I realized something as I was working on documenting business models in the hood – this is the most fun and rewarding experience I had in the history of this blog! This article will explain how I’m planning to do the locations wiki and I’m starting with the West of Chicago as the first example and my experience.
Setting up the Tools
We are going to be using satellite imagery and Google street level services to perform geo-intelligence gather of businesses that are currently in the hood. I decided to use Microsoft Access even though I can use OpenOffice Base that is open source. So if you see the diagram table, it is just three table which are two lookup tables and a join table.
Business Models. This is a lookup where I put in the type of business. The way I’m doing it for the West Side of Chicago is I enter the business model as I come across it. When I finish up Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and Houston and Detroit we will pretty much have most of the available hood business models defined. That’s why I’m starting with those major cities first.
Locations. These are the lookup for locations. Notice that I’m using longitude and latitude because I will be able to do geospatial calculations later on – see, that’s why we gotta learn STEM, right?
Business Location. This is where I join both the business model lookup and the locations lookup to create a unique value of the location of the business model. I just showed you cats how to create a normalized database just in case you didn’t realize, something that will get you paid if you put in extra study on database technology. One thing – just because there are 12 corner store churches in the community, I only need to list one because what we are going after are business models, not the density of a specific business model like too many currency exchanges, liquor stores and churches.
Now that these are the tools, the next step is to use Google Maps to drop into an area, anywhere in the world because I’m doing longitude and latitude and start navigating and recording what I see in these areas. So now I can drop into any city around the world and gather business model clusters.
The West Side of Chicago
This is where I from and because I’m from here, this is the first hood we going to cover first with this Locations Wiki strategy. So as you see, what I would do is basically stroll down the street in a virtual manner without worrying about getting challenged, robbed or shot or all three. To be honest, I had to get my switch blade and put it next to the computer keyboard just in case someone try to jump me while I used Google Maps to navigate this part of the hood.
So as I stroll down the street, I just started inserting the business models I thought I saw into the Microsoft Access database. Now keep in mind I may not have named the business model right but that is not important because I can always clean it up later. What is important is just recording the type of businesses I see and keep strolling.
As I wrote down business models, I thought of other business models and inserted them too just in case I ran into those business models at a later time. In less than 30 minutes, I had over 50 business models for the hood in the database. I found 42 business models between Madison and Pulaski and Madison and Cicero. I did go a little east over to Hamlin but only found one unique business model that way but most of it was just found on that little commercial strip. Yeah, wait until we get to Flatbush Avenue, right?
Here are the business models I found in this commercial zone in the hood:
Auto Repair Shop
Car Wash – Full Service
Chicken and Waffle Restaurant
Dining – Pancake/Waffle House
Hair Braiding Salon
Party Supplies Store
Private Social Club
Quick Service Restaurant – Chinese Food
Quick Service Restaurant – Deli
Quick Service Restaurant – Fried Chicken
Quick Service Restaurant – Fried Fish
Quick Service Restaurant – Grilled Foods
Quick Service Restaurant – Philly Cheese Steak
Quick Service Restaurant – Pizza
Retail – Apparel – Women
Retail – Beauty Supply
Retail – Caskets
Retail – Dollar Store
Retail – DVD Rental
Retail – Hardware Store
Retail – Mobile Wireless Service
Retail – Music Record Shop Used
Retail – Pawn Shop
Retail – Used Computer
Service – Tax Preparation
Used Auto Parts
Used Tire Shop
As you see, because of the database structure, I can easily pull up the type of businesses in a hood location and even pull up the type of businesses models that are not in a specific hood location.
Two Interesting Business Models
This is why I love this Locations Wiki project because I run into something that take me by surprise and realize what some hustler/entrepreneur done in the hood to get money or the business angle they set up. See, these are the hood entrepreneurial cats that Black Enterprise magazine will never cover because Black Enterprise is on some Boule uppity Negro crap and that’s why I don’t care for that mess either.
Our people have always been creative in how to get money and stack paper and that’s exactly what this Locations and Business Models Wiki is going to show all of us in 2012 how we brothas and sistas are out there making a dollar out of 15 cents.
The Mini Flea Market
When I saw this and read that yellow sign, I almost fell out of my chair in amazement! The yellow signs says “MG Market Line / Mini Flea Market / 10×10 Booths For Rent / Open Sat & Sun / Call Mitch..” and a real hustler can see this is a pure play hustle right here that we blogged about on Dream and Hustle years ago!
See, if you cannot tell, that’s an empty lot this cat built a small flea market on which is exactly what I wrote about years ago about how we can create entry level entrepreneurs in the hood. I stated we can start immediately creating hood entrepreneurs by creating these mini flea markets on these empty lots in the hood and that’s exactly what this cat did!
Second, did you notice that it is only open Saturday and Sunday and to call him to rent a booth? This is a high density hood area and he will get traffic on the weekend but guess what? That means this cat can work a full-time job Monday through Friday and if you didn’t catch what I was trying to hint, this cat created the perfect side hustle on top of their full-time job creating something in the hood and help their people in the hood do for self at the same time.
That’s what’s I’m talking about and may God bless the West Side of Chicago because this is exactly how we hustle and make something out of nothing where I’m from.
This is the business model I was discussing that was needed for the hood where we have a distributor or wholesaler who can be embedded in the hood and serve at the distribution point for all of the corner stores in the hood. That is exactly what this business model is doing! These cats are coming in and buying food and selling it out of their corner stores and what I noticed is we have an increase of brothas and sistas running corner stores as a result and this create economic activity.
This is exactly the niche I was stating that need to be in the hood that can create jobs and economic activities by being the middle man who can provide to the smaller entrepreneurs. This type of model can be use to setup not just food but electronics and even hood-based drop shipping where corner stores have show rooms and a store like this does the delivery direct to the customer.
What I want to explain and this is why I’m going after the big cities first – when you have high density clusters, you have higher innovation and more solutions being developed for Black communities. Again, these are the type of business models I love to find when I’m doing my research. Yes, these business models will be documented and broken down and the goal is to expand these business models out to hoods around the country and even in hoods such as Belgium or London and even in Africa so we can start empowering ourselves.
West Side Business Names
I could not stop laughing at the names of these businesses in the hood on the West Side of Chicago. I believe this is common in the Midwest on how they name their business. What these cats do is name their business with either initials, a nickname or use metro, city or urban in their name.
For the initials, you will see a business named “KJ Fish” or “LL Wireless” or something like that. For the nicknames, you will see something like “Danny’s Hot Subs” or “Pookie’s Grill” or whatever. Even more hilarious is the use of “city” or “metro” or “urban” with names like “Metro Caskets” or “City Insurance” like these cats are Avon Barksdale from the Wire using dope money to run low-key businesses in the hood. That ish ain’t low-key when everybody around you are using low-key names!
What Types of New Business Opportunities Can Go on West Side of Chicago?
While this is just our first run, I will be able to run better analytics on the type of businesses that a certain hood need as we gather more data. But from my initial data collection and from my own experience, I did notice some opportunities that are possible for entrepreneurs.
First, I did not see anything that use membership services. These are gym clubs or computer use rental or those types of services that can use a paid membership card. However, this is why I was blogging about the membership model and the business opportunity it can create in the hood because if a small business charge $50/month and have 100 members, that’s $5000 a month and that create jobs in the hood and profits.
Second, I did not see anything related to weddings and that is a big mistake. Cats in the hood like to get married just as much as they love to attend funereal and there should be an effort to get cats married so the married couple can pursue entrepreneurial opportunities and benefit tax wise. Businesses such as making wedding cakes to even selling slightly used wedding gowns as well as florists should be established in a zone or corner somewhere as a hub in the hood to get married.
Third and this is not the fault of anybody, but the signage and advertising really sucks, and someone need to setup this kind of business in the hood. When you cats start seeing me going through places like Japan, Tawian, Hong Kong and London and see the type of signage then you’ll see why I keep stressing how important this topic is. Someone should definitely start a hood-based signage business and I don’t give a crap if the work is done in China for cheap and shipped back here to install – let’s improve the signage in the hood.
In addition, I do not see any services such as a criminal defense law firm, bail bonds, business services like a FedEx or UPS store which are services that are of value in this community. There may be some numbers or stats that these type of business have done and may have said it ain’t worth it. However, keep in mind that someone making several million in another community may not want to make a few hundred thousand in the hood but you can go after that few hundred thousand – don’t let others not being in the community impact your decision because you will be doing it your way regardless.
As you see, this is why Dream and Hustle moved to the Wiki Format so we can collect and collaborate on real data the hood can execute against to empower our communities. Now you saw how we collected data on the West Side of Chicago and I’m will be doing 91st and Commercial next on the South Side of Chicago as well as 87th and Stoney Island out there too.
With the wiki, now I can just create pages on all of the business models I found on the West Side and then me and you can start collaborating on writing out the business models details on how to start up, how to operate and how to make it successful. See, our brothas and sistas are already on the money in the hood but uppity Boule magazines like Black Enterprise magazines never covered the Black community like this.
But guess what, Dream and Hustle is going to cover the hood and our people and how we can create economic empowerment through entrepreneurship in our hoods. We got a lot of Black entrepreneurs in the hood who can teach us how to take small steps or have a business model that may work in our town or city that no one thought up except some brotha or sista in Cleveland or whatever.
I really love gathering information like this locations wiki stuff. See, now I’m more confident we going to work together, start sharing information among the hoods and God willing in 2012, we going to start doing for self, start doing in our community and create a economic framework to inherit to the younger brothas and sistas coming up.