Lamar and Ronnie Tyler have done the work so Black entrepreneurs can pull up to the winner’s table ahead of the game.
As founders of Tyler New Media and Traffic Sales and Profit (TSP), the two-time Inc. 5000 power couple are change agents who are breaking chains by educating Black entrepreneurs on how to create well-engineered systems and strategies to increase their profits and build their burgeoning brands.
A passion fuels the Tylers to change the economic landscape of the Black community by aiding entrepreneurs who want to secure the bag with a blueprint to Black wealth. Together, they are essentially creating “New Black History” by closing the wealth gap through entrepreneurship.
“I tell my team all the time, we are literally in the business of making and generating wealth for people through businesses,” Lamar told BLACK ENTERPRISE.
Through their work, the Atlanta power duo is disrupting and dismantling systemic barriers Black communities face by helping entrepreneurs enhance their odds of financial wellness.
Traffic Sales and Profit has helped more than 20,000 Black-owned businesses earn collectively $100 million in revenue annually, year over year.
Additionally, this same community has had 10 organizations on the Inc. 5000 list over the last 3 years; Tyler New Media, SheDavi, EFS Group, Client Attraction University, Sassy Jones, Travel Divas, Izzy & Liv, CurlMix, Curl Kit and Miller Media Group.
TSP is a supportive ecosystem for purpose-driven African American business owners locked out of opportunities to start or grow their businesses because of economic disadvantages, lack of access, capital, know-how, or for basically being Black. And yes, that’s still a thing.
“According to a McKinsey report, “participants in focus groups said that they feel that their race—and sometimes age and gender—makes loan officers hesitant to lend to them.”
Biases still exist, especially in the banking industry, and racial funding gaps are fundamental.
According to NerdWallet, “while 82.1% of white business owners are approved by online lenders, both Black and Hispanic business owners still trail in approval rates, coming in at 67.2% and 71.5%, respectively.”
“Research shows that white-owned startups have an average of $18,500 in outside equity at the founding, compared to just $500 for Black-owned startups.” the report continues.
And when it comes to funding African American-led small businesses, the McKinsey report contends that Black entrepreneurs are denied small business loans every year or credit refused at an alarming rate. In comparison, their white counterparts are more likely to receive full funding for their enterprises.
Meanwhile, Black women are the fastest-growing entrepreneurs in the United States. Yet, somehow in 2023 are still “the most disrespected… unprotected and most neglected person in America,” as Malcolm X stated back in 1962.
And data shows that 8 out of 10 Black-owned businesses fail within the first 18 months of opening due to lack of information, which further lends credence to the fact that Black business owners need support to scale and grow.
The McKinsey report also makes clear: “Business networks can support Black entrepreneurs, but Black entrepreneurs are less likely to know and hear about relevant networks that can help support and promote their businesses.”
Where one door closes, the Tylers step into the room and open up a floodgate of opportunities for Black entrepreneurs.
In Lamar’s words, “We Are the ones we’ve been waiting for!”
So with a network of over 42,000 members, the TSP community boasts owners of everything from brick-and-mortar stores to e-commerce brands to service and product-based businesses.
Through their extensive network, the TSP group led by the Tylers have banded together to disband racist business culture by creating a community. Got a business question? Community members are encouraged to ask away and, in return, will most definitely receive an avalanche of responses from other members more than happy to have their brains picked.
“To build a real sustainable business, you need a team, you need other people, you need systems, you need processes,” Lamar said.
And the result? In 2020 during the pandemic, the TSP Mastermind, which teaches Black entrepreneurs the blueprint for adding zeros and commas to their bottom line, collectively generated over $49 million in revenue, with their most high-performing numbers being earned during COVID months, Lamar said.
“We’re not waiting for a change in policy, a change in government, nor a change in society to save us,” Lamar quipped.
Especially when 1,100 private U.S. corporations that pledged an estimated total of $200 billion to Black equity efforts after George Floyd’s murder in 2020 are still mostly unfulfilled, according to a 2020 McKinsey & Company report.
Lamar and Ronnie have built a table where Black entrepreneurs are invited to have a seat, break bread and build wealth.
And the sense of community and uniqueness of the TSP group extends to the TSP conference.
A Conference Like No Other
If you’ve never been to one, get ready to Milly-rock on this particular block because this is the community “barbecue” you’d want to be invited to.
Imagine this: the TSP conference is alive with dozens of entrepreneurs jamming to Frankie Beverly & Maze or swag surfing in the hotel conference corridors while networking and building business relationships.
Yes, entrepreneurs are learning about funding resources, social media strategies, passive income, and investments, and yes, it’s a business conference — sans the stuffy suits.
It’s a new business environment, bustling with energy and where the likes of Janice Bryant Howroyd, the first African American woman to operate a company that generated more than $1 billion in annual revenue, graced the stage at one conference in Atlanta, sharing her secrets to economic success.
On another occasion, legendary 5x NBA champion and ground-breaking entrepreneur Earvin “Magic” Johnson, who is estimated to be worth $600 million, dropped jewels as the keynote speaker of the TSP LIVE 2022 June conference.
Yet, even with all these heavy hitters in the room, the Tylers still have to fight the idea that Black folks must show up a certain way to be recognized or respected.
Case in point: during one particular TSP conference, a group of Black entrepreneurs in the Mastermind group with a collective worth of $100 million decided to hit Beyonce’s “Cuff It” challenge and rocked the viral dance that ultimately made their video go viral.
In return, they were met with a slew of online hate, from people calling it a “pyramid scheme” to one commenter saying, “It would be nice if they were all sitting still so they could actually be taken seriously.”
It’s the nature of the beast that Lamar and Ronnie deal with when trying to convince the masses that they are not doing anything nefarious. And historically, it’s been what Black folks have had to battle after being brought kicking and screaming to this land in 1619 and told how to look, walk, talk, and assimilate to be “accepted” into European culture.
But Lamar and Ronnie are not trying to fit in. Their platform and their profitable paper trail prove they stand out.
The Tylers leverage the most influential entrepreneurs in the country – if not the world – to grace their stage and speak at their TSP conferences, thus giving Black entrepreneurs not only a seat at the table but also a ticket on the midnight train to economic progress in Atlanta — the unofficial Black mecca, and the late Martin Luther King Jr.’s home base.
Why Atlanta? Black-owned businesses accounted for about 28% of all businesses in Washington, DC, the highest ratio in the nation. But pulling up second is the state of Georgia, where 20% of businesses are Black-owned, BlackBusiness.com reports.
It’s undeniable. Lamar and Ronnie are the pied pipers of helping Black people get their paper.
Gabby Goodwin, CEO of Confidence and Inventor of GaBBY Bows, joined Traffic, Sales and Profit in 2015 and earned six figures by sixth grade thanks to Lamar and Ronnie.
“People may know me as the #sixfiguresbysixthgrade kidpreneur, but there is no six figures without Mr. Lamar and Mrs. Ronnie,” 16-year-old Goodwin exclusively told BLACK ENTERPRISE.
“Mr. Lamar took me and my mom on as one of his first and few one-on-one business coaching clients when I was just eight years old. My company’s growth and my personal growth as an entrepreneur are results of their guidance and mentoring over the past eight years,” she said.
The Tylers are the real deal, but naysayers—especially those in the non-Black community—can’t digest that two Black entrepreneurs have had monumental success, generating measurable wealth for people while circulating the Black dollar.
“We impact people, to impact people,” Lamar Said.
And Lamar and Ronnie are doing it by providing parallels between the old and new ways of doing business.
Change of Guard
In the last 50 years, Black business icons like Reginald Lewis, who launched the first Black-owned business to surpass $1 billion in revenue, and Earl G. Graves Sr., who showcased the best of Black business excellence through the creation of BLACK ENTERPRISE, set the standard for African American entrepreneurs holding fast to dreams of making Black history through building innovative businesses while generating Black wealth.
What’s been proven by Lewis and Graves Sr. and other Black business visionaries like Robert L. Johnson, who created the most Black millionaires in U.S. history as the founder of BET Holdings when he sold to Viacom, is that there is a viable Black consumer market and a coalition of Black entrepreneurs tapping into it.
But back in the day when Johnson got the idea to start BET, he literally took one idea from a man who was creating a channel for elderly people and replaced everything with the word Black. That was the gist of it and how BET came to be. No market research and no connected network. Just Black entrepreneurs crossing their fingers and hoping for the best.
Today, the Black consumer market is worth trillions. Black entrepreneurs are seizing the moment, building support systems and business cohorts, and coordinating efforts resulting in equitable outcomes.
The gatekeepers are gone. But the guidance from this dynamic couple proves they are their brothers and sisters’ keepers.
Just ask Angela Hawkins, founder and owner of Bamblu, a luxury bedding company and a dedicated member of TSP.
“Lamar and Ronnie created an environment where I could go from concept to launch with a new business idea in just four months feeling fully supported,” Hawkins told BLACK ENTERPRISE.
She continued, “And just one and a half years later, go through a complete rebrand that allowed me to successfully trademark the new brand, Bamblu, that resonated so well in the market, we were picked up by a major retailer and experienced a 458% revenue lift in that next year.
“That’s not possible within two years of launching a business without support, systems, and access to the right knowledge,” she admits. “That is what Lamar & Ronnie have built with traffic, sales and profit.”
Traffic, Sales and Profit — Helping Black Entrepreneurs Build Brands
The Tylers are unstoppable because Black generational wealth is at stake.
As architects of a new emerging Black history, their business team drips in what Lamar would say, “anxious energy.”
Their enterprise is instrumental in supporting, training, investing, and advancing 48 seven-figure companies and five eight-figure companies that have come through their game-changing educational programs.
In another successful case, Dacia Woods, co-owner of Ladies & Luggage Travel Group, has been singing the praises of Traffic, Sales, and Profit, saying that after officially joining TSP Mastermind in June 2021, her company ended the year at about $300K in sales and has since crossed the million-dollar mark.
“The lives we changed just because somebody’s working for a Black person and then saying, ‘You know what? They did it; I can do it. Or if they did it, my kids can do it.’ And their kids are seeing their mom and dad work for amazing Black entrepreneurs. I just get excited just thinking about them,” Lamar admits.
Kim Lewis, CEO of Chicago-based beauty brand CurlMix, says, “Lamar and Ronnie made us millionaires.”
“Before them, we spent five years spinning our wheels, making no money. In fact, we lost $100,000 of our own money before joining the TSP community. Their guidance helped us grow our business to $10M in 4 years. They’ve been incredible mentors, teachers, and friends, and we are forever grateful to them,” Lewis explained.
By the end of 2023, the Tylers are on a mission to develop, nurture and serve 500 seven-figure Black businesses, 50 eight-figure Black businesses, and five nine-figure Black businesses.
“Now that’s Black history,” Lamar said.
Changemakers on the move
As an IT professional, Lamar always had it in his mind that he wanted to be an entrepreneur. The roadmap wasn’t always clear, but he was a visionary who went from kid-level side hustles and cutting people’s grass for money to creating new Black history.
“But while I had these IT careers, I was always in the back of my mind trying different entrepreneurial ventures, trying to figure it out or trying to get a hold of something that would propel that piece of me.”
In his early years, Lamar memorialized in his mind the legendary presence of BLACK ENTERPRISE magazine, which sharpened his lens to the world of Black entrepreneurship and wealth.
“I know there are millions of people probably just like me that never imagined that they could own a company that was a certain size.”
“And looking at those covers and reading the articles inside of it is what really gave me a lens into what was possible for me through entrepreneurship and not just hustle because I always just find… It’s a difference between hustle and entrepreneurship, and a lot of times, people get the lines blurred. But really building a sustainable, lasting business enterprise.”
A graduate of Spelman College, Ronnie recalls instances of Black wealth in the student parking lot. As Mercedes-Benz cars came rolling in and out, she was aware her peers—daughters of lawyers and celebrity parents—were wealthy.
Before transitioning into a fully-fledged entrepreneur, Ronnie only worked for one company coming out of college, and that was IBM. She served as a project manager for over 17 years and managed large software development projects with budgets of over $30 million or more. After leaving to commit to her business full-time, it was a no-brainer that she would become the chief operations officer who serves as the secret sauce in planning and casting visions.
Marriage and business can prosper
Before selling their first flagship brand, Black and Married with Kids, to the Dunamis Woman Enterprise L.L.C., the Tylers were armed with a passion for empowering millions of married couples.
“Anytime that we’ve up-leveled in our business, right directly before us going to the next level, there was some type of risk; there was some type of major investment, something that just almost stopped my heart that we did in order to get to that next level each and every time. And each time, it gets bigger to get to the next level,” Ronnie said.
The secrets to building a successful romantic relationship echo the fundamentals of a great partnership in business—trust, communication, and accountability. Marriage takes work, and the business falls short if one partner drops the ball at home. It has been instrumental for the couple to leverage each other’s strengths and weaknesses to grow stronger in matrimony and enterprise building. And being parents of four children certainly adds flavor and a level of challenges into the mix.
“I’m all the way at the edge of risk, whereas Ronnie is pretty close to the edge of being conservative. And so a lot of times she said, Hey, I’ve stretched her out past where she would’ve gone. I say, well, she’s pulled me into a safe space further than what I would’ve risked if that risk was too much,” Lamar said.
“And so our years at Black and Married with Kids definitely laid the foundation for us to have a good marriage and to be intentional about our marriage, and that helps us be good business partners,” Ronnie added.
“If your spouse is not on board and they don’t understand, the best thing you can do is stay committed, stay consistent, and show them some results,” Ronnie added.
Building sweat equity
Tyler New Media started as an online blog, leveraging the power of social media, but it was no easy feat for the Tylers.
Adopting the C.R.U.S.H. mentality, can’t rest until something happens, the couple operated on very little time while raising four little children and serving demanding jobs. The couple still managed to write and edit all the original articles, build websites, and do any other tasks during hours that would typically require rest.
“A lot of times, it’s a lot of conversations about self-care, which is valid and about you need your sleep, you need this, but sometimes everything can’t fit. And just being transparent, everything can’t fit,” Lamar said.
“So at that point in life for us, it was either I’m going to build a business, or I’m going to go to sleep.”
He continued, “But for that season, we had to do what we had to do to get to the next level. So we didn’t have a lot of money to build, we didn’t have startup funds, we used our paychecks, and money we could squeeze off our paychecks is what initially built it. We built a lot of sweat equity.”
Changing the narrative of Black entrepreneurship
The core of the Tylers’ passion is building community through education and helping to exploit the opportunities that currently exist.
“When we started our business, our mission was to uplift and support and equip African American couples and their relationships and families,” Ronnie said.
“From there, we moved into entrepreneurship. And so, our focus with Traffic Sales and Profit is to build businesses. And that’s one of our missions, Black businesses, and entrepreneurs. Because why when those businesses grow, they hire people that look just like us, and that’s supporting the community, bringing money back into the community,” Ronnie continued.
With the fast-growing expansion of Tyler New Media, the founders embarked on a journey of reinvention. They built an inspirational community in Traffic Sales and Profit (TSP), which has helped thousands of Black entrepreneurs build six, seven, and eight-figure businesses.
“It’s very important for you to plan and to cast that vision,” Ronnie said. “Part of that is your yearly planning, your quarterly planning, and putting plans in place for your launches.”
“I always tell any entrepreneur, if you want to set yourself apart, especially the service-based businesses, you learn how to plan. You learn how to get your systems and processes together, and I guarantee you will set your business apart from anybody else in the marketplace.”
In executing their vision, the Tylers understood the value of connecting with consultants, coaches, and mentors while they walked on a path of unlearning and knowledge. They learned that generating, preserving, and wealth-building was just as important as learning how to build a business. But it wasn’t without trial and error.
“One of the things I realized the hard way myself was that making money was different from building wealth,” Lamar said.
“Because I used to think, ‘Hey, we make a lot of money. We’ll be wealthy.’ And I found out that is not the case.
“As we are doing it, again, we’re able to model it for other people in our community, share the stories with them,” he added.
“I had the philosophy I think most people have, which is I’m waiting for somebody to pick me. I’m waiting for somebody to see how hard of a worker I am, how much effort I put in, all these different things,” Lamar said.
“I realized that you go out and buy a mentor, and you can pay for that access, the information, the knowledge, and not wait for anything. When we got that, and we shifted, we started getting in those rooms and paying to be a mastermind, paying to have coaches. And we haven’t stopped since,” Lamar continued.
Ronnie added, “We are going to take whatever action we need to take to put ourselves into those spaces, whether it’s paying forward, paying for access via their programs, or just trying to be in the room, the conferences, or what have you. But we are intentional about that.”
An HBCU Homecoming for Black businesses
In a true homecoming fashion, Tyler New Media’s Traffic Sales and Profit (TSP) hosts two signature public conferences a year where they reunite the greatest minds in business and wealth to teach, train, inspire, and celebrate. In January 2023, the Tylers again invited entrepreneurs to get three full days of coaching at the TSP LIVE conference in four key areas: People (team-building and staffing), Projects (project management and organization), Products (product and service creation and sales) and Profit (cash flow and revenue).
“It is like a HBCU family reunion,” Ronnie said.
According to the Tylers, the special sauce isn’t just about how to sell a product but how to overcome the systemic issues Black people face as a community.
“We really want to make people feel like this is for them,” Ronnie said.
“So not only are we giving them the best business input and knowledge, we’re focusing on how to do sales and marketing, but we’re also focusing on how to build a sustainable, strong business.”
“We’re focusing on the challenges we face specifically as a people. And then we’re adding that cultural flavor to it, the music, things of that nature,” she continued.
Lamar’s favorite part at each event is the awards show, where they honor their clients for hitting six or seven figures.
“The point of doing that is that once people see it, they can’t unsee it,” Lamar explained. “For a lot of people, we continuously hear over and over again is that they never even thought about the fact that they could build a seven-figure business until they saw somebody on that stage.”
“It is taking that blueprint and just transitioning to a different model and a different format and giving those people the vision that they can see it, and they can be it,” Lamar said.
Freddie Taylor, founder of Urban Intellectuals, and his wife, Krystal, founder of Fitness Is Not a Game, are two people who benefitted from TSP and can now see the vision that Lamar speaks of.
“Being in the Mastermind with Lamar and Ronnie has been special because they’ve shown us how to go from hustling on the internet to building a real business with structure, systems, and processes, including contractors; we employ over 20 people, and I know this is just the foundation,” Freddie told BLACK ENTERPRISE.
“The explosion is about to happen. The community they’ve built is a reflection of their union in business and marriage. It is a place my wife and I are able to mix and mingle with other married, focused entrepreneurs that are trustworthy and brilliant. It is an amazing space more people should know about,” he shared.
Tyler New Media’s headquarters, a Nod to Black history
Last year, the power couple opened their new two-level headquarters in the Duluth area of Atlanta, where they run day-to-day company operations. They have made a state-of-the-art learning and educational center available for entrepreneurs and small business owners to rent for their own high-level events.
The Rosewood Training Center, a nod to the historic and thriving Black community that was burned down in 1923 by a white mob, offers intensive training that is both Black-owned and utilizes the highest level of technology and service, and more.
For the Tylers, their clients raised the possibility of ownership: a husband and wife who bought a building right down the street from the Tylers’ old office.
“They told us to come by, and we came by, and they said, ‘We own this.’” And I was like, ‘What do you mean you own it? I don’t get it.’ And they were like, ‘We own it. We own it. We pay the mortgage. We own it like our house.’”
The clients informed the Tylers that lots were available in the same development. Lamar said he realized it was more cost-effective to pay a mortgage in the development than for the lease he was paying. It just clicked that he and his wife would own the building.
“Since we’ve owned the building, we began telling all of our clients what the process was, the pitfalls we ran into, and the problems we ran into,” Lamar said.
The Tylers were rejected from banks they had used for years and forced to borrow money from smaller regional community banks.
“So just from having that conversation with our community, then guess what, five or six more of our clients now own their own buildings that they operate out of. But it’s literally so many things that we can achieve, but we just need to see it first,” Lamar said.
Circulating the Black dollar
Transformed by Black-owned Nikki Klugh Design Group, Tyler New Media’s headquarters has fostered a community and environment “where everything we need is in a room.”
“As soon as you walk in the door, you’re seeing art that inspires you. Art that makes you feel proud to be an African American. And also just images of people that have paved the way for us. And so it’s a big deal for people when they come to our business, our building, because it inspires them. And that’s exactly what we wanted to do when we designed the space,” Ronnie said.
From hiring a Black-owned AV and automation company to a Black-owned security company, the Tylers intentionally champion Black talent, Black excellence, and the circulation of the Black dollar.
“I always say Black unemployment is so high because Black businesses don’t employ people. And most people hire people that look like them. They hire people from their own backgrounds, from their own communities,” Lamar said.
“But the problem is, nine out of 10 Black businesses are solo entrepreneurs. So we need our companies to grow and scale so that we can provide more opportunity for our own people.”
So far, the growing pains are glorious for the Black entrepreneurs in the Tylers’ orbit.
For more information, visit TrafficSalesandProfit.com.