Black business owners face significant challenges. Keeping their businesses afloat can sometimes be a struggle. They may have a difficult time accessing capital. They may have fewer meaningful networking opportunities. And when unexpected events happen, they are often affected disproportionately. For example, more than 40% of their businesses, compared to 17% of white-owned small businesses, stopped operating during the pandemic. To even the playing ground and to give black business owners a chance to be self-sufficient, you need to take an active part in supporting them. An easy way to unlock the key to mastering how to support black-owned businesses online is to do the following things.
Spread the Word
Word of mouth is still the most effective way of spreading awareness. If you want to support black-owned businesses, you can spread the word about their products or services. Tell your family about their experience using their service or product. You can recommend them to friends whenever they need a service or product. For example, if you use services from movers who are black and you have a positive experience, you should tell your friends, family, and neighbors about them. Singing their praises whenever you get the opportunity will be free marketing for the business. Word of mouth is the most effective form of marketing.
Your friends, family, and neighbors hearing that you approve the services or products of a black-owned business will open their minds. It will make them want to give the service or product a chance. Therefore, communicating your approval and support will increase the odds of the black-owned business surviving and thriving.
Go Out of Your Way to Use Black-Owned Products and Services
Black-owned businesses are usually at a disadvantage. They may be less likely to be in prime locations. They are also less likely to be near where some people typically shop or walk. Therefore, coming across them when going about your daily activities can be challenging.
You can’t always rely on luck if you want to support black-owned businesses. You have to make a conscious effort to seek them out. You have to search for them. You may even have to explore places that you have never visited. For example, if you need pest control services, instead of opting for the popular service in your area, you should look for and hire a black-owned pest service. The good news is that if you don’t know any black-owned businesses, there are tools that can help you find them. In addition to teaching you how to support black-owned businesses online, these tools will make it easy to find what you are looking for.
You can use the Official Black Wall Street Directory. You can also search for them via Google or any social media platform. Most websites that provide information on how to support black-owned businesses online also have links to valuable resources you can use to find black-owned businesses near you. For example, on Twitter, you can use the hashtag ‘#BlackOwned’ to find black-owned businesses to support. On Google, typing what you are looking for and then following it with the term ‘Black Owned Business’ will also yield relevant minority-owned businesses near you. Therefore, if you are looking for a dentist or a veterinarian, adding the term ‘Black-Owned’ will return results that feature black-owned businesses.
Another way you can go out of your way to support black-owned businesses is to engage with African American professionals. For example, if you have a podcast or a TV show, you can invite an attorney from a black-owned law firm to participate in your conversation. In this way, you can use them as a legal authority whereby they give their opinion as an attorney. You can also interview them to get a unique perspective or to highlight their experience as minorities.
Engage With Their Content and Projects
When exploring how to support black-owned businesses online, you will discover that you can still offer support even if you do not need their services. The best way to do this is to engage with their content. It is an effective way of showing support to their professional and business ventures because algorithms consider engagement. Generally, algorithms tend to highlight and promote engaging content. Therefore, you can boost their odds of establishing themselves online by reposting, retweeting, liking, and commenting on their content.
While it may not seem like much, engaging with projects and content belonging to a black person is significant. It matters that most black-owned businesses are small to medium-sized companies. They do not have sizable marketing budgets to promote their products or services. Therefore, engaging with their content gives them an organic reach they might have never enjoyed. When you engage with black-owned content and projects, you are also letting them know that they matter. It is a form of psychological support that can sometimes be the difference between a small business, like a local mechanic shop, going under and holding on. It is thus no surprise that it is always emphasized in every article that teaches how to support black-owned businesses online.
Donate to Support Non-Governmental Organizations
Some organizations champion minority causes. These organizations raise money and gather resources to support minority-owned businesses. They encourage black people to start businesses. They help to market these businesses. And they even help to raise awareness of the importance of supporting black-owned businesses.
Non-governmental organizations that champion black-owned businesses always carry out fundraising drives. These campaigns allow them to have enough resources to carry out their missions. Donating to any of these organizations helps black-owned small businesses. Why? Because it will enable these organizations to create a robust support system for minorities. It also helps to create an environment that is friendly to businesses that minorities own.
Organizations, or programs, that support black-owned businesses include Local Chapters of Black Business Association, Coalition to Back Black Businesses, Small Business Empowerment Program, Minority Business Certifications, and Black Founders. These organizations can also be a useful resource for those who want to learn how to support black-owned businesses online.
Exercise Patience and Understanding
When researching how to support black-owned businesses online, you will discover that most are small to medium-sized enterprises. They do not have as many resources as larger-sized competitors. They may not deliver their goods as fast as Amazon or any other big store. Their prices may also not be competitive. They may also be relatively slow at adapting to changing environments — like the realities of COVID -19.
When you are dealing with a black-owned business, you need to take these things into account. It would help if you were more understanding. It would be best if you gave them some leeway because they probably face more challenges. Therefore, you should not be too quick to leave a bad review if they fall short. It would be best if you weren’t impatient and irritable when a package takes longer to arrive. And it would be best if you were not too quick to complain about their prices. If you do so, you can easily keep them from succeeding because one negative review, comment, or complaint can start a downward spiral. It is something that can kill a good business prematurely.
Partner and Mentor
Another tip on how to support black-owned businesses online and offline includes partnering with black-owned businesses. If you are an established brand, partnering with a black-owned business will give them more visibility. It will also give them more credibility, especially if your company already enjoys a good reputation. You can partner with a minority-owned business through giveaways. You can carry out promotional campaigns through which you give away some of their products for free. Your customers will be able to try out their products. In doing so, you will be expanding their reach and increasing their growth potential.
You can also partner with a black-owned business by hiring them as contractors. If you have a social media presence, you can opt to be a product ambassador for a black-owned venture instead of creating your products. While they may not pay you as much as established brands, partnering with them will do more good by improving the outlook on minority-owned businesses. If you do not have partnering opportunities, you can also choose to mentor black entrepreneurs. Let them see how you operate, advise, and encourage them. With time, these mentoring efforts will have chain reactions whereby they will gradually improve the odds of success for small businesses owned by minorities.
Invest in Minority-Owned Businesses
If you have access to capital, you can do more to support black-owned businesses by investing in them. When you invest in the business, you allow them to not only survive but also thrive. It empowers the owners because it will enable them to be self-sufficient. It also empowers and inspires the community by demonstrating what is possible with business. Investing in the business is also a vote of confidence. It tangibly communicates support. And it shows minorities that people care tangibly. For example, the next time you fall in love with the work that a black-owned roofing company provides, you should consider investing in them.
Make Networking Opportunities Available
Networking plays a significant role in determining the success of a small business. Unfortunately, most black-owned business owners do not have access to these opportunities. Their networks are limited, especially when it comes to people who have a seat at the table. You can support black-owned businesses by opening networking opportunities to black business owners. Invite them to your group meetings. If you have a networking event planned, ensure that you also invite a black friend. Doing so will allow them to expand their social circle. It will increase their opportunities by increasing their potential client pool. It will also enable them to create meaningful relationships that can lead to profitable partnering opportunities.
Budget and Set Goals
To support black-owned businesses in a meaningful way, you need to be intentional about how you spend your money. Spending money without intentional budgeting will lead to sporadic spending on black-owned businesses. Unfortunately, this is rarely enough to sustain a business. To ensure that your support counts, you need to set aside a given amount of money for spending on black-owned businesses. You should also track your spending. At the end of each month or year, you should review your spending to ensure that you offer meaningful support.
Take Part in Meaningful Campaigns
Large organizations like Google take an active part in promoting campaigns that are aimed at promoting businesses owned by black persons. You can do your part in supporting these businesses by taking part in these campaigns. You need to participate because it will allow you to buy or partner with the companies. Taking part also helps to raise awareness. It allows the public to be aware of the need to support minority-owned businesses. It also encourages people to donate to organizations that support black business owners.
An excellent example of such a campaign is the #blackOwnedFriday campaign. After noticing that many people were searching for information on how to support black-owned businesses online, they took action. Through the initiative, Google, in conjunction with the US Black Chambers Inc., was able to raise awareness of the importance of supporting these businesses. They made it easier for consumers to find the businesses. They were also able to make it easier for black-owned businesses to establish, maintain, and improve their online visibility.
You can also support them by giving them tangible resources. You can donate machinery, office space, or any other asset. While it may seem insignificant to you, any support you offer to a black-owned business often goes a long way towards keeping the lights on. Another tip on how to support black-owned businesses online involves offering educational materials. If you have a resource that can enable them to gain easier access to financing, permits, or networking activities, you should share it with black owners.