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A winning attitude key to black business success

Melvin B. Miller | 1/4/2017, 10:16 a.m.
During 2016, the spirit of entrepreneurship seemed to blossom in Boston’s black community. The Bay State Banner helped to fertilize ...
“Man, 2017 is the year I’m going to hit it big!” Photo by Dan Drew

During 2016, the spirit of entrepreneurship seemed to blossom in Boston’s black community. The Bay State Banner helped to fertilize this growth with publication of a business magazine entitled Banner Biz. The year before, the Banner sponsored two “Pitch in the City” events to induce young entrepreneurs to develop the ability to present their ideas in an effective manner. Even many of those with no plans to start a business are now aware of the importance of the development of wealth by blacks.

Last fall the Banner sponsored a financial literacy conference at Roxbury Community College. Its title was “Money Talk: Building Black Wealth.” This program extended beyond providing information and guidance to entrepreneurs. The Banner supports the notion that every citizen has to learn how to manage his or her paycheck efficiently. Living paycheck to paycheck is financially perilous. Seminars taught how to maintain credit, how to save and how to invest with reasonable risk.

Successful entrepreneurs develop personal practices that should also be adopted by those interested in social change. One attribute is self-discipline. In any major project there always seems to be too much to be done. It is necessary to organize one’s time to be efficient. That also means to be on time for meetings and appointments. And just as an athlete must be fit and ready to compete in the game, so must an entrepreneur be ready for competition. Those working for the benefit of the community must be equally avid.

Another attribute is that the entrepreneur must be well informed. He or she must fully understand the details of the transaction. It is necessary to know your costs and the vagaries of the market. Knowledge of the details enables the entrepreneur to be flexible and change strategies if circumstances require. The ability to do this will influence the success or failure of the business.

This talent, along with preparation, often are missing from projects for social change. How many marches have there been, allegedly to halt violence in the community or for another worthy cause? And yet there is no change, no improvement in circumstances. The supposed agents of change have lost the game, and that is why many people are unwilling to join the fray. People like winners, a trait shared by successful business executives.

The key to success in business as well as in projects for social change is to develop unique strategies that motivate others to respond favorably. That is the hard part. The entrepreneur or the social change agent are already persuaded by the soundness of their ideas. It is a major task to bring others to believe in their cause.

The Banner has strongly supported the development of black wealth. The Banner has also journalistically reported on many of the issues of social change confronting the community. Let 2017 be the year that the non profit sector becomes fully aware of the importance of developing black businesses in order to build black wealth. And let 2017 be the year when building black wealth is viewed as a vehicle for social change. Fundamentally, there should be no source of conflict.