I have the pleasure of being surrounded by highly successful individuals,(friends and family) therefore I've taken notice to how often when we, black people, make it, while we give relentlessly to our community, we fail to share tools and/or provide access to our networks to other budding black businesses.
What are you talking about Audri?
Well consider this, have you ever read a "how to book" about making it in your industry, and concluded the book still in search of tools and/or action items you can apply to your own business? Or have you wanted so bad for another black entrepreneur in your industry to share with you one contact and/or resource to help you succeed?
I think there is a stigma when considering black people in business in America because we, black people, don't typically ask one another for help for fear that we will be turned down. Or, on the flip side, we don't readily offer help to one another for fear of negating our own business and/or fear that the other business may be more successful than us with our help. Many of us, black entrepreneurs, only support one
another in that way, network/resource sharing, if we are in the same room. And that's because we believe that if we made it to the same room we have he same motivation and/or something in common, but not often will you see someone, who doesn't share our network, brought into a room where they know no one.
Therefore, I am simply bringing attention to the fact that we, black people, don't share our networks for black work!
Now if when you read that you heard, black people don't support other black people, you heard wrong. If you read that and heard black people don't promote other black people, you heard wrong again.
Sharing networks and buying products are two different things.
Buying Power vs Network Power
Black people in America have a vast buying power, but although we're initially motivated to support, black owned businesses hardly sustain, because somewhere down the line we either are discouraged to continue support because of one bad experience, or we stop buying for the sake of "quality".
Even in business, black owned companies are held to a higher standard than other non-black owned or corporate brands. Why? Well that's because basically we are more comfortable with sustainability than trying something new.
Consider Hanks Ice Cream of Houston, Texas or Goodies Frozen Custard & Treats of Washington, DC and Blue Bell for a moment; we'd continue to support and purchase Blue Bell, even after the listeria outbreak, because most continue to believe it's the best. So we starve black businesses of our support. Businesses who have never caused deaths from eating their ice cream like Blue Bell has...
I've read several articles about black owned organizations grossing over 500 million per year and/or growing due to increased sales by approximately 2000%! Can you imagine if one of those organizations would share their network with a company like Hanks Ice Cream or Goodies Frozen Custard and Treats, how they would be able to grow their business?
And because I am not naive to the fact that there are several extremely successful black owned business, the point of this post is to bring light to the fact that most often when black Americans reach a level of corporate success, we fail to reach back down and pull another black organization up through connecting them to successful networks.
Something not readily considered by those successful black corporations and/or businesses is that providing that help to another business doesn't suggest that you didn't make it on your own, and someone else isn't capable of making on their own. That help says, I believe in you and I am going to help you so you don't have to struggle as I did. That help says I am going to help you, the way I wanted someone to help me.
But I think often times as black Americans were struggle so much and work so hard to achieve success, that we fail to help others because we want that success to ourselves.
I believe a some point we have to step outside of ourselves and say I want the number of back owned businesses and corporations to reach and/or exceed that of non-black owned businesses. Because believe it or not, they are are helping one another, so why can't we?