2020 is already a tragic story in itself, but here is where it becomes even grimmer for Black business owners. In April alone, The New York Times reported when the initial economic fallout of the pandemic was hitting our country the worst, more than 40% of Black business owners reported that they were not working, in comparison to 17% of white business owners. There is no need to argue why, but the fact remains the same: Black business owners and entrepreneurs face a different type of fight.
Do not worry, though; this will not be an article about how 2020 is doomsday and that there is no hope. I am here to encourage you and show that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Let’s have this article serve as more of a guide to making sure that you can capitalize on the remainder of the year. Here are three quick tips to help you seize the rest of 2020.
Who’s Your Plug?
When starting your business or looking for your business to expand, where do you get your money from? It may sound like a silly question to some, but the truth is too many of us Black entrepreneurs and business owners are failing for one big reason: funding. How does the movie line go? “Show me the money!” I see so many of my fellow peers start businesses with their own money or even their 401k. Yeah, I painfully laugh now as I did this myself due to bad advice from unsuccessful mentors, but lack of funding is killing off Black businesses.
Research shows that Black-owned non-employer businesses are far less likely to receive financing than white-owned firms, but that is not even the whole story. Consider this: Black entrepreneurs are about three times as likely to have growth and profitability hindered by a lack of financial capital. Are you seeing why funding is vital for businesses?
Now what? Typically, when you look up funding while being a Black entrepreneur, you will see articles reference the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Yes, the SBA is an amazing resource, but here is a list of some other funders that are committed to helping Black entrepreneurs and Black business owners.
We have all heard it before: "I’d love to support Black businesses, but their customer service…" Now more than ever, you must learn how to build a relationship with your customers and kill that old stereotype. Black business’s customer service consistently remains one of the top complaints from consumers. Let’s be clear; how you treat the customers who have already spent money with you will matter more than you already think. Sadly, too many business owners screw up their relationships with their customers. For example, do you just bombard them with emails about future sales, discounts, etc., or are you looking for new ways to cultivate the relationship by adding value? Are all your communications with your customers about you wanting them to buy, or do you educate, entertain and provide them value? It is time to get creative, and, more importantly, it is time to reward loyalty demonstrated by customers.
Here is one additional fact for you to ponder. Did you know it costs businesses five times as much to find a new customer versus selling to a current one? Let me repeat that: five times as much! Please figure out a way to keep your current customers engaged and happy.
It Is Time To Serve
We have a global pandemic that is going on — one that has affected every race, every community in ways that no one could have imagined. But beyond the pandemic, Black America has been punched in the gut one too many times. Where do I begin? Do I speak on our heroes, such as Kobe Byrant and Chadwick Boseman, tragically dying? Do I have to go into details about the traumatic effects and consequences of watching George Floyd get killed or seeing how Breonna Taylor has not received justice? I actually think that I can just stop at Donald Trump refusing to denounce white supremacist terrorist organizations. All I am trying to say is that we need you. Our community needs you!
I am not going to share all the data that speaks about how consumers view companies that represent a mission or a cause, as I would hate to steer you down the path that Corporate America took while falling short trying to make statements for the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. I want to know what cause drives your passion, which mission ignites your love for people. Is it homelessness, education, a cure for cancer? I do not know what your mission is, but serve a mission. I do not know where your business resides, but once again, do know that your community needs you.
There you have it. Of course, there are plenty of other tips that I could have provided, but the goal is to help you build the foundation for a successful 2020 and beyond. When it comes to being an entrepreneur or business owner, historically speaking, Black people have always been underrepresented. Today, we only account for 9.4% of business owners, but we can change that, starting with you becoming a success story and seizing the rest of 2020.
Curated from Forbes.com
As always if you need any help getting your business ready for the holiday season of 2020 or in reaching success in 2021.