For minority and women supplier diversity business entrepreneurs

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Barbara OliverI have been reflecting a lot on business processes lately. I think that's natural when you enter into business for yourself, as I have now done.

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But what about those of us who have been in business for a while? Our initial success was based on expertise as well as preparation. It stands to reason that our continued success, even in tough times, will depend on that same expertise and, more important, preparation.

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As small business owners wind up what perhaps has been the most difficult year in the history of their businesses, a lot more needs to be done beyond hoping that the economy turns around in 2012.

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Sales are down, profit margins are shrinking, and our crystal ball is broken. Long-term clients have trimmed their budgets and consolidated contracts, which often leaves many small minority- and woman-owned businesses out of the picture. Corporate commitments to diversity in their supply chains are increasing, and their goals are set higher and higher, but meeting their requirements is more difficult. We need to be larger, as well as better than the competition.

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But are you prepared? Is your business in a position to take advantage of growth opportunities when they present themselves, as did Pinnacle Technical Resources and Power Up Electrical Contractors? Read about them in our Alliances section, on page 24 of this issue. Their success is a testament to their expertise and, yes, preparation.

If you want to be as ready as they were, dust off that old business plan and update it. Revisit the strategic plan that you did years ago. You won't be alone. Organizations and corporations from the National Minority Supplier Development Council and the Women's Business Enterprise National Council to Toyota and AT&T revisit their strategic plans regularly. So should you.

So many of us have been in survival mode for so long, it's easy to forget what it means to workon your business, not just in it.

We launched our blog recently at It is intended to be a toolbox where you may find articles that, we hope, will be useful. Please visit us there, and then give us your feedback. What is it that you need to know? We will do our best to find it.

We wish you prosperity in the coming year.

Happy Holidays!

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MBE Resource Center

MBE's Business Opportunities resource covers business-related financing, consulting, and programs available for the Supplier Diversity community and M/WBEs. Updated monthly.


MBE's M/WBE Resource Directory is a comprehensive list of resource organizations (including links) that support the Supplier Diversity community and M/WBEs.


Refer to MBE's Acronyms & Terminology list for frequently used acronyms and terminology and an overview of the major organizations supporting the Supplier Diversity community.


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