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Three Simple Ways to Support Black-Owned Businesses Year-Round

Whether you're aiming to support Black businesses year-round or you’re a Black business owner eager to expand your reach, here's how to do it.

Christina Bosch
Christina Bosch
6 min read
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The rise of Black Lives Matter protests in response to police brutality encouraged significant conversations on the topic of long-standing racial disparities. People around the world peacefully protested, donated to nonprofits, and signed petitions demanding racial equity and justice. 

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hispanic and Black-owned businesses were more likely to be considered “at-risk” than white-owned businesses. This compounded during the pandemic, as many Black-owned businesses were left to face even more disproportionate economic hardship. 

Every February we celebrate, recognize, and honor the crucial contributions generations of Black Americans have made both around the world and in our communities. It is also a time to bring a much-needed focus to supporting Black-owned businesses. However, in order to generate a long-term impact, it is important to foster wide-scale, intentional, and habitual support of these businesses year-round – not just in February or in the wake of tragedy. 

Not sure where to start?  Whether you're aiming to support Black businesses year-round or you’re a Black business owner eager to expand your reach, here's how to do it.

1. Think Globally, Act Locally

Support of Black-owned businesses can start in your own neighborhood. Perhaps someone has already put together a list of businesses near you. Check Facebook, Twitter, and Google for a pre-existing list. A local Black business group may also point you in the right direction. Are you a Black business owner? Be sure to reach out to these groups to have your business added to stay in the know

Searching online is a start, but keep in mind that many small community-focused Black businesses do not have websites. Make an effort to look beyond large retailers and search out those places that don’t have the resources of an Amazon or a Wal-Mart. And, if you are a business owner who does not yet have a website, GoSite can build you one for free in less than 24 hours. 

Next, remember that shopping local is a conscious decision. Although shopping online is tempting by virtue of its ease, it often economically marginalizes offline retailers. Do you have a friend who is celebrating a birthday soon? Get them a gift card to a store you think they’d love! Gift cards are a great way to give small businesses some quick cash. Choose to shop at a Black-owned business, even if it means going out of your way to do so.

Remember, Black-owned businesses were hit particularly hard in the past two years. Health precautions and mandates put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in about 41% of Black-owned businesses in the U.S. going under. 41%! Supporting these businesses not only strengthens the local economy, but also reduces racial hiring inequities, and helps to encourage workplace diversity.

So you’ve found some great local Black-owned businesses to support, but you also want to dig deeper and change how you shop. Read on to learn the benefits of being consistent and radically changing how and where you spend your money.

2. Commit to Shaking Up Your Buying Habits

It’s second nature to shop for our everyday essentials in big-box stores and large online retailers. Pivoting to prioritizing buying from Black-owned businesses requires taking responsibility for what you buy and viewing your purchasing power as a political act. Did you know that 99.9% of minority-owned businesses with employees are small businesses? In order to keep these businesses thriving, we need to change the way we shop for essentials.

Instead of hitting up that big-box store, take the time to research your purchases. Black-owned businesses make everything from coffee, to cookware, to dog accessories, to face wash. They are out there, you just need to make an effort to look! 

In the age of convenience, there are many tools that can help make this shift easier. As mentioned earlier, there are a wide variety of databases and crowd-sourced lists that can jumpstart your shopping excursions. For example, a handy tool like The Nile List enables you to filter by category of product and lists businesses that ship worldwide. 

Make a goal to consistently buy at least one or two essentials from Black-owned businesses each month. While it certainly won’t solve problems of structural racism, being conscientious about what you buy can make a substantial difference. 

If you’re a Black business owner, consider forming partnerships with other Black-owned businesses. These partnerships and collaborations can increase reach, knowledge sharing, and mutual trust. This proved to be true for three small business owners in Atlanta who formed a well-timed partnership.

After a chance meeting at a networking event, Yolanda Owens of the skincare line iwi fresh, Chris Duncan of clothing brand Honor Roll, and Brandi and Jermail Shelton of the just add honey tea company, collaborated on a pop-up event hosted by Owens. After several more collaborations, the companies soon began to coordinate other small, Black-owned brands into their pop-up events.

In coming together to attract buyer interest, these brand owners were able to increase their marketing strengths and offer new products and deals. They benefited by helping one another expand their audiences and engage with more customers. Sometimes four heads are better than one.

3. Spread the Word

Did you know online reviews can impact purchasing decisions for over 93% of consumers? In today’s world, reviews and online reputation are how customers search for and find a new business. So, one of the easiest ways to support a business you love, especially a small business, is to give it a shout-out on social media!

Unfortunately, the pandemic has severely and disproportionately impacted the Black small business community. Black businesses have weathered the storm by cutting back on their social media marketing. This sadly means a lot of great Black-owned small businesses are going unnoticed online. Thankfully, as a consumer, it’s super easy to give a business you love a little boost! Snap a photo of a product you love and tag the business so people know where to find it. Have a great customer service experience? Leave a customer review and let the business know! Reviews are extremely powerful and can help businesses build their digital reputations

These may seem like small gestures, but making it a habit to share kind words can make a huge difference to a Black-owned business.

Tips & Tools 

If you’re looking to support Black-owned businesses year-round, the tips in this blog are a good place to start. And if you're a Black business owner, GoSite has tools to help your business succeed:

While it’s true that the COVID-19 pandemic made things difficult for businesses everywhere, Black-owned businesses have been especially hard hit. These businesses need the kind of help that a shop-local focus, conscious purchasing choices, company collaborations, and positive word-of-mouth can provide.

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