Start With Visibility
One of my big beliefs for most businesses is that visibility is huge. Having and supporting black-owned businesses only happens when we know about them. The best way to support them is to sponsor these businesses and organizations but also to make it a point to feature them too. It could be sharing social media posts or having them on a podcast or blog but getting the opportunity to get more "eyeballs" is huge.
-Gresham Harkless Jr., CEO Blog Nation
A simple, yet effective way to support Black-Owned businesses and organizations, especially during this economic hardship, is to simply ask. Once you’ve identified black-owned businesses in your community that you’d like to help, reach out to the owners and ask how you can best support them. Many might be hesitant, but keep asking! Every business’s needs are so unique, and everyone needs different levels of support. Getting specific and making a conscious effort to reach out will go such a long way.
-Michael Staton, Lyon Shield Security
Small businesses and entrepreneurs have been longtime economic drivers and wealth builders in our society. Supporting Black-owned businesses throughout the year can help stabilize a community and create more opportunities for meaningful savings, property ownership, credit building, and generational wealth.
It is important to be intentional about providing support beyond the holidays and throughout the year. Support can come in the form of making a purchase, referring others, engaging on social media with tags, shares, and comments. Subscribe to the company’s email list and submit a positive review. Be an advocate for the small business.
-Nicole A. Thomas, Nicallyss Creative Group
It's not rocket science. A simple yet impactful action is to patronize black-owned small businesses. There are thousands of black-owned small businesses that fulfill a plethora of consumer needs, from bookstores to specialty candle shops. Nonetheless, there's an even greater action that you can take if your wallet won't allow the expense: share the business with your social circles! A good marketing campaign is a vital yet sometimes costly asset, and for a newly-minted small business, a large factor in their start-up success. So share the business with your friends, family, and cohorts; the more people who are aware of the opportunity to buy from a hardworking, black-owned small business, the better. Even greater, it doesn't cost anything to share!
-Desiree Cunningham, Markitors
Building a relationship with Black Owned Businesses (BOB) is the key to support; so that we don’t just become a checkmark on someone’s good deeds list. That’s what true support and partnership look like for allies. Support looks like taking the time to get to know the BOB, not just kicking a few social media tags our way. And yes, support also looks like spotlighting BOBs in posts, newsletters, interviews, blogs, podcasts, etc. but not just one-and-done, let’s network and get to know each other. I don’t want your support just because I’m Black; I want it because you believe in me and my business’s mission, vision, and values.
-Mel Rhoden, Life Purpose Coach
What is one way to support black-owned businesses and organizations? The greatest way to support black-owned businesses and organizations is financial. Find a business or organization that provides a service or sells a product that you enjoy, appreciate or need and spend your money there. Financial stability is the true key to economic empowerment. When a black-owned business thrives that leads to more jobs and a stronger workforce, not only for economically distressed areas but, in affluent communities as well. An equitable business sector is a strong business sector.
-Lloyd Hopkins, Million Dollar Teacher Project
Support your favorite businesses by leaving an online review on sites like Google, Yelp, and more. Share your review on social outlets. By expressing your support through a review, your favorite businesses can rise in rankings for localized searches for services and products.
-Taneika Farmiloe, Registered Nurse
Be open to inviting black-owned business owners to your networking events and group meetings. This simple gesture is a great way to help share business resources with new black-owned business owners helping them get deep-rooted in other business social circles and expand their customer reach. Sharing these resources helps bring an alternative thought process into your network and club as well. It is always good for other communities to see that they share the same hurdles or successes with other communities' leaders and business owners.
LT Ladino Bryson, vCandidates
Historically, there has been a concerted effort to ensure African-American owned businesses remains at the bottom. As we move forward in history, I feel supporting an African-American owned business has more to do with ‘mindset’ which impacts practical actions. On the practical side, consumers should look more at the product versus the owner or ethnicity of the product. As a publisher with a line of business bags and totes, I’ve experienced customers in shock once they learned who actually owns the company. Some in disbelief that a ‘Black woman’ owns the company. For lenders and investors, provide equal access to funding and networks; get rid of the notion that a product won’t work because of its owner. If a company has an increase in sales year after year without funding, imagine its acceleration with financial backing.
-Vikki Jones, VMH Publishing
A close second behind spending your money with Black-owned businesses and organizations is time. If you have the expertise, technical skills, learned experiences, or a network that can benefit a business owner, Google Black-owned businesses in your area or reach out to organizations supporting them and share one or more of these value adds to their table. With more access to a diverse range of resources, networks of capital, or potential partners or clientele will help Black entrepreneurs and organizations tremendously with building their respective businesses further or pivoting in more innovative ways because they have a strong support system with access alongside them each step of the way.
-Naji Kelley, BLNDED Media
To fully support black-owned businesses, whether financially or otherwise, individuals and organizations must be determined to break through every single barrier that blocks the intended support. And they must do so with the same speed and consistency they exhibit when working with larger, Fortune 500 conglomerates. Understanding that many small, black-owned businesses do not have the same internal structural capacities as those corporations who historically have been successful in gaining support to scale their businesses is key. Allies should intentionally search for ways to balance the marginalization of black-owned businesses by listening to black entrepreneurs’ needs and challenges. Once identified, supporters must implement policies that change the discriminatory structure immediately, rather than continuing to sideline watch those businesses struggle and possibly, eventually shut down.
-T Strong, Dirty Soles Footwear Group, LLC.
Black-owned businesses need more access to capital, more coaching, and more people spreading the (positive) word about them. A racial wealth gap undeniably affects Black business owners, leading to less access to capital and cash flow, which leads to a difference in the profitability between their businesses and those businesses owned by their counterparts.
Organizations should support Black-owned businesses by limiting the hurdles that can impede these businesses' ability to access the necessary capital to operate and thrive. Understandably, though, creditworthiness and a business’s profitability projections factor into gaining access to said capital; as such, Black-owned businesses would benefit from access to quality coaching to help them understand how to create businesses they love, that others will also love, and that lenders will want to support. Finally, Black-owned businesses need patrons to add them to their list of go-to places and tell others about their incredible work.
-Bridgett McGowen-Hawkins, Professional Speaker
There's a ton of ways for me to support black-owned businesses and organizations. The first and most basic is purchasing things that I need on a day-to-day basis from black-owned businesses. From hair care to skincare, food and drinks, and everything else that I need and use daily, I'll make sure to get from black-owned businesses. Then, I'll also look at investing in organizations that support African-American businesses and communities, including non-profits. Finally, I can also become a mentor or coach for people of color.
-Phillip A. Lew, C9 Staff