Over the past few years, many of the ladies in the network have seen the highs and lows of owning a small business as an African American. Personally, I have not only seen the obstacles Black businesses face versus their non-Black counterparts, but also the obscure tension that may happen amongst other Black businesses. Yet I now understand when we learn to respect the value that we all carry, we gain the opportunity to really grow. The more we look at the bigger picture of advancing the Black community, the less we allow intimidation to reside and comparison to seep in.
It’s interesting how so many of us have "the crabs in the barrel" mentality not realizing we all may get cooked if we don’t work together. When we don’t encourage each other, so many dreams end up in the graveyard. There will always be a time in our lives where we need a “yes” from someone else. What if you are that "yes" person for another Black owned business?
When you are in business, you will meet and work with people who have various types of personalities. Bad brand experiences do happen, but it doesn’t mean that people should not get the opportunity to change, grow, apologize or disassociate themselves in general. There may be some clashing that would make you not necessarily befriend them but that does not mean that that individual is not professional and cannot get the job done.
Being able to see someone’s professional work ethic is major and should be respected more than what we see online. Sometimes the besties don’t like to do the work! And that’s ok! Be willing to work with other professionals that are willing to navigate a task with you or for you is amazing!
Respecting other’s intellectual property is also key in building business integrity and business relationships. If you think there may be a conflict of interest with another business, you can still maintain reputable standards without throwing them under the bus.
Below I compiled a list of helpful tips Black owned businesses can implement when working together or preparing for a joint collaboration!
10+ ways to work with other black owned businesses if you are a black owned business:
1) Set up a time to talk offline or discuss the best way of communication for both parties
2) Discuss how both parties will be able to work together in the most efficient way
3) Be a business that can be trusted. Respect others’ intellectual property
4) If the business does not work out, you do not have to go to social media to share your thoughts.
5) Don’t assume that a business can’t evolve, yet if they haven’t, keep it pushing
6) Be willing to work with others not in your immediate friend groups. Because sometimes, friends just want to be your friends.
7) Give grace - we are all human so be open to giving more than one chances to other businesses.
8) Being careful how you treat people, you never know who they are connected to or who they are in other arenas
9) Being mindful of your body Language when meeting for the first time yet understanding either party may have had a difficult situation happen prior to the business meeting.
10) If you need business advice, be willing to ask respectfully but also be willing to give it (sometimes those pick your brain conversations can turn into a blessing later down the road)
11) Understanding the importance of maintaining acquaintances, business partnerships and connections that turn into organic relationships is possible
12) True success comes when you are willing to put other people on (will everyone be willing to connect? No but at-least you try)
13) Understanding the difference between acquaintances, business partnerships and friendships
14) Being mindful that there will be times when you can offer grace to others past the first impression. We try to act like it’s not possible, but it is. We do it all the time with major retailers and brands.
Showing kindness or general respect without an alternative motive has become rare. But if we are willing to implement a different approach when working with other, healthier business relationship may very well be the new norm!
Hope you enjoyed this read and share it with others!
- Rebecca S. Armstrong