Minority Busines Directory

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Why Black Owned Businesses Don’t Work

The truth behind the mystery of Black owned businesses and community support, lies in the business owner's vision and ability to adjust to unforeseen circumstances. Knowing this can expand and grow the reach of the business and have a positive impact on any community.

Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better. 

by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Almost eight years to date I incorporated my first business, and this quote inspired me to do so. Unaware of what I was getting myself into I filled out the articles of incorporation and sent in my $125, and got busy. I struggled without knowing that I was struggling to acquire clients, build a portfolio, make connections, increase sales and find my niche all the while taking care of my then small family. Which by the way consisted of a wife who had her doubts more so than none. Not to mention that I was in the last year of my undergrad and unsure of where to begin my job search. During a dinner party I found myself having a discussion with a relative about why a Black owned business was not a good endeavor in my home state. We went back and forth over the understanding and philosophy of small business and entrepreneurship. At the time I was not a seasoned small business owner and full of ambition and college knowledge. My ability to self sustain was fueled with the desire to succeed. I had made up in my mind, that every obstacle, every trap door, every no, was designed for me to discover the right way to get to yes. There was nothing I couldn't do. My creativity and innovative imagination (shameless plug) opened door after door to self-discovery, my business ebbed and flowed with all my learning woes. And in return I developed a discourse that rivaled the negative aspect of minority owned businesses within urban communities.

Myth: Blacks don't support black owned businesses

Perspective: Blacks do support black owned business just as much as any other race supports there own businesses. Every customer I have had except for two has been Black. Which led me to evaluate the viewpoint I overheard some people discussing. Now keep in mind I have made many mistakes in my eight years, some that still haunt me to this day, yet and still I have to say these mistakes have been the biggest teacher of my growing career as an entrepreneur. The issue isn't support or the lack of support from the Black community at all, the fault lies with who runs the business and how. I know a pill that's hard to swallow huh? Well lets look at it this way, when dealing with small businesses there is an intimacy that can easily be crushed with the wrong tone, bad customer service, inferior product, lack of appreciation and understanding of technology, over promising and under delivering and many other factors that can make or break a business in any geographic or demographic location. I am guilty of all these things, without exception. And a lot of it has to do with not knowing or understanding my limitations at the time I was engaging a customer. This would partly be based on the misunderstanding of American capitalism within the Black community. Now as a small business owner with a degree in Sociology and Entrepreneurship I had to reevaluate the real reason Black owned business fail. To be frank, Black owned businesses, that do not know or are ignorant about market trends, channel diversification, product research and competitor analysis may hinder their businesses ability to expand, grow, or even open their doors. And the best and most obvious scapegoat is the immediate community. Now I could go into a great detail of learned behavior and self hate but that's a rhetorical argument that probably could be left up to the psychologist and the like. However I can give you some pointers on what to consider before embarking on the hard yet very rewarding road to small business ownership.

Research 

This is the most fundamental lesson of small business development. This frightens some people, but it is an essential component to establishing a business with some upside. Research your idea, find your competitors, and learn what works and what don't. Ask people besides family and friends about certain aspects that your business will deliver. Break down your business into categories to make research easier and accessible. 

Incorporate

Know what you know so that you can learn more. Then know that and repeat the process. You've done the research now know what direction to go and what steps to take. Many people will charge you for free things that don't take much time to do such as setting up an LLC. Go to the library or the Internet and retrieve the correct papers to incorporate your business. If you would rather someone else do this then know what you're asking him or her to do. Will you be setting up an LLC, sole proprietor or corporation? If you don't know anything else about incorporating learn the difference between these three types of for profit business as well as the difference between a 501.c3 and 501.c4 for non-profits.

 Produce 

Now go! Get some business cards and introduce yourself to the world! Achieve what you set out to do. Starting a business is not in a book or in other people's word of encouragement. It takes guts and an uncanny level of perseverance. There are going to be bad days, days of confusion and disgust, days of joy and elation, and finally a day of observation when you realize what you accomplished. Trial and error is the best teacher, just don't give in without a fight and you'll be surprised at what you accomplished.

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Wednesday, 28 June 2017
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