“Educate a man you educate an individual.
Educate a woman you educate a community.”
- Author Unknown
Black women are the nurturers and the backbone of the community. We know what’s going on and what’s needed. Not only do we have strength, power, and intuition, women are able to juggle kids, home, men and work.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, one in three black men can expect to go to prison in their lifetime. As shocking as this is, it’s true.
Being a black woman in America my heart grieves for the injustices and cruelty occurring in minority communities across the nation. I want to do something to help shift the cloud that we’re living under.
Like Rosa Parks, I’m tired of what’s happening in my backyard of Chicago and other minority communities across America. Mrs. Parks’s refusal to give her seat to a white passenger after the white section of the bus was filled, is credited for starting the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955.
My way of taking a stand by taking a seat is to help black women business owners to operate successful businesses but, more than that, I would like black women business owners to be in a position to hire at least one (or more) persons at a living wage who reside in a chronically underemployed community.
I heard an African proverb that does an excellent job of summarizing my thoughts on the black woman and why helping her and giving her a hand up could also lift up the community.
It reads, “If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a nation.”
I believe that by giving black women business owners focused assistance; the black community will gain financial independence, increased jobs, and decreased crime which in turn will create more self-pride, brotherly love and economic growth.
I sincerely believe that you can have whatever you desire in business and in life. I also believe that the main reason why more people don't have what they truly want is that they don't have enough support in getting it.
I know many blacks and non-blacks that are sick and tired of blacks being unfairly targeted and mistreated who would really like to help but simply don’t know how.
Keep reading for a list of ways that you can positively
impact black women business owners.
When my kids were in elementary school I would volunteer to help
in their classrooms. Every year I would let their teachers know that I was
available and wanted to help.
Most of the teachers never took me up on the “free help” offer. I would sit in the classroom surprised that an industry that often complained about being overworked and understaffed, didn’t take better advantage of a volunteer offering to help in any way they needed.
It was not until my youngest entered the second grade that the teacher actually put me to work. Mrs. Thomas had me on the schedule two days per week for 2 hours each day. I had my own station to work with while she worked with a group of kids at a different station.
The kids read their daily story to me; we talked about it then they answered questions. I walked the class and helped with raised hands and gave kids bathroom breaks while the teacher continued working with her smaller group.
As black women business owners we have the privilege of setting our own schedule. After a successful second grade year I was just as excited as my daughter to start third grade. My daughter loved when I volunteered in her class.
A few days before school resumed we went to open house to meet the teachers. I excited told the teacher of my availability. Imagine my surprise when she flat out told me that I was welcomed to come visit the class, but she has “been teaching for years and didn’t need much help with anything.” (insert shock here)
After that I stopped offering.
Over the years I’ve thought about Mrs. Thomas’s 2nd grade class and wondered why other teachers didn’t accept the free help that I was offering them.
I’ve come to the conclusion that most people don’t know to delegate nor are they comfortable asking for help. This might be especially true for African Americans.
Black women business owners are slow to request help because most “help” come with stipulations, fine print and stamps of REJECTION.
This can be done online or in person. Search online for black owned businesses within 10-20 miles of your address. If you live near a big city, you’ll be surprised by how many black women business owners are nearby.
Visit a boutique to find a beautiful gift for the women in your life, maybe a necklace or a shirt. Need lunch for your office? Try ordering sandwiches, jerk chicken or pasta from a black owned restaurant. Try the chiropractor or dentist or tax accountant.
When thinking about how you can give back or who you can help, the easiest thing to do is provide financial assistance. Be your own angel investor. Take time to talk to 3 - 5 black women business owners and see what they need.
Let them know that you’re looking to make a small donation to a business in the area and wanted to get a feel for what people need. The donation can be in any amount.
Think outside the box. Contact black women business owners that sales body scrubs, lotions and other smaller items and ask if they can make you a gift basket for $30. Most business owners would love the challenge, and they’ll add some additional treats to make sure it’s extra special.
Or create your own basket using a variety of items that you purchased from different black women-owned businesses.
Besides beautiful faces, black women also have beautiful voices. Contact a black church. Many of the church bands also do side jobs. Another option is to check www.gigsalad.com. A search for “soul singer” plus your city will generate a list of options.
Or if you’re the hands on type go to a karaoke event. You might be thinking, I go to karaoke all the time and there are never any black folks there. If you want to find black people you have to venture into a black neighborhood.
Lastly, if you ride the subway, consider the black woman vocalist who serenades you and the other passengers every morning and evening? Give her a tip and ask for her card or talk to her about your job between songs. She probably knows other musicians that you can check out too.
Are you an accountant, lawyer, advertising expert, business consultant, etc…? Whatever your service you can probably offer a few hours to help black women business owners with your expertise.
Call up a local business that you would like to help, explain your expertise and ask her if there is something specific you could help her with. To begin, have the goal of volunteering to help her to get through one small hurdle at a time. She will no doubt ask how she could repay you.
If things work out, then suggest that she can pay you for your services when she can, or tell her to pay it forward when she can.
If you have an upper leadership role or your own successful
business, consider taking a new business under your wing. Let’s face it; most
African Americans aren’t as connected as you may be.
Even if you’re not if you can find 1 hour a month to put your professional eyes on a black woman’s business you may be able to help her keep her doors open a little longer.
Note: Only reach out to help this population if your heart is in the right place. Never throw what you did for them in their place. And don’t treat them like a charity case. Don’t take it personally if they refuse your help, simply go to the next business; there are thousands of black women business owners who would welcome your generosity.
Through my career I’ve been able to get a firsthand glimpse at why some businesses succeed while others fail.
The top 3 culprits are:
One of the most important investments into my business which made my business progress skyrocket occurred when I hired an experienced business coach and mentor as a part of my strategic business growth plan.
Unlike running ideas past family and friends, a business professional is able to give advice from a place of knowledge. A business coach can also provide accountability, an action plan and help get you unstuck so you can move on to the next task quickly.
More importantly, a business mentor will take the time to
truly understand your goals and objectives and become a partner. In my coaching
business the coach-client partnership is most powerful after the first couple
of conversations, and then we really get into rhythm.
She knows that she can trust me to tell her the truth always, ask her the hard questions and be her mirror, push when she needs pushing and support when she needs supporting. My clients’ goals, objectives, and direction for their business become mine.
I want her success just as badly as she does, and sometime I want it for her more. When she is in a place of uncertainty, I’m able to continue believing bigger and guiding her out of her comfort zone as an aware onlooker. It’s a powerful union of purpose, choice, and intention.
Even more I desire for my clients, black women small business owners, to be successful in their business of choice and to quickly get their receipts up to multiple six-figures. Why? Because then and only then will they be able to give back, turn around and lift up someone in an underemployed, high crime community.
My ultimate goal for your success is that you can, as quickly as possible, pay it forward. I realize that in order for that to happen, your business must be operating in the green.
I love meeting with my coach because she know exactly what I’m working on so I don’t have to continuously repeat things and explain my vision.
My coach knows my goals and my business. That’s one of the benefits of hiring a coach/mentor.
Your coach becomes more important to you and your business than your best friend. I give the same to my clients. I offer ideas and suggestions and I’m always on the lookout for articles and events that I think will benefit their business in some way.
Hi, I'm TifNicole. I teaches black women business owners, with no time, lack of courage and limited support from family and friends, how to eliminate fear of failure in order to build confidence, reduce stress and make growing their business a lot more fun and much easier.
I help my clients build multi 6-figure businesses in order to ultimately achieve financial security.
Are you a black woman small business owner who's ready to stop treating your business like a hobby?
Click here to enroll in the upcoming mini-training, Find The Courage to Build A Fabulously Profitable Business, in just 5 days. The mini-training is complementary. I only ask that you come with an open mind and a willingness to grow, learn and embrace the changes that you'll experience during the mini-training.
Talk to you soon.