Your business is your “baby.” You started it for a reason: you had a why and a passion that you wanted to turn into profit. If you inaugurated your business before 2021, the difference then and now is that the pandemic has brought on a spirit of giving this country has never seen before and Black-owned businesses have a chance to finally take a seat at the table of corporate philanthropy…if they are willing to give their seat up when its time. Let me explain.
Black-owned businesses – and businesses in general – which make it a point to give back to the communities they serve are deviating from traditional business practice, forging a path for those behind them, and capitalizing on their efforts all at the same time. The triple threat!
Here are the top five ways your business can give back:
1. Get Rid of Extra Inventory
I know you might be thinking, “L. Renee’, are you crazy?” But hear me out. If you sell a tangible product in a retail location, nine times out of 10 you have product on hand that might be about to expire – a part of an older collection or brand, or just not a good fit for the future of your business model. Whatever the case may be, find a local family/women’s or men’s shelter or a domestic abuse facility and give away your products.
2. Give Your Time
I donate my time to SCORE here in Columbus, Ohio, for many reasons. An important one is that there are not a lot of minority mentors in Columbus. So, when fledgling (or struggling) Black business owners come to a FREE space like this, they should be paired with someone who understands their plight and has been where they have been, specifically. i.e.: you!
Non-profit organizations like SCORE have HR departments, accounting, recruiting, and marketing that keep the wheels turning. This is where you can donate from two to 10 or more hours of your time per week to help a new business owner who is now standing in the shoes you grew out of not so long ago.
3. Donate Your Space
With monkey pox (the Ninja variant of COVID-19) and flu season around the corner, retail businesses are finding out that more and more people prefer to work from home or for themselves. That’s ok. We want that for our community. But for your business, it could mean the difference between Grand Opening or Grand CLOSING.
If you have some extra space, non-profit organizations have a budget for venues. If you can add a unique twist to your venue, even better. Here’s an example: I own a beauty salon. A non-profit organization with more than 10 starting employees comes in to the salon each month, on a private basis and later in the evening with their music, hors d’oeuvres, manis, pedis and coifs. The word-of-mouth game is strong! Plus, the non-profit executive spent money on a complete spa day for her lucky employees. That’s a profit for me when the space would otherwise have been sitting empty.
4. Hire in the Community You Serve
I know you might be a solo-preneur, but you do outsource some aspects of your business or you wouldn’t still be in business. You can’t do it all on your own. Outsourcing non-essential functions of your business to local vendors and suppliers is the best way to literally serve the communities you “serve.”
5. Celebrate and Give!
If your company is celebrating an upcoming anniversary or big milestone, make sure you use it as an opportunity to give back to the people who helped you reach that goal. As great as you believe you are, you didn’t do it alone. Choose a different cause for each new milestone, anniversary or even a new hire!
These are just a few of the ways you can give back. Take the time to research the ones that will be best for you, your schedule, and your commitment level. Make giving back a part of every business decision and watch how your enterprise flourishes.
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