Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Black buying power in Michiana - Managing our own economic empowerment by saying Thank You
6:40 am est
According to a 2012 study, the nation’s Black buying power continues to rise dramatically. In fact, it reached over $1 Trillion in 2012. As a
measure of comparison, according to the CIA World Factbook, that is an amount greater than the buying power of Iran, a nation that ranked 18th in the world.
Black spending in
the US increased 73% from 2000 – 2012 compared to 60% of Whites and 67% of all US consumers. While Blacks need to be
concerned about saving and creating wealth, for the purpose of this article, we want to focus on what this means regarding
This increase in buying power does not come only from population growth and inflation. The 2007
Survey of Business Owners published by the US Census Bureau in 2011 shows a dramatic increase in Black owned businesses and
receipts generated by those businesses. Another factor shows rising education levels opening the doors to occupations with
higher and higher average salaries. These trends are favorable, but only to the extent to which they are built upon.
that Black consumers continue to spend a disproportionately large percentage of their incomes on consumer goods is not the
message. Understanding that it is possible to strategically turn those personal buying habits into personal economic power
Michiana makes up a 15 county region in the Midwest with a population of 1.6 million people. According to the last
census, 226,000 of that population is Black. That’s 14% of the population. The key here is buying POWER… and
the conscious choice to use it.
When businesses believe consumers will purchase from them no matter what the quality
of service; the incentive to incur the added expense of providing exceptional service declines. When consumers demonstrate
a conscious decision to purchase with selected businesses, exceptional efforts are made to compete for that business. In 2009
the combined annual buying power of Black people in Indiana and Michigan was reported to be $54 million. You would think that
consumers with that kind of buying power deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. But if consumers do not show that
they understand the extent of their purchasing power, that respect will not come.
Those businesses that respect black
buying power and show it by reaching out to the black community, investing in the community, supporting the community…
deserve the community’s thanks. They earn the community’s business and should be rewarded. But how does the individual
consumer make a difference? How does the individual consumer exert any real power? The answer is with a simple Thank you.
By publicly saying Thank You to those businesses that treat the Black community with dignity and respect consumers
give businesses free advertising. By saying Thank you loudly and publicly Indiana and Michigan businesses see that some portion
of that $54 million is more likely to be spent with them. That simple Thank you will encourage those businesses to compete
for what they refer to as a larger share of wallet.
This month, let’s acknowledge those companies that show they
care about the Black community. Send us the names of those businesses and why you feel they care about the Black community.
Do they provide exceptional service? Do they support your church or school? Do they invest in your families? Do they buy services
from small community based businesses? The Michiana Dignity and Respect Campaign will publicize those businesses and spread the good word about them. And as they do more the campaign will say more. Tell
us when you encourage others to support those businesses. We’ll make sure they know their efforts are being rewarded
with your business.
Economic empowerment begins by knowing that every consumer’s voice counts. When consumers
reward businesses that support the community … businesses compete to provide even more. It’s the basic tenant
of buying power. The power you the consumer control. POWER TO THE PEOPLE. POWER TO THE CONSUMER.
Friday, February 1, 2013
A Novel Time making Michiana smarter
3:51 pm est
Michiana is becoming a hot bed of
innovative new businesses. One of the hottest segments for new business is education. A
Novel Time, LLC is an exciting new business that taps into what INC magazine noted as one of the best industries for starting a new business … education technology.
A Novel Time, LLC helps students
become more critical readers, writers and thinkers, while engaging
in online creative writing and text-based discussions with peers, creating empowered 21st century learners.
Reading is understood by many to literally restructure the brain, causing development that directly impacts our thoughts, our lives, our impact
on our world. It is our growing understanding of brain development that has made reading education a hotly
desired service parents seek. A Novel Time, LLC fulfills that need well.
Designed by Joanna Azar,
an educator with a BS and MS in elementary education from Indiana University, A Novel Time, LLC incorporates the most current
techniques to encourage a love and passion for reading and stimulates the brain development benefits.
Summer of Suspicion is the theme of this summer's classes.
Each grade level (4/5 and 6/7) will be delving into books with a mystery theme. The website www.anoveltime.com gives further details about the book selections for each grade level.
Joanna is a South Bend native who
worked with Michiana SCORE for help on starting her business. For more information on A Novel Time, LLC
please visit www.anoveltime.com. For more information on helping your business visit Michiana SCORE online
at www.michiana.score.org .
For more information on Inc’s hottest new startups visit http://www.inc.com/ss/best-industries-for-starting-a-business#17
more information on why reading matters visit http://youtu.be/QdwFFFBCPzw
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
The Michiana Dignity and Respect Campaign
4:48 pm est
Thank you for the introduction I am James Summers. I’ve been a member of this club since July 2011. I run a
small business development consulting firm. What sticks in most folks minds is that I do Diversity consulting, and while that’s
true and has been our primary source of income for the business for the last 8 years, what I really do is business development
that’s centered on teaching inclusive behaviors and building relationships.
I’m telling you this because, I’m
here to talk to you about a community program we’re promoting called the Dignity and Respect Campaign. When people hear
about it, they think, “that’s nice, yeah wouldn’t it be wonderful if that’s the way people treated
each other… the only folks who’ll pay attention to this are the folks who already believe it’s the way
we should be and you’re preaching to the choir.” Folks who don’t really know me very well think I’m
this Polly Anna, eternal optimist trying to get everyone to get along and sing Kumbaya.
People who really know
me know I’m a sales and marketing, process improvement capitalist who understands that nothing happens until you sell
something and most sales happen as a result of relationships. So as I tell you about the Dignity and Respect Campaign, I want
you to recognize that yes, if we can encourage these behaviors we’ll have a nicer world to live in, more of us might
actually go to heaven, but we might also have specific outcomes we can point to that help attract smart people and good businesses
to a community that actually works well together. Read more
Sunday, December 9, 2012
Deaf photographer fights to get off of Government assistance
9:00 am est
off, many say it’s politically correct to say “hearing impaired”. But deaf photographer Kevin Haggenjos said he’s not bothered
being called deaf. “I am deaf, so what?” the 50 year old photographer says.
“I’m a very good photographer. And that’s what matters.” Deaf
since birth, Haggenjos has never let it be something to hold him back. After a challenging
career as a staff or freelance photographer, the economic turndown has made getting photography jobs difficult.
But that doesn’t dampen the spirit of a man like Haggenjos. The competition
for photography jobs has always been tough. Being deaf has always made it harder for Haggenjos to get hired. With
the economic down turn the competition for those jobs has gotten even harder to land. So Haggenjos is temporarily
in need of using Social Security Disability Insurance.
a safety net, not a way of life” says Haggenjos. Tenacious, creative and entrepreneurial, Haggenjos
decided to launch Haggenjos Photography. In addition to the traditional school pictures, weddings and family portraits,
Haggenjos Photography does food and product photo shoots. But, as with all businesses, it’s
important to have a niche. Working with Michiana SCORE, Haggenjos identified a market niche and has turned what many call a disability to strategic
advantage. As a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise, Haggenjos Photography becomes a valuable vendor resource for companies who have a need
to meet Supplier Diversity goals. Additionally, Haggenjos Photography is a recognized vendor of choice
for hearing impaired customers who want to work with a professional who is empathetic and sensitive to any special needs.
way I see it, you can play the role of the victim, the way too many people expect… or you can turn a challenge into
an opportunity. I think turning challenges into opportunities is what social safety nets like SSDI are for.” Kevin Haggenjos is an example of the Michiana Spirit,
working to make the American Dream come true.
For more information on Haggenjos Photography
For more information on benefits for
people with disabilities visit: http://www.ssa.gov/disability/
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Doing well by doing good
4:11 pm est
Doing well by doing good is one of those great sounding maxims that always seem more sizzle than steak.
But, with the right collaborations, some Michiana businesses are seeing that they can revitalize the community while
making a profit. So, while the federal government struggles with collaboration and cooperation stumbling
about the ledge of a fiscal cliff, some Michiana leaders have found a way to make things happen.
In a collaboration of entrepreneurs looking to grow their businesses
and individuals looking for jobs, the Michiana African American Chamber of Commerce (MAACC) is identifying businesses and connecting them to resources and business opportunities.
The process recognizes some critical stages of development: Education and preparation, support and development, competency
and capacity building and business opportunities.
Each stage leverages important collaborations. In Education and Preparation for business, the
Michiana African American Chamber of Commerce partners with Michiana SCORE to provide mentoring, coaching, workshops and a network of knowledgeable advisors.
The Apprentice Academy provides immediate project specific skills training, while Ivy Tech offers certifications for skills employers need. For individuals the soft
skills necessary to be effective on the job are provided by Project Impact, Goodwill Industries, Dismas House, Ducomb Center and others. Those same organizations help individuals through
the support and development stage helping individuals be more successful in their positions. In addition,
the businesses from the Business Advisory Council that cannot buy services from a community business or hire one of the individuals
from the program, can provide mentoring and coaching support.
Businesses that complete workshops and perform well on the MAACC assessment are invited to bid
on projects from the Business Advisory Council and the MAACC network of sponsors. This process provides
income for developing business and practical experience commensurate with the businesses capabilities.
Stone Horses is a great example of a business adding value to the community through this effort.
This local manufacturer of model horses has trained individuals in their Shipshewana facility and set them up in a
satellite facility in the Michiana Goodwill facility on Western Avenue in South Bend. By training individuals
from the community to assemble and clean models, they have created jobs and increased capacity.
For more information on how you and your company might
join this social entrepreneurship movement in Michiana contact the Michiana African American Chamber of Commerce at 574-287-3000
or the Business Advisory Council at 574-472-7316.