The number of black business owners is growing -- in 2018 alone, the number of black-owned small businesses grew by 400%. However, we still face challenges when we start new companies.
Implicit biases, funding challenges, and a lack of community support can drag black-owned businesses down before they get the chance to thrive. Learn how to overcome the challenges unique to black business owners and build a lasting legacy.
1. Find Black Angel Investors
One of the first -- and most major -- hurdles that hopeful black business owners face is a lack of funding. Instead of being able to find seed funding or an investor who believes in our vision, many of us end up using our own cash to get our businesses off the ground.
Instead, seek out black angel investors. You won't have to worry about being stereotyped when you apply for funding and the investors likely want to lift up someone else from the community.
2. Know Your Worth
Many small black business owners find themselves torn between two goals -- turning an impressive profit and staying accessible to the community.
Most of us are raised to value community. Our family, our friends, our neighborhood should always come first, right?
However, this can sometimes result in you undervaluing your product or service to please other people. Know your worth and never compromise.
3. Seek Out a Mentor
The business world can be a lonely one to navigate as a person of color. How often have we been the only black person in a boardroom, or had to laugh off casually offensive comments?
As you start your journey as a business owner, seek out a mentor. You'll want someone who understands the unique struggles you face, can connect you with other people in the industry, and is willing to offer guidance and advice.
Knowing that someone understands you can take a huge weight off your shoulders.
4. Build Your Network
A lack of representation in the business world can lead to things like impostor syndrome and self-doubt. Everyone gets down on themselves sometimes, which is why it's important to have the right people around you when these feelings strike.
Surround yourself with supportive family members, fellow black business owners, and other people who will pitch in to lift you up on your down days. You deserve to be successful just as much as everyone else does -- sometimes we just need a reminder.
5. Support One Another
When you build your network, don't forget to support other black entrepreneurs, too. When the deck is stacked against us, sometimes the best thing we can do is make a point to support one another.
Whether that means prioritizing black businesses or talking up a friend's new venture at a dinner party, be the support for others that you want for yourself.
Overcome the Challenges Faced by Black Business Owners
Life isn't always easy for black business owners. With these five tips, you can overcome the common challenges we usually face when opening up our own businesses.
Looking to start a new business, or find the money to expand your current endeavor? Learn how to find the right investor for you.