Happy National Black Business Month! Yes, it is a thing and yes you have been sleeping on it. Don’t feel bad, because a few weeks ago I was also clueless to the fact that there is a nationally recognized month that celebrates black businesses here in America. The significance of this month is not only important because it sheds light on minority-owned businesses, but it serves as a call to action and reminder for us to do our part in ensuring the continuation of the legacies that are being built right in our own backyards. There are many ways that we can do this, but before we segue there, it is important to know the history and a little background so that we can understand the full importance of what this month should mean. So, first things first, it was founded in August 2004 by historian John William Templeton and engineer Frederick E. Jordan Sr. due to their experiences with lack of funding and notoriety within their own entrepreneurial endeavors. These experiences helped to forge a partnership between the two and their main objective was to help highlight black business and encourage people to support their businesses.
There are enough obstacles present for entrepreneurs in general. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 20% of U.S. small businesses fail within the first year. By the end of their fifth year, roughly 50% have faltered. After 10 years, only around a third of businesses have survived. When you throw being black in the mix, as Templeton discovered, those obstacles multiply tenfold due to lack of opportunities and funding, racism, oppression, and other barriers that exist among minorities. Issues like lack of capital and cash flow make it difficult to have the startup funds necessary to create businesses, as well as hire the help that is needed to run the business smoothly. This in large part is due to income disparities and wealth gaps that have affected minorities since the days of slavery and Jim Crow. Imagine running a race and getting a 500-year head start. That is exactly what the effects of systemic racism can be compared to. Consequently, it is no surprise that the domino effects of the past have allowed whites to be further ahead regarding median income, home, and land ownership, and even with the approval of loans that black people do not get the same access to.
With odds stacked against them, black business owners still rise and have proven to be true examples of black excellence.
Here are some statistics that show just how far we have come:
- There are more than 2 million Black-owned businesses in the U.S.
- Black-owned businesses generated $150.2 billion in gross revenue as recently as 2012 and are trending even higher since then.
- Black-owned businesses employ approximately 920,000 people.
- 36.1% of all Black-owned businesses are owned by women—higher than any other racial group. (Shout out to our Digital Marketing Maven CEO!)
- Of all the minority groups, African American-owned businesses posted the most gains in the early 2000s.
- Black-owned businesses outpaced the rest of the nation with record growth. Gross receipts increased by 55% as compared to 21% for the country
- 22% of African American small business owners are millennials, nearly twice as many as the 12% of millennial small business owners in the general population.
Despite the struggles that have been present for some time now and the newer struggles that covid-19 has presented, the statistics show that the future of black business is still bright. It is up to us to ensure that these businesses thrive, and I have listed some ways on how we can help down below.
What Can I Do?
Well, I am glad that you asked! There are several ways we can help black businesses see consistent growth despite the economic challenges that the pandemic has caused. In fact, I am willing to bet that there is a black business owner that can provide just about any service or product that you may need.
Websites like blackbusiness.com, whereyoucamefrom.biz, webuyblack.com, and (Official Black Wallstreet) obws.com,provide online databases that can help you find anything from black-owned laundry detergent and other household items to doctors, mechanics, florists, you name it! Check those websites out to start circulating black dollars back into the community. This is extremely important because studies have revealed that although African Americans only make up 12% of the U.S. population, 40% of black consumers are the first to try a new product or service which surpasses the nation’s average of 29%. To make you feel even worse, but only in a sisterly way to challenge you to do BETTER, black people are the largest group of consumers in the U.S. spending an average of 1.3 TRILLION dollars yearly. To drive it home, the average circulation time of the black dollar within its community is only 6 hours. To put that in perspective in comparison to other groups, it takes the white community 17 days, the Jewish community 20 days, and the Asian community 30 days to circulate their dollars. I’ll just drop the mic there and challenge whoever is reading to do better and to be more intentional with where you spend your money. The truth is, money would solve many problems that are rampant in our community in terms of crime, access points, after-school activities, and poverty. We are literally the solution to our problems!
The second and more obvious tip in helping black businesses is to spread the word. If you come across a business that you like, tell others about it, leave a good review on Google, and use hashtags, which thanks to social media, has become a great way to support local business owners in increasing their visibility rate.
Third invest in black business. In the days where crowdfunding campaigns and GoFundMe’s are popular for raising funds, skip Starbucks for a week and invest $50 in a business that has a mission or product you wouldn’t mind supporting. Fundraising is important to black businesses because statistically, black CEOs are more likely than their white counterparts to be forced to use their own money as startup capital due to the inaccessibility of loans and higher interest rates. So, let’s chip in where we can and support.
Lastly, give back! Not just your money, but your time, your network, and your knowledge. Offer mentorship to aspiring business owners, invite black business owners to your networking events and plug them where you can. Do you know someone who needs digital marketing for their business? Suggest Digital Marketing Maven and Associates for those needs. Need an attorney to look over some contracts? Suggest a black lawyer. Actions like this, which seem so simple, truly go a long way. Never underestimate what sharing the wealth and sharing opportunities can do for the next person, you may literally be changing a life with an extended invite. Never be selfish with what and who you know!
Now that you know better, go out and do better and if you need help with starting your business you have come to the right place. Digital Marketing Maven and Associates is a full-service marketing firm that offers you help with your business from every stage ranging from start-up and development, to the actual planning and execution. A study listed some of the primary reasons for a shift from working for someone to becoming self-employed. Among those reasons being “ready to be my own boss” was the primary reason African American survey respondents started their businesses (34%). This was followed by a “desire to pursue my own passion” (29%), “dissatisfaction with corporate America” (13%), and “the opportunity presented itself” (10%). If any of these reasons resonate and you are ready to make that shift, book your consultation so we can get started today. What are you waiting for?
Check out the links below for more details on the information that was listed, as well as additional ways to be proactive in recognizing, supporting, and growing black business throughout August and of course year-round.