Entrepreneurship is tough and believe it or not, you have the ability to make it that much harder. Daily, business owners experience a range of negative emotions linked to setbacks in business, unpleasant encounters with customers and yes, even insults. Black entrepreneurs, especially, put up with a number of insults daily from people; many aren’t even aware that they’re being insulting. If you want to be a better supporter, make sure you’re not guilty of doing any of the things below.
Offering Services vs. Support
You might be surprised to know that many Black entrepreneurs get more inquiries from people offering to provide a service than seeking to actually buy their product. Individuals who present themselves to be “consultants” are the worst, by far. From the perspective of Black entrepreneurs, it can be insulting. When someone doesn’t believe your product or service is good enough to buy, yet they’d like to make money off of it, it stings. Further, many people who pitch services do so in a manner that is disrespectful. The disrespect can be so blatant that it makes Black entrepreneurs wonder if those consultants and other freelancers approach white companies in the same way.
Many consultants send out generic messages to Black entrepreneurs to pitch their consulting services. It’s clear that they’ve done no research on the company and they aren’t even attempting to cultivate a relationship. As a consultant you must understand that you are a complete stranger asking for money — why would a business owner jump into bed with you? Further, if you don’t think the business owner’s product or service is good enough to use, how can the owner trust you to represent the brand? It’s downright disrespectful. No one would pitch Coca-Cola while drinking a Pepsi but far too many people have the boldness to disrespect Black businesses, while asking for a check.
Asking Questions You Don’t Ask Other Companies
When you opened your bank account, did you ask if the bank was FDIC insured? If not, don’t ask a Black owned bank that question. In all the years that you’ve purchased lotion, soap and other personal care products from companies, did you ever ask whether or not the product was tested by a dermatologist? If not, don’t ask a Black owned company that question. Far too often, consumers ask Black entrepreneurs the silliest of questions and it’s obvious that those same questions aren’t being asked of other companies.
Holding Them To A Radically Different Standard
When Starbucks has Black folks arrested for sitting down, you blame the individual employees working that day, not the entire business. When you have a bad experience at a Black owned business, however, the whole company is rotten. Your phone carrier never cuts you a break or treats you special and yet you stay. If you don’t get your way at a Black owned business, you vow to never go again. You endure poor customer service at the Chinese takeout in your neighborhood but somehow, you just can’t take it if Jamal is short with you, just once. It’s insulting when Black entrepreneurs are treated unfairly for being Black and it needs to stop.