The pandemic has brought about an economic shutdown, which was already difficult enough for small businesses. Just when these businesses start to regain their standing, black-owned small businesses are now dealing with damage and destruction from looting by some who are in protest of the police killing, following George Floyd’s death.
Even in normal days, small businesses owned by black people are more financially vulnerable than others as they have limited access to bank credit, making it more difficult to survive. These times just made it tougher. In fact, according to a research study by the University of California, black-owned businesses have a higher rate of closure during the Covid-19 lockdown at 41% compared to white-owned ones, which is at 17%.
Now is the time to support and demonstrate the value of inclusion. When the Covid-19 started, Americans helped each other by using the hashtags #SupportSmallBusiness and #SupportLocal. Now, it’s time to add another one, #SupportBlackBusinesses.
If you want to join the others in this movement, here’s how you can show your support to black-owned businesses.
Prioritize Their Products and Services
The easiest and most obvious way to help them survive is by buying their products and services. If you feel like dining out this week, eat at black-owned restaurants at least once. If you’re shopping online, maybe choose at least one shop to purchase a product.
If you’re not sure which ones are owned by black people, you can use directories such as SBO, Official Black Wall Street, and African-American Chamber of Commerce. You can also search for Facebook groups within your local community to find business listings for black-owned businesses.
Set up a GoFundMe Page
Many black-owned businesses have been denied bank loans and even cash relief assistance from the government since the start of the pandemic. This forced them to use up all their savings, heavily depleting their cash reserves. For some, this only made getting back on business impossible. In other cities, many Americans have set-up a GoFundMe page for cash assistance that will directly go to black-owned businesses they support. You can also take that initiative within your community.
Call the Restaurant Directly
If you’re ordering from restaurants for take-out and delivery, try calling them directly first. Third-party delivery platforms like Doordash or UberEats cut a portion of their sales for delivery fees. So ordering directly from black-owned restaurants will help save their business from paying these extra charges.
Spread the Word on Social Media
Social media is the new marketing. A simple Like, Share, and Shout-out can go a long way. Letting people know you’re supporting black-owned businesses will also encourage them to do the same. It’s also very helpful and important at this time to post positive reviews of your experience as it will drive more traffic to black-owned establishments. If it’s not too much, a video testimonial will be more effective so people can see and feel the experience.
Reopening a small business is like starting a new one. They would need mechanic job specialists like electricians, plumbers, carpenters, and also accounting and legal experts. If you have skills in these areas, you might want to lend a hand to help them. If you’re good at digital marketing advertising, you can help them set up their online presence.
If you also happen to know loan programs or cash grants for minority businesses provided by your local government or a private organization, let them know about it. One example is the digital platform and directory the National Business League will be launching on June 19. This platform will allow black-owned businesses to find funding opportunities and also contract services from public and private sectors looking for suppliers. Check out their launching here.
No help is too small. Each of these is important, especially in small communities where you can look out for each other. All we have to do at this time is to show our appreciation to black-owned businesses because they need it now. Let’s all cultivate a culture of love, peace, and support to anyone who needs it.
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