August is National Black Business Month. That means it’s time to spend those dollars with melanin-ated sisters and brothers who have taken a successful plunge into business ownership. Starting a business is no easy task within itself, and being a minority can be an added bonus in more ways than one. So support of small (and large) black enterprise is imperative to ensure success in our communities. Here are five ways you can support black-owned businesses for the month of August.
Spend your coins.
This seems obvious, but not enough of us do it. If we expect there to be economic expansion and empowerment in the black community, then we must put our money where our mouths are. According to the African-Americans: Demographic and Consumer Spending Trends, 10th Edition, African Americans are the largest consumers with spending habits that have grown from $995 billion to $1.3 trillion between 2010 and 2015. If we used just a fraction of our cash flow to support a business owner in our community, think how quickly we could make millionaires that live amongst us. (Note: PAY FULL PRICE. Don’t ask for discounts from a brother or sister that you would not ask for from Wal-Mart, Saks Fifth or The Cheesecake Factory. Receiving a discount is one thing; asking for one is something completely different.)
Spend your time.
Beyond money, many small business owners need constant reassurance that they’ve made the right decision stepping into their industry of choice. True supporters understand this and make their presence known to their favorite business owners. Showing up (on time) to an event, popping your head into a store to chat or sending a card or basket of goodies to a black business owner demonstrates sharing the priceless commodity of time.
Give your advice.
Unfortunately, sometimes the phrase “black business” comes with negative connotations. But, this need not be so if we are truly the keepers of our brothers and sisters. If you see a business owner not living up to his or her fullest potential, let them know. But, there are rules to sharing your advice.
- Be kind. Your approach is everything. There is no need to be rude or condescending when offering constructive criticism. Always ask yourself, how would I want someone to address me on this matter?
- Consider the place and time. Sometimes right in the moment, is not the best time to address a grievance or offer a suggestion. Be mindful of your environment before handing out unsolicited advice or criticism.
- Offer solutions. If you find that a brother or sister is slacking in the business department, offer a well thought out solution. Business owners have a lot going on, and can sometimes miss details because of the game plan constantly running through their minds. So instead of coming out the gate with criticism, lead with an idea or solution for improvement. Remember, no one (including you) likes to hear everything they’ve done wrong without a remedy to improve.
Open your mouth.
Word of mouth is still the most effective form of marketing for businesses. Just think about how many times you ask around or check reviews before trying a new restaurant or purchasing a product or service. So, if you’ve had a great experience with a black business, let the world know. Give a review online or call your family and friends and let them know to patron the business you recommend.
Follow, like and share the movement.
Social media is so imperative nowadays when it comes to successfully marketing and leveraging business. Therefore, help black business owners reach broader audiences and wider consumer bases by following and sharing their strides online. To you it may be as simple as a like or post share, but to business owners (and potential investors) online human currency equals clout in every industry.
Looking for black businesses in Palm Beach County? Check out The Beat Business Directory here.
How do you plan to support black businesses for the month of August? Comment below.
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