HOW TO SURVIVE RUNNING A MINORITY BUSINESS IN THE WESTERN WORLD
MY TOP 7 SURVIVAL TIPS TO RUNNING A MINORITY BUSINESS IN THE WESTERN WORLD
I write when something striking comes to my spirit and experience. This thought explains to me that there are people out there experiencing similar things and are therefore looking for someone to support them. My spirit then inspires me to either get into the studio and shoot a video on get on the computer and write about the experience. When I come out with the writings or video, I feel better because I know I would have helped someone to deal with the issue or at least know that someone out there has an idea of what they are experiencing and so they are not alone in their predicament.
This is how the topic for this article happened. Recent activities and events I have experienced is making realise how difficult it is to run a minority business in the Western world. It is a struggle to survive as a minority business in the Western Countries as people are being made to feel inadequate or inferior. This is the issue I address in this article.
Survival in the Western World is not one of the easiest tasks in the world. Yet way back in most developing countries, the assumption is that people who live in the Western world have a very easy life. It is assumed that everyone is making lots of money and having lots of fun like the celebrities in the Hollywood blockbuster movies. As one of my friends puts it – when her family members call her from Nigeria, they tell her to send them lots of money and presents because they want to look like Beyonce, Angelina Jolie, Rihana, Julia Roberts etc but she tells them, “These people are not real. I don’t live anywhere next to them and I only see them in the movies just like you do.” Another friend of mine says she tells her family when they call her on the phone, “Hold on because I will go and pluck the money from the money tree in the garden” and many more stories.
All of the above scenarios come to play because the mainstream Western media creates the most glamorous image and impressions of wealth with civilized and fair society. However, reality of this lifestyle is far from this truth. It may be civilized but the bigger problems that people face are far exhausting than the benefits of civilization – issues such as racism, unfairness, bigotry etc rear their ugly heads at people when living in the West. Some people may pretend to you that these issues don’t exist but nothing much has changed since the slave times. The names used may have changed but they continue to hide in the society – in Schools, Work place, Local Councils, Banks, Shops and worst of all when you start to run a Business. I should know about these as I have experienced all these situations. The most important to me at the moment is when ethnic minorities try to run a business in the western society and the tons of mountains they have to climb or overcome before they can make sense of their business. This is difficult but how to do you cope through this system to survive when you have an idea that you feel strongly about and want to turn into a business?
Here are my top 7 survival tips to running a minority Business in the Western World.
1 BELIEVE IN YOURSELF:
You have to start by believing in yourself and your idea. Ask yourself a lot of questions and answer them genuinely. What do you want to offer people? Do you really see a market for it? Who are your clients? Will you be helping people out with the service you want to offer? How will this help etc etc. Focus on what is right. My experience with World of Braiding & Extensions is a case in point. I remember when I was starting and being told by people that I was not going to create any impact in the society as there were Hairdressing Colleges everywhere. The answer I had for such a person was – “Not everyone who is a hairdresser can braid hair. Not all hair braiders are professionals. So there is a market for training people and offering professional service of helping people care for their hair.” This is still the same to this day as we now have clients from all over the world.
My advice is do not wait for anyone to pat you on the back and tell you how great you are doing. Do not wait for accolades, awards recognition etc. Simply know the clients you are going to serve. There are so many examples of people who started businesses that were told will not survive because it was not mainstream. An example is Tyler Perry and Madea. Today Tyler is worth billions. He never gave up on his dreams. We have been told by so many businesses that we are not mainstream enough. My question to such people is that I have clients to serve and my clients have needs that are not mainstream so I will continue to serve these clients.
2 LOVE YOURSELF:
You must love yourself. People out there will want to talk you down so you forget who you are and what you want to do. They will pick on the most insignificant unnecessary issue to put you down. These types of fights are usually spiritual as they aim to break you from inside – sadness, feeling of being inadequate, depression, mental disorder etc etc. You must learn to love yourself. You have been placed on this earth for a reason. Your creator did not make a mistake when he created you so you need to find out what you represent. Allowing people to talk you down gives people power over you so be prepared to take on anyone who chooses to attach your physical appearance – height, face, accent, hair etc etc. example is Danny Devito – He was never your typical movie actor but he became one of the biggest actors of his time. When people want to stress you about your physical appearance; tell them how much you love everything about yourself. Then they will leave you alone as they find there is nothing else to pick on. They will move on to the next victim. A friend of mine who ran a Caribbean food business was told that the food she cooked was smelling and not good enough for the location we all shared at the time. This same location had another restaurant which had mainstream menus but the smell was okay and the minority restaurant was not okay. Luckily she moved and found another location to operate her business.
3 BE HAPPY WITH YOURSELF:
Stop being too judgemental on yourself. Praise yourself when you do great things and don’t be too heavy handed on yourself when things don’t happen the way you want them. Don’t be your own worst enemy and criticise everything you do. When you pull yourself down all the time, chances are you will not be able to move your business forward as well.
4 MAKE MISTAKES:
Feel free to make mistakes. This is what makes life what it is. Mistakes are a necessary part of life as it helps us grow. Mistakes are bound to happen because when they happen and you learn from them, you move your life forward. You now know what happens when something is done in a particular way. This is what they call experience. Be like a child. When they start working, they stand and try to walk and fall, they try again and fall again until they finally can walk. This should be a lesson for all of us. You do not give in at the least opposition. Especially when you live in the Western world, all types of problems will come your way. Do not pack up and stop at the least turn. This happened to one of my student – she paid good money and learnt our highest paying skills – she was absolutely brilliant with the skill. Then she set up her room to start her business from home and her landlord told her she could not operate from her home. She gave up and stopped operating. When I heard her story I called her and offered her various options. She simply was not prepared to go back again. This is simply nothing in business. There is no one who has ever achieved anything that does not encounter problems and especially a minority business in the Western world. Problems will come in every form. We have encountered everything you can imagine. I have had a bailiff visit my shop for the most ridiculous reason and telling me he wants to shut down my shop. I faced him squarely and dealt with the problem. You will face all types of problems. You simply have to learn to be strong.
5 YOU HAVE A MARKET:
Remember you have a willing market that is ready to take on your service. Like I mentioned earlier, you are not here to serve everyone. The world is full of people and as at 2012, we have 7billion people. You may want to serve 1000 or 500. If you are from minority, you are not aiming to serve mainstream so do not allow anyone to put you in a box and give you mountains to climb in order to serve a small set of people. Example of people who want to offer braiding services in the US being asked to take up Cosmetology in order to braid hair. In our last episode of hair helpline, we said to you, aim to be perfect in what you want to offer and not what the system wants you to learn. Our students who want to get grant and support for their training with us are told sometimes that they do not recognise our training because it is not mainstream. What does mainstream mean. Do they mean we have to sign some paper work that says mainstream or it is about filling lots of forms that mean nothing? What I say to these students is that it is up to them to decide what they want as Cosmetology will not teach them what they want so if you sit back and wait for mainstream, you will never move your life forward. Your market will be sitting down and waiting for you while you will take up your mainstream course and start to look for clients that will not exist because the same mainstream people will not be needing your service as you do not fit into their profile. Think before you act. Ask lots of questions before you commit yourself to mistakes. I know lots of people who went to sturdy Hairdressing courses and yet cannot use their skill in any form.
6 FIND A MENTOR:
Never take anyone’s word for granted. Whenever you want to operate a business in the Western world, seek people who have set up businesses or are running businesses. Find out from them what it means to keep a business. Find out their experiences and how this can fit into the plans you have. Do not simply jump into it. If your heart is in your dreams and you believe in yourself fully, use all the advise you can get from these people and add to yours they start your business. Do not let anyone talk you down.
7 DO YOUR RESEARCH AND ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS:
Luckily with the power of the internet, you can find out a lot of answers before asking anyone. Do not be ignorant. Ask anyone who tells you lots of tales why anything is the way they think it is. Seek your own solution and take your own decisions. The system will not like you but they will respect you when you know your rights.
We have been there and done that. I have had all types of businesses and continue to run a successful one so I will be happy to help if you need help.
Wishing you the best in your business start-up and growth.
World of Braiding is happy to support you with all the points mentioned above to help you grow and develop.
Joy is the CEO of World of Braiding & Extensions
World No. 1 Professional Natural Hair Academy.
Follow us on all the Social network
Facebook, Twitter, linkedin, Tumblr, youtube, Blog etc etc
firstname.lastname@example.org, +44 1702 339 858, 07946 439 057