As the CEO of The Quintessence Group, Melinda F. Emerson has taken up the mantle of helping small business owners avoid failure.
Emerson has drawn on the lessons she learned throughout her years as an entrepreneur to advise others. She left her position as a television producer in 1999 and launched Quintessence Entertainment, a video production company that morphed into a content development and social media marketing firm that works with Fortune 500 companies that target small business customers. The Quintessence Group has worked with companies such as American Express, Pitney Bowes, FedEx, Facebook and Verizon.
“Businesses have cycles and because you have to grow yourself to grow your business, my business has evolved, as I have evolved,” said Emerson, who is based in Drexel Hill.
In 2007, she shifted her business focus from multimedia production to building her personal brand and positioning herself as a small business expert and professional speaker. Known as “SmallBizLady,” Emerson reaches three million followers through her social network, Succeed as Your Own Boss blog, which is syndicated by Huffington Post and her weekly #SmallBizChat Twitter talk show. She is regarded as one of America’s leading small business experts.
“It all happened literally because I was an early adopter of social media. I was willing to embrace something that I knew nothing about. I was willing to invest in coaching and consultants to get me up to speed very quickly,” said Emerson, who is the author of “Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months; A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works.”
“It was almost like every job I had ever had, everything I had ever done in my business prepared me for exactly what I do right now.”
Emerson is marking her 15th year in business this month. She is celebrating her milestone year by releasing a new web documentary titled “Making Melinda” that showcases a historical to present day look at Emerson. The short film, which premiered March 3 at www.succeedasyourownboss.com explores Emerson’s childhood, first jobs and her transition from employee to business owner and mother.
“It’s not easy starting a company, but in my documentary, I want to show other entrepreneurs and business owners that it is possible no matter what obstacles you face,” she said.
As a part of her anniversary, Emerson is hosting 15 Days of Giveaways from her Twitter profile @SmallBizLady. The giveaways will take place each business day, March 5 through March 25, offering prizes to small business owners. Participating brands include Google, Sam’s Club, The UPS Store, Infusionsoft, Nextiva, Plantronics, Duda, GoDaddy and Staples. Entrepreneurs can find contest rules at http://www.succeedasyourownboss.com/15daysofgiveaways.
Statistics have shown that small businesses have a high failure rate. According to the U.S. Census Bureau an estimated 552,600 employer firms opened in 2009 and 660,990 closed.
To that end, Emerson has made it her mission to end small business failure.
“I think the number one reason why small businesses fail is because people do not have a realistic vision for running a business. They have what I call fantasies of grandeur about having more time and an easier schedule. In first few years of a business, your business owns you. You have to be realistic and disciplined about the energy and time that is required to really get a business off the ground. It takes 18 to 36 months for a business to get off the ground, let alone replace your core income and salary,” Emerson said.
Emerson said another reason why small business fail is because people do not nurture their network before they start their business.
“Ninety percent of all businesses get business from referrals, so if you are bad at keeping in touch with people, do not return people’s phone calls and you hate networking, you should probably keep your job,” Emerson said. “Your network is the engine that drives your business. You either need to get business from your network or a referral from your network.”
Emerson said some small businesses don’t make it because they run out of money.
“Cash flow is your runway for your business to take off. The money to start your business is going to come from you, so if you don’t have adequate savings to launch your business and still maintain your household … your business is not going to get off the ground,” Emerson said.
Throughout her years as a business owner, Emerson has learned some critical lessons. This month she will be blogging about the top 15 things that she learned during her years in business.
“One of the things that I believe now about business is you never lose in business, either you win or you learn and that’s a hard lesson to learn,”she said.
Comcast Corporation has partnered with LIFT, a national nonprofit focused on lifting people out of poverty, to help bridge the digital divide in four low-income communities.
Through a two-year commitment of $1.3 million in cash and in kind support from Comcast, LIFT will expand its digital literacy hubs at its resource centers in Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. The new Comcast and NBCUniversal Digital Literacy Learning Hubs will enable LIFT community members to get online and access resources needed to get their families back on their feet.
During the next two years, LIFT advocates will provide one-on-one and workshop based support to 13,000 community members as they search for jobs online, access critical benefits create household budgets and navigate the Internet for other important resources. Through this work, LIFT will help its members use technology to bridge the digital divide.
“We believe in the power of innovation and using technology to tackle complicated challenges facing the community members we serve and partnering with Comcast to expand our digital literacy programming makes perfect sense,” Kristen Lodal, LIFT’s founder and CEO said in a press release.
“Thousands of people will now be able to advance their job search, secure housing and connect to critical online tools that might otherwise have been unavailable to them.”
Comcast’s investment will provide technology, program and training support for the LIFT and Comcast and NBCUniversal Digital Literacy Hubs in addition to in-kind media support on Comcast’s digital cable and online platforms.
“A lack of digital literacy and understanding of how the Internet is relevant and useful are key barriers to broadband adoption in low-income communities,” Charisse R. Lillie, vice president of community investment for Comcast Corporation and president of the Comcast Foundation said in a release.
“This new partnership with LIFT will help bridge the gap between access and education, helping tens of thousands of families nationwide cross the digital divide and unleash the power of technology to improve their lives.”
Through signature programs like Internet Essentials and strategic partnerships with local and national organizations, Comcast is committed to expanding digital literacy.
Norman J. Perkins Jr. was formerly employed by the Social Security Administration.
Perkins died on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014. He was 75.
He was born on Nov. 23, 1938 to the late Catherine E. Perkins and Norman J. Perkins Sr. in Washington, D.C. He was the fourth of seven children. His early childhood education began in the Washington, D.C. school district. Perkins and his family later relocated to Philadelphia where he completed his studies and graduated from the Edward Bach Vocation High School in South Philadelphia.
One of the first jobs he had as a teen was at the Caliper Clothing Company. Perkins was also employed by the Philadelphia Navy Yard, where he worked alongside of his father.
He was later employed by the Social Security Administration Mid-Atlantic Region of Philadelphia, BMS Division, where he retired after 36 years of service. Perkins was the supervisor in the warehouse where he oversaw all of the operations for the building. During his tenure, Perkins received many awards and citations because of his accomplishments and work performance. He was also selected to receive the Commissioners Citation which is the highest award given by any agency.
“He was a quiet man, who had a really big heart and he was highly respected by his family, friends and neighbors,” his family said.
He often contributed to the summer functions for the children of Webster Street, where he was a longtime resident.
Perkins enjoyed spending time with his family. His hobbies included cooking and fishing. He often traveled the east coast from Maryland to Boston, enjoying his favorite pastime.
He was married to Jean Hayman-Perkins, who preceded him in death.
He is survived by his brother Franklin Perkins; daughters Renee Sermons (Bishop Alfred) and Shelly Carter (Brainard); stepdaughters Jean Ray (Darrell) and Vanessa Walton (Michael); 15 grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; longtime friend Leona Wilson; cousin Sally Mackins and other relatives and friends.
Services will be held on March 3 at Holy Temple Church COGIC, 60th and Callowhill streets. Viewing is at 9 a.m. Services will follow at 10:30 a.m. Burial is in Eden Cemetery.
Wood Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Armenta T. Carson was a billing specialist for nonprofit organizations.
Carson died on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014. She was 86.
Carson was born on Feb. 20, 1928 to Janie and Grover Moses in Palmyra, N.J. “Terry” as she was fondly known, was raised in West Philadelphia where she attended public schools and graduated from Overbrook High School.
She was married to the late Dr. Floyd “Butch” Carson of Philadelphia for almost 45 years. Carson assisted her husband’s thriving medical practice as a billing specialist for some years and later engaged in similar work for nonprofit entities in the Philadelphia area. The couple led active social lives in Philadelphia, where he was a long-time member of the Guardsmen and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and she was a member of the Clubwomen of Philadelphia and later, Jade.
In later years, they relocated to Smithville, N.J. After the death of Dr. Carson, she moved to Atlantic City, N.J., where she had a number of family relatives.
A previous marriage to the late Eugene Woodson, also of Philadelphia, ended in divorce.
She was preceded in death by her siblings Flynn Moses of Indianapolis, Ind., Grover Moses, Jr. of Atlantic City, N.J., Janie Moses Hines of Oakland, Calif. and Julia Moses McEwen of New York.
She is survived by sons Attorney Roderic Woodson of Washington, D.C. and David Woodson of Philadelphia; grandchildren Dr. Roderic Woodson, II and Devon Woodson, both of Atlanta, Ga., and Keri Brown of Silver Spring, Md.; great-granddaughter Kennedy Brown; nieces Lynn Moses Medley of Indianapolis, Ind. and Andrea McEwen of Allentown; nephew Quinten Moses of Atlanta, Ga. and other relatives and friends.
At her request, no memorial service is planned.
Greenidge Funeral Homes of Atlantic City, N.J. handled the arrangements.
Fredricka Rivers was involved in the civil rights movement.
Rivers died on Friday, Feb. 21, 2014. She was 79.
She was a resident of Sewell, N.J. She was born March 4, 1934 to Fred and Julia Rivers in Charleston, S.C. She was the oldest child in a family of three children. Their father died while Rivers was a very small child. Her mother married Willie Hughie, a devoted stepfather who reared her and her brothers until adulthood.
At an early age, Rivers became a member of Calvary Baptist Church in Charleston, S.C. and was an active member of the adult choir, Sunday school, usher board, Bible study, mother’s board, missionary board and church choir.
She began her early education at the historic Charles H. Simonton School — the first public school for African-Americans in Charleston, S.C. She distinguished herself early on as a high-achieving, literate student who completed grades first through seventh.
Rivers attended Burke High School and was active in school programs and clubs such as the Ready, Set, Teach Program. Her intelligence and commitment to social justice resulted in her active involvement in the civil rights movement that began in 1950.
She joined students, teachers, and ministers and marched against Jim Crow and educational inequality. During this era, Southern schools were segregated and schools where Black students attended were inferior to the facilities where white students attended school.
While a senior, Rivers was noted and honored for her achievements by the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and presented to society at the annual Debutante Cotillion Ball. After high school graduation, she attended the Pioneer Business Institute and majored in secretarial studies. She graduated in 1952.
After graduating from business school, Rivers joined the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office and was responsible for the security, storage, dissemination and destruction of criminal records.
In 1956, she married Allen Poinesette and in 1958, one daughter was born to this union.
She loved to travel and the highlights of her travels were visits to Africa and Haiti. She loved to read novels, magazines, and newspapers. Her family said she was an outstanding singer. She valued fitness and health food and took care of herself by eating nutritious meals she prepared. Her family said she was a deep thinker and known for intelligent discourse when talking to friends and colleagues.
She is survived by her daughter Sheila Poinesette of Brooklyn, N.Y; brothers Saint Julian Rivers of North Charleston, S.C. and John Rivers of Detroit, Mich.; sister-in-law Barbara Rivers of Detroit, Mich. and other relatives and friends.
Services will be held on Feb. 27 at Farnelli Funeral Home, 504 N. Main St., Williamstown, N.J. Viewing is at 9 a.m. Services will follow at 11 a.m. Burial will follow at Hillcrest Memorial Park, Hurffville, N.J.