We have all seen the numbers:
- Today, there are 2.6 million Black Businesses in the United States
- From 2007 to 2014, annual revenues for Black firms went from $135.7 billion to $187.6 billion
- Black firms with paid employees increased from 106,566 to 110,786 between 2007 to 2014
- The number of women-owned businesses grew by 74 percent between 1997 and 2015. That’s 1.5 times the national average of business growth
Sounds great, right?
Now, lets take a look at the info-graphic below…
There are a few points that should have made you sit up and take note:
- By 2018, US online retail sales will reach $492 Billion.
- eCommerce sales have doubled in the last 5 years. That number will continue to grow.
- Next year, eCommerce will represent 10% of all sales. That number will continue to grow.
And here is the kicker – according to SCORE statistics, less than 10% of Black Owned businesses have a website. All those big numbers up there? You dont get ANY of it if you dont have a website.
For the 10% of you reading this that do have a website, this is great news for you. Here is why:
The Longer Your Site is Online, The More Love Google Will Show You
Don’t underestimate the power of Google. Businesses succeed or fail based on how much Google loves their website. It is what it is.
Google doesn’t love websites that it doesn’t know. Google cant know your website if it hasn’t been around for long. So Google will wait and watch your site for as long as a year before it takes you seriously.
After a year of grinding, blogging, and marketing your site, Google will start to bless you with traffic. If you can keep that traffic on your site – and keep them coming back for more – Google will promote your site over your competitors. More people will find your site, and more people will spend money with you.
Other Black businesses will see how well you are doing and will try to throw up a domain name overnight. They will sit back and wait for their share of that $492 Billion to roll in. But Google shows them no love. Google doesn’t know them. Google knows you because you have been down for the cause since way back.
What this means for you is that by the time other Black businesses wake up and get online, it will be too late.
The competition will starve while your bank account gets fat because broke people be like “I dont need no website”.
Getting In Early Means A Bigger Tribe
It takes time to build a following. We all start out the same way on Twitter – with an egg for a profile picture and 1 follower if you are lucky. The more you tweet, the more you connect, and the more you add value to peoples lives, the bigger your tribe becomes.
After a year or two, you have an army 10,000+ strong if done correctly. This army will retweet you around the clock and bring more recruits to your cause. Same with every other social platform. Soon, you will have people lining up for your product or service like kids lining up for Jordan’s.
The members of your tribe may see an advertisement from another company selling the same thing as you, but they wont touch it. They are loyal to you because you have taken care of them for months and months. Like Google, the tribe knows you, trusts you, and will love you with their hearts and their wallets.
You Will Learn Sooner
The learning curve online doesn’t change. You will need to spend hours learning how to market, how to blog, how to tweet, how to create images, how to publish Youtube videos, and so on. As new social media platforms are created, you will need to learn those,too. There are no shortcuts. Even if you hire us to design your website you still need to push your site, create your products and services, and manage the business side.
There is no ‘cram course’ for eCommerce. You cant hire someone to do everything for you. All of us have to learn and ‘do the knowledge’. There are three choices here:
Choice #1 – Learn sooner.
Choice #2 – Learn later.
Choice #3 – Stay offline and keep your head in the sand.
But if you already have a site, you are literally ahead of 90% of the crowd. While other Black businesses are scrambling to get online, you have been there, done that, and learned the lessons.
What You Should Do Now
If you already have a site, redouble your efforts. Get on your grind. Fix the problems with your website. Build your tribe. Learn how to use Snapchat, Perisope, and other platforms. Expand your lead over offline businesses and your online competitors.
If you dont have a site, get started NOW. You can let us get you in the game, or you can go with someone else. Regardless, you need to get in the game. The rains are coming, and you dont have a jug to catch it in.
Look, I am not saying you will fail if you are not online. There will always be a place for offline Black businesses. People will still call you and come into that store that you are paying $1000 a month to sell out of. But with the chances of failure being so high, being online could be the difference between success and wasting your time.
I use Google to ‘find a black barbershop near me’. I dont drive around looking for one. If there is a barbershop with a website near me, they get my money.
I use Google to ‘find a black owned restaurant’ near me. I take the address and enter it into Google maps. I drive past a dozen restaurants on my way to the one I found in Google.
If you dont have a website, how many people are driving right by you?
As a community, it is time for us to dedicate ourselves to moving from being employees and consumers to being employers and producers. We cannot do that if we are being left out of the future of commerce.