What do black entrepreneurs look like in the 21st century? They look remarkably like every other entrepreneur. They found businesses like frozen custard trucks, software tools for the healthcare industry, graphic design studios, and high-tech solutions to aid children with special needs. They start with an inspiration, get the relevant study or education in, and follow their dreams. They bring their individual points of view from their backgrounds and find a place in eCommerce.
There may be socio-economic distance in other aspects, but when it comes to entrepreneurs, the gap between their relative wealth tends to narrow. That holds true across all walks of life. Start-up culture and eCommerce culture are among the most diverse in the world, with the only barrier being your vision and how hard you work to achieve it.
Black Entrepreneur Venues
There’s a number of starting points in business geared towards black entrepreneurs. You don’t have to go it alone when many others have walked the same path. These are all annual events worth seeking out:
The Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit
Black Tech Week
Black Wall Street: Homecoming
In addition, start-up seeding companies, called incubators, are a small investment and venture capital firms which often have a specific focus for cultures and demographics, including yours. Some good places to network:
The Russell Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship in Atlanta
The ACT House
Backstage Capital (women entrepreneurs)
Of course, capital venture is a business like any other, and they are out to make a profit in conjunction with their idealistic aims. Come to them with a solid business plan and a proven analysis, and at the least you will come away with some valuable advice – at best, a round of start-up funding.
Launching A Web Presence
Naturally in the modern era, very few companies can hope to compete without an online presence. But there’s really no effort required to build a small business website. Hosting providers offer packages to fit any business size and style, usually for less than coffee money per month.
A typical small business website package will offer the following software or something equivalent:
CPanel – An interface to manage the website.
WordPress – The premiere blogging platform.
Optional Joomla or Drupal for more sophisticated builds if WordPress isn’t a good fit.
MySQL – Database backend.
FTP and email support.
Installers for extended tools like shopping cart apps and image or video galleries.
In any managed hosting plan, you don’t have to worry about the technical specs. You pick the domain name, they register it, and your site is typically set up and ready to start business.
The Value of Education
Starting a business is not something to be rushed into. And if you’re looking to enter a new niche or you want to develop a basis for your understanding of all things business-related, it might make sense to go back into education. You could really benefit from a postgraduate finance program or a business course, or whatever else you see value in.
There’s a range of different options, no matter what level of education you’ve attained previously or what kind of business niche you want to enter into going forward. Never underestimate the value of knowledge and understanding; it could pay dividends for you and your business later.
Two factors will spread brand awareness of your small business by helping to grow your traffic. One of them is SEO and the other is social media.
SEO is “search engine optimization” and helps your potential customers find you through Google or other search engines. Most of the reason to have a blog is because of SEO since that text will hopefully match users’ text searches. You want a lot of content on your blog, and you want it to be focused around your business. Try to anticipate your customers’ or clients’ needs, and build a body of blog posts establishing your business as a solution or yourself as an industry expert.
Social media is more straight-forward, but also tougher to succeed in. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are required channels to spread your message. You might consider other social media platforms like Pinterest or LinkedIn, depending on your business model. Really, you might as well try any social media platform, because no business ever failed from too much exposure. The challenge is in leveraging social media presence because it’s a very noisy web out there.
While search engine traffic grinds away at a steady rate, social media tends to work in bursts, if one post of yours gets widely shared and liked and brings you a sudden run of traffic.
The Internet has been a great leveler for the playing field in business, with a minuscule barrier to entry and the diversity of online media. There is a niche for literally everybody online, where what matters isn’t your place in birth, but how clever and business-savvy you are.