IF YOU WANT TO MAKE MONEY BE OF VALUE
I have always said, if someone has a crappy product, don’t support it. But at least TELL THEM WHY are you not supporting it instead of talking about them and laughing behind their backs to other black people or even worse …. mixed company. It is one thing for YOU not to support a black business but why would you convince others to do the same?
Running a business is an amazing process but it’s also outrageously taxing. I personally have been repeatedly told: “Kev, I want to support you but if I do then I will get multiple calls from [others in the industry] asking why I’m supporting you and not them.” I can’t help but to wonder what does one have to do with the other? Value does not equate to tenure but I have heard this repeatedly from the labels in my own business some stating competitors have even cried on the phone or cussed them out for not supporting them and supporting me because they have been around longer than me or they do the same thing I do. Nonetheless, in the digital industry, this can be proven with a few clicks that generate instant reports but we are still dedicated to all or nothing at all. Where there are limited resources there are interesting stories.
The older I get the more I see both sides of the story. At the end of the day, we KNOW we have to work harder as black entrepreneurs, it’s a given, so expecting to be rewarded without delivering is futile but for those of us who DO the work, it’s unwavering to be lumped in with those who are only out to make a quick buck. This is not the case when it comes to doing business with major corporations from a white perspective. It’s more about numbers with them, for the most part. From the executives’ position on the black side, it’s easy to see why he or she would opt out of doing anything than having to split a limited budget with everybody then having to explain his expenditures with his bosses.
ALL OR NOTHING?
Is there any logical reason that the baby should be thrown out with the bathwater? Wouldn’t it make sense to support VALUE first? Nevertheless, we are still often obligated to wanting to offer widespread support even when there is no value which means the black company that HAS value and pours themselves into it, can’t maintain it for he too will now struggle and has to cut corners to make it. The rules in the entertainment industry are very different from some of the other entrepreneurs that we talked to for this story who state that instead of black people at corporations being dedicated to trying to help black businesses they consistently run into black people who block them from getting business.
THE SMART BLACK ENTREPRENEUR HAS CREATED SEVERAL SOURCES OF INCOME
The Black entrepreneur consistently offers opportunities to other blacks who many black entrepreneurs state come with ready-made perceptions that black businesses are subpar and a stepping stone to something greater (whiter) and not to be taken seriously. Henceforth, the black entrepreneur’s growth is deeply affected because he or she allows things to take place that white corporations and business owners would never accept, in order to help the community. Many black entrepreneurs will say it’s more give than take and it’s taxing and constantly spinning wheels when trying to help black employees because the situation is always more than employee and employer, it’s father, mother cousin, bank, therapist etc. The key is to know you cannot be all things to all people and stop wasting time and use the best resources to grow your business or continue to fail.
WHERE IS THE RETURN?
“I have to admit, if it wasn’t for black people I would have never been successful in business but I will also say if it wasn’t for black people I would have been MORE successful in business” one black entrepreneur shared for this story. “The judgment, the hate, the put-downs, the middleman tricks and the blocks from other black people at major corporations makes me SMFH. Why?”
(Middleman trick example: People who keep you away from the point person at a company with the money then ask the person to pay them and they will pay you. Then they come back to you and say the person has a “limited budget” and they end up keeping a majority of the money earmarked for you and pay you peanuts. ALWAYS deal directly with the money person)
As an entrepreneur, you see things other black folks don’t see from more of a monetary, community and psychological perspective. The challenges that black entrepreneurs consistently face are immeasurable. “Quite often black entrepreneurs have to be uniquely creative. We have to get around racism AND other black people at the corporations. Black people at the corporations act like the money is their own! One woman stated to us who has owned her own business for 10 years. “They take their time handing in your invoices and they are paying you a discounted rate?” she continued “I have shifted my business model to deal more with white clients, it’s just easier and they pay the rate I ask for without all the BS. My business has grown exponentially.”
In having multiple conversations with other black entrepreneurs over the years, I have heard these sentiments repeatedly. I had a conversation with another entrepreneur today and his sentiment is echoed by many black business owners: “When it comes to making money, white people are very cut and dry about business. They are either going to support you or they are not and if they are, they pay the asking rate with no problem but on the other end of that spectrum, when it comes to doing business with black people at corporations, there is almost always requests for discounts, blocks, and a resistance to allowing a black person in business to succeed or get to the needed resources.”
There are certainly exceptions to every rule. My personal experiences have been varied and I have seen these things take place. I have gotten support from black AND white clients as well as major resistance from both. Do you agree with this or is it an unfair assessment? Why is it that the perception is that when it comes to black people making money other black people find a way to block, severely discount or deny the opportunity for other black people to make money too? Your thoughts?