Excerpt from Mind Your Own Damn Business by kevRoss…
MY HANDS ARE CLEAN… KINDA…I am certainly no angel or perfect for that matter. Perhaps I have lost hundreds of thousand s of dollars doing business because I have never asked for “favors” either. There really is NO such thing as a free lunch… There is ALWAYS some kind of price to pay. I could have had more had I played dirty too but it was just never my thing. That’s not to say I didn’t try but I just didn’t like the way I felt afterward. I’ve been offered all kinds of money, trips, gifts, sex, you name it but I always worked hard on the product and I realized I could get all those things on my own anyway. I have never called and asked for a hook up to grow my business. I almost always wait until someone offers something to me. If they don’t, I simply go out and buy it. I told one major client I wanted to hear the project for an ad they had purchased from me and they said, “I’m going to Fed Ex you the CD, I told them, I have to run some errand s and I will stop at Best Buy and buy it.” They were shocked but that’s exactly what I did and will do. If you are supporting my business endeavor, the LEAST I can do is support you back with the purchase of a $15.00 CD. But there are some industry people who are so greedy and cheap, they will let the client mail them that CD free of charge over and over again. Then they wonder why the person doesn’t think of them FIRST when they have a budget.
I’M THE TICKET MASTER:
I get a TON of event tickets, party passes, award show tickets and much more but I have learned to keep it quiet and either I go or I don’t. Many people don’t understand why I keep it quiet and they feel that I should forward my tickets and passes to them, someone they are fooking or a family member etc. Where do we get our logic? They don’t consider that I get the passes BECAUSE I have a legitimate business or that I get the passes BECAUSE the company wants me to do some press… All they know is, Kevin has passes, he’s not going to use them so he is SUPPOSED to give them to me (laugh). I fell out with an industry friend once because I had an invite to an award show after party. I was living in Atlanta and the party was in LA. I told him I would make a few calls and make him the rep for my blog/company RFFocus if he covered the event. There were HUGE stars at this event and this person was out of the loop and not working anywhere at the time. I figured it would be a great opportunity for them to mingle and network as well. This person asked me how much was I going to pay them for covering the event. I told them I just needed a paragraph and that I was not willing to pay under the circumstances. This person went off on me. Talked about their tenure in the industry and basically called me “cheap.” Here’s the clincher… I told them just to forget it, and they said… “You should STILL give me those tickets!” As if it was my obligation and I owed it to them. I damn near dropped the phone and asked “Why?” They said, “Sh…, you’re not going! A true friend would give those tickets up!” I told them to use their industry contacts and tenure they just boasted about to get their OWN fooking tickets. Needless to say, they didn’t end up going and stopped speaking to me or a while. I likened this to the kid on the playground who is just like everybody else until he brings a big bag of cand y. They everybody wants to be his friend until the cand y is gone. We play that EXACT same game as adults but the cand y turns to money, possessions and fame.
C’MON MAN, HOOK A BROTHA UP!
If I have to call someone and ask for them to “Hook a brotha up” something is WRONG! Reminds me of the crack addict with the cheeseburger in the movie Menace to Society who says “I’ll suck yo DICK! (laugh). Desperation is one UGLY bitch and begging is a form of desperation. When you have to BEG someone to support you, your product simply SUCKS. Not to mention you are on to earning your “pest” stripes. They should be calling YOU and BEGGING to be a part of your venture. There is nothing that irritates a corporate person more than someone always looking for a “Hook up.” It is a firm indication of a user… and who wants to be used? Why is it so hard for us to simply pay for some sh… instead of always begging for someone to give it to us for free or at a massive discount? We will pay top dollar for a car or a home from a white real estate agent or a white car dealer but go to a soul food restaurant and ask the sister for the special (laugh).
Perceived value is a very powerful term. Powerful because that’s all it is, “Perceived” it does not have to actually BE valuable but if it appears that it is on it’s way somewhere some supporters will jump on board early. What people say about your business behind your back is MORE powerful than you selling it. If they see a “Perceived Value” it will convince others of the same thing. If your product is struggling or if competitors are beating you, the esSTEAM of your business begins to dry up.
One of the greatest problems with Urban Radio today, for example, is corporate ownership. Mostly because corporations almost always focus on the bottom line instead of the needs of the listeners. Black radio has so much syndication that it has totally lost it’s identity over the last decade. Not to mention, the syndicated shows are mostly hosted by 40 plus hosts who have no connection with black inner city youth. Youth who have always been credited, even by major advertising agencies, as the people responsible for creating trends. When WAMO, a station is Pittsburgh shut down and was sold to a Christian station. I was sent a video from the young hip hop community there who said “We don’t give a fook if they shut it down, we don’t listen anyway. They don’t play local artist.. FOOK EM!” Basically they were saying they felt the station was not connected to them. This is the case for MANY urban stations. In an effort to save money, they have disconnected themselves from the listener who can help them MAKE money? The syndicators are mostly greedy and all about their cruises, appearances, books and deals that THEY can make FROM being ON the radio. Corporations have not figured out that it’s not that advertising agencies don’t want to support them and even if they didn’t, they would almost have to if urban radio was reaching who THEY wanted to reach!
I think it’s imperative for any prospective black business owner to surround himself or herself with mentors from all walks of life. You never know what someone can bring to the table but I tend to steer clear of dealing with black peers when I have a business idea. Why? They ALWAYS want a HUGE piece of it and they are always unreasonable. I used to call black peers for advice and they always want to know EVERY detail then they start using terms like “we could do it this way” before the conversation is over. That’s not to say that white people or any other race wouldn’t want a piece or even steal your idea but I think it’s best to go to someone, if you have to, who cannot figure out your formula or who has a lack of understand ing for your mission but a greater understand ing for, let’s say, funding. Your idea should not make someone ELSE rich. But by the same token, you have also got to respect someones time and effort as well and you MUST give them some kind of credit when their advice has been helpful to you.