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FIFTH Business Action Step for
"The Essential Women's Movement for African American Women"

Could Black Chambers of Commerce, Black Business Leagues and 
Black Business Networks Save 
the Black Community?
July 13, 2017

By Cathy Harris, Syndicated Columnist
With small businesses being the backbone of the community, one would think that these business entities would be in a position to save the black community. But if you are a black business owner, then you should be well aware of how it really works and of all the struggles of black businesses.
Unlike other nationalities and communities, in the black community misinformation, community myths, urban legends, and old wives tales will always be the primary reason for timely and relevant business information not being disseminated properly.
Many people don't know what to look for when they are seeking to join a local or national business group. Therefore, they end up joining the wrong group and get off track by losing their focus.
The following top 12 business questions are what you should ask yourself before joining any local or national business groups:
1. Is the Leader (CEO/President) of the Business Group Ethical?
The primary objective of any business network is to assist the network to achieve their goals - not just his or her goals. Everyone needs to understand that all leaders were followers at one time. But being a business owner, especially the head of a business network, means you must become a leader.
Not just a leader but an effective leader with your number one trait being honesty. It's up to the head of any business group to set the tone for their group because again, "It's their business!"
2. Is the Membership Fees or Activity Fees Too Expensive?
This is where you have to be really careful and investigate potential business groups. Some of these groups might run their business simply to collect extremely high monthly or yearly membership fees.
You can check to see how much other groups are charging for their fees and compare prices. Does the fees fall in the same range as other business groups or do the fees seem extremely high for what they have to offer? 

Even if the funds are low, investigate what the funds are used for.   If you don't receive a clear answer on how the business group is using the funds, then don't join because chances are these groups will not be honest with their members.
3. Does the Business Group Provide Feedback and Follow-up?
When you inquire about membership or other services or products of a business group, are they timely when getting back to you or do they even bother to return your texts, emails or phone calls? Sometimes the President of a business group might be great, but the people around him or her might not have the right attitude to bring in new members or help grow the group.
But again, it's up to the leader of any business group to set the tone, therefore, he or she should be aware of what type of people they have surrounded themselves with. Not providing feedback and follow-up, will be one of the main reasons that will force business owners to leave business groups and join others.
4. Do the Business Group have a Website With all Their Services and Products Listed?

Having a website will make it easier for anyone to view what services and products a business group has to offer. It will bring legitimacy to whatever mission the group is trying to achieve. It will also help you see how the group presents itself to the public and other potential members and partners.

Is the website professional? Are there spelling, punctuation or grammar errors? Does the website have a signup mailing list or do you have to join first? Is the website updated often? Does the website list any potential partners? All relevant information should be posted on the website, especially a list of any other groups they are partnering with.

5. Who are the Business Group Partnering With?
In order to be a successful business owner, a solo business owner can only get so far unless they form business alliances, strategic partnerships and co-ops with other businesses. But before joining any business groups, try to make sure you check out other potential partners of that group.
What type of reputation do these potential partners have? If the business groups you are looking at joining are partnering with groups that have hurt the black community, then of course you do not want to be a part of their group. So investigate by speaking to the President and other members and attend several meetings and networking events before you decide to join.
6. Are the Business Group' Leaders Forming Alliances with Black Pro-Business Legislators and Other Community Leaders?
Pro-business, visionary black legislators can play a major role in the success of black businesses. These legislators are in a position to disperse funds and business information to both black youths and adults and, therefore, we must hold them accountable, especially when it comes to black youths.
Business leaders and groups must have respect for all segments of the community including grassroots, youth, elderly, other business proprietors, professionals, laborers, clergy, etc. This will not only allow the network to grow, but it facilitates bonding and promotes self-esteem.
7. Are there Monthly Business Meetings, Yearly Events and Other Networking Activities?
Business networking is a marketing method by which business opportunities are created through networks of like-minded business people. There are several prominent business networking organizations that create models of networking activities that, when followed, allows the business person to build new business relationships and generate business opportunities at the same time.
Many groups are inactive when it comes to networking events. Some simply want others to join and pay their membership fees without giving them anything in return. Never, ever join a group that is INACTIVE unless you think your participation can help the group expand their services and products.
If the group does not have monthly meetings, yearly events or other networking activities, where members can highlight their services and products and build relationships, then you need to find another group.
You can usually tell if a group is inactive when they don't update their website. All weekly, monthly or yearly activities should be listed on their websites.
8. Is the Business Group a Non-Profit?
Many of these groups, especially Chambers of Commerce might be non-profits. Working with a Chamber of Commerce that is a non-profit will not hurt your business, but be careful starting your own non-profit.
Most black business owners who have non-profits end up sitting around begging the government for money. A Chamber of Commerce is a form of business network that works with everyone from every walk of life such as small business owners, college students, educators, bankers, retirees, health professionals, etc., and others committed to ensuring the strength of our economy.
Business owners in towns and cities form these local societies to advocate on behalf of the business community. Local businesses are members, and they elect a board of directors or executive council to set policy for the chamber. The board or council then hires a President, CEO or Executive Director to run the organization.
Generally, Chambers of Commerce serves the following purposes: 1) Creating a strong local economy, 2) Promoting the community, 3) Providing networking opportunities, and 4) Speaking with government on behalf of businesses.   Chambers may also serve other purposes, such as   arbitrating disputes
between businesses or serving as a "Better Business Bureau."
9. Is the Business Group Polluted with Multi-Level Marketers?
Remember that many black business groups including Chambers of Commerce are involved with or is polluted with Multi-Level Marketers (MLMs) (also called Network Marketers, Referral Marketing, Direct Selling, Pyramid Schemes, etc.) such as Noni-Juice, Melaleuca, Pre-Paid Legal, Primerica, YTB Travel, ACN, Ignite Energy, Ameriplan, Quixtar, Body Magic Shapers, Warm Spirits, Juice Plus, MCA (Motor Club of America -- just to name a few.
That's why it's extremely important to visit groups several times before paying any type of membership fees or forming alliances or partnerships with these businesses. You want to stay away from these types of groups because if the groups are polluted with MLM's, usually the President or leaders of the group will also be involved in some type of pyramid scheme, which will make it extremely hard for you to succeed with your business because of their unethical business practices.
Remember never, ever get involved with any business simply because someone else is involved in the business. If it's not your passion, chances are you will become bored and not succeed in your business.
10. Are Businesses Given the Right Tools to Move Their Businesses to the Next Level?
The purpose of any business is to grow into a local business, to a local company, to a National Corporation and into an International Corporation. The top 3 reasons a business will fail include: 1) Lack of Research, 2) Poor Management, and 3) Lack of Funding.
Every business could use some extra money to grow their business. Are the group leaders making sure that members' business plans are being viewed by potential investors and others who can help their businesses move to the next level?
Are they bringing in speakers and other trainers, who can help the group's membership grow and assist businesses with highlighting their services and products, while they form strategic alliances and partnerships with other businesses?
11. Is it Hard to Join Committees in the Business Group and Actively Take a Part in the Group?
The problem with most business groups is the heads of these groups caters to their own long-time networks including their own family, friends and supporters, whom they have built relationships with over the years -- even though they might not offer anything of value to the group.
Others who join these groups or committees will have an extremely hard time to move up in the group and get the visibility that they need to build and grow their businesses. Being a leader of any business with membership means developing the skills of the members of the group by encouraging full participation, while opportunities are created for its groups' members.
Are there different committees and do they cover a broad range of topics that you would like to see addressed? Do current committee leaders give you the respect you deserve? Is your input taken seriously?
12. Do the Business Group Have a Youth Division?
Any black business group, whether they are a Chamber of Commerce, Business League or Business Network, should have a "Youth division," where young people can be matched up with other business mentors in the group.
They should also have a program where speakers and other business mentors go into the school system on a regular basic  . These mentors should be guiding black youths to business resources in the community, while they teach them about financial literacy, mentoring and tutoring programs.
If black business groups don't have a youth division, then volunteer to form this committee. This should be one of the most important committees in any black business group.
Cathy Harris is the author of the business books   "How To Take Control of Your Own Life: A Self-Help Guide to Starting Your Own Business"   and   "The New CEO: 185 Easy-To-Set Up Businesses for Youth And Adult Entrepreneurs"   and 22 other books. She is also known as "The Ethical Black Business Coach"  . She is available for Business Seminars, Workshops and Consultations and can be reached through her empowerment and publishing company,  Angels Press, P.O. 19282, Austin, TX 78760,  Phone: (512) 909-7365, Website:
Email  :
Copyright 2017 Cathy Harris. All Rights Reserved

"How To Take Control of Your 
Own Life" 3-Part Book 
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"New Book Release"
"Overcoming Food Deserts in Your Community: How To Start A Home, School or Community Garden, Food Co-op or Food Coalition" 
by Cathy Harris
available as an e-book and paperback

Table of Contents

  • How To Start A Home Garden
  • How To Start A School Garden
  • How To Start A Community Garden
  • How To Start A Food Co-op
  • How To Start A Food Coalition
  • Job and Business Opportunities
  • Legal Business Structure
  • Top Ways to Finance Food Projects
  • How To Market Food Projects
  • How To Deal With Media Entities
This book not only lays out several action plans to gain access to good, clean, organic foods, but it will help all family members gain access to job and business opportunities, while they eliminate food deserts in their communities.
Face it we will never get back to totally living off the land like our ancestors did, but families must come together today for the sake of future generations. We need to seriously look at solutions because this is the first generation that will not outlive their parents. However, there are economically-empowered ways we can feed, clothe and shelter our own families. 
Food is not always only about the most expedient way to suppress hunger. Many community organizations have long understood this and believe that food access and quality is tied to both racial and economic justice.
Over the past few years we have heard quite a bit about food deserts, or high poverty areas where a lack of grocery stores makes it difficult for residents to purchase fresh food. However, we know far less about the food realities of people who live near grocery stores where fresh food is sold, but because of their limited  incomes, they simply cannot afford it.
Affordable healthy food is an issue of both equity and justice that disproportionally affects working-class and poor people of color in cities and rural areas. Reducing the economic necessity for some to rely so heavily on food that is unhealthy, is not only a tool for fighting health concerns, there are other benefits too.
Time and time again it shows when many schools team up with healthy venues and swap out soda machines and offer instead -- juices, water and low-sugar energy drinks and also prepared meals entirely free of additives and chemicals, but with abundant amounts of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole-grain breads, this have led to reduced behavioral problems, higher grades, lower expulsion rates, decreases in the use of ADD prescription drugs, and teachers are reporting that the students were more attentive and could concentrate for longer periods of time. 
Gaining access to clean, sustainability, grown food is a basic human right so we need venues to offer education to inspire family members to live healthy lives, by offering hands-on education in urban farming, sustainability, and nutrition and this is what this book will do.


Cathy Harris New Products

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Coming Soon as PDFs, Audios or Webinars
  • 7 Steps To A Beautiful Smile
  • 7 Steps To Beautiful Skin
  • How Much Water Should You Drink Daily and What's the Best Type of Water to Drink?
  • What Are The Best Vitamin and Mineral Supplements To Take?
  • Why You Need To Exercise
  • How To Establish Good Sleeping Habits 
  • How To Turn Your Brain Back On and Stop Depression
  • What You Need To Know About Your Thyroid
  • What You Need To Know About Yeast
  • Why Women Need to Lose Weight or Keep a 35 Inch or Smaller Waistline
  • Why Chicken is Bad for You and The Best Type of Meat to Eat
  • Why Juicing Foods Is Good for You
  • How To Create Your Own Speaker's Tour
  • How To Create Your Own Public Relations (PR)/Marketing Company
  • How To Stop Racial Profiling and Police Brutality and much, much, more...

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Cathy Harris
Former Federal  Whistleblower
Empowerment and Motivational Speaker, 
Non-GMO Health and Wellness Expert, Advice Columnist at, Self-Publishing and Business Coach and author of 24 non-fiction books at 

Cathy Harris, Speaker, Author, Coach
Angels Press, CEO, President, Publisher
P.O. Box 19282
Austin, TX 78760
(512) 909-7365
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"We Can Sit Back and Watch As the World Goes By  or We Can Find Opportunities To Make It Better."   
....Cathy Harris
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