Have you talked to your friend this week? You know, that friend who's busy trying to get their company going? I did yesterday and realized that I'm a terrible friend. I talk about "Buying Black" all day everyday and I live it -- from laundry detergent to cell phone service, I'm all Black everything. But I've never supported my boy's car detail company. He's a Black entrepreneur. I'm always looking to buy Black. Why didn't I make the connection?
We tend to take our friends for granted and if we're honest, we sometimes just don't take them very seriously. But we should. Starting a business is tough and if your own friends don't support you, it's that much harder. Everyone has to start from the bottom. Oprah didn't start out as "Oprah." Someone had to take a chance on her, believe in her promise. Bob Johnson needed someone to support him in the beginning, too. Why not be that support, that investor and customer to the people closest to you? It's an amazing opportunity that we shouldn't sleep on.
Supporting a friend isn't merely a charitable act but also a way to help improve their product or service. As a friend, you can give them honest feedback that is constructive, in a way that a passing stranger can't. It's valuable feedback. When you are actively supporting friends, it also gives you an opportunity to stay more connected and that is extremely important, as they get busier building their company. Maybe your friend doesn't have time to hang out every Friday anymore but the time you spend with them talking about their business or supporting it will mean a lot to them.
It's great to buy the "big" Black owned brands and we should. It's also important that we don't miss on the opportunities to support the smaller, emerging empires right in front of us. Your friend could just be the next big thing but they definitely need your support.