National Black Business Month is the perfect time to commit to strengthen your support. This isn't a definitive list of tactics or resources. Use it to catalyze your efforts.
How to find Black-owned businesses
Here are four ways to identify Black-owned enterprises to buy from, recommend or partner with:
- Google it. I know this is obvious, but I've heard from some white colleagues that they feel funny typing in "Black-owned accounting firms near me" or whatever. C'mon. This isn't about you.
- Use social media. Social media is an easy place to start building your list of prospective partners/suppliers. Search these hashtags: #supportBlackbusiness, #blkcreatives, #diversecreatives, #buyBlackowned #Blackownedbusiness and #BlackBusinessMonth. Action Item: Create a list of the Black freelancers, contractors and businesses you find by month's end so you can easily access the information all year long.
- Search online databases. Check out these web-based resources: DiverseCreatives.com database of BIPOC creatives, Buy From a Black Woman, We Buy Black, Black Women in PR and Official Black Wall Street.
- Access your network. Yeah, I know. If you feel weird typing Black-owned in the search bar, how are you going to actually ask a person for a recommendation? You are. Because you're a professional who can do "hard" things. At the very least, reach out to your Chamber of Commerce, SBTDC office, town or county economic development agency, banker, accountant or attorney. Action item: Commit to touching base with these resources by the end of the month.
National Black Business Month is a good time to start/increase these activities so you can access the information and buy from Black-owned businesses all year long.
Check out my thoughts on diversifying your supplier network.
4 ways to support Black-owned businesses
Besides diversifying your supplier network, here are four other opportunities to show support:
- Referrals. Extend the reach of the Black-owned enterprises, experts and entrepreneurs you do business with by referring them to your network. For instance, when a friend mentioned he needed new LinkedIn headshots, I immediately referred him to Tabitha Blackwell, owner of Safia Joy Photography.
- Recommendations & Nominations. Use your position and network to support Black business owners. Share your experience or favorite product on social media. Write a LinkedIn recommendation or volunteer for a case study or testimonial. Submit awards or board membership nominations. Action Item: Write a LinkedIn recommendation for at least one Black business owner or freelancer by month's end.
- Co-marketing & Social Media Take-Overs. Identify opportunities for co-branding, collaborative marketing or social media takeovers that promote Black businesses to your customers and network. Here's an example from Lo & Behold Naturals.
- Investment. Go beyond purchase orders. If you've got cash to invest, look for Black entrepreneurs who are seeking capital. James Norman explains why and how in this article.
This list of activities is a starting point. While a month-long observance is nice, what makes the difference is continued effort and engagement. Want to talk about it? Schedule a 15-minute call.