Diverse Business Show Blog Talk Radio

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Business of Running a Business with Melinda Emerson, Small Biz Lady

(Melinda Emerson, Karen Taylor Bass, James Andrews and Pam Perry #twitter buddies)

Ken Harris, former MMSDC VP, now President Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce

Hear the Diverse Business show 
with Melinda Emerson and Ken Harris

Listen to internet radio with Diverse Business on Blog Talk Radio

Monday, December 5, 2011

2011 Stars of Diversity Winners and Download the Program book

"Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure." - Napoleon Hill

Ford  won "Corporation of the Year" 
Pictured: Louis Green (left) and Ford Motor Company Staffers, Tony Brown 

Tony Brown
Since January 2009, MMSDC corporate members and certified minority businesses received tremendous opportunities and growth through our chairman of the board, Tony Brown.

Motor Company's Global Purchasing Vice President, Mr. Tony Brown. Through his leadership MMSDC has increased it footprint in the global economy and opened doors for even greater success in the future.

To celebrate this milestone, MMSDC will "Pay It Forward" by awarding scholarships of $2000 each to 10 minority disadvantaged students. This exciting program will assist students in Michigan to achieve their academic and professional goals

Here is the program book, download it! http://www.minoritysupplier.net/awards/awards_book.pdf

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The 3s of Supplier Diversity #nmsdc2011

Guest post by:

There is no global supplier diversity “cookie cutter-method” for implementation. It is a mistake for companies to believe they can be successful by simply adopting a “copy exactly” approach and transporting the companies’ U.S. supplier diversity tools, processes, and policies into non-U.S. locations. While some process and policy consistency is required, supplier diversity programs must be adapted to reflect the cultural and societal norms of the geographies in which they are implemented.

Despite these regional differences in implementation, the business case for global supplier diversity is consistent. I frequently discuss this business case in the context of what I refer to as “the three C’s” of supplier diversity:


In the United States, many companies’ supplier diversity programs are built around a compliance core. These programs are designed to help ensure that the company meets compliance requirements mandated by its public-sector customers. The U.S. federal government requires that any company that provides goods and services to it, above a certain mandated minimum level, meets aggressive goals of subcontracting spend with a list of enumerated categories of underrepresented small businesses. These categories include ethnic-minority-owned, woman-owned, and veteran-owned businesses.

These compliance requirements have become pervasive over the past 50 years as many states, municipalities, school districts, and other public sector entities have developed supplier diversity mandates that mirror or closely reflect the U.S. federal requirements. Even companies that don’t source directly to the public sector may be required to adhere to these types of requirements, if they source to other private sector companies which themselves are public sector suppliers and are required to “flow down” requirements.

With limited exceptions, outside of the United States there are no similar legislative mandates requiring that companies subcontract with diverse businesses. While no other countries have identical mandates to the United States for minority business inclusion, two countries have enacted their own legislative framework to ensure inclusion of minorities or disadvantaged people. First, there is the case of South Africa and their Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BEE) legislation. Second, more recently, is Australia, which has implemented requirements for including indigenous aboriginal-owned businesses in certain contracts. In addition, while visible minorities in Canada are not included in any government scheme for protected status, they do have a government set aside for Aboriginals based on self-certification. However, absent extensive compelling mandates, supplier diversity performance has been slow to expand outside of the United States.

Those companies that have chosen to expand their global supplier diversity programs outside of the United States for compliance reasons, have done so with an aim to:

Address existing or developing supplier diversity mandates that currently exist in regions where those companies do business outside of the United States (for example, to meet the requirements of Australia’s Indigenous Opportunities Program (IOP) or the South African Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment code requirements); or
Remain “ahead of the legislative curve” by designing and implementing robust supplier diversity procurement policies ahead of government mandates in regions that appear to be evaluating the adoption of such mandates.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

These policies are seen to function as built-in, self-regulating mechanisms whereby businesses monitor and ensure active compliance with the spirit of the law, ethical standards, and international norms. Many companies position their supplier diversity programs as supporting CSR pillars, by:

Enhancing the company image and brand by demonstrating commitment to high ethical standard of inclusion
Working to ensure that the diversity of the company’s supplier base reflects that of its employee base and customer mix
Supporting the CSR requirements of its customer in the marketplace.
These CSR drivers are not at all unique to U.S. supplier diversity programs. It can truly be said that, with these drivers in mind, …if ensuring an inclusive supply chain is ‘the right thing to do’ in the United States, it is ‘the right thing to do’ everywhere that the Company does business …

Competitive Advantage

Among the most successful of U.S.-based supplier diversity programs are those hosted by companies that position the programs as a business imperative, a revenue enabler, a competitive advantage. Hewlett-Packard, for example, estimates in it’s Global Citizenship Report that in 2010 more than $10 billion -worth of business required the company to demonstrate its efforts in supplier diversity.

By working to meet contractual- and compliance-driven diversity subcontracting requirements of its customers, a company with a business-to-business (B2B) sales model can leverage its supplier diversity performance to win in the marketplace. Similarly, a company with a business-to-consumer (B2C) business model can weave its supplier diversity investments in diverse communities into its marketing and advertising and help it to create a competitive advantage across a diverse consumer base.

Collectively, these elements combine to form the business case—a set of compelling drivers for global supplier diversity expansion. Note that not every company will find each of the three important to the same degree, if at all.

Source: The 3 C’s of Supplier Diversity | Brian Tippens | Innovation Matters

Friday, October 14, 2011

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Diverse Business: Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council

Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council: 28th Annual Stars of Diversity Awards
October marks National Minority Business Month across the nation. In Detroit, the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council (MMSDC) gathers more than700 minority business owners and the nation's top corporate brass.

This annual event which is held every year during Minority Business Month, "celebrates the stars of diversity. " The honorees are acknowledged for their work that made $12 billion in contract opportunities possible for the members of the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council (MMSDC).

This Grammy-Style Awards Show and Strolling Dinner had Rhonda Walker, morning anchor on local NBC Affiliate (WDIV Detroit) as the Mistress of Ceremonies.

"We were glad to highlight companies like SET Enterprise, who was recently featured in Black Enterprise, and won the Diamond Award because he goes out of his way to help other minority businesses," said Louis Green, President/CEO of MMSDC.

Hear the podcast of Sid Taylor, the President of SET Enterprise, on the Diverse Business show: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/diversebusiness/2011/09/19/ ...#

This sold-out event celebrated the extraordinary achievements of those in the supplier diversity industry.

Special Guests this year included: City of Detroit Mayor, Dave Bing and Tony Brown, MMSDC Chairman of the Board and Group Vice President, Global Purchasing, Ford Motor Company, and Reverend Jesse Jackson, Rainbow PUSH.

2011 Award Winners

Corporation of the Year - OEM
Ford Motor Company
Corporation of the Year - Professional
Kelly Services Inc.

Corporation of the Year - Commercial Products
Herman Miller Inc.

Corporation of the Year - Manufacturing I
Johnson Controls, Inc.

Corporation of the Year - Finance & Insurance
The Auto Club Group (AAA Michigan)

Corporation of the Year - Construction

Corporation of the Year - Consumer Products
DTE Energy
Corporation of the Year - Health Care
Henry Ford Health System

Corporation of the Year -Education and Govt Entities
Wayne State University

Corporation of the Year - Information Technology
IBM Corporation

Corporate Buyer of the Year - National
Jonathan Pratt - Jonhson Controls, Inc.

Corporate Buyer of the Year - Local
Eric Newton - Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

Minority Business Advocate of the Year - National
Kevin Bell - Chrysler Group LLC

Minority Business Advocate of the Year - Local
Donna Strickland - Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

Diamond Award
Sid E. Taylor - SET Enterprises

Class I (Sales less than $1M)
Unique Expressions LLC

Class II (Sales bet. $1M - $10M)
Powerlink Facilities Management Services

Class III (Sales bet. $10M - $50M)
The Epitec Group, Inc.

Class IV (Sales over $50M)
Vision Information Technologies, Inc. (VisionIT)

President's Award
Burt Jordan, Ford Motor Company
Chris Genteel, Google, Inc

MMSDC is a non-profit, 501c 3 organization. Founded in 1977, the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council (MMSDC) has more than 1,200 certified minority businesses and over 300 corporate members working to further its mission to certify minority businesses; provide access to procurement opportunities; and develop capacity for minority business development. The MMSDC was recognized by the National Minority Supplier Development Council as "Council of the Year" for its work with major corporations to promote minority business development and growth.. For more information visit the MMSDC's website at http://www.minoritysupplier.org.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Minority Supplier Development Week: Focusing on Economic Growth and Job Creation

Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council (MMSDC) one of the winners of the $37 million Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge

To spur Economic Growth and Job Creation in 20 Regions across the Country
 “This cluster concept is so important… When you get a group of people together, and industries together, and institutions like universities together around particular industries, then the synergies that develop from all those different facets coming together can make the whole the greater than the sum of its parts.”  -President Barack Obama

MichiganMinority Supplier Development Council (MMSDC) is part of the Southeast Michigan cluster which has been awarded $2.1 million dollars through the federal Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge to create new jobs and technologies related to the rapidly emerging advanced energy storage system (AESS) industry cluster. 

 Advanced energy systems are critical to the future of the automotive industry, which is innovating rapidly around vehicle electrification and hybridization.  The alternative energy economy also relies heavily on energy storage systems, like batteries and powertrains, to prolong the life of energy generated by solar and wind systems.
 “Our role here at the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council will be to focus on diversifying existing firms that are affected by the rapidly shifting automotive industry so they can create jobs now and long into the future, said Louis Green, President/CEO of MMSDC, which is located in Detroit.

 “We are excited to be assist the emerging majority create new jobs and technologies related to the rapidly emerging advanced energy storage system,” said Green.

The multi-agency grant comes from the Employment and Training Administration, the Economic Development Administration and the Small Business Administration. The SBA’s grant of $150,000 will directly support the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council’s efforts to build diverse business opportunities for minority suppliers. 

“We are making steady progress towards putting America back to work," said U.S. Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis in a conference call with reporters. "The accelerator program uses federal dollars in a smarter way to build up regional economies."

The announcement of the award was made in Washington DC from: Acting U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Rebecca Blank; U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce, John Fernandez; and Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator, Karen Mills. 

“SBA has a long history of support for regional clusters and the Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge is an important next step, said Karen Mills.

 “I am pleased that SBA is contributing funding to bring underserved small businesses into regional clusters across the country.  By working with other federal agencies, we can link, leverage, and align our resources to give small businesses the tools they need to work together, grow and create jobs.”

The SBA is an organization that the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council works with to move the economy forward.

 “It’s no secret that Michigan’s economy has been hit the hardest. So this two million dollar investment in jobs for the southeast Michigan region is just what is needed to ignite new industries and create new jobs, said Green, “and we are the ready to get to work.”
For more information on the Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge, visit: www.eda.gov/InvestmentsGrants/jobsandinnovationchallenge.
About the MMSDC:
Founded in 1977, the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council (MMBSC) has more than 1,300 certified minority businesses and over 300 corporate members working to further its mission to certify minority businesses; provide access to procurement opportunities; and develop capacity for minority business development.

The MMBDC was recognized by the National Minority Supplier Development Council as “Council of the Year” for its work with major corporations to promote minority business development and growth. MMSDC is a non-profit, 501c 3 organization. For more information visit the MMSDC’s website at (

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Google Adwords explained: Video of Chris Genteel from Google (Ann Arbor)

Google AdWords is Google's main advertising product and main source of revenue. Google's total advertising revenues were USD$28 billion in 2010.[2] AdWords offers pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, cost-per-thousand (CPM) advertising, and site-targeted advertising for text, banner, and rich-media ads. The AdWords program includes local, national, and international distribution. Google's text advertisements are short, consisting of one headline consisting of 25 characters and two additional text lines consisting of 35 characters each. Image ads can be one of several different Interactive Advertising Bureau(IAB) standard sizes.

Pay-Per-Click advertisements (PPC)

Advertisers select the words that should trigger their ads and the maximum amount they will pay per click. When a user searches on Google, ads (also known as creatives by Google) for relevant words are shown as "sponsored links" on the right side of the screen, and sometimes above the main search results. Click-through rates (CTR) for the ads are about 8% for the first ad, 5% for the second one, and 2.5% for the third one. Search results can return from 0 to 12 ads.
The ordering of the paid-for listings depends on other advertisers' bids (PPC) and the "quality score" of all ads shown for a given search. The quality score is calculated by historical click-through rates, relevance of an advertiser's ad text and keywords, an advertiser's account history, and other relevance factors as determined by Google. The quality score is also used by Google to set the minimum bids for an advertiser's keywords. The minimum bid takes into consideration the quality of the landing page as well, which includes the relevancy and originality of content, navigability, and transparency into the nature of the business. Though Google has released a list of full guidelines for sites, the precise formula and meaning of relevance and its definition is in part secret to Google and the parameters used can change dynamically.
The auction mechanism that determines the order of the ads is a generalized second-price auction. This is claimed to have the property that the participants do not necessarily fare best when they truthfully reveal any private information asked for by the auction mechanism (in this case, the value of the keyword to them, in the form of a "truthful" bid).
source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AdWords

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Content Strategy for the Web

What is the GAME CHANGER? Content marketing! (and content curation). Not just buzz words but necessary in marketing and promoting any online business (or online business presence). Businesses and corporations today need to know about Content Development & Marketing, Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing (SMM).

Great book we recommend for clients: Accelerate! Grow Your Business Through the Convergence of Search, Social & Content Marketing.

Amplify’d from www.verticalmeasures.com

Web Content Strategy

You probably have a website. Has your philosophy for it evolved with the times? Contemporary websites offer more than just information about your company, contact information, and your product offerings. They now provide resources for solving customer problems, can be hubs for social activity, and, most importantly, are rich with fresh and engaging content that is regularly updated so that visitors will frequently return. Content strategy, then, begins with the question: What’s the point of your website?

Many business owners think that the purpose of their website is self-evident, that the questions “Why do you have a website?” and “Why do you produce web content?” are rhetorical ones that don’t need answering. I think just the opposite. Businesses must answer these questions first and foremost.

What Do You Want To Accomplish?

When our clients come to us for help with their content strategy, we ask them right off the bat what they want to accomplish. Sometimes, our clients don’t have the best answer. They tell us things like, “We know that content is king, so we need to add more content.” Or, “Our competitors are putting some really great things on the web so we need to too.” While both answers contain truth, they miss the mark when it comes to the strategy. We tell our clients that the question is actually quite simple, but the answer is not. Organizations should develop a content strategy because:

  • Web content provides the customer with clean, logical access to products and services and should funnel them to the site’s conversion pages.

  • Web content provides information that answers some of the toughest problems customers face.

  • Web content positions the organization as the trusted expert in its industry.

Notice that the purpose of your web content centers on the customer’s experience. Just like keyword research attempts to identify what your customers are searching for in your industry, your website can provide the answer to those searches. A smart content strategy begins with understanding what the customer needs rather than what you want to offer them.

Content Strategy

Measurable Objectives

In order for your content to deliver, you need a strategy with specific objectives that guides your content creation. By implementing measurable goals, you will be able to assess the success of your various projects and discover what’s working for you and what’s not. You need to consider the measurable objectives that will drive your content development.

The objectives for your content apply both at the macro level for your whole content enterprise, and at the micro level for each individual piece of content. Your content will be working for you when it:

  • Develops and increases your brand awareness

  • Generates traffic to your site and garners new customer leads or sales

  • Enhances your online reputation

  • Encourages natural links and optimizes your search engine rankings

  • Increases your competitive advantage

When you produce any single piece of content, it should accomplish one or more of these goals, and the sum total of all your content should accomplish all of them. An investment in a content marketing strategy is largely a matter of time and effort, and you want to be sure that every minute you devote to creating content yields a product that works to your advantage. By basing your content creation on your main objectives, your content development campaign will be much more efficient, maximizing the return on your investment.

Keep your objectives at the forefront of every piece of content that you develop. Before you create new content, hold it up against your objectives and ask:

  • Will this content position my company as a thought leader?

  • Does it help solve my market’s challenges?

  • Will it generate qualified traffic to my site?

  • Is this content better or different than what my competitors are offering?

Begin by taking a step back and looking at your overall content portfolio. Determine if you’ve created content that fulfills these objectives in one way or another. Are there any holes? Have you neglected any particular objective? For example, has it been a while since you’ve tended to your product pages?

Your objectives will guide you, not only as you create new content but also as you evaluate the current content you have. It’s critical that each piece of content works toward your objectives. Let’s go through each one of the objectives in detail to understand how they work in your strategy.

Create Mindshare and Branding

How do you want your customers — and the world, for that matter — to perceive you? On a philosophical level, your branding lives in the content. BusinessDictionary.com defines mindshare as the “Informal measure of the amount of talk, mention, or reference an idea, firm, or product generates in public or media.” For your content marketing strategy, you need to get people talking, mentioning or referencing, linking to and especially sharing your branded content. As your brand consistently provides valuable information to your customers and potential customers, you will increase your mindshare.

Informal measure of the amount of talk, mention, or reference an idea, firm, or product generates in public or media.

Increasing mindshare is all about distribution and promotion of your web pages. By consistently generating shareable content and ensuring that you distribute it through multiple channels and promote it throughout your network, your voice and your brand will make up an ever-increasing part of the conversation about your industry. The more you promote and distribute your content, the more you will boost your mindshare online, while at the same time strengthening the message that your brand is the expert solutions provider for your industry.

Generate Traffic, Leads and Sales

Certainly, increasing traffic is important for your site; however, unless you have advertisements on your site, and you’re getting paid for page views, you won’t get much out of increased traffic apart from reinforcing brand recognition. The ultimate goal for increasing traffic is to increase conversion and generate sales for your business. Your content should always work to funnel the traffic that you’re getting to your conversion pages.

Ultimately, your content will only add value to your business when it’s relevant, timely, and engaging. Content that fails in this regard won’t have a chance at going viral in social media channels, and rather than gaining valuable traffic will instead lead to high bounce rates. On the other hand, when you generate engaging content, you will find bounce rates drop and conversion rates go up; you’ll see your content take off in social media.

You can objectively measure traffic increases and conversion rates. That makes this objective a great one for your strategy, not only as you develop your content but also as you measure its success. When you see positive results, you can rest assured that your other goals for your content — the ones that are harder to measure — are reaping the benefits, too. That is, if you see increased traffic to your site and an increased rate of conversion when that traffic lands there, then your brand is strengthened, your mindshare has increased.

Proactively Manage Your Online Reputation

The mantra for reputation management is simple: Don’t wait for a problem to develop. Proactive reputation management ensures that the organization’s own content fills the search engine results page when that organization’s name or key people get searched. By ensuring that the organization’s content is visible, it becomes much harder for negative content to rise up to the page one search results. Most searches generally don’t go past page one of the search engine results page. Organizations (even individuals) that want to manage their reputation ought to focus on keeping page one filled with quality content that reinforces a positive brand image. When customers search for your brand, they should find nothing but positive information about your firm, and a smart content strategy ensures that they will.

In order for your organization or you as an individual to achieve this, your content should be distributed through a number of channels. Through social media, businesses can communicate to their customers and manage the communication that flows to the customer. Social media sites typically allow you to create your own profile page. Profiles on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are great examples of starting points for developing a social media platform. If your industry has any industry-specific social media sites, these are certainly places to have a profile, as well.

The same content strategy is true for the reputation of your brand as well as key executives within your organization. Take me, Arnie Kuenn, for example. A search for my name returns with a variety of content — nearly all the content on this page is content that I have developed and promoted, which is exactly how it should be.

Content for Search Engine Rankings

Any set of objectives for a content strategy would be incomplete if it ignored search engine optimization (SEO). Without considering SEO at the development stage, the possibilities for your content are diminished.

Content development and search engine optimization go hand in hand. On-page SEO is about assuring that each content page has the nuts and bolts in place so that the content will have the best chance for ranking highly in search. This means that your content needs to get plenty of links, and that onsite SEO best practices (free guide) – including titles, optimized metadata, and assurance that the pages don’t have excessive load time – need to be taken care of. As the content is developed, keeping these SEO factors in mind will ensure that it goes live in the best condition to improve your search engine rankings.

Note: the above is excerpted from my book Accelerate! Grow Your Business Through the Convergence of Search, Social & Content Marketing. It is a 250 page, step-by-step guide that any organization can follow to kick their content marketing strategy into high gear. Buy your copy today!
Read more at www.verticalmeasures.com

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Louis Green: Eleanor Josaitis Unsung Hero Award

It's a good thing that the Detroit Free Press prints "good" news once in a while! This was an excellent front page story about Louis Green winning the "Eleanor Josaitis Unsung Hero Award" and his commitment to increasing diverse business across the state.

"The thing I like most is we get to make a connection with talented business owners and help them make their dream a reality," said Louis Green.

Congrats to Mr. Louis Green, President/CEO of Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council.

Amplify’d from www.freep.com

Louis Green, president and CEO of the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council, stands in a skywalk to the Fisher Building in Detroit. Colleagues praise his ability to stay focused and flexible.

Louis Green, president and CEO of the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council, stands in a skywalk to the Fisher Building in Detroit. Colleagues praise his ability to stay focused and flexible. / PATRICIA BECK/Detroit Free Press

Louis Green was one in a group of 12 children who lived in a south-central Los Angeles neighborhood during the rise of gang violence.

"Out of them, there are seven who are dead, two sentenced to life in jail, one serving 86 years, and I don't know where one is," Green said.

But Green, president and CEO of the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council, said the tough circumstances of his childhood allowed him to excel.

"It drives me all the time," he said.

That drive has helped him change lives by getting corporations throughout the state and minority business leaders to work together.

It's also one of the reasons Green was selected to receive the Eleanor Josaitis Unsung Hero Award.

Off to Ohio

Green, 50, escaped the streets of Los Angeles when he accepted a full scholarship to Oberlin College in Ohio. There, he received bachelor's degrees in political science and communications.

Green later attended the University of Michigan, where he received a master's degree in public policy.

From there, Green worked in the state economic development office under then-Gov. Jim Blanchard and was hired as an economic adviser for then-Gov. John Engler.

Green has been a chief deputy director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, served as a national director of supplier diversity at NBC TV and was on New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's minority business team.

Six years ago, Green joined the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council. In the past four years, it has twice won the Council of the Year award.

The privately funded nonprofit is one of 37 Minority Supplier Development affiliates in the country. The organization offers programs and services for its corporate members and minority-owned business owners, as well as networking opportunities.

Each year, the 1,500-member organization facilitates more than $16 billion in purchases from minority businesses.

"The thing I like most is we get to make a connection with talented business owners and help them make their dream a reality," Green said.

Focused and flexible

Mable Jones, public affairs director for AAA Michigan, said she nominated Green for the award because of his ability to stay focused and flexible, come up with strategic plans and advocate for the membership.

"Mr. Green works with our program, and I got to observe his behavior and I was very impressed," said Jones, who also nominated him last year.

Jones said Green offers encouragement and often works quietly behind the scenes. "He knows how to work cooperatively," she said.

Green acknowledged he believes in working behind the scenes to make things happen. He said he thinks the connections in his organization happen because he and his staff try to reach out to the members and corporations.

Helen Ford, director of supplier diversity with AAA Michigan, said Green's ability and dedication to connecting members and corporations from the eastern and western parts of the state makes him essential to building economic growth.

Last year, the council was part of a group that put on a job fair for 5,000 people. And although that's not what the organization typically does, Green said the event helped build more connections.

"I never believe in staying in my lane," Green said.

Read more at www.freep.com

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Supplier diversity Programs assist in finding & getting diversified suppliers

Corporate diversity programs can be a good technique to obtain contracts from the Fortune 500 companies. The majority of corporate giants contain a diversity division and they exist to help your small business.

Corporate diversity departments assist in finding and getting diversified suppliers outside of the corporation. They are going to help your small business in getting work from the company. Realize that these companies don't operate the same as the government's minority programs. They most likely will not have contracts just for a minority certified business. Although, a few times they may have government specifications in their contracts to use minority businesses. However, these opportunities are regularly managed in the different divisions within the same corporation. So, they may request a list of minority vendors from the diversity department or they may look for the right vendors on their own.

Supplier diversity programs will not have the ability to take you to the Chairman of the Board in a person's initial visit. Yet, upon developing a partnership they might be able to get you an appointment with a department VP or some other decision maker. These diversity departments are fantastic at providing an introduction to somebody that has purchasing power. This can be significantly better than looking for the appropriate individual from the outside of the company. These programs are an excellent source of insider tips too.

An important component to getting corporate contracts is the follow-up. Following the first appointment mail a note or a card saying you appreciated the time and consideration. After that, begin seeking for reasons to stay in contact. As with all marketing endeavors, your goal is to be kept in their thoughts. They will be busy with other vendors but your goal will to be their favorite. The next step is then to begin relationships with other departments in the company.

Learn more about corporate diversity programs. A person can find information about a niche business too, like Native American business. Visit the links to find out more.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Darryl_Noble

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Google explains marketing tools to Mich. businesses

Google explains marketing tools to Mich. businesses


By Jaclyn Trop/ The Detroit News August 4, 2011

Detroit — Google Inc. Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt spoke here Thursday with Michigan businesses to explain how they can use Google's marketing tools to level the playing field and make money from their entrepreneurial visions.
The Internet is vital to growing business in an age of increasingly specialized, global markets, Schmidt told the group, which included representatives from Belle Tire Inc., Okemos-based software company TechSmith Corp., Ann Arbor-based global transportation firm Con-way Inc. and Ideal Group Inc., which hosted the event at its Detroit headquarters.
While it's never been easier to create new businesses, he said, it's also never been harder to beat competitors.
"Your economic solution is solved by the fact that the Internet exists," said Schmidt, who served as Google's CEO for 10 years before stepping down this spring. "It's easy to criticize the Internet because it's not perfect, but you want to think about what life would be like without it."
Google's paid advertising program Google AdWords has helped local businesses get ahead in an increasingly competitive market "where a penny one way or the other puts you out of the game," said Louis Green, president of Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council.

Free Internet tools are the "great equalizer," Green said. "A small firm looks just like a large firm."
Google's targeted advertising tools helped generate $1.3 billion in economic activity for more than 43,000 Michigan businesses and nonprofits last year, a 40 percent surge from 2009, Google said.
The Mountain View, Calif.-based media conglomerate is trying to make further inroads against traditional advertising by noting its search tools can help businesses reach new customers and thrive online for a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing.
(313) 222-2575

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20110804/BIZ/108040481/Google-explains-marketing-tools-to-Mich.-businesses#ixzz1U7X4Y6kr

Podcasts: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/diversebusiness 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Supplier Diversity Best Practices & Summit: Grand Rapids

Supplier Diversity best practices

Many companies have Supplier Diversity programs. These programs, also referred to as minority owned business enterprise or MBE programs are intended to help large corporations do business with small companies owned by African, Hispanic, and Asian Americans. The effectiveness of Supplier Diversity programs varies widely, depending on whether the company wants to use theirs as a strategic means to lower their bottom line costs and improve profitability, or only as a public relations vehicle.

Here are some of the characteristics of the best practices for Supplier Diversity programs:

  • Clearly documented commitment from the company's CEO

  • Specific annual goals for purchasing from minority owned businesses

  • Attainment of the goals tied to the compensation and performance plans of senior management

  • Inclusion of Supplier Diversity in a strategic plan for diversity

  • Head of the Supplier Diversity program is at the senior management level or above, and has control over corporate purchasing

  • Consideration of minority owned businesses included as a formal part of the contracting procurement process

  • Second-tier subcontracting to minority owned businesses also included as part of that process and written into the prime supplier's contract

  • A comprehensive database of minority owned businesses that is actively maintained and integrated into the purchasing process

  • Purchasing system that tracks supplier diversity performance and can target specific contracts for additional focus, outreach, or consideration

  • Visibility on the company's Internet website, including program details, contacts, and list of products and services purchased

  • Strategic partnerships with ethnic chambers, publishers, and other organizations that can assist in outreach

source: http://www.diversestrategies.com/Supplier_diversity_best_practices.htm

Ticket Information:

Event Details

The Supplier Diversity Summit is West Michigan's premier business development and networking event for minority business enterprises (MBEs); and is the place for large and small businesses, federal, state, and local governments, and other buying entities to meet, connect, and build relationships among certified minority-owned firms. Our 2011 theme, "Diversity's Global Reach," highlights the need for businesses to be globally savvy and able to offer global solutions to customers.

The Summit features dynamic presentations including a minority business panel showcasing their international success stories, and is open to people with an interest in, and concern for building our economy and society through inclusion. We invite you to register and attend this important conference.
Join us August 10-11, 2011 in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Is Social Media Really Worth the Time?

Case studies for considering social media by Tiffany Odutoye

If you still haven’t jumped into the social media bandwagon, which of these is your excuse?

You don’t know much about the power of social media?
You are much too busy with other stuff? Or
You have NO idea of what to do and where to start?

Whatever your problem, we have compiled a few case studies for considering social media. We hope this will show you what you are missing if you are not into social media marketing, right now and here.

Case study #1: Make YOUR brand of coffee from Starbucks:

In March, 2009 Starbucks celebrated the first birthday of mystarbucksidea.com, their first ever and wildly successful blog. Look at the amazing numbers they generated from this new venture.
-         3 million+ unique visitors (as of Nov, 2008)
-         70,000 ideas (as of March, 2009)
-         2 million+ comments (as of Jan, 2009)

Starbucks has a profile on Twitter with an unbelievable following of over 120,000 people!

All this is less than a year! Which paid ad campaign can bring you this kind of publicity?

Mystarbucksidea simply asks people what their mega Starbucks idea is. Starbucks coffee cubes? A customer card? Online coffee orders? Wikis? Whatever it is, just let ‘em know.

The user has to register to post ideas. The company keeps track of these ideas. There’s a voting facility and people can track the status of their ideas. The best ideas get implemented.

This is the perfect example of the power of democracy in business. Mystarbucks is the personification of the company’s insistence that the perfect cup of coffee is all about *YOU*. This platform is the company’s way of telling its customers that it cares about offering people the kind of coffee experience they want.

The success of their blog has several lessons for social media enthusiasts. Starbucks was able to make Starbucksidea something a lot more than a fancy suggestion box. They do this by:
-         Taking action: By allowing users to see the status of their ideas and informing them of the ideas that are being implemented, the company is following through with its promises.
-         Exciting users constantly: User interest is constantly piqued through discussions, Twitter posts and ads placed in stores. Thus, they maintain a constant buzz.
-         Preparing a comprehensive social media strategy: Starbucks unleashed several social media strategies, like their highly popular video at YouTube to encourage people to vote on Nov 4th. This gives them the right public image.

Important lesson:
-         People like to do business with people they ‘like’. ‘Knowing’ is not enough any more.
Heightened likeability = more sales.

Case Study #2: “Execute on Extraordinary Experiences Everyday!”

This is the mantra of the FreshBooks community.

FreshBooks started their online invoicing project in 2004. As of April 2009, more than 800,000 people use FreshBooks to receive, send, print and pay invoices.

According to Mike McDerment, the CEO of FreshBooks, a fantastic product and a great customer community has helped FreshBooks maintain its rapid growth even in the face of the economic downturn.

FreshBooks believes in ‘Executing’ fresh ideas so that people KNOW that things are getting done, and that their think tank is delivering real- time, tangible results.

The ‘Extraordinary’ experience is exceeding the expectations of customers in numerous little ways. One such step is the company taking their customers to dinner. Another example is how the company has a real person responding to enquiries from their website. Not something you’d normally expect. Customers are happy to connect with the people they are buying from.

FreshBooks offers their customers the ultimate ‘Experience’ when using their services. So, their software and their service personnel are friendly, helpful faces that relate with consumers on a personal level.

Finally, the company recreates these refreshing experiences ‘Everyday’ – a simple strategy that keeps customers happy everyday and every time they call.

FreshBooks has been using a number of social media tools to extend their community. It has a good online following at Twitter. This is the place where the company seeks to hold contests, follow up with customer service. Ultimately, their forums, blog and Twitter allow the company to convey the company’s message that “the currency of our business is relationships”.

What a powerful way of putting it into perspective!

Important Lesson:
-         When customers enjoy a positive experience each time they come to you, they endorse you automatically. Your customer base expands on autopilot.

Case Study #3: What women want

When they were thinking of launching a service for working mothers and mothers who wanted to return to the work force, Bradi Nathan and Terry Starr decided to get the answers from the mothers themselves. They conducted a survey on Facebook, asking their friends to forward it to more friends. This was how MyWorkButterfly or as they like to call it ‘Facebook for Moms’ was born. The website was launched in January 2009 - only 4 months ago, and they already claim to have more than 2,000 members and 40,000+ hits every month!

Not bad for a maiden venture.

Important Lesson:
-         The best way to know what your customers want is to ask them; the best way to cultivate your customers is to deliver it to them!

Some of the important lessons that we can learn from case studies like these are:
-         Social media opens the door to a huge and expanding marketplace.
-         Social media is the best way to take your brand/product to your customers
-         Social media allows you to open the doors to meaningful, two-way communication

A well built social network is an excellent channel for business and brand promotion. That is why so many people are obsessed with the idea of growing their social network.

However, planning and strategizing is as important to social media as it is to traditional marketing. 

-         Social media is effective only if it is targeted and constructive, so you must have an action plan before you dive into it
-         Different combinations of tools work for different businesses. Choose yours wisely
-         Consistency is key
-         Transparency is a must
-         Take meaningful, follow up action so that visitors are motivated to respond to your call of action

As an enthusiastic entrepreneur puts it, “it might look as if we’re wasting time chatting up strangers on Facebook and Twitter. But, all the while, we are developing precious contacts, and you never know which one of these contacts, or all of them, opens the doors to business opportunities.”

So, if you are not making use of social media to connect with your community, you are forfeiting an important marketing strategy.

Resource Box:

Tiffany Odutoye, Expert Idea Generator, Virtual Business Owner, Speaker and Coach with a passion for Social Media. 

Publisher of the book: "Now What Do I Do-An Entrepreneur's Guide to Getting to the Next Step with Social Media" - Learn more at http://www.talksocialnetworking.com http://www.virtualpartner.biz and http://www.nowwhatdoido.info.

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