Now more than ever it’s important to support our Black-owned businesses, which are vital aspects of our local and national economies. Even though Black people make up 14.2% of the U.S. population, they only own 2.3% of all businesses according to the Brookings Institution. This statistic is appalling and emphasizes how crucial it is to support Black-owned businesses whenever possible. These business owners rely heavily on us as consumers to support their businesses so that they can continue to grow and prosper. By making simple changes to your shopping patterns, you can help to strengthen these vehicles of wealth generation within the Black community.
Buy Directly from Black Businesses
The most straightforward way to help Black businesses succeed is by purchasing goods or services from them directly. In today’s world of on-demand shopping, it can be easy to order products online from large, corporate retailers. If you take the time to see if a local Black business sells the same product, you could make a bigger impact within your community. Some Black businesses even operate online and have product listings on retailers’ websites, making them as easy to access as corporate retailers while offering additional ways to purchase from and benefit these businesses. To find these businesses, check your local small business directory.
Recommend Black Businesses to Friends
Another way to support Black businesses is to recommend these stores to your friends and family. Word of mouth is a very effective way to market these businesses and most people are more likely to trust a recommendation from a close friend or family member than a random advertisement. If you buy something from a Black business that you really enjoy, be sure to spread the love and tell your friends about your shopping experience. Post a picture of what you purchased on social media and share the word about these businesses to help them get more exposure and more people through the doors.
Partner with Black Businesses
Other than buying from these businesses, if you own a business of your own or have a skill that could help them, you can form substantive partnerships to show your support. Get started by making a connection with the owner and developing a relationship. Maybe you can offer up your expertise, skills or business knowledge to help them scale their business to the next level. When these owners feel a strong connection with other entrepreneurs in their networks and communities, these businesses feel a greater sense of support.
Understand the Barriers They Face
To show your support to these businesses, first take the time to be an ally and understand the barriers that they struggle with every day. Non-Black business owners can be unaware that even rudimentary aspects of running a business, such as having access to capital, often prove to be inhibitors to Black businesses further scaling. As an ally, you can listen to the real challenges of these business owners to understand what they face and help provide solutions for them. You may not be able to solve all of their problems but you may be able to put them in contact with the right people who can help them out. All it takes is time to listen to these business owners with the intent of identifying the barriers they face as marginalized Black business owners.
Robert F. Smith supports Black-owned businesses and understands the challenges they face including inequitable access to loans, available banking options and modern tools such as high-speed internet, which has the ability to connect them with new customers online. Learn more about the initiatives Smith supports and what he is currently doing by following him on LinkedIn.