Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Nicole's Commentary August 27th, 2007

Just the other day, I sat with my business advisor, who is one of the businesses on the http://www.diversephilly.com/ website. We were talking about ways to improve and market the website. She said that when she sent out an e-mail to her distribution list telling her she can be found on DiversePhilly, some of responses came back telling her that she was too professional to be associated with the businesses on the website. I started rubbing my eyebrows in frustration and I kindly said “It’s that exact attitude that got us here in the first place” Those businesses that you think are not professional enough need your skills to become successful. If we say that our business is too good to be listed with other businesses, then we are turning our backs on ourselves. Your business is judged by how people view the good and bad habits of people who have the same color of your skin.

When I worked at Deloitte, I was the first minority in my department. I knew if I did a bad job, another person would be denied yet another opportunity. My track record allowed Deloitte to judge my successor by the content of his resume not the color of his skin. My successor in fact was a minority person. We have to stop pretending that these kids committing crime and those businesses who don’t have a certain look are not “our” people. The sooner we realize that we are all in this together, the more successful we will all be. By being listed on this website, your business is exposed to the businesses in your category. Hopefully, we can learn what it takes to measure up. Just by listing your business, we can mentor each other.

It is not fair to criticize people when they have not been empowered with your knowledge. We have to learn that there is a formula to success and current business owners are missing an opportunity to teach the next generation of business owners how to navigate the roadblocks that come in starting a business.

I am my brother’s keeper? UrbanPhilly and Ladybug Marketing, two of the businesses that had been in the internet marketing business a lot longer, allowed me to enter into their networks to create DiversePhilly. They did not have the crabs in a barrel mentality; they understood that everybody can share something with someone else. I, in turn, acknowledge their help and support every chance I get. The world is changing by leaps and bounds in the digital age and some people are being left out. My measure of success is not how much money my company makes but how many businesses/consumers are brought into the digital age to take advantage of the internet. Let's see how we can work together to cross the digital divide.

Nicole's Commentary July 25th, 2007

I use the familiarity of the DiversePhilly businesses to add self-love and capability as character development for my children. We all know that children learn by what they experience so I use the internet to give them that experience. In the past, the businesses in the community created jobs for the neighborhood kids and were the leaders in the community. We have a whole generation of lost children killing and shooting each other because of lack of opportunity (high unemployment) while a new culture and a new business model is forming right under our noses on the internet. My children and this generation of children are growing up in the digital age – they are not going to search for a business using the phone book (nor access the internet from the computer). Our businesses must leverage technology to sustain ourselves. We have to learn the new generation customers, who were born in the digital age, and tailor our business to meet their needs. By growing relationships with this generation, we will in turn grow our business. We go to Mimmo’s because I went there as a child. That long standing relationship cannot be broken by Pizza Hut no matter how many commercials come on TV or coupons come in the newspaper. The key to our success is how we build and maintain relationships.