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Tuesday, January 8, 2008


1. Refusing to Conduct Research: Lack of research is the number one reason for business failure. Most businesses go out of business within 2 to 5 years. If you are not conducting research by going to the library every week, visiting book stores reading books and business magazines, using internet websites or, then chances are you will never be in a position to become a successful business owner.

2. Refusing to Keep Your Books: Every business has a creative side, marketing side and business side of running a business. Poor management ranks in the top three reasons why businesses go out of business. If you can’t sit down every 30 days to see what’s coming in and out of your business, then you need to hire a bookkeeper or a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). You can learn how to do the books yourself by buying the computer program and taking an accounting class.

3. Refusing to Read Non-Fiction Books: If you are not reading non-fiction books for at least 30 minutes to an hour everyday, then you will never have the knowledge to become a business owner. Some of the books recommended: “How To Take Control of Your Own Life” by Cathy Harris, Think and Grow Rich: A Black Choice by Dennis Kimbro, Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill, Powernomics by Dr. Claude Anderson.” Other recommended books are located at

4. Refusing to Support Young Entrepreneurs: Most young people are not like adults because they don’t put self-imposed limitations on themselves and can easily open a business within 30 days and start making money. Since 1 out of every 2 marriages end because of finances, someone in your household (you, your spouse or your youth) needs to open a business.

5. Refusing to Surround Yourself with Good People: You should surround yourself with: 1) people who have integrity, 2) people who are humble (teachable), and 3) people who are respectful. Stay away from people who are toxic, destructive or negative.

6. Refusing to Brainstorm: If you are not brainstorming with legal, marketing, and financial advisors, mentors, consultants, coaches, you will have a hard time moving your business to the next level. Remember you don’t have to do everything yourself. If you are the smartest person in your group, you need to get another group. Asking for help doesn’t mean you are weak, it simply means you want to remain strong so ask others for help in your business.

7. Refusing to Create a Lifestyle Change: You need to understand that becoming a business owner is a complete new lifestyle change. Therefore you need to incorporate being a business owner while paying close attention to your health and finances. As part of your new lifestyle change, you need to make short and long range goals and read books and magazines on health and financial education, and watch health and financial networks instead of unproductive television shows. If you are watching television for hours everyday then forget about becoming a business owner.

8. Refusing to Raise Your Credit Score: Only you can clean up your credit so as you build and grow your business, you do need to order your credit reports yearly from the three credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion) at This means you are going to have 3 different credit scores. If your credit scores are between 300 – 500, then you are in bad financial shape. Your goal is to raise your credit score to over 760. It’s estimated that 79% of all credit reports have some type of errors, over 25% have major errors and over 30% have accounts opened that should have been closed.

9. Getting Involved in Multi-Level Marketing: If you still believe that Multi-Level Marketing, also called Network Marketing and Pyramid Schemes, will make you a successful business owner, then you are sadly mistaken. Remember if you are involved in Multi-Level Marketing (noni-juice, melaleuca, pre-paid legal, primerica, YTB travel, Quixstar, ACN, etc.) you DO NOT have your own business. You are working for that person at the top of the pyramid. Never get involved in a business simply because others are doing it. If it’s not your passion, then chances are you will not be happy.

10. Waiting on Grant Money: If you still believe you can get grant money to start or expand a business or non-profit organization simply because it is advertised on black radio shows and websites, you will be waiting a long, long time. If you had conducted research, you would have found out the truth about grant money. There is NO GRANT MONEY to start or expand a business and it’s extremely hard to get money for a non-profit organization, especially if you are an African American. So we need to stop repeating misinformation.

11. Refusing to Write a Business Plan: If you chose not to write a business plan, it’s a red flag that you are not serious about your business. A business plan is a road map and without it you will get lost in your business and go out of business. The key to working with investors is to present a good business plan. Unless you have a good “Executive Summary,” most investors, bankers, financiers will not read the entire business plan.

12. Refusing to Put Up a Website: If you do not choose to put up a website, it will eat away at your creditability. Remember creating a blog and a myspace account does not take the place of a professional website with a domain name. If you have a professional website, then you will look more attractive to investors simply because you chose to take your business online.

This document is copyrighted and was written by Cathy Harris. Cathy Harris is a Motivational Speaker and is known as “The Ethical Black Business Coach” ( She is available for business seminars and workshops. She is also the author of over 20 non-fiction books including the 3-part book series “How To Take Control of Your Own Life” and can be reached through her company at Angels Press, P.O. Box 19282, Austin, TX, 78760, Phone: (770) 873-2072, Website: and Email:

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Cathy Harris is an Empowerment and Motivational Speaker, Non-GMO Health and Wellness Expert, Self-Publishing and Business Coach.