IS THE MODERN BLACK RACE AN ANTI-BUSINESS COMMUNITY?

IS THE MODERN BLACK RACE AN ANTI-BUSINESS COMMUNITY? 

This is a topic I have always found interesting.  Too many incidents have brought me to question this issue.

Vietnamese student in training

Vietnamese student in training

Last week, my Vietnamese student came to start her training with us and as is customary of our training, we wanted to find out why she chose our Course and how our training could help her achieve her dreams.  These questions help us understand how we can be supportive to our client’s needs and help them to succeed. We started talking and it transpired she has been experiencing very difficult times with her employees.  She is Vietnamese and generally hair braiding and weaving will not be her strongest skill.  She explained she had set up a hair and beauty shop in a busy location in Portsmouth – UK.  She specialises in nail beauty and to keep business moving, she had employed black girls to take over the hair beauty side of her business – division of labour; outsourcing etc you would say.

Great business plan you would think. Far be from it. This is where our story starts. Prior to Christmas; these Black girls had stopped work for 3 weeks – claiming their children were ill.  Continuously, they have become consistently unreliable.  This is why my student Thao has come to train herself to gain a skill that otherwise she would not have considered in order to take control and avoid losing her business.  This then made me question why Black girls complain about unemployment or lack of business opportunities in the economy.

Someone will say to me that braiding and weaving is a black people’s skill. But with behaviour like this constantly being reported by Salon owners and people from other races we at World of Braiding & Extensions encouraged everyone with an interest in these skills to come and get trained.  This however does not take away the fact that braiding and weaving is a skill that comes natural and is practiced more in the black community.

But why do the black community find it difficult to understand that hair beauty is a business that should be taken seriously? Research has shown that the Black community is an appearance –obsessed culture which spends 6 times more on hair beauty than any other race.  It is estimated that by 2013 the ethnic hair industry will spend $4.2 trillion. www.marketresearch.com. My personal interviews with people in hair industry confirm that black women will rather look after their hair than feed themselves; take up training to invest in themselves or pay their bills.  Yet the Black community is happy to let other races take up a skill that comes natural to their race while they fold their arms and wait for office jobs that do not exist or on the other hand, take up meagre or cleaning jobs instead etc.

This is my personal sentiments.  The Black community knowing that this is a skill they can practise easily have de-valued the skill.

A Black girl in training

A Black girl in training

They choose to work on clients without training and mentally believe that it is a short time position as they wait to go to University or take up low earning jobs.   Black race and African society in particular place too much emphasis on academic education while they show no respect towards vocational trainings.  While I may have nothing against people’s choices, these people turn round and complain about all races for taking up their jobs or businesses.  I find other races such as the Indians, British, Chinese etc races differ from the Black race as they give everyone the opportunity to choose what they are naturally gifted with. They have respect and regard for every skill based jobs.  They encourage anyone who has natural affinity to work with their hands to do what they can do, help the community and create jobs for others invariably enriching their societies.  This is why the African Society in particular is still struggling with the highest level of underdevelopment and unemployment among its people. We will get into the plane to these developed countries in search of a good life rather than grow our own continent or country.

Fact from my 8 years of training people in natural hair business, I have noticed that Black people do not take skills’ training seriously.  Thaos’ experience with her stylists is only but a minor story we have heard in our years of training Salon owners in natural hairstyles.  There are instances where the stylist will chose to sit at home and the salon owner will beg her to please come and earn some money in the shop.  There are instances where they will agree with you to book in a client then simply not show up for the job.  There are instances where when they work freelance, they book a client and do not show up to offer the service.  There are instances where salon owners get so frustrated and simply close their shop due to lack of stylist.  This is also not counting when they give the clients their private numbers to come to their home instead as they will be cheaper than the shop thereby giving unprofessional service. My personal experience is that students from other races go out and succeed quicker using the same training and information given to them.  Is this lack of seriousness based on family and friends influences or just a lack lustre attitude in us? Is this something we can look at and solve at some time in our life?

This is my question – What is the logical reason why the black community is anti-business?  Is it due to years of mental brainwashing through years of slavery to imagine that any skill not taught in the classroom is wrong? Is it through years of looking up to our neighbours who have all been to the best Universities and work in a fancy office that makes us think we should all be like them? Is it that feeling of being laughed at by your friends if they find out we do not work in an office that causes our lukewarm attitude to skills and business?

This question has got me searching and re-searching.  I come from an African country where there is untold stock of natural resources yet my country imports everything.  We don’t think it is our duty to use our skill to create anything.  We happily see everything from other countries as superior to ours. While we may conveniently blame slave trade for our problems and the continuous brainwashing from other races and bad corrupt governments etc, I know from my research about our ancestors that there existed entrepreneurship in the Black community even in the midst of slave trade  – Madam C J Walker, Madam Anie Malone, Johnson & Johnson Products (which held 80% of the ethnic hair market in the 60s and was the first Black owned company to trade on the American Stock Exchange).

Take for instance Madam C J Walker (December 23, 1867 – May 25, 1919) who is one of my heroines. She was the pioneer of modern cosmetics industry.  She was one of 6 children born to a former slave family in the height of discrimination and racism.  Was orphaned at the age of 7 and was raised by her elder sister. She ran away from her abusive brother-in-law, got married at the young age of 14 and was widowed at the age 20. Left with a daughter, she struggled as a washerwoman. She had no formal education but driven by her own struggles with hair loss in the 1890s, Madam C. J. Walker began experimenting with different hair care treatments and products.  When the average Black woman made less than $10 a week, Walker built herself a $250,000 thirty four room mansion, owned four automobiles, and two other homes. She was a frequent donator to various charities and also erected a community center for Black residents in Indianapolis. At the time of her death, Madam C. J. Walker was sole owner of her business, which was valued at more than $1 million. Her personal fortune was around $600,000 to $700,000.  My favourite lines from her are “I got my start by giving myself a start. Don’t sit down and wait for opportunities to come, you have to get up and make them”

If there are any lessons to be learnt from this great woman who was later commemorated with a stamp in 1998 by the American government is that you do not use your situation as excuses rather use it as a reason to change your life.

According to Booker T Washington – founder of NNBL in 1900, “if we do not do our duty now in laying the proper foundation for economic and commercial growth, our children and our children’s children will suffer because of our inactivity or shortness of vision.” “No race that has anything to contribute to the markets of the world is long in any degree ostracised.”

It is time the Black man and woman help themselves and get on the ladder of entrepreneurship as was practised in the past?  Be assured that you will never get rich working for anyone.  You will leave your unborn generations into beggars if nothing is done about this. The time is now to start creating the best foundation for your children and to leave them as owners of businesses by the time they grow old. Get training and make your business a professional one so you can attract clients and grow.  In the process of doing this, you will help your community and your race.

If you have had any experience with anything written in this blog, will like to share your experiences, make your contribution or need help in any of the issues raised, we will like to hear from you.

FEATURES OF BUSINESS ENTREPRENEURSHIP

taking control of your business

taking control of your business

What is a business?   A business also known as enterprise is an organisation that sells goods or services and sometimes both to people for a profit.  I personally think you have a business when you have something that people are happy to pay you to have.  Businesses are sometimes run not-for-profit.   Some businesses are privately owned aimed at earning wealth for their owners.  They are also sometimes owned by the State or a group of individuals or a community.  Entrepreneurs take risk and most times fail, sometimes they fail more than they succeed.  They don’t however lose heart over failure as they stand up and do again.  Entrepreneurs take failures as just lessons on the way to greater success.  People go into business most times because they have decided to do something more with their life than just continuing as a wage slave.

Are there Different Types of Legal Business Ownership?  Yes.  They include:

  • Sole proprietorship:  Business owned by one person and usually for-profit. The owner can run the business alone or can employ others to help him.  The owner has unlimited liability to debts incurred by the business.
  • Partnership:  Business owned by two or more people usually for profit. In most forms of partnerships, each partner has unlimited liability for the debts incurred by the business.
  • Corporation: Business that has a separate right as a legal personality different from its owners.  Corporations can be privately-owned or government-owned; can be for-profit or not-for-profit.
  • Cooperative: Also known as a “co-op” is a limited liability business that can organize for-profit or not-for-profit. A cooperative differs from a for-profit corporation in that it has members, as opposed to shareholders, who share decision-making authority.

 Who can own a Business? Individuals, groups of individuals, Governments, Communities etc.

What are the reasons for starting your business?

  • Freedom – To be able to do your desires. To right a wrong in the society or to fill a gap.
  • Control – To be in charge of your own destiny.
  • Work & life balance – You are able to balance work commitments around your chosen lifestyle
  • To earn a good pay and create wealth
  • To pursue your dream or passion.
  • To create self-employment income after losing your job.
  • To create a second source of income.
  • To diversify a risk of losing your job or to avoid losing your job.
  • To create a family business and protect a future for your children.
  • To become a stay at home mom and still earn extra income.
  • To develop a business as an investment you can sell one day.
  • To develop a retirement asset etc, etc.

What are the Benefits of running your own Business?

  • Vision You want to leave your mark on the world and change something. Running your own business helps you to achieve this.
  • Choice – There are no policies that dictate what you can do.  The choice is now yours. Your business reflects your personal taste and style.
  • Ambition – Your ambition is only limited by your ability to grow your business. You can grow big or decide to stay small.
  • Safety net – There are lots of insurance products out there that can provide you with a financial safety net. Long term sickness or your sudden death need not mean poverty for your family.
  • Work at home – It’s likely you’ll start a new business from home. That means you can get up at a time that suits you.
  • You choose your team As you’re the boss, you get to hire the people you want and not be stuck with who the boss hires to work with you.
  • Long holidays – Providing you can organise your business to allow it, you can take as much time off as you want, whenever you want.
  • Flexible – You can adapt quickly to new opportunity. You no longer have to feed ideas up the line for other’s to make the decision.

What are the skills required to run a successful Business?  If you are willing to build a business and make a success of it, instead of just a hobby, then there are skills you should either have or learn to make them part of your entrepreneurial priority:  Just like a footballer practices every day to be good at what he does, an athlete, a boxer etc, a business owner has to learn to be good at making a success of his business.   “I wanted to be an editor or journalist. I wasn’t really interested in becoming an entrepreneur, but I soon found I had to be an entrepreneur in order to keep my magazine going.” – Richard Branson.  These are some of the skills you have to learn:

 

Take control with good image

Take control with good image

Personality traits & skills – be ready with the right mindset, have great personal traits – talents, character, attitude, passion & energy, dedication, hard work, integrity, drive & persistence, values & believe, optimism,  resilience, ability to work under pressure & uncertainty, ability to think on your feet, self-belief, willingness to take responsibility etc, etc.

Interpersonal Skills – Management, Leadership, Communication & listening, Negotiation & persuasion, Ethics, People Management & HR, Continuous Professional Development – willingness to constantly invest in yourself in order to stay current etc, etc.

Business skills – Skills of your trade, Planning,  Sales and Customer Relationships, Marketing Skills, Finance and Accounting Skills, Organizing, Inventory,   Create your unique selling point, Stay on top of technology, Project a professional positive image, Be accessible, Design a successful workspace , Research & Development etc, etc.

These are only but a few but they get you started on the right part and you learn as you carry on.

As part of continued business success and growth, you must continuously innovate. The continuous developments of new and better

getting rich in business

getting rich in business

ways of doing things are keys to help you grow.  There are no in between places, no middle ground. You must always be innovating and improving. Whether it is in your product or service that is delivered to your customer, or whether it is in how you do business, it is vital. When you stop innovating, you start dying, it’s that simple.

 

What are the statistics on failure rates in Business?  Statistics suggest that most business in America will fail in their first 2 years of existence.  According to the SBA, about two-thirds, or 66% last past the first two years, leaving only a third of businesses that fail within these two years. Extended to four years, the number of surviving businesses decreases to only 44%, meaning that about 56% of businesses fail at the five-year mark.  Primarily, businesses have a difficult time making a profit for their first years of business.  Almost all businesses experience a loss when first beginning and it is often several years before they can show a profit. New investors may not be willing to deal with these losses, and the business may not have enough capital to weather these first trial years.

What are the reasons for Business failure:  Lack of experience, Insufficient capital, poor location, poor inventory management, over-investment in fixed assets, poor credit arrangement, personal use of business funds, unexpected growth, competition, poor marketing, poor business planning, poor management, poor human resources, failure to embrace technology and development, government legislation, lack of clear objectives, owners may not have the passion or persistence to keep running the business efficiently and learn from their mistakes

If we avoid getting into Business, what options do we have:  Here are some amazing words of inspiration from great business men and women past and present:

 “Anything is possible if you’ve got enough nerve.” – J. K. Rowling

 “I am a woman who came from the cotton fields of the South. From there I was promoted to the washtub. From there I was promoted to the cook kitchen. And from there I promoted myself into the business of manufacturing hair goods and preparations….I have built my own factory on my own ground.” – Madame C. J. Walker

The greatest failure is not to try. Had I listened to all the people during the course of my life who said, “You can’t. You’ll fail. It won’t work. You don’t have…,” I wouldn’t be here today.” – Debbi Fields 

When my company started really growing, I didn’t have any help in my house at all. I had the upkeep of my daily life, I had a one year old and a three year old, and I had my house. So I had to prioritize.” – Julie Aigner Clark

It was a risk. I had a husband and I was pregnant with my oldest son. But I don’t look at risk the way other people do. When you’re an entrepreneur, you have to go in feeling like you’re going to be successful.” – Lilian Vernon  

I find that when you have a real interest in life and a curious life, that sleep is not the most important thing.” – Martha Stewart

I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.” – Estee Lauder

There is no such thing as high returns without risk.” – Gerry Schwartz

You must be very patient, very persistent. The world isn’t going to shower gold coins on you just because you have a good idea. You’re going to have to work like crazy to bring that idea to the attention of people. They’re not going to buy it unless they know about it.” – Herb Kelleher

“Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying the basic fundamentals.” – Jim Rohn

When my company started really growing, I didn’t have any help in my house at all. I had the upkeep of my daily life, I had a one year old and a three year old, and I had my house. So I had to prioritize.” – Julie Aigner Clark

“Above all, you want to create something you are proud of. That’s always been my philosophy of business. I can honestly say that I have never gone into any business purely to make money. If that is the sole motive, then I believe you are better off doing nothing.” – Richard Branson

 

In addition to Skills in Natural Hair, Weaves & Extensions, World of Braiding offers Business Trainings to Micro Businesses in order to help you grow.  Contact us if you want to be part of our training.

 

 

Joy Phido

Joy Phido

ABOUT JOY PHIDO

Joy Phido (SRH) is the CEO of World of Braiding & Extensions Ltd.  Joy is a Natural Hair Specialist, Designer, Consultant, Educator and Coach.

Joy has a BSc. Degree in Business Administration, Qualified Cosmetologist, various other trainings in Legal Secretary, NLP Practitioner, Natural Hair & Extensions, State Registered Hairdresser (SRH).

Before going into hair business, Joy has had years of  various career experiences with varied organizations including Corporate Nigeria, Lagos city banking career, to Corporate England, London city telecomms career.  Joy’s mission is to help career women look good by designing on them Professional Natural Hair & Extensions image as well as help ordinary women succeed in micro businesses with natural hair & extensions training & coaching.

World of Braiding is World’s No 1 PROFESSIONALLY ACCREDITED NATURAL HAIR & EXTENSIONS ACADEMY.

Contact us:

Telephone: +44 208 983 9815, Mobile: 07946 439 057

Email: info@worldofbraiding.com

www.worldofbraiding.com; www.worldofbraidingacademy.com

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