Friday, October 15, 2010


When Partners Depart

Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker and Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg in "The Social Network".

I saw the latest blockbuster The Social Network this week and was thoroughly entertained from start to finish. Regardless of the accuracy of the portrayal of Facebook's origins, there were lessons to be learned for any entrepreneur looking to make a buck with anyone else - friend or foe.  Fact is: Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin were business partners that severed their relationship and it wasn't amicable. Ultimately, lawyers had to become involved and Mark Zuckerberg settled. This can be the most expensive route to resolve a business dispute yet tends to be a route taken time and time again.

When considering entering into a business relationship, we must diligently look for the risks. There are always risks in conducting business (side note: please make sure you note them in your business plan) so it is best to think of risky scenarios and plan ways to mitigate them. 

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Business Profile: Kimora Lee Simmons

I had to highlight Kimora Lee Simmons, President and Creative Director of Phat Fashions, because she is a member of my generation, a Mom Mogul, and from St. Louis! Since I'm just putting my Mom Mogul boots on, it's important for me to see that there are people who are doing it quite successfully. Her industry and way of life is different from mine but I am impressed by her ability to balance it all.

Kimora started her career in fashion as an international teenage model. Over the last 12 years, she has created a fashion empire - a lifestyle brand - with Phat Fashions and its labels. She has a diverse income stream with a career product portfolio including the previously mentioned fashion empire, a highly reviewed book Fabulosity: What It Is and How To Get It, highly rated reality show Life in the Fab Lane, and several other business ventures... she has a total of 20 businesses! Finally, she's philanthropic and gives back to several causes including a scholarship to young ladies in our hometown.

Check out this recent interview with Access Hollywood with words for how she views her life at this time:

Lessons to learn from Kimora Lee Simmons:

  • Consistency is key to establishing a lifestyle brand. Although the products are different, the message is the same throughout - fabulous!
  • Maintain relationships that keep you grounded to keep your head on straight and give you a calm spirit.
  • Appreciate all that life has for you and go after those experiences you want.
  • Do not be afraid to walk away from a partnership that is not good for you.
  • Always think of fresh ideas for your business and include others in this brainstorming.
  • No matter what your background is, be confident in what you are doing.
Keep up with Kimora on her official website:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


11 Friends You Haven't Met; but Need to Know

Today we have a guest post by A. Michelle Buckley, a fellow member of Black Business Women Online. You can find more information about here at the end of the article. Enjoy!

We all talk about collaborating to expand our business and generate more leads. How often do you actually do it? We all talk about connecting and cultivating relationships. How often do you take the time to have dialogue?
I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you some friends who could truly make a difference in your business. These women are professional, insightful and inspiring.
Collectively, they can provide you with a wide variety of assistance and resources for your business including: creating and perfecting your elevator pitch, human resources, cultural diversity, sales and marketing, lifestyle, branding, non-profit/community engagement, networking, social media, beauty and lifestyle.
  1. Barbara Lopez with Brightfarm Introductions – Barbara masterfully helps you create an introduction to your business that reflects your specialty and your personality. Her capacity to ensure that your introductions are fresh and memorable is exceptional.
  2. Deena Pierott with Mosaic Blueprint – Deena has a connection for whatever ails your business. Although she is a cultural diversity expert, her vast and dynamic social network of women, urban entrepreneurs and corporations is built on collaboration.
  3. Ayesha Mathews-Wadhwa with PixInk – You are your brand and Ayesha’s brand development ensures that your brand identity and personal values are not only in sync but clear and well defined. Her brand cultivation genius helps discover what makes you unique.
  4. Natalie MacNeil with She Takes On the World – Home of all things “women entrepreneur.” Natalie features successful women entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship articles, valuable resources, and a free directory for women-owned businesses. She has received numerous awards and mentions for her work and blog content and is a constant source of fresh ideas and encouragement.
  5. Sylvia Browder with Browder Consulting – Sylvia empowers women to achieve success through entrepreneurship. In addition to running her own consulting practice, she volunteers as a SCORE counselor and provides women entrepreneurs with the resources and tools they need for continued success. Her support for women entrepreneurs is personal and heartfelt.
  6. Adrienne Graham with Empower Me! and Fearless Networking. This power broker provides a variety of platforms that enable women to maximize the value in their networks and connections. Adrienne is all about the power and empowerment of women entrepreneurs and the author of “Go Ahead Talk to Strangers: A Modern Day Guide to Fearless Networking.”
  7. Yolanda Webb with E’Lon Beauty – Yolanda publishes an amazing and unique online beauty magazine. Her magazine not only presents all that is beautiful on the outside, but her publication also nurtures the inside beauty of all women.
  8. Patricia Weber with Professional Strategies – Pat is the consummate sales coach for introverts. She understands the anxiety and apprehension introverts have in operating their business and skillfully coaches them through practical communication, sales and networking techniques.
  9. Jacintha Perrera with Island Getaways – This is not a “fly by night” travel service. Jacintha is a travel expert specializing in South Pacific getaways and special interest retreats. Her customized travel expeditions are once in a lifetime experiences. Be sure to check out her travel blog and virtual tours. When you need to getaway, you need to contact Jacintha.
  10. Crystal Martin with – Crystal is a social media and social networking guru. Her simple tips and tools will get you up to speed with effective and efficient marketing strategies that will enhance your capacity to meet and acquire appropriate clients.
Please take some time to explore their sites and introduce yourself. I’m sure each of them will welcome you into their fold with a warm smile and kind word.
A.Michelle Blakeley is the Founder and CEO of Simplicity, Inc.; a progressive small business development firm. She manages her clients’ business expectations and prevents information overload via Micro Business Therapy™ and Micro Business Action Plans. She is featured in and the Financial Post as one of 30 Women Entrepreneurs to Follow on Twitter and the host of Simple Truths for Women Entrepreneurs on

Tuesday, March 09, 2010


Be Adaptable

I love to share my lessons learned through this venue. Regardless of who else sees it, it has helped me to understand where I am in my career by thinking about situations and what lessons I can learn from them.

A great lesson--which always seems like deja vu--of this quarter has been that when things don't seem to be going the way they were expected to go, change. For instance, at the beginning of the year, I wrote of wanting to open a drop-in center. Since I do not own a bank, I decided to launch small, then grow. When that idea didn't work, I changed the concept to provide the same service but in a different way, like having a drop-in center on location for special events. This concept catches the attention of anyone I have mentioned it to, but it's still in startup mode. I have never been so excited about something in my career as I am with this. The vision I have for it is will create such an impact on my family and community... I'm so excited!

The moral of the story is - having to make a left turn when you really want to make a right isn't the worst thing in the world. Adapting to the situation but retaining the essence of and goals for what you want to do can still be a freeing experience. 

What are some situations in your business where you had to adapt and it changed your life?

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