This article discusses how you as a black business owner can advantage of the Black Lives Matter movement to grow your business. This movement has succeeded in educating and enlightening the society about the inequality that black people have to put up with and has also given rise to the call for more support for black lives and black-owned businesses.
Looking through social media, we have spotted three key areas the Black Lives Matter movement is positively supporting black-owned businesses;
The call to hire black creatives: This is the call for more black creatives to be hired and presented with equal opportunities especially in the beauty and fashion industry.
The 15% pledge: The 15% Pledge calls on large retailers, including Target, Sephora, Amazon’s Whole Foods and Shopbop, to dedicate 15% of their shelf space to Black-owned businesses. Read more about the pledge here.
Spend on black-owned businesses: This is a call for individuals like yourself and businesses to commit to spending a good percentage of their monthly expenses on black-owned businesses. This is to support these businesses and encourage sustainability and in turn empower the black community. To find black businesses to patronize, see our online directory here.
We have however penned down six key areas black business owners can plug in to take full advantage of the current situation.
Knock on the door: Reach out to businesses that you seek support from. If they don’t know you exist, there’s little chance of them providing the support that you need from them. No matter the response, keep reaching and out don’t be discouraged by a few No’s. The more doors you knock on, the higher your chances of getting a positive response
Work collaboratively: Team up with brands that have a similar goal or ethos to yours. Team up and do the knocking on the doors. There’s power in collaboration, sticking together raises the chance of more positive results. A good example of this is the #mybeautyisvalid campaign by black beauty entrepreneurs
Make the most of social media: Stay up-to-date on deals, opportunities, and calls to action that may benefit your business on social media. A lot of brands have been making pledges and calling out for black-owned businesses, black models, and black creatives.
You need to follow and be on top of these conversations to find out what they are asking for. Also, be on the comment sections where black-owned businesses are being tagged to get more visibility for your brand.
Be found: Be out and proud. Make sure that people know that your business is black-owned. Don’t be afraid to stand out. Before now, some brands hide the fact that they are black-owned to avoid being stereotyped but the good thing is times are changing. Now is no longer the time to hide!
If you’re black, be proud, let people know. Put your face on your business, use black creatives because people are actively searching for black-owned businesses and service providers. You could be losing opportunities by not making it clear that your business is black-owned. Also follow hashtags #blackowned #supportblackbuisness #blackbuisessstory use them on your posts that way you can be found.
Join some directories: Increase your visibility and help others find you when they are looking for businesses in your industry. They are few black-owned business directories where black business owners can register their business and be found.
Unfortunately, there are not a lot of these directories and the few ones available are outdated. This led the Diversity Forum Live team to create a simple directory, for black-owned businesses to sign up, register, and promote their business. If we are asking individuals and businesses to commit a good percentage of their monthly expenses on black-owned businesses, then these businesses need to be out there, visible and reachable. The directory is free so go there and register your business. Also, support other black-owned businesses as well.
Community specific support: Keep an eye out for organizations and individuals that are supporting black businesses, promoting educational initiatives or offering other types of support targeted specifically at black people. For instance, PayPal recently pledged $500 million to support black owned and minority-owned U.S businesses. Also, Google contributed $175 million in support of black businesses. Facebook pledged $200 million to support U.S black-owned businesses, black creators and communities
Keep an eye out for how these pledges and contribution will directly benefit you as a business owner.
This is not just for businesses, this will go a long way in providing more jobs for black people, empower parents to give their children better education, ensure that black people are in board rooms where important decisions are made because they are responsible for a significant part of the economy.
This is a whole cycle of positive change. So, plug in with these six steps, promote others and keep knocking on doors and hopefully we all see results.