Every person can support a black owned business without seeming biased? After the initial curiosity when a new business opens, are you in it for the long haul? As a customer, will you support, no matter what or are you looking for the earliest exit point. This is where a member of staff upsets you and you quickly decide never to visit again.
Its a curious situation within the black community, where many are not keen to see their own succeed. It has been described as a crab in the barrel mentality. As one crab tries to escape the barrel, the other crabs try to pull it down. Some people will out of curiosity try out a new black business. Then at the slightest hint of bad service, or higher prices, they are off to take their custom elsewhere. Yet they will put up with bad service from other businesses – for years. Thankfully – this attitude can be found less over time.
You’ve heard of the black pound. It is worth over a trillion in the US, and worth about 40 billion in the UK. This is the composite amount earned by all black people in the country, which is available for spending – whether it is on bills or consumer items. The average spend on black business is below 5% for most, and a significant amount of black people support no black businesses at all.
Why is this?
Is it that people do not know where the black businesses are?
Is it that people do not know who the black businesses are?
Is it that people feel they are not getting value for money?
Is it that people feel the black businesses are not as professional as white or Asian businesses?
Is it that people feel the customer service is terrible?
How can we change this?
We have to counteract all the above.
Are we being racist when we discuss this issue?
No. It needs to be talked about because is black businesses thrive, the community thrives and the country as a whole is benefited.
It needs to be demonstrated that all black people are not involved in crime, or cleaning up other people’s mess.
It needs to be discussed, because black young people need role models, and inspiration.
It needs to be discussed, because other communities are supporting our own businesses, but we typically look the other way when walking past a black business, or look out of curiosity and shop elsewhere.
We need to encourage black people to start businesses. We are over-represented in low status dead-end positions. We
are over-represented in the care industry, where we are cleaning people’s backsides. We are disrespected in the work-place. We work hard in corporate businesses and do very well, but more often than not hit the glass ceiling when it comes to promotion. Those very skills which help large companies could be put to good use in a business.
Black people are not generally keen to take risks. And business is risky. If they are in a job, with a monthly or weekly wage its far more comfortable, than the stresses and strains of business. But a note here – many dream about starting a business – but never take the jump. The graveyard is full of unfulfilled dreams. Or people arrive at a certain age, and wish they had taken the plunge when they were younger and had more energy and drive.
The media and other races are quick to judge and make disparaging remarks out our people. They love the screaming headlines of our misdemeanours. If there are issues, they need to know we are not happy with it, and that many are trying to improve their status in society.
There are so many creative, talented and intelligent people in the black communities, who just are not given the chances they need to be a success; or who do not take the opportunities available for various reasons.
There are some areas where black people are more than happy to spend with blacks. Here are some examples.
Black women prefer black people’s hands in their hair. Men prefer their hair cut by a brother. So although Indians (in
the UK) or South Koreans (in the US) control the retail and wholesale of black hair and beauty products; The Hair Salons
and Barber Shops are owned and run by black people. They are a hive of social gathering and activity, and should be encouraged. Hair salons is the most common black business that can be found on the high street.
– When there is a function in black communities, be it a weddingsor anniversary celebrations, christenings or birthday party, and funerals – it is preferable to have cultural food. So that might be Soul Food, African Food or Caribbean Food.
– People enjoy having a take away. If they can get food similar to that cooked by mama at home, in quick time, then they are happy. However, there are many people who will always say its not as good as home cooked, so they prefer to cook their own cultural food, and have a take away from different cuisines. Chinese or Pizza are particular favourites.
Churches – though not strictly a business, churches do have their own mini-economy, and many ministers have done very well from their profession. Black people like black churches because for most its the only place where people who look the same can congregate in large number without fear of getting arrested. There is no colour bar to positions on the board, or in departments. One can feel totally liberated from the constraints of corporate white society. Black churches also tend to be more vibrant than white churches.
Entrepreneurship Encouragement for Economic empowerment
To who want to start businesses, do it for the experience and for the huge benefit of interacting with customers/clients. If
you succeed, that is fantastic. If you don’t it is still a worthwhile thing to have done. You might have helped someone
along the way, and lifelong experiences help to develop you as a person.
For many who want outstanding wealth, business is the way forward. Its success will be down to you and the people that you surround yourself with.
Let us support black businesses.
And black businesses, ensure you do not depend on black people for the entirety of your customer base. There is a big global world out there, and you should be marketing to all nationalities.
(C) Black Economics 2012