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Black Business Works

June 4, 2010

Hanif Russell, founder of Black Business Works

Hanif Russell is living the dream. How many of us have wished we could be so busy that we needed to hire an assistant? How many of us have wished we could come up with a concept that appealed to masses? How many of us will wish we were Hanif Russell by the time we get through reading this post?

I met Hanif last summer, at a networking event held at Pollen Nation in Harlem. This was before I was working with PN and way before I was working with Hanif. Well, obviously. Anyway, we met, he said he had some things to discuss with me, we exchanged business cards and so forth. The next week, he sat up a meeting time and things snowballed from there. Hanif was in the beginning stages of organizing a group called Black Business Works, which forms a consortium of small business owners for networking purposes.

Black Business Works does not subscribe to the go-hand-your-card-out type of networking. Instead, they pick and choose their members, much like a fraternity or sorority, and really try to keep their membership to one person (or business) from each field. That way, when a client of the bakery asks for a caterer for their graduation dinner party, there is already a business that is at the fingertips of the baker who s/he can call in to cater the event.

Monthly, they hold breakfast events in which a speaker (usually a BBW member) discusses a topic that is relevant to the group and how they can make their business work better. The events are held in the morning because, as Russell explains, “In order to be successful in business, you need to get up and get to work.” He started the Harlem branch of BBW last winter. Now, he has branched out with locations in Long Island, Queens and Atlanta, with Memphis, Nashville, Chicago and Canadian branches opening soon.

“People want to be a part of an organization that supports them and helps them grow their businesses. Black Business Works does just that,” Russell explains.

If you are interested in joining Black Business Works and live in one of the cities I listed, please check out their If you live somewhere else and are interested, please contact Hanif Russell at

To all of my Atlanta friends, this is the first event BBW will be having in Atlanta and I promised Hanif I would send people. You know what to do.

To all of my Harlem friends, the June event:

To my friends in Queens:

To all my friends in Long Island:

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