Business knows one only color – green. Whether one has a history of success or newfound fame, businesses must continue to make a profit. Unfortunately, the announcement recently made by Johnson Publishing Company, Inc. the world's largest African-American-owned and-operated publishing company, reflects the simple fact that long-term financial projections reveal that there is more month left than money. A painful pill to swallow for many in the black community due to the legacy of this family and its mission; however, there are important 21st century business lessons to highlight from this sad prospect. First, know and stay in tune with your audience. The graying demographic that historically supported Ebony can’t be relied upon for financial stability in recessionary times. New money is found in collaborative and results-based (not old school relationship) marketing. Sadly, time is really, really money in today’s new economy. Second, embrace technology or get left behind. Experts have clearly articulated the dying of print media over the past decade. Those who chose to sleep in and ignore the warnings are now locking the doors and turning in keys. Americans want and deserve information fast and accurate. The Internet provides that medium. And lastly, in times of struggle God always provides an opportunity. The leaders at Johnson Publishing have a tremendous asset in their people. They are creative and passionate about their community and they should be given the chance to provide direction. This moment is not the time for consultants and clairvoyants with crystal balls to steer the way. Truly listen to the heart and soul of the company – the journalists and staff – and make the necessary decisions to be a viable institution for another 63 years. Hey! No pressure but the Black community, avid readers or not, depends on it.
Dr. Deborah Stroman is a Professor at The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and an expert on Leadership. To contact Dr. Stroman for speaking engagements or media requests, please click here.