Being a black business owner in the United States has never been an easy proposition. We have always had a difficult time finding success with our own entrepreneurial enterprises, and those difficulties only seem to grow in times of economic uncertainty. For today’s African-American entrepreneur, it is more important than ever that the right strategies be employed in any commercial endeavor.
The most important thing that any businessperson can do to ensure that his or her company is a success is to learn how to manage the most critical aspects of running a successful store. These include financing, marketing, and networking. Failing to meet the challenges of any of these three key areas can result in a failed establishment.
Learn how to obtain financing
It is in the area of financing that so many black business owners encounter their greatest obstacles. While it might be tempting to attribute financing issues to latent discrimination, the fact is that most instances in which the applicant is denied the money he seeks result from a failure to properly prepare the application.
It is not enough to simply go to the bank and tell them that a company needs money. To obtain the proper financing, the entrepreneur must present a viable business plan and have at least a rudimentary understanding of the process involved in obtaining a loan. A strong credit history is also a tremendous asset, since most lenders rely upon the owner’s personal credit score to determine loan worthiness.
Get a marketing plan
The second area in which so many black business owners encounter trouble is in the actual marketing process. Without a background in marketing, any new entrepreneur can find it challenging to attract new customers and properly advertise the services and products the company provides. This aspect of the commercial process is something that simply cannot be left to chance.
Fortunately, most moderately sized cities are within range of some type of educational center. It is advisable for anyone who is running their own store to take at least a basic primer class in marketing. African-American entrepreneurs are not an exception to this recommendation.
Networking is vital
As important as it is for everyone who starts a new company to make contact with other entrepreneurs in his or her area, this need to network can be even more essential for people of color. There is an all-too common tendency among many African-American businesspeople to allow themselves and their companies to be defined as merely minority-owned. The key to success is to network with other self-employed individuals in the area so that the company gains a broader acceptance in the community at large.
Above all else, African-Americans who own their own businesses should never lose sight of the fact that the challenges they face are common to every ambitious person who starts a company. By remembering that simple fact and putting those challenges into the proper perspective, black business owners can more easily maintain the focus they need to make their companies successful.
Euqidis H Taylor
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