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All Coffee Drinkers Are Not Created Equally



As a business owner, one of the most important things that you can do for your business is to get to know your customer. This process should begin before the doors of the business open. When I say get to know your customer I mean really get to know them. You should be able to paint a descriptive picture of your ideal client.

As a coach and consultant for new and young businesses, a part of my process is to ask my clients “Who is your customer?”. How the client answers this question lets me know where we need to begin our work. The majority of the time new business owners will tell me things like “My customer is all women”. “My customer is anyone over 21 years old”. “My customer is everyone who has been heartbroken.” Each time I hear this I know that there is work to be done.

I like to start off with the coffee scenario. I am a coffee drinker. I like hazelnut coffee, with cream and sugar. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, let me break down for you why this is not as simple as it sounds.

When thinking of places that you can grab your morning coffee a few quick places come to my mind:

Dunkin Donuts

I can get hazelnut coffee with cream and sugar from each of these places, however just because I can does not mean that I will. Let’s dissect what I mean.

Starbucks is a more expensive cup of coffee. I usually go there for the experience. I want someone to make my coffee for me, put it in a cup with a sleeve and a stirrer, allow me to pay with my mobile app, and call my name when it is ready. My order at Starbucks is $5.43.

Starbucks Coffee

McDonald’s is a quick fix. I can go through the drive-thru, order a medium coffee with two pumps of hazelnut syrup, 2 creams, and 2 sugars. They will whip that up for me right quick. No frills. My order at McDonald’s is $1.35.

 7-11 is more of a grab and go. Here you make your own coffee, it’s set up buffet style. 7-11 offers a variety of coffee types and additives. Here you get it your way because you make it yourself. My order at 7-11 is about $1.09.

Dunkin Donuts is midrange. When I am in a neighborhood that has a drive-thru Dunkin Donuts I will go there. They have my hazelnut coffee beans, not syrup, and they add in something called a swirl which is cream and sugar premixed. My order at Dunkin’ is $2.49.

As you can see each of these places sells the coffee that I like and I can shop at either of them if need be. However, depending on what my preference is at the time I may choose to not visit one or more of them. There are some people who believe that it is absurd to buy a cup of coffee for $5.43 when you can get one for $1.09. Then there are others that would never drink coffee that is served buffet style with all those people breathing over the coffee.

 This is why you must know who specifically your target customer is. When you know who your customer is, you know what appeals to them, how to get their attention, and how to speak to them. Spending time learning your customer will save you lots of time and money. Starbucks knows not to market to the frugal customer. That is not their customer and they are okay with that. You have to be okay with knowing that everyone isn’t your customer.

A word of advice is, you want to market yourself properly and position yourself so that the customer you want seeks you out and not the other way around. Take the time early on and figure out exactly who your target customer is

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Black Bread company launching in Chicago!

Meet the founders of @theblackbreadco the first ever black owned sliced bread company. Launching February 2021!



Meet the founders of @theblackbreadco the first ever black owned sliced bread company. Launching February 2021!

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New Black owned joint venture in Orland Park!

New Black owned joint venture in Orland Park! We love to hear about powerful Black brands collaborating. Check out the newest restaurant addition to Orland Park, Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat and Phlavz. Whether you are looking for soulful vegan food or amazing caribbean, this spot has it for you. We LOVE the energy of the young entrepreneurs who started this. Make sure you support!



Just in time for Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s area-wide ease of COVID-19 dine-in restrictions on restaurants, a trio of Black entrepreneurs are teaming up to bring a new vegan/jerk food concept to Orland Park.

Phil Simpson and Andrew Bonsu, co-owners of University Village-based restaurant Phlavz Bar & Grille (717 W. Maxwell St.), and Laricia Chandler Baker, the owner of Hyde Park vegan/vegetarian eatery Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat (1368 1/2 E. 53rd St.) plan to open a hybrid location (24 Orland Sq. Drive) at noon Saturday.

Separately, Bonsu and Simpson — who met while working various gigs in the music industry —and Baker were unknowingly searching for business locations in Orland Park before deciding to collaborate.

Andrew Bonsu (left) and Phil Simpson are co-owners of University Village-based restaurant Phlavz Bar & Grille.
 Foto Mack-Media

The trio says their businesses have “thrived” during the pandemic, inspiring the ideas of expansion.

“I think we always wanted to do things together,” said Bonsu, who’s eatery specializes in jerk food and drink options such as their signature drinks “Blacker the Berry” and “Phlavz Punch.”

“Growing up together [with Baker] we always wanted to do business but the timing of this showed itself; we said let’s do it together.”

And Baker, a self-taught chef who’s nicknamed “Chef Fab,” says the eatery will have separate kitchens to prepare food, while customers can utilize a shared dining space.

“We won’t be cross contaminating; we have one big building and Phil and Andrew will have their kitchen and I have mine, too,” said Baker, who went to Northern Illinois University with Bonsu. “The vegans can feel comfortable knowing that it’s one room, but two kitchens.”

Instead of bashing Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot for implementing restrictions tough on gig economy eateries, the trio decided to focus on the things they can control. And while so many businesses in the Chicago area have either downsized — or shuttered for good — the trio counts their blessings.

“We’re looking forward to expanding even more,” said Simpson. “It’s truly a blessing because we know that we survived. If we can survive this pandemic, we can survive anything.”

Laricia Chandler Baker, owner of Hyde Park vegan/vegetarian eatery Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat.
 Shaun Michael Photo

This article has been reposted from The Chicago Sun Times

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Why Small Businesses Need Great Leadership



Great leadership is a necessity for any business that is striving for great success, especially during trying times. Without leadership that is effective, it’s nearly impossible for businesses to grow and expand, as is necessary for an ever-changing market.

While large corporations may be able to survive for short periods of time without great leadership in place, the opposite is often true for small businesses. Small businesses are often comprised of just a few employees, and could potentially fall apart if their leadership structure is in jeopardy.

So why exactly is it that great leadership is a must for small businesses? Here are a few reasons:

  • To give direction – this can be taken in more than one way. A business needs direction in the sense of a goal, a bigger picture. This helps everyone who is involved with the company to feel like they are striving towards a goal, and likely will make everyone involved more productive. Giving direction on a daily basis is important as well. While many employees are self-starters and can get work done without much guidance that is not the case for everyone. A great leader can motivate employees that need a little more direction in their everyday work.
  • To establish the “feel” of the business – the leader of a small business is also tasked with setting the “feel” of the company. Some companies may be more laid back or relaxed, while some may have strict deadlines and dress codes. The leader of the company needs to be the one who sets the standard for this, or discord can exist in the business. Imagine what would happen if a business team consisted of both laid-back employees and employees who were more rigid. Without a clear direction of where to go, no one would agree on how to get things done.
  • To keep the company cohesive – this ties in somewhat with the other two reasons. It’s important for everyone in a company to be working towards a collective goal. The leader not only established this goal but also helps employees in any way that he or she can since everyone is working toward the so-called greater good.

The leader of a small business must possess great leadership qualities, as well. Some people really are born leaders, they are the ones that lead the pack on the playground from a very young age. But not everyone in the business world is like this.

Some people who want to lead their own company must learn what a successful leader is, and gain some important leadership qualities if they hope to become successful.

While there are many qualities that a great leader must possess, I think there is a more specific set that is especially important in the small business world. Here are a few of these qualities:

  • The ability to think ahead – while in a larger business, thinking of what’s happening right now might be the most important, it’s critical that a small business owner/leader be able to envision where the company will be in five years. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to run a successful small business without a concrete, forward-thinking plan. Small businesses must always be looking for the next big thing, in order to stay afloat.
  • Responsibility – the leader of a small business absolutely must be responsible. I know that this may seem silly to even have to mention, but it’s not always as obvious as some might think. Being responsible would include things like appropriate money management, timeliness, and professionalism. The leader of a small business must not only keep the business going but also set a great, positive example for everyone else in the company as well.
  • Communication – having great communication skills is an invaluable quality in the world of small businesses. In a larger company or corporation, you may be able to get by on less-than-stellar communication skills, because you may not have to interact with consumers (thus influencing their view of the company) as often. However, in a small business with just a handful of employees, the leader/owner often wears many, many hats. This can include anything from salesperson to marketing liaison and many, many more. The ability to communicate with people from all aspects of the business world is crucial.
  • Be a motivator – another very important quality for a small business leader to have is the power to motivate people. Motivation is critical to a small business, because if everyone doesn’t do their part, then your business will not be successful. Motivating people to keep striving for better things for the business is so important. A great leader is able to motivate people without being obnoxious about it, for lack of a better term. Making sure your employees are acknowledged as well as keeping them happy and engaged is so important.

Leadership in small business is a fine art, and if you are able to perfect it, the odds that your business will succeed increase drastically. If you don’t see yourself as the ideal leader for your business, consider taking on an employee or partner who has great leadership qualities.

Or, if you want to learn more about becoming a great leader, find someone in your business community who is clearly leading their business successfully, and ask them to mentor you. Leadership qualities are a great thing to learn.

Article sourced from Tanveer Naseer Leadership

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