Ways to support Black-owned businesses

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How to Support Black-owned Businesses

How to Support Black-owned Businesses

It’s deeper than monetary support
Ways to support Black-owned businesses

Thomas Barwick/DigitalVision via Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted companies and industries nationally, but it has hit Black business owners the hardest. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, as of April 2020, the number of Black businesses has dropped 41%. And according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an estimated 16.1% of Black individuals between the ages of 16 and 64 are unemployed, up approximately 10% from this time last year.

During this time of civil unrest, individuals of all racial backgrounds are searching for ways to effectively support the Black community and make a difference, even if they can’t be on the frontlines protesting. Supporting Black-owned businesses and educating yourself on the socioeconomic disparities Black people face in America are great ways to start.

More than a trend

More than a trend

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In recent months, Black businesses have witnessed a boost in sales. But there is no guarantee that momentum will last. Black business owners face a number of hurdles, including difficulty receiving funding, higher interest rates for loans and greater incidents of loan denial. The boost in sales is timely, but it’s important to make it timeless. The goal is to work to spread kindness and awareness of the cause.

Do your research

Do your research

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You might be surprised to find out how many companies and brands are owned by Black entrepreneurs. Do your research to see if there are any shops nearby in your neighborhood or city as well as national and even worldwide brands you can support.

Use Black business directories

Use Black business directories

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The days of perusing through phone books to find local business listings might be a thing of the past, but online Black business directories can connect you with local Black business owners who offer a range of goods and services. Black Nation, EatOkra and Official Black Wall Street are only a few of many tools that can be used to find and support Black businesses.

Order directly from the business

Order directly from the business

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Once you find a business you’d like to support, try to order directly through the company rather than a third-party distributor. This guarantees that 100% of the amount you pay for goods or services will be given back to the business. This is especially true if you’re ordering from your favorite restaurant. Food delivery apps can take as much as 40% of an establishment’s app-generated revenue. If possible, give the business a call to see if you can purchase directly from them.

Invest in Black entrepreneurs

Invest in Black entrepreneurs

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There are plenty of talented Black entrepreneurs hoping to make a change in the world who are refused the opportunity because of discriminatory laws and practices. You can support the creation of more Black-owned businesses by sponsoring or investing in an entrepreneur trying to get their feet off the ground. Find a cause you believe in — like the advancement of STEM in communities or an inclusive makeup line — and back an entrepreneur trying to make it happen.

Donate to organizations that support Black business owners

Donate to organizations that support Black business owners

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There are business organizations that work to teach and support Black business owners hoping to start a successful career. Donate to these organizations to help leaders pay for online classes, workshops and seminars that will provide essential information on topics such as applying for business loans, business laws and the skills it takes to run a lucrative business.

Be a consistent buyer

Be a consistent buyer

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If you want to support Black-owned businesses, it’ll take more than purchasing one meal from a restaurant or one book from a store and calling it a day. Support means becoming a regular customer who frequents an establishment or online shop. You don’t need to forgo your budget for the sake of the cause. Rather, you should become a consistent patron and not a one-time shopper.

Integrate products from Black brands into your everyday life

Integrate products from Black brands into your everyday life

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One of the easiest ways to become a consistent buyer is to find a way to integrate products from Black-owned businesses into your everyday life. If you’re dedicated to having healthy, glowing skin, find a Black-owned skincare or cosmetics company with products you enjoy. If your time spent at home has brought on a new love for gardening, find Black businesses that sell plants, pots, tools and more. Find the best way to make Black-owned goods a relevant part of what you love and do.

Buy gift cards

Buy gift cards

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Gift cards are a go-to present for everyone for almost every occasion. If a Black-owned business you support offers gift cards, purchase a few for friends and family. Not only will gifting gift cards help support the business, but it’ll also send potential long-term customers their way.

Organize a crowdfunding campaign for local businesses

Organize a crowdfunding campaign for local businesses

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Connect with your local businesses to see if they are in need of additional resources to function at full capacity. If you’re unable to invest in or sponsor the business yourself or fully meet its needs, organize a crowdfunding campaign to spread awareness and help the owners raise the money they need.

Volunteer

Volunteer

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Supporting Black-owned businesses doesn’t always equate to monetary donations. Volunteering your unique skills, time and energy can also help a company. If you’re an artist with skills in graphic design, photography, videography or you’re simply gifted with a pen, your creations can be used to create branding, press releases, social media pages and more for a business. Call the business to inquire if they’re in need of free assistance and volunteer where you can.

Follow them on social media

Follow them on social media

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Showing your support for a business can be as easy as following the company on social media and reposting their information on your social account. You’ll stay up to date on what your favorite businesses are doing while spreading the word to your followers and boosting the business’ network.

Engage on social media

Engage on social media

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Most small businesses have social media accounts that are operated by the owner. If you love and are a consistent buyer of a product offered by the business, show your support by direct-messaging them and telling them how much you love their work. When they post a picture or a video, engage with the post by liking and commenting. Showing gratitude and enthusiasm for the business can encourage the owner to keep pursuing what they love and tell others that it’s a business worth supporting.

Subscribe to their newsletter

Subscribe to their newsletter

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Newsletters are a great way for businesses to stay in contact with their customers to announce new products and promotions as well as weekly or monthly highlights. Subscribing to a company’s newsletter brings pertinent information straight to your mailbox.

Share positive reviews

Share positive reviews

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Before any new customer makes a purchase, the first thing they most likely do is comb through reviews to see what they can expect before hitting that “buy” button. If you have a good experience with a business, share a positive review on the website, Google or review sites like Yelp. Your positive review could sway future patrons to purchase goods or services from the business.

Spread the word about the business

Spread the word about the business

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Talk to your family and friends about the Black-owned businesses you love. Recommend the restaurants, shops and products you know they’d enjoy, and tell them how to get involved. Word-of-mouth is one of the top ways information is shared. Your positive comments could benefit the business by expanding its clientele.

Reach out to your city and state representatives

Reach out to your city and state representatives

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The only way you can support Black businesses is if there are Black businesses to support. Do your research to discover what opportunities are available to Black business owners in your neighborhood. If you notice a lack of Black-owned businesses and organizations in your community — or the resources available are subpar compared to other cities or groups of people — write or call your city and state representatives and demand a change. Your voice can make a difference and encourage your representative to address unjust systems and policies.

Sign the Fifteen Percent Pledge

Sign the Fifteen Percent Pledge

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The Fifteen Percent Pledge is a petition that calls on retailers to dedicate 15% of their shelves to products from Black-owned businesses since Black people make up nearly 15% of the American population. Sign the petition to encourage large companies to have better Black representation on their shelves.

Support initiatives to promote Black businesses

Support initiatives to promote Black businesses

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If you’re using a food app to map out dinner for the night, see if there’s a section highlighting Black-owned businesses and order there. If you take a trip to your local retailer and notice a Black-owned aisle or display, add a few items to your cart. Major retailers and companies like Uber, Postmates and Google are rolling out new features to help find Black-owned businesses. Encourage their ongoing efforts by taking full advantage of these resources right in front of you.

Focus on small steps

Focus on small steps

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It’s easy to get discouraged if your actions don’t lead to immediate results. Understand that by supporting Black-owned businesses in any way you can, you’re helping them to progress one step at a time. Small steps can have big results in the long term. Just by buying products, spreading the word and volunteering your services when you can, you’re helping to keep a business on its feet. Especially now, Black-owned businesses need assistance as they face struggles and barriers.

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