Down for the Count - Page 2 of 4

Down for the Count

has fallen off as a result. But Jones isn’t ready to throw in the towel. He’s adjusted the company’s infrastructure to offset the revenue loss by laying off eight out of 30 employees from the corporate headquarters. Jones also increased ART’s alliances with smaller companies to regain eligibility to work on small business contracts. Says Jones: “We’re continuing to reinvent ourselves because this is a very competitive industry.”

The National Do Not Call Registry was a haymaker to ChaseCom L.P., the Houston-based telemarketing services firm. (The federal government created the registry to allow for consumers to block telemarketing calls.) Ranked No. 86 on the 2005 BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100 list with $35 million in sales, the company’s staggering 48.5% revenue drop knocked it out of BE 100S contention. Now, CEO Anthony R. Chase plans to mount a comeback and work his way back up the ranks through outsourcing. This effort will be assisted by significant new corporate relationships that will expand ChaseCom’s revenues and visibility in the technology sector. While much of the last year’s revenues were derived from outbound calls, ChaseCom has made the transformation from consumer outbound service to inbound technical support and Business-to-business customer relationship management and staffing service center.

Meanwhile, foreign heavy hitters are beating American auto manufacturers like second-rate sparring partners. Last year, domestic auto manufacturers gave away much of their own and dealers’ profits with customer-luring incentives. Bruised and bleeding, many African American auto dealers within the domestic market succumbed to foreign automakers:

DaimlerChrysler Minority Dealers Association is at risk of losing 10% to 15% of its 50 African American dealers, says Jesse Greathouse, the organization’s vice chairman and president and CEO of Cross Road Chrysler Jeep Inc. (No. 92 on the BE AUTO DEALER 100 list with $25 million in sales).

Ford lost five African American dealers last year. Its dealers’ cash reserves were guzzled by the “floor plan expense” of paying interest on cars sitting unsold on their lots. A. V. Fleming, executive director of the Ford Motors Minority Dealers Association, says African American Ford dealers typically had about $250,000 less cash reserves in 2005 than 2004.

General Motors terminated about 20 African American dealers in 2005 after cutting 20 in 2004. Among them: Classic Chevrolet (No. 34 on the 2005 BE AUTO DEALER 100 list), Powell Chevrolet (No. 45 in 2005), Westminster Buick Pontiac GMC (No. 43 in 2005), and Chandler Lee Buick Pontiac GMC Inc. (No. 73 in 2004). “There were quite a number of dealers who were taken out, particularly African American dealers-more than any other ethnic minority group,” says General Motors Minority Dealers Association President Desmond Roberts.

Competition will continue to force many BE 100S firms to change their fight strategy. A number have restructured operations to meet increased customer demand, while others have expanded into new businesses. Those that adjust to changing times will get back in the ring to mount a comeback and claim their place among the black business elite. Those that refuse to adapt will most certainly continue to kiss