|Title:||United States Black Enterprise Top 100 company aggregate sales by industry in dollars for 2010|
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B.E. XXXS SALES * BY INDUSTRY
Auto Dealers XX.X% $X,XXX.XXX Technology XX.X% $X,XXX.XXX Manufacturing XX.X% $X,XXX.XXX Other XX.X% $X,XXX.XXX Food & Beverage XX.X% $X,XXX.XXX Energy X.X% $X,XXX.XXX Media X.X% $XXX.XXX Construction X.X% $XXX.XXX Entertainment X.X% $XXX.XXX Transportation X.X% $XXX.XXX Telecommunications X.X% $XXX.XXX Computer/Office Products X.X% $XXX.XXX Healthcare X.X% $XXX.XXX Security or Janitorial X.X% $XXX.XXX Maintenance Health & Beauty Aids X.X% $XX.XXX
Note: Table made from bar graph.
XXth Annual Report
on Black Business
B.E. XXXs Overview
Industrial/Service Company of the Year
Auto Dealer of the Year
Advertising Agency of the Year
Financial Services Companies
Financial Services Company of the Year
Business Lessons from a Titan
AGAINST A SLUGGISH RECOVERY, A rough-and-tumble business environment, and a ferocious battle for revenue growth and market share, the CEOs who operate the BE XXXs--the nation's largest black businesses--confronted all of these unyielding forces in 2010 and expect to contend with more in years to come. To borrow an oft-used phrase: "Fortune favors the bold." That's the attitude adopted by chief executives as they rethink business models to stay competitive. They've redesigned enterprises by venturing into new lines of business, employing the latest technology, exploring global opportunities, and creating unassailable workforces. For the BE XXXs, success today will come by way of revolution and reinvention.
After surviving harsh blows from the Great Recession, CEOs in 2010 were better able to maneuver and reposition their companies for an economy in recovery. What's the backdrop for all of this? An economic climate that's warming. The U.S. economy grew by a healthy X.X% in the fourth quarter of 2010 versus a scant X.X% in 2009. Unfortunately, economic growth has slowed to X.X% in the first quarter of 2011. The Consumer Price Index rose X.X% for 2010 as families continued to pay higher prices for food and gas. On the other hand, personal income advanced X% in 2010, reversing a X.X% decline in 2009. America's jobless rate held at X.X% in 2010 compared to XX% in 2009. "We can stop worrying about growth because the economy is doing fine," says BLACK ENTERPRISE Board of Economists member Thomas D. Boston, Ph.D., a professor in the School of Economics at Georgia Tech and CEO of EuQuant, an Atlanta-based research firm. "Barring a significant natural or man-made disaster, economic growth will soon reach or exceed X%."
This was good news for companies tied to industrial and automotive manufacturing, such as Detroit-based Bridgewater Interiors L.L.C. (No. X on the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE COMPANIES list with $X.X billion in revenues). Over the past year, revenues for the automotive supplier that builds high-quality seat systems for Ford and General Motors vehicles grew a whopping XX% due to a surge in the volume of hot-selling models such as the revamped Ford Focus. CEO Ron E. Hall Sr. says the company has doubled work shifts to keep up with the demand for fuel-efficient cars.
Selected as BE'S 2011 Industrial/Service Company of the Year, Bridgewater represents one of last year's top performers. Although economists such as Boston believe the worst is over, they warn entrepreneurs to proceed with caution. Countless companies continue to be punished in the anemic housing, advertising, and banking sectors. Healthier, nimble firms still remain in cost-cutting mode as they pounce on new opportunities. Here's a look at how the BE XXXs have responded to today's business environment and how some have successfully expanded into new, fertile territory.
Industrial/Service: Retooling for Growth
Over the past year, the nation's leading African American CEOs had to adjust to challenge and change. As a result, the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE COMPANIES posted a X.XX% boost in revenues to $XX.X billion and a XX.XX% decrease in payroll to XX,XXX employees.
Forward-looking entrepreneurs such as Sid E. Taylor, president of Warren, Michigan-based SET Enterprises Inc. (No. XX on the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE COMPANIES list with $XXX million in revenues), have restructured operations or pursued new ventures--which include planning a southern expansion. In fact Taylor completed a business makeover in 2010, diversifying his steel metal processing and assembly services operation by launching two new units: SET Duct Manufacturing Inc. and SET Construction Inc. The move boosted revenues by XX%, one of SET's most impressive performances to date. Taylor projects sales to exceed $XXX million in 2011. "This made good sense for us because XX% of the duct manufacturing business is steel and that is the business that we are in," he says. "In our quest to diversify we felt that construction was another good fit for us. We hired some people to do things like drywall, carpeting, and finish interior work."
St. Louis-based World Wide Technology Inc. (No. X on the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE COMPANIES list with $X.X billion in revenues) became one of the comeback champs. After a revenue decline of XX% to $X.X billion in 2009, WWT's revenues jumped XX%. Company officials maintain that sales for its products and consulting services were buoyed by corporations and government agencies expanding their tech budgets. Gartner Inc., a Stamford, Connecticut, research firm, reported that worldwide IT spending was $X.X trillion in 2010, up X.X% from 2009.
With a strong global presence in the U.S., Mexico, Brazil, Singapore, and China, WWT derives roughly XX% of revenues from technology hardware and equipment for data centers, while design and consulting have become its fastest growing segments. The upsurge in demand prompted the recruitment of some XXX engineers and tech specialists, increasing WWT's total workforce to nearly X,XXX employees.
Auto Dealers: Revved Up for Sales
The auto industry steered toward the road to profitability in 2010 after surviving its years-long trek on its version of Dead Man's Curve. U.S. auto sales reached XX.X million vehicles sold last year, up more than X million from 2009. General Motors not only emerged from government-induced bailout, the company reported its first annual profit in years. Chrysler also survived bankruptcy and now thrives under its new owner, the Italian carmaker Fiat. Ford, Hyundai, and Kia grabbed market share Toyota lost from product safety recalls. In fact, pent-up consumer demand is expected to put dealers on track to sell nearly XX% more new cars and trucks in 2011 than last year, forecasts the National Automobile Dealers Association. BE auto dealers posted a XX.XX% boost in revenues to $ X.X billion and a X.XX % increase in employees to X,XXX.
Despite such positive developments, scores of African American auto dealers are part of the industry's wreckage. Gregory T. Baranco, CEO of Mercedes-Benz of Buckhead (No. XX on the BE AUTO DEALERS list with $XXX.X million in revenues), says that while TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) funds from the federal government rescued GM and Chrysler in 2009, those manufacturers used bankruptcy as "an opportunity to arbitrarily eliminate the dealers they believed to be in weaker markets. In doing so, they terminated more than XX% of the African American dealer body." From 2008 to the beginning of 2011, the number of black-owned GM dealerships dropped from XX to XX. Black-owned Ford stores shrank from XXX to XX. African American Toyota/ Lexus stores, however, dwindled only from only XX to XX. The BE AUTO DEALERS list, which ranked the nation's XXX Xargest black franchises on the 2008 roster, now designates only XX franchises for that distinction.
Says Marjorie Staten, president of General Motors Minority Dealers Association: "Our members had to rethink operation efficiency and incorporate new ideas to gain the maximum value from their expenditures, customer relationships, and dealership staff."
Emanuel D. Jones' Legacy Automotive (No. XX on the BE AUTO DEALERS list with $XXX million in revenues) drove sales after acquiring franchises at a deep discount and then retooling them into revenue-generating machines, in 2008, he purchased a XXX,XXX square foot store near Fort Benning in Georgia after one of the world's largest chains of Chevrolet dealerships was forced into bankruptcy. Jones, a state senator who had reached the rank of captain in the Army Reserve, sponsored on-post activities. Now, roughly XX% of the dealership's business comes from servicemen stationed at the military base. The McDonough, Georgia-based dealership increased its sales by XX% in 2010.
In the current environment, the most successful dealers had to become obsessed with consumers who still had purchasing clout. Interest rates for auto finance companies' five-year new-car loans hit a X.X% bottom during spring and summer, and banks and finance companies made credit more readily available toward the end of the year.
Recalls forced Toyota/Lexus dealers to rework how they conducted business. Winston R. Pittman Sr., president of the Toyota/Lexus Minority Dealer Association and CEO of Winston Pittman Enterprise (No. X on the BE AUTO DEALERS list with $XXX.X million in revenues), says: "We had to rethink satisfying our customers. Service was the key. When they came in, we had to roll out the red carpet. We were open extra hours to guarantee our customer base was well taken care of and to ensure there was no more down time for them than necessary."
To make meaningful consumer connections, auto dealers discovered that they could no longer operate exclusively as brick-and-mortar businesses or as online stores, says A. V. Fleming, executive director of Ford Motor Minority Dealers Association. While television and radio ads broadcast celebrity endorsements, Facebook and Twitter quickly spread word-of-mouth persuasion. "Social media has replaced the strong reference person and enabled dealers to reach customers beyond old boundaries," says Fleming.
Steve Jackson found success by going green. Located in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Toyota of Rockwall (No. XX on the BE AUTO DEALERS list with $XX.XX million in revenues) is the country's first black-owned facility that is LEED-certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. Since he opened shop in 2008, Jackson has been rewarded with huge savings in operating costs, national publicity, and streams of store traffic. His green cred has attracted customers from as far as Arkansas, Mississippi, and Oregon. Says Jackson of the dealership that realized a XX.X% boost in sales last year: "Each year, even through downturns and recalls, we've had month-over-month and year-over-year increases. Our business continues to grow."
Advertising Agencies: Fighting for New Accounts
For decades, black advertising agencies had been considered the connection major corporations needed to reach a relatively untapped black consumer market. Ending the practice of retaining black ad agencies is an unfortunate pattern established by major corporations over the past XX months. A number black firms have lost long-term corporate accounts. In one high-profile example, Burger King ended its XX-year relationship last year with Brooklyn, New York-based UniWorld Group (No. X on the BE ADVERTISING AGENCIES list with $XX.X million in revenues). As co-founder and CEO of one of the nation's oldest multicultural ad agencies, UniWorld's Byron E. Lewis remembers when black-owned agencies had to overcome numerous business and political obstacles in order to survive. He says today's environment is no different: "We've seen the dramatic change over the last several years in the media and consumer behavior. African American and minority agencies must develop more online data-driven and digital capabilities to meet the criteria of future clients."
Investing in digital media--an area where black consumers' usage outpaces their white counterparts--is one way that Burrell Communications Group L.L.C. (No. X on the BE ADVERTISING AGENCIES list with $XX million in revenues) has stayed relevant. The firm, the 2011 BE Advertising Agency of the Year, hired Google alum Donald Moore as president of Burrell Digital. Moore was part of the team that launched travel blog BlackAtlas.com for American Airlines in 2009. Their digital prowess led cable network giant Comcast Corp. to tap Burrell as its African American agency of record in March. "It's about going beyond surviving and thriving," says Co-CEO Fay Ferguson. "Digital is where the industry is now and you really cannot service any client well unless you have a digital capability."
To attract more clients, Los Angeles-based Walton Isaacson (No. X on the BE ADVERTISING AGENCIES list with $XX million in revenues) decided to let its creative work speak for itself. Walton Isaacson used computer-generated graphics in three TV spots for Lexus' five-door hybrid CT XXXh. "This new CG process provided us with an opportunity to showcase the vehicle in a way that we wouldn't have been able to accomplish with the time and budget limitations that exist with a traditional commercial shoot," says Aaron Walton, who co-founded the agency with Cory Isaacson and counts NBA great Earvin "Magic" Johnson as a silent partner. Walton Isaacson has worked on big general market campaigns for Lexus, Dunkin' Donuts, One.org, Pepsi, Jim Beam, and Unilever's Axe, Ponds, and Degree. The X-year-old agency's diversified portfolio includes the launch of two products: a record label, wli Beats, and a digital Web series with Fox Digital.
To reflect these firms' new approach to generating business, our editors now rank the agencies by revenues instead of billings.
Financial Services: In Search of Healthy Returns
Applying Ariel Investments L.L.C.'S "slow and steady" technique, John Rogers Jr. has watched his firm outperform many of its peers on Wall Street. The Chicago-based firm's founder and CEO says its investment focus helped it deliver solid returns since the stock market bottomed out on March X, 2009. Since that time through last December, the Ariel Fund garnered a cumulative return of XXX.XX% versus XXX.XX% for the Russell XXXX Value Index.