Black Customers Can Help a Black Owned Businesses Reputation Management
I have always said, if someone has a crappy product, don’t support it. But at least TELL THEM WHY are you not supporting it instead of talking about them and laughing behind their backs to other black people or even worse …. mixed company. It is one thing for YOU not to support a black business but why would you convince others to do the same?
Running a business is an amazing process but it’s also outrageously taxing. I personally have been repeatedly told: “Kev, I want to support you but if I do then I will get multiple calls from (others in the industry) asking why I’m supporting you and not them.” I have heard this repeatedly from the labels in my own business some stating competitors have even cried on the phone or cussed them out for not supporting them but supporting me and they have been around longer than me or they do the same thing I do. Nonetheless, in the digital industry, this can be proven with a few clicks that generate instant reports but we are still dedicated to all or nothing at all. Where there are limited resources there are interesting stories.
As a community, I think most black entrepreneurs understand our consistent need in lieu of the lack of opportunities presented to us. But why is it that if we don’t have the resources to help EVERYBODY we don’t help ANYBODY?
In the entertainment industry, we have been trained to think that tenure is paramount but that’s a falsehood. The 16-year-old hit recording artist sitting at the head of the table at a label couldn’t care less about how many years a PD, a DJ or anyone has been in the game, he is most concerned with who is the most effective TODAY!. This is a lifestyle industry, youth driven and value-based. What you did 10, 5 or even 2 years ago is nice but does it count today? Unfortunately, the rules are NOT the same on the other sides of the music industry, there are people as old as Moses who still have successful businesses and promoting the best songs by Frank Sinatra. The difference between them and us in any business … they have direct access to the upper echelon.
Small Businesses are Not always “Cheap” but they do Consistently Deal with Cash Flow Problems
The baby should not be thrown out with the bathwater. Support VALUE. Nevertheless, we are still often obligated to wanting to offer widespread support even when there is no value which means the black company that HAS value can’t maintain it for he too will not struggle and has to cut corners to make it.
The entrepreneur consistently offers opportunities to other blacks who many black entrepreneurs state come with ready-made perceptions that black businesses are subpar and a stepping stone to something greater (whiter) and not to be taken seriously. Henceforth, the black entrepreneur’s growth is deeply affected because he or she allows things to take place that white corporations and business owners would never except in order to help the community. Many black entrepreneurs will say it’s more give than take and it’s taxing and constantly spinning wheels.
Business Decline and Business Support
“I have to admit, if it wasn’t for black people I would have never been successful in business but I will also say if it wasn’t for black people I would have been MORE successful in business” one black entrepreneur shared for this story. “The judgment, the hate, the put-downs, the middleman tricks and the blocks from other black people at major corporations makes me SMFH. Why?”
(Middleman tricks: People who keep you away from the point person at a company with the money then ask the person to pay them and they will pay you. Then they come back to you and say the person has a limited budget and they end up keeping a majority of the money earmarked for you and pay you peanuts. My suggestion, deal with NO middlemen)
As an entrepreneur, you see things other black folks don’t see from more of a monetary, community and psychological perspective. The challenges that black entrepreneurs consistently face are immeasurable. “Quite often black entrepreneurs have to be uniquely creative. We have to get around racism AND other black people at the corporations. people at the corporations act like the money is their own! one woman stated to us who has owned her own business for 10 years. “They take their time handing in your invoices and they are paying you a discounted rate?” she continued “I have shifted my business model to deal more with white people, it’s just easier and they pay the rate I ask for without all the BS.”
In having multiple conversations with other black entrepreneurs over the years, I have heard these sentiments repeatedly. I had a conversation with another entrepreneur today and his sentiment is echoed by many black business owners: “When it comes to making money white people are very cut and dry about business. They are either going to support you or they are not and if they are, they pay the asking rate with no problem but on the other end of that when it comes to doing business with black people at corporations there is almost always a block and resistance to allowing a black person in a business to succeed or get to the needed resources.”
Why is it that the perception is that when it comes to black people making money other black people find a way to block, severely discount or deny the opportunity for other black people to make money too? Your thoughts?