It is no secret, small businesses play a vital role in the United States by generating approximately 66% of new jobs and contributing hundreds of millions of dollars into our nation’s economy. Black-owned businesses in particular, such as those in Ferguson, Missouri, where a Grand Jury’s decision not to indict Police Officer Darren Wilson for the death of Michael Brown has led to rioting and looting, are critical to building prosperity in their communities.
To encourage and assist those small and minority businesses impacted in Ferguson, below is a list of seven tips to step back into the ring, to continue serving Ferguson, to provide much needed jobs and achieve your dreams of financial success.
Seven Tips to Keep Your Small and Minority Business in the Game
Call Your Local Small Business Administration (SBA) office. The SBA, now under the direction of Secretary Maria Contreras-Sweet, is a resource to provide information on obtaining loans during times of emergencies, offer educational development and one-on-one counselling. SBA is a no cost and valuable resource which is funded through your federal tax dollars.
Phone Your Insurance Agent. Immediately! And stay in communications with your Agent until your insurance payment arrives to help you rebuild your establishment.
Boost Your Small Business Web Presence. Industry data show that approximately 52% of small businesses do not have a web site and are missing significant online sales as a result. This is a time to stay visible and a web site is an ideal tool to continue to serve customers.Small Business Development Centers (SBDC’s) can assist in providing sometimes free and low cost web site development.
Alert Your Vendors and Suppliers. Your vendors and suppliers are partners in your business and they profit through the success of your small business. Contact them and let them know your plans to re-open and review the status of your orders and account. Be honest and ask them for the appropriate level of support during this time period of rebuilding.
Inform Your Employees. Your employees help you to achieve your business dreams and contribute not only to your financial success but to their prosperity as well. Let your employees know that you appreciate their service and engage them in developing plans to rebuild your small business.
Love Your Customers and the Community where your Small Business Serves. Customers are the lifeblood to your small and minority business. Love your customers and the community in which your business is located, and your customers will honor you with their patronage and money.
Punt the Naysayers! Owning and being a leader of a small business is tough! This is a time to surround yourself with positive influences and persons having the passion to help you rebuild. Reach out to your local chamber of commerce for support. Also, consider applying to participate in business training programs such as the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program to develop a growth plan to propel your small business to the next level of success.
History has shown repeatedly that business dreams are birthed through chaos and from the ashes of despair, new business ideas rise. I encourage all the small and black-owned businesses impacted by looting and fire in Ferguson, MO to stay in the game and to know that their customers are waiting for them. Be like the Marshall Field’s after the great Chicago fire, gird up your loins, be determined to stay; and build again!