February is Black History Month, so we’re sharing ways you can help shine a spotlight on Black-owned businesses in your area.
While shopping and booking hair and wellness appointments with Black-owned small businesses can go a long way, you can help out other ways, too.
To help us find out how to lift up and support Black-owned businesses, we reached out to small business owners and marketing experts. Here’s what they had to say!
How To Find and Support Black-Owned Small Businesses in Your Community
Shop (and Book!) with Black-Owned Businesses
The first and easiest way to support Black business owners is by shopping or booking appointments with Black-owned businesses in your area.
This one may be obvious, but changing up your shopping routines or finding a Black-owned business to book with for your hair or beauty appointments makes a huge difference.
In talking with Rebekkah Smith of NorthOne, she agreed on how important it is to shop at local Black-owned businesses.
She even let us know about online directories to find different businesses to support in your area:
- Support Black Owned Directory
- Official Black Wall Street
- Black Business Green Book by Color of Change
- BlackOwnedAssociation.com (BOA)
- Black-Owned Brooklyn
- Black Woman Owned
- ByBlack by the U.S. Black Chambers and American Express
- Chez Nous Guide
- EatOkra, a directory of over 2,500 Black-owned restaurants
- I Am Black Business
- The Nile List
- Shop Black Owned (currently only available in Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, and Seattle)
- Virginia Black Business Directory (currently only available in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC)
A few large brand-name companies are doing their part, too. You can now identify yourself as a Black-owned business on Instagram and Google in the US. (They’re also incorporating it for Latino-, Veteran-, and Women-owned businesses.)
Target offers icons that indicate a Black-owned business during online shopping. Both initiatives help consumers see if they’re supporting a Black business even while shopping through big-box retailers.
Promote on Social Media
Sharing your love for a local business on social media is a beautiful thing. Whether it’s a local bookstore or barbershop, taking the time to share, follow, and promote local Black-owned businesses is a great way to lift them up.
Linda Shaffer, CPOO at Checkr, said, “Social media can be a powerful tool for elevating the voices of Black-owned businesses.”
Her advice? Take the time to follow and share their content.
“By following and sharing content, you can help to amplify their reach and ensure that their message is heard by a wider audience.”
Remember: Everyone’s an influencer on some level.
Social Media Marketing 101
Deep-dive into trends, tools, and hashtags that will take your brand – and small business – to the next level.Get the Guide
Write a Review (or Two!)
Reviews are crucial for small businesses. They’re a way to pass along your experience and an easy (free!) promotional tool for small businesses.
Tim Parker is the Director of Marketing for Syntax Integration, and he talked to us about how important reviews can be.
“I think it’s good to write a review or upload images if you recently visited a Black-owned business to share your thoughts with others in the community.”
Reviews are an easy way to spread the word about a business you enjoyed, which in turn lifts and supports that business.
Make a Connection
Making a connection with a local Black-owned business builds up the whole community, and there are several ways we can work together to support each other.
Andrew Priobrazhenskyi, CEO of DiscountReactor, spoke a lot about this point.
“I feel that if you want to support a local Black-owned business that is thriving and wants to expand,” Andrew said, “you can do a number of things that will benefit both of your enterprises.”
Andrew suggested that other small business owners should “offer to trade advertising and branded giveaways to distribute to clients, thereby promoting both businesses.”
“If you do this for all of your favorite local companies in your neighborhood,” he added, “the trust that customers have for one business will spread to others.”
By developing a positive professional connection like this, Andrew believes “all parties benefit” by strengthening the local small business community.
Invite Them to Events
Speaking of making connections…
Shaunak Amin, co-founder and CEO of SnackMagic, agrees that it’s all about connection and awareness when it comes to lifting up Black-owned businesses.
Shaunak said that people in the community need to “give Black business owners a seat at the table by inviting them to networking events, such as webinars, roundtable discussions, professional conferences, and social meet-ups.”
“It’s a simple way to help expand their business social circle,” Shaunak said, and “open doors to new partnerships and opportunities. It can also help them reach new clients they may not have otherwise met.”
Lastly, Linda Shaffer at Checkr also made a point about education. Her advice is for folks to educate themselves about Black-owned businesses.
“Many people are not aware of the contributions that Black-owned businesses have made to the economy,” she said, “so it’s important to educate yourself and others about these businesses.”
Her advice? Read articles, watch documentaries, and attend professional events that feature Black business owners.
“When you have a better understanding of the challenges these businesses face,” Linda added, “you can be more supportive and helpful in your efforts to lift them up.”
At Schedulicity, our businesses represent the best parts of who we are. Together, we work to create a safe space in order to empower and educate our small business owners and entrepreneurs.
We’re proud to celebrate Black History Month with our incredible clients, who show up and show out, every month.