When strategizing on new and innovative ways to empower black-owned businesses it’s unavoidable that one of the main barriers we face is misinformation. Poor customer service, substandard merchandising, and low quality craftsmanship are just a few of the stereotypes that inhibit the kind of consumer engagement with business owners that’s necessary to increase the circulation dollars in the Black community.
Fortunately, there is a wealth of statistical data to refute these assumptions and overcome this societal stigma. Writing for The Grio business owner Lawrence M. Watkins attacks these misconceptions, asserting that many of the complaints lodged against black-owned businesses fail “to tell the whole story.” In particular, Watkins notes that black-owned businesses are often criticized “for having poor customer service” but these critics ignore the fact that “many white owned businesses are plagued with poor customer service as well.”
Looking deeper into the issue, Watkins concludes that this negative view can be attributed to “confirmation bias” or the “tendency to favor information that confirms our beliefs.” Biases of this type underscore how effective consumer outreach in the black community cannot be separated from a dismantling of myths that are widely embraced on a subconscious level. This strikes at the heart of Spendefy’s motto to #SpendDifferent.
Beyond a statement of economic sovereignty, this call to change our spending patterns aims to cultivate a culture of solidarity that heightens expectations for what we perceive as possible. In the city of Atlanta, 60,000 black-owned businesses have been established, yet when African American consumers are surveyed they can only identify 1 to 3 black-owned businesses. This added layer of invisibility only compounds the stigma associated with black-owned businesses but it can be combatted through honest, scientifically sound marketing.
Take for example the highly encouraging fact publicized in Fortune magazine that “the number of businesses owned by African American women grew 322% since 1997, making black females the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S.” Furthermore, of the 30% of businesses owned by women in the United States African American women own nearly half of them (14%). Imagine if this reality was disseminated as widely and with the same air of certainty as the harmful myths we are all familiar with. Surely, the distortions would fade into irrelevance.
It is not in dispute among serious scholars that the inequities that predominate in the American economy are largely tilted against communities of color, specifically African Americans. Tragically, a considerable portion of this injustice stems from an organization of mind as opposed to an organization of physical power. Nonetheless, there is also a great deal of promise in this recognition since minds, with sufficient effort, can be radically transformed. Spendefy is firmly dedicated to ensuring this transformation is experienced by millions of business owners and consumers from all walks of life. Only after this is accomplished can this stigma be destroyed.