Black businesses are the key to prosperity for African Americans. They create jobs, build wealth, and instill pride in the Black community. From Industrial Bank in Washington DC to North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance in Durham, African Americans have a long history of operating successful businesses that sustain and support the communities that we live in.
In the wake of several unfortunate tragedies involving young African Americans, Black people are starting to re-examine economic means to strengthen the community, and create a louder voice on the social landscape. Social media has been buzzing with #BlackOutMonday, an initiative to spend with only African American owned businesses, #SBBChallenge, a response to the ice bucket challenge where one buys from Black owned companies, shares a photo of their product, and challenges friends to do the same, and other hashtags such as #WakeUp, #SupportBlackBusiness, and more.
As the founder of PurchaseBlack.com, an African American focused online shopping mall, I am determined to create a way that online customers can easily support the community. With African Americans controlling 1.1 trillion dollars of buying power, there is no better time to support black businesses. Here are 5 reasons why now is the time for you to buy Black!
To Get the Best Products for your Needs
Let’s face it. Many of you likely knows someone that has a product graveyard somewhere in their home. A product graveyard consists of the countless items that we purchase only to discover that they do not meet our specific needs. You may have art on your walls that you do not necessarily identify with, or children’s books and toys that do not portray characters that resemble your children. Owners of black owned companies have likely shared similar experiences when it comes to seeking out particular products. This shared understanding enables them to be in a better position to anticipate the needs of many African-American consumers. If you want the best products, get them from businesses who understand your wants and needs.
To Know the Truth about Black Products/Services
Some people mistakenly believe that products/services from a Black owned company are not as good as products/services from elsewhere. This thinking is a holdover from a time when our communities had little choice other than to accept the sub-standard products that were made available to us. Today, we know that the background of the business owner or its employees is not nearly as relevant as good customer service and a good product. There are high quality Black businesses providing great products and services all over America. I have purchased many products and services from Black businesses and have been thoroughly impressed with their superior quality and experience. I was very happy with my purchases and I supported my community, which I continue to do. I did not give up on Black businesses without giving them a chance and neither should you! Besides, if you’re African American, it’s your community.
To Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
As a Black man, I constantly hear and participate in discussions that state how the Black community must “get it together”. Without a thriving African0American economy that supports our schools, neighborhoods, community organizations, and most importantly, our people, getting it together will continue to be easier said than done. By supporting Black businesses, consumers actually create the economy that supports a more positive future for our communities. It takes making a personal decision to buy into your community to become a part of the solution. The discussion will surely continue, but now is the time to take action and direct spending to the African-American community.
To Build A Bigger Voice in The Market
Let’s face it, money talks. Money not only talks, it screams! When African-Americans spend money on products and services that are made with them in mind, it causes businesses to make a decision. They have to decide to either offer products and services that accommodate African-Americans or risk losing them as customers to the competition. As an African-American customer, you hold the power to determine what a business will do, and your spending is like your vote. If you are voting for Black businesses, products and services, you are making the market listen to your wants and needs. You also get to avoid the graveyard of products in the bathroom that many people experience because those products do not work for you!
To Show Pride in Being Black
When someone you love has a performance, a track meet, or a graduation, you show your support by showing up and cheering in the stands. You want them to know that you care about them because they matter to you. The Black community is no different, and by supporting Black businesses, you show that you care about the future of the community. Every community that has the support of its own people can excel and maximize its potential. Without your support the Black community cannot progress. Websites like PurchaseBlack.com, bfhsnetwork.com, UjammaDeals.com, BlackStartUp.com, and many others are there to make it easy for you. Now, the ball is in your court!
There is no law saying that Black people must only buy from Black businesses. There is also no law saying that all customers of a Black business must be Black themselves. But there is knowledge that the more African Americans support our own community financially, the more they (individuals and communities alike) thrive. We have a trillion dollar buying power that can more than pay for our progress. The only missing link is using our money in ways that benefit our community. With the support of the African American community, Black owned businesses and the communities they support, can prosper.
Brian Williams is the founder/CEO of PurchaseBlack.com, an ecommerce marketplace focused on African American products from the businesses that sell them. He got his MBA from The University of Texas where he studied African American business success. Brian’s primary concern is leaving his community better than he found it, and doing all he can to make a large, positive impact through business. @PurchaseBlack on Facebook, IG, and Twitter, check out his blog here.