because I understand that your time is important.

  • Venita

    Greetings everyone, I was encouraged by reading Junior’s story as well. It is very challenging to even dare to dream of starting a business during this economic down time. Add in all the negativity and rejection from the naysayers (family, friends and potential prospects – surely one would be inclined to give up as I have often felt in the past. No longer governed by my feelings; (a skill that is still being developed
    with the help of my business coach/mentor)
    – the one thing that keeps me going is the fact that everyone is looking for solutions that work and get results JUST AS jUNIORS SAYS!!
    For example, I got results to some health issues I was facing and I wasn’t even looking for help – it was just my destined time to hear, receive and be at that moment which has dramatically impacted
    and changed my life so much that now I’m sharing my results with anyone that will hear. The health and economic crisis just in this super power country alone is AT IT’S WORSE. OFTEN – SOLUTIONS ARE SO OBVIOUS AND SO CLOSE THAT THEY’RE OVERLOOKED!! I simply share information and that individual will receive it if it’s their time to!!! – that I can not determine or control. So to all – keep pressing forward in your beliefs and dreams no matter what the present situation looks or feels like!!!!

  • http://Yahoo Anthony Hood

    I am a 46 year old African Americam male with ambition to go into state and federal government contracting for highway maintenance and construction.
    I have two young sons and one young adult son and I currently work in Iraq in an effort to gain enough capital to get my company off the ground in Texas.
    My business name and address is: SHAMGAR Highway Maintenance and Services 5500 Hunters Ridge Trail Killeen Texas 76542. I am currently looking for bonding information and a strong support tool to mentor me into the world of business ownership.
    I am open to any assistance you can render. Currently all corespondents will work better via email.

    Thank You

    AH