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15 Meaningful ways to Support Black-Owned Businesses

What you need to know:

     The death of George Floyd “awakened” America

     There has been a significant increase in support for Black-Owned Businesses

     Support for Black-owned Businesses should be normalized

Support for Black-owned businesses has skyrocketed since the murder of George Floyd. His death awakened many across the world, and America in particular, to entrenched racism. It is this “awakening” that has led to, among other initiatives, the drive to make lasting change by supporting Black-owned businesses.

The challenges facing Black-owned businesses are well documented. In the American Business strata; they rank bottom - much like the way Black folks are regarded in our society at large. Any Black entrepreneur can tell you that this is not because of a lack of know-how, or lack of effort; it is a culmination of many factors that include systemic racism that has made Black-owned businesses the most likely to go under compared to other races. 

It shouldn’t have to be said, but we’ll say it anyway: Black-owned businesses are just as good as (if not oftentimes a notch above) any other business. Buying Black does not mean lowering quality or expectation. On the contrary, it is a powerful way of extending support to a sector struggling due to systemic racism and stereotyping.  On a personal level, it is imperative to take meaningful action; here are ways you can support Black-owned Businesses.

 

1. First, acknowledge the need to change

Acceptance is a powerful step towards change. By accepting that America has a long way to go when it comes to racism towards African Americans, you will then take the next powerful step of actively finding and supporting Black-owned businesses. If you are still not convinced, why you need to take this step, we recommended you watch the Netflix production 13th or read through various data on why Black-owned businesses need support. 

2. Use theNilelist

The Nile List provides a comprehensive list of thousands of vetted Black-owned Businesses. The directory has curated business ranging from Health & Beauty, Hair & Headwear, Home & Garden, Parenthood, Children, fashion, Entertainment & Toys, Pet, Office, paper & stationery, Travel, sports & outdoors, and Electronics.

You will definitely find something worthwhile. 

3.  Hold your local leaders accountable

It is a foregone conclusion that all businesses thrive when government leaders prioritize them. It’s time that the priority goes to mall businesses as opposed to corporations.

Not only do Black businesses receive less government support, but areas with predominantly Black populations are usually under-resourced and neglected by local power structures.  To change this and give Black businesses a fair shot at success, we all need to do our democratic duty. Local leaders are sensitive to the prevailing opinion of their voters. Calls, letters, and other forms of communication usually spur them to action.

The actions of many, however little, always result in change.

4.   Hold Corporations Accountable

As a result of our capitalist economic system, some corporations have amassed a disproportionate amount of power over others. For example, mall owners determine which business gets the best locations in the mall, internet service providers owners determine which geographical locations get the best internet, and tech companies determine the apps are available on their platforms.

Black people and other minorities usually lose out. To give them a leg up and level the playing field, everyone should hold big corporates to their diversity pledges and actual shifts in power and priority from within.

5.    Change your habits as a consumer

 Sometimes supporting a cause requires a bit of self-sacrifice. Ordering from Black-owned businesses might not be as convenient as you are as accustomed to. You might also need to change your product preferences to the benefit of Black businesses. Try new food, fashion, or entertainment. Give a little grace, wait for a little longer for products to arrive, and understand that making things from hand and without devalued labor means it may cost a bit more and take a bit longer.

6.    Participate in funding

One unspoken fact about raising funds is that it’s easier when you’re white. Black startups have an incredibly hard time raising funds. Whether it’s getting a loan, raising seed funds, or scaling up, the cards are stacked against Black founders. One of the most important ways you can show support for Black businesses is to participate in funding rounds. Contribute via crowdfunding sites, the stock market, or any other funding opportunity you see. You can also support our crowd-funding campaign here.

7.    Know your History

The more you know about Black history the more you’ll be surprised at how much Black folks have contributed to the progress of society as a whole. From music genres such as jazz, hip-hop, or blues to fashion to food, Black-invented products and services usually set the trend for the rest of society. The more people have awareness of the historical significance of Black culture the more likely they are to give Black businesses a chance.

8.    Participate in Education Programs

The more educated people are, the more likely they are to invest and be successful. Education for business goes beyond the conventional standardized classes that everyone goes through. Business owners need financial planning skills, product management skills, and a variety of other useful skills. If you are in a position to help, do the best you can for Black entrepreneurs around you. Establish educational programs for small business owners and give the best of yourself to people in need.

9.    Spread the word

One of the most important things you can do for a business is to tell their story. Word of mouth is one of the most reliable ways to earn support for a business. If you find a Black business with good products or services, the best thing you can do for them is to spread the word. Research has shown that people trust the word of close friends and family more than any ad or endorsement. For Black businesses, it could give them a leg up in the competition against bigger businesses with extensive marketing budgets.

10. Promote Black-Owned Businesses on Social Media

The impact of social media on business cannot be overstated. Over 3 billion people are currently on social media and the figure is projected to grow beyond 4 billion by 2025.

Social media marketing is the new frontier for marketing. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and all other social media platforms all have specific tools for business. Supporting Black businesses online is one of the easiest ways to boost their chances of success. A “like”, “follow”, or positive comment could change the fortunes of any business.

11.  Be Positive

The life of an entrepreneur could be lonely and overwhelmingly negative. Positive affirmation for a business owner is just as important as any material support. Most business owners tie their self-worth to their businesses. Success leads to increased self-esteem while failure could lead to depression. Kind words, affirmation, and other simple gestures to lift the spirits of business owners should be part of your daily routine.

12.  Share Positive Reviews

We subscribed to the notion that positive reviews should be earned. A study also suggests that many customers will leave a review when asked to do so. We suggest that you kindly do so whenever you enjoyed some aspect of a brand’s service, product, or experience. A positive review will go a long way in establishing credibility. Your five-star rating could open a door for more business.

13.  Order Directly from the Business

As a result of our complex logistic society, for efficiency and convenience, the business that earns the most from a sale is not necessarily the one that supplies the product or service. It is not uncommon for a third-party business to take the biggest cut of a sale. To avoid this, make direct payments to Black-owned businesses when making purchases.

14.  Donate to Organizations that Support Black Businesses

There are many organizations that support Black-owned businesses. Supporting such organizations is one powerful way of putting your money where your mouth is. You can find a comprehensive list of such organizations here.

15.  Be a Mentor

Running a business often involves balancing many aspects to create a seamless harmony for profitability. For a new business, this is challenging. This is why it is imperative to have a mentor. A mentor not only offers real-life lessons not available in business books but also an encouragement to push through. As a successful business person, volunteering mentorship is a meaningful way of support.

 

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