Being an entrepreneur is a very risky yet rewarding career. Establishing loyal customers is also very challenging. But being a black-owned business owner is the ultimate!! You have to work just as hard to get investors and support in order to become successful. You also have to prove that you are worthy of someone to invest their money and time to assist in your dreams. We have to prove three times over that we can be trusted with someone else’s money and business skills. Because of these issues and roadblocks within our culture, it is very important to lay the foundation needed to gain others’ support; whether they are black or not. That means you must have superb customer service, time management, and great inventory. Below are just some of the things that black-owned businesses must take into account:
- You must be on time. No one likes to wait or waste time on a service or job. For example, if you have clients booked for hair appointments make sure you do not over-book or come to work late. If you told a client that you will start the job on a Monday and it is now Wednesday, that is an issue of your character and time management. No one wants to feel like they are not important enough for your time and business.
- Be a man/woman of your word. Do the job/service you agreed upon. Do not try to overprice a service/job and not complete it in the timeframe that was agreed upon. No one wants someone who states one thing and then decides to complete a service whenever “they have the time to do it”. If you feel like you lowered the price just to get business, that doesn’t give you the right to change the completion/due date. If you state that your orders/deliveries will be in a certain time frame; honor that promise. No one likes to feel that they have been scammed.
- Offer great service. No matter how new or old your business is, you should always have great service. You decided to become a business owner; therefore you have to build a reputation that your business will appreciate. If I go to a new restaurant, I don’t want to go back and the food is continuously horrible. If I get contract work from your business and it was A-1 service, I expect continued A-1 service from you. If issues arise, then be a great business owner and rectify the issue in a great way.
- Have great customer service skills. No one likes being greeted, served, or better yet talked to in a bad manner. Keep the attitudes at home. Do not take out on other customers what is going on in your personal life. No one cares. Wear a smile at all times and make your customer happy. Even the worst customer can kindly be handled when necessary.
- Be consistent. Have a set and consistent price for your service and business. Always have enough product/inventory that will always satisfy your customers. No one wants to come to your restaurant and discover daily you are always running out of fish, fries, or even steaks!!! Increase your inventory when necessary to meet the expected consumer. If you have a job to do at someone home; make sure you continue the same outstanding service that has been provided throughout. If anything, you should always get better instead of worse.
- Have enough help for the job/service. Don’t accept service, jobs, or customers if you are not equipped to handle it. If you do not have the inventory in stock to sell; then you should not offer it to the consumers. If you are hosting a dinner, you should have enough staff on deck to provide the assistance needed for the event. You should never have your customers waiting for an extensive amount of time because you wanted to cut cost in order to make money.
- Be honest and upfront. Do not state “alternative facts” or falsify your business services. Do the job you are able to do and be honest about the cost. No one likes when someone is trying to take advantage of their ability to pay certain prices. Just because you feel someone has or doesn’t have enough money to pay for your service/product; don’t overprice/underprice your worth. Be honest and upfront at all times. People talk and soon you will realize that you are known to be a snake within the industry. There is nothing wrong if you are “donating” your time and/or product, but make that known at the beginning.
- Be professional. No one likes an unprofessional person!!! If you do hair, you should always look neat and clean. You are your own brand. Just because you may have a high volume clientage, always remember that it can gradually fade away because of your reputation and professionalism. You are never too big to lose clients.
Yes, I know this goes for other races as well, but it is our race that has to work just as hard to make it in this entrepreneurial battlefield. We have our own against us as well; therefore causing it to be just as important to always stay on top of your game plan. Your business should be just as important to you as the next person. It is easy to start a business, but it is even harder to keep it open.