Why don’t we as black people support black business? I have a theory as to why we don’t but I wanted to hear it from my colleagues, friends, and business associates. Below is a list of reasons I was given when I asked other blacks why they thought blacks don’t support their own:
The #1 reason given by blacks for not supporting black owned business is that black businesses are ghetto & unprofessional. Sadly in some cases this is true but when it’s not and those businesses that ARE professional, that stand behind their products and services, which give excellent customer service… still suffer behind these beliefs, it is disheartening to say the least.
It’s almost as though because a business is black somehow their products and services are not as good as their white, Jewish, or other non black competitors. It is like we have been conditioned, by a society that often treats us as 2nd class citizens, to believe our own products and services are unworthy.
What I find amazing is how often we patronize Non-Black businesses and are treated badly or receive poor quality goods and services; yet we continue to go back…. Why? At one point in all our lives we have all bought bad products or services from a top named Non-Black establishment, yet we continue to patronize those companies. If a black owned business did the same thing we would swear never to return and hold true to that statement. Why are we so hard on our own businesses while we let those Non-Black businesses get a pass every time?
I’m going to say it like it is and I want you to think about it and then consider if what I am saying is true. I’m going to dig a little deeper and give you some of the reasons why I think we don’t support black business:
1. we hate ourselves
2. we don’t want to see each other succeed
3. we think white is better
4. we don’t trust each other
5. we think blacks don’t know how to run businesses
6. we don’t want spend our money with or support our own
When you read the reasons above they should enrage you; they should make you want to say, “Hell no this isn’t the reason and I am appalled that Tami would suggest these to be true.” Of course these statements aren’t true for the entire black community but I challenge to you to prove that this isn’t true for the majority of black consumers that DON’T patronize black businesses. The reasons I gave above are appalling but I have decided to quit sugar coating our lack of loyalty to own community. We really need to get it together!
So what do we do? It is time for us to wake up and put our money back in the black community. I am in no way suggesting you patronize a business that will give you bad customer service or poor quality products. What I am challenging you to do is find the black businesses in your community that are working hard to gain your 914 million dollars of purchasing power and patronize them. I challenge you to find one black business a week to spend your hard earned money with them and stay loyal to that business. I challenge you to add to your list of black owned businesses and keep it going.
No, this is not going to be easy. Yes, some of the prices may be a bit higher than many of the Non-Black competitors but if you can spend your money with Coach, Prada, Tommy Hilfiger, Guess, Nike, etc you can pay a little extra to patronize a black owned business.
I think that once you accept that in some cases you may have to pay a little bit more to patronize a black business you can let go of the need to be cheap. You first need to understand that often times the reason a Non-Black business can offer you products or services cheaper than a black owned business is because they have the support of their community and business capital. For example the Latin and Asian business community buy in bulk together as a group, from distributors in order to get products at a lower wholesale price. If the products they buy are at a lower wholesale price they are able to offer you a lower retail price. Unfortunately black businesses are not always able to do the same, therefore in order for them to make any profit at all their prices are often a bit higher than the competition. Get over it.
Find black businesses that offer the products and services you are looking for. I did a little research and I found that many black business directories charge high prices for listings and don’t have a lot to offer. Don’t let this stop you though continue your search. In the very near future The Blackness website will be offering our own Black Business Directory free of charge to anyone who wants to list their Black Owned Business. We are dedicated to supporting the black business community and this will be just one of many steps we will take to do so.
When you patronize a black owned business leave a review on the online directory you found them on or go to their website and do so. Let people know how much you liked or enjoyed their product or service. This type of support is invaluable to any small business owner. We often are apprehensive about using a business we are unfamiliar with; leaving a review helps alleviate the fear the next consumer may have about buying with this black owned business. Make sure you recommend that business to friends and family. We should never discount the power of “word of mouth” advertising.
I will tell you a little story. I have very sensitive skin and often break out when using soaps and lotions. When I realized the products I was using on my skin was the reason for my breaks outs I decided to research products for black skin types. I found Nubian Heritage, a black owned company that made soap, lotions, and hair care products for black people. Yes their soaps is more expensive than Dove or Zest and their lotions costs more than Vaseline Intensive Care or Jergens but their skin care products are the best I have every used. Take the time to research companies that offer your everyday needs and buy from them as often as possible.
Now I am in no way saying my view is the only view. There are several views on why Blacks don’t support black business and there are dozens of ways we can make the change and use our buying power in our own communities. I welcome your views and thoughts and look forward to some enlightening debates on this issue.
I leave you with this final thought.
BUY BLACK!Tami Highbaugh-Abdullah Creative Marketing Director 317.345.4182 AriesGDIM.com / AriesGraphicDesign.com @ariesgdim – Twitter AriesGDIM Facebook Google+ AriesGDIM
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