How black employees unknowingly hold back black businesses

As we know, business start-up funding is often short in the black community. With only 19 black banks in the country, black entrepreneurs are often forced to seek funding from other sources, including major banks that mostly prefer working with entrepreneurs who are already well capitalized. Catch 22.

The thing about any new business is the staff has to perform impeccably in order for it to grow and become profitable. Those profits can then lead to more staff, higher wages, larger location, employee benefits, better technology and more. Businesses don’t have to start with all of this already in hand, plus that’s not a strong reality for black businesses, but they can build themselves into those things.

Sadly, employees often treat a business based on how it looks and feel visually, even in the beginning. This is businesses with large buildings and TV ads tend to get workers to give better effort in the workplace. To get workers to see a small unknown business differently, they would have to be visionaries and understand growth. Because black businesses are often underfunded and typically only attract black workers when it first starts, black employees treat the new black business as-if it’s undesirable and that behavior holds the business back. young black business man

While many white owned, Asian-owned and middle eastern owned businesses start with great funding, thus they have a great atmosphere, which makes workers put their best foot forward every day, it’s not the norm for a black business. If these non-black businesses do start underfunded, it is often offset by the very culture of those groups where they are more prone to be willing to be a part of something small until that something small becomes something big, especially if it is an origination of their own community.

It’s a vicious cycle. Underfunded black business, even when they have a great product and great leadership can still suffer from poor workmanship out of its workers. It’s not that black workers hate black businesses, they just hate the feeling of working somewhere that is not prestigious, plush and powerful. It’s a human thing more than it is a racial thing.

Because enterprising funds are not bountiful in our communities, it makes our businesses look shotty and poorly ran. Meanwhile, that is not always the case or often has another cause. The cause stems before the performance of the worker. It begins with how the worker views the business. How the business is viewed can be closely tied to how much money was invested and how much remains in its kitty. The kitty is often tied to the start-up funds the business was able to attain. You get the correlation?

Well, you may say, “What about them getting funding once they are already in business, it’s usually easier then, right?” Well, the thing is most banks only issue loans or lines for up to 10% of the company’s gross revenues. Here again, if the revenues are low, then so will be the funding even after being opened; and revenues are the direct result of the product, people and process. (Back to square one.)

It’s a rippling effect. business partners

However, the more we start to wake-up and see the end result of great black-owned businesses that started out of the gate with a limp, the more confidence our workers will build in performing well for them. Let’s not stick our heads in the sand anymore. Let’s truly be committed to build our finances, businesses, patronage, commitment and overall wealth by loving our community so much that we are willing to “work” for it.


  • Professor Devin

    Professor Devin Robinson is the founder of Urban Business Institute, host of “Class is in Session” podcast, former economics professor at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, GA, an author of 11 books, including, "Blackpreneurship: 50 Obstacles Black Entrepreneurs Face and How to Overcome Them". He resides in John’s Creek, GA.

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