This is the second part of the Q&A with UK Black Business Owners. You can read the first part here.
Q. What are your thoughts on support within the community?
Cherelle: In regards to verbal support, I have never personally met a black person who has said they do not support the idea of my business. However, saying you support something is very different to physically showing support. I think that is something we can improve on.
Kam: Its mixed, sadly there is still a prevalent crabs in the barrel mentality within our community, but I’m also starting to experience change. There are a lot of brothers and sisters who recognise that the economic status of our community is largely dependant on our ability to work in collaboration and cohesion with each other and in turn i have met some amazing people. We are doing some fantastic things and building my business has exposed me to some excellent talents, and personalities in our community I’m excited for our future.
What is comforting is a sense of sisterhood that’s forming, one that I haven’t experienced at this intensity before. Its lovely. it’s not competitive it is a pure desire to see each other succeed. I’m looking forward to when this is the normal statues quo amongst us.
Q. What has been the best thing about having your own business?
Akua: Being able to create a range of natural products as well as working with a network of farmers and helping create more jobs.
Having my own business has also helped me to extend a helping hand to those less economically fortunate. The best bit although tiring is juggling a growing business and being a carer/mother to my mentally disabled daughter.
Tammy: The freedom: it is so unbelievably liberating doing this for no one but myself.
Q. What advice would you give to anyone who wanted to start their own business? What are some of the things people should take into consideration before starting their own business?
Cherelle: It’s been such a short time that I’ve been running this that I am still definitely someone taking advice, not giving it. BUT what I would say is, start it with an open mind and be prepared to make mistakes and grow. Remember the beauty of having a small business is it can change so quickly and transform into something you never even thought of at the beginning.
Tammy: Do the numbers: Can you afford it? What about if you don’t sell your service/product for three months? What about your rent/mortgage? If that’s sorted, then the second, absolute imperative question every business owner should ask themselves is, do customers like it? If that’s a resounding yes, great, if not…try again.
Q. Have you a thought about monitoring? Giving individuals the knowledge to do their own thing.
Akua: Yes, I have mentored on so many occasions. I have done so with co-ops + other organisations.
Cherelle: It’s something I’d love to do in the future as I feel I’m learning every single day. I think I’ll have a lot of advice to give in a few years!
Q. What black-owned business are you looking forward to seeing in the future?
Kadian: Off the top of my head, I’d love to go to a yoga studio owned by a black person, and I want more independent, coffee shop-type businesses run by black people in Birmingham. Let’s just infuse blackness into everything. Because we are black, whatever we do becomes black. There is nothing that can’t be black… except white supremacy. lol.
Tammy: None – I’d be lying if I said I concerned myself with seeking out black owned businesses, instead I prefer to see businesses, especially in the beauty industry, owned by people who genuinely care and customers or have endured/ experienced something that has given them to drive to do what they do: own a beauty brand.
Kam: According to mintal black people spend most of our money on fast cars, technology and fashion, so I would like to see us establishing businesses within these sector. I would also like to see black people benefiting from our own natural resources so I think there is scope for international trade in and out of the African continent.
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All of the posts from my Black History Month series #BHMWithSaabirah can be found here.