BY TARYN JEREZ
According to the Census Bureau, the U.S. is home to roughly 2.5 million black-owned businesses. Its most recent survey shows that Black women are majority owners in over 1.5 million of these businesses, with more than $42 billion in sales. Yet, we can clearly see across industries how clearly underrepresented Black women-owned businesses are, and how much additional work they often have to go through to reach their current status. That list includes difficulty getting initial funding opportunities, limited affordable resources to grow their business in general, as well as unfair bias and discrimination.
During a time where racial injustice and an evident lack of diversity and inclusion, along with many other issues, are being brought to light in the United States and around the world, many are trying to find even small ways to show their support and make a difference. As brick-and-mortar stores are coming back from closures and even online retailers struggle with limited resources, consumers have a lot of power in making choices that can make a world of difference with their dollar!
Here are a few ways we can help support these amazing women, their families, and their businesses right now.
#1 Do Your Research and Be Informed
During June, searches for “How to find black-owned businesses in your area” saw a 300% spike in the United States, according to Google Trends data. Sure, we could say that this is just a trend right now due to the current social climate, but what if consumers made this a regular practice when using their buying power or making recommendations? A simple way to show support that can help support both small, local, and Black businesses is just starting by doing your research. Wanting to order a cake for your husband’s birthday? Have you checked to see if there’s a Black-owned bakery in your community you could support with your order?
#2 Make a Purchase or Book a Service
While we know the power of the dollar, we don’t always think about the long term effects it may have. Sometimes we get stuck in a cycle of purchasing from brands we already know and love, or the ones we continue to see on an ever circulating loop, rather than giving someone else a chance at that revenue. Challenge yourself to be more conscious about where your money is going and therefore supporting. If you find yourself in the market for a brand photographer or a new graphic designer, give yourself that push to look at talented Black-owned brands you haven’t worked with yet. Your purchasing has power behind it, and the dollars you spend keep businesses afloat whether we realize it or not.
#3 Follow, Share & Promote on Social Media
You constantly hear people talk about being more intentional and purposeful on social media – well, now is your chance. When is the last time you took inventory of the faces you were scrolling past during your morning Instagram scroll? Do you notice a strong representation of businesses who don’t look like you? Is diversity easy to see with each passing feed? Social media can sometimes seem like such a trivial thing, but when it comes down to it, it’s a huge aspect of marketing today. Make an effort to support black-owned brands that you love by following their accounts, sharing them with your own audience, and helping promote their work and their worth intentionally.
#4 Leave Reviews
We all know how important reviews are when deciding what to buy or who to purchase from! After you are a patron with a Black women-owned business, take the time to share your experience on Facebook, Google, Yelp, Etsy, or any other format. Many people’s “go-to” response for not being a consumer at more Black brands and establishments is they simply don’t know they are there or wasn’t sure what the experience would be. Reviews are powerful and give future customers and clients a clear idea of what to expect. Even if it’s been forever since you worked with a business, it’s never too late to leave a positive review! It will mean so much.
#5 Share the Stage & Pass the Mic
Yes, it’s important to show support in concrete ways, but think about a spotlight that is on you alone – you can do so much more by sharing it with someone. It’s not always about the purchase or financial support or knowing exactly what to do or say. It’s about understanding the privilege that some of us have and the power in passing the mic to those whose voices aren’t heard nearly enough. How can you show support by sharing a platform or giving it up completely at times for these businesses. How can you help another onto the platform to begin with? Think of ways you can highlight others’ voices, and you’ll realize how much stronger your own can feel as it quiets.
Head to ForsythMags.com for a list of over 50+ Black women-owned businesses across the country you can check out and support right now!