Category Archives: Uncategorized

3 Things I Learned Last Week 9.6.15

This week: Business competition for women-owned businesses; New data source for businesses; entrepreneurship growing in U.S. InnovateHER Business Challenge 2016 The SBA piloted the first InnovateHER Business Challenge in 2015. Back for a second year in 2016, the Challenge is a … Continue reading

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3 Things I Learned Last Week 7.5.15

This week: New app helps employers connect with job seekers; iPad users may get new keyboard experience; why your bubble won’t burst New App Designed to Ease Job Search A new job search app called Switch is being dubbed the … Continue reading

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Who’s Laboring in America?

For some interesting Labor Day reading, here are some labor force facts recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Who Are We Celebrating? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of people 16 and older in the … Continue reading

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The Way Back . . .

I’m about as directionally challenged as you can get—so much so that if the pink Pepto Palace at the end of my street ever changes color, I probably won’t be able to find my way home. You don’t have to … Continue reading

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Thanks for Your Success

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” ~ William Arthur Ward Throughout the year, our staff receives many thank you’s from the business community—from our 25 Under 25 winners, from the owners … Continue reading

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How to Will Success . . . and a Few Other Tips for Getting to the Top

Earl G. Graves, Jr. is president and chief operating officer for Earl G. Graves Publishing Company, which publishes Black Enterprise magazine. His father founded the company back in 1970, after serving as an aide to Sen. Robert Kennedy.  Graves, Sr., … Continue reading

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Everything has a shelf life . . .

“Everything has a shelf life.” Simple words, delivered casually. But they packed a punch.

Sometimes just a few words can cut through the clutter and bring clarity. I was reminded of that recently while having lunch with a couple of business owner friends. One was still feeling angst over a personnel situation that had ended more than a year ago. The relationship had started on a promising note, brought numerous benefits to the employee, the owner and the company, but then began to deteriorate for a number of reasons. Eventually, the owner and the employee agreed to part ways. But the owner still beats herself up thinking about the woulda, coulda, shoulda’s that might have preserved the relationship.

In the midst of all this second guessing, the other business owner at our table, who had been silent through the bulk of lunch, said with a shrug, “Everything has a shelf life.” Simple words, delivered casually. But they packed a punch. Hearing them, my friend’s perspective shifted. I could tell by the look on her face she realized that it was not only okay the employee had moved on, it was right.

As I replayed the conversation later, I got to thinking about other things in our businesses that become stale or moldy, clearly outliving their shelf life. Yet we hang onto them anyway, perhaps because we’re emotionally attached, or because we mistakenly believe we can tweak this or change that and revive their freshness.

Often in business we think that adding something new is the way to pump up profits or inject new life into the company. Sometimes, the opposite is true. Sometimes, we need to face the hard reality and check the expiration dates on people, processes, and programs that may have served us well in the past but have become a drain on the present. Sometimes, we need to get smaller in order to get bigger. Sometimes, ironically, a tough and thorough purging of outdated systems and products past their prime may ultimately extend the shelf life of the company itself.

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