The 7 Attitudes That Cockblock Black Enterprise
Every year come the month of May a brother logs onto the Sunday Times to get a glimpse of the Rich List, to see the movers and shakers of the British economy. When I look on the list and see that there is an Asian brother who studied in the University Of Calcutta -Not Oxbridge, or Harvard – but Calcutta – at the top of the rich list along with 3 other Asians and a number of other foreigners in the top 20,’ mandem’ can no longer justify the argument that racial inequality is what is holding Black enterprise back. Now it would be unfair to suggest that the validity of the Black Enterprise should be measured by the number of Billionaires on the rich list, but it can definitely be considered as one of the many indicators that we are slacking on this front.
Yet with such a sad state of affairs, I still find it strange that at Eddie Kadi’s show last show in the O2, there was a wave of LV and Gucci garments. Where are we generating the funds to pay for such a lifestyle? Are we simply a race of consumers? Well Justine Mills, Michael Prest and Damon Buffini would beg to differ with successes in industries ranging from Fashion to Private equity.
It then occurred to me that before we can begin to blame anyone for our shortcomings, we needed some self appraisal. Once the issues highlighted from the soul searching are rectified, only then can we truly begin to point at the external influences.
So here it is, ladies and gentleman the 7 attitudes which I feel cockblocks Black enterprise.
One of the deadliest attitudes in the black community is the flawed concept that just because you know the owner you must be able to get in (or something) for free or on the cheap.
Black Business Owner: “That would be 50GBP please”
Black Customer: “Rah, what fam? Its a full price ting yeah?”
Black Business Owner: “Yes bro, I am trying to run a business here”
Black Customer: “Nah bruv mans known you from waday and now you are tryna bump man. Cool say nothing innit”
Where did we get the notion that discounts are meritted by association? It’s hilarious how brothers change the tone of voice to make themselves sound like the victim in this scenario, then turn into the wicked man talk of “say nothing innit”.
I don’t see brothers asking for discounts in Louis V and Gucci, but they are quick to ask Winston for a discount on rice and peas when Winston’s control of the supply chain is no way near LV’s and is therefore working on lower margins.
Change Needed: Stop asking for discount by association, we should want to pay full price to people we know, not short change them.
6. Avoiding to target people you know
Another attitude that really gets to me is when someone (a black person) starts a business and I ask them what is your target audience and they say: “Not Black people.” No I am serious, these have been Black people starting businesses and they have made the conscious decision that their target audience is everyone but themselves. I am actually laughing as I write this, but this is some serious ish. How can your audience profile description start with what or who they aren’t? Negros always want to start statements with what didn’t or isn’t going to happen.
Man: “So what have you done sexually?”
Woman: “Pssh I ain’t giving you head”
Man: “I asked what have you done not what you haven’t or not going to do”
I don’t know where this notion comes from, but maybe looking at point 7 I guess its explainable to an extent why we aren’t trying to target dudes that want Hoodpon discounts. But seriously what better market to target than those that you know? Brothers and sisters turn all corporate after a marketing / business degree and think that all successful businesses target people with high level of disposable income thus not their own people. Yet the Chinaman and Asian chicken shops owners are making a killing in your community.
Change Needed: We have money, you just need to find a way to bamboozle us into paying full price.
5. The ecosystem of mental poverty
Another cockblocker to our financial success is the ecosystem of mental poverty that most of us function under. I am talking people who actually make some money, but still choose to live the life of bootleg cable and tax evasion. This needs to stop, because one thing I have learnt over the years is that poverty is a mind state. You are as poor as you think you are, and once that mental state spreads amongst a group of people they begin to have an attitude towards each other that they aren’t worth ish and thus not worth targeting (6) or always trying to get s*it on a cheap (7).
Getting a criminal record for avoiding tax or bootleg cable doesn’t look good on your credit check when you’re trying to get a business loan.
Black Man: “These banks are racist, aint tryna give a brother a loan”
Black Man 2: “I got a loan”
Black Man: “How did you do that one, hook me up…who do you know inside a bank?”
Black Man 2: “No-one, I just have a good credit score, I mean do you vote?”
Black Man: “No, they dont care about us anyway…”
Black Man 2: “Do you have a credit card?”
Black Man: “Nah man, that’s the white man’s trap”
Black Man 2: “Do you have any bills in your name”
Black Man: “Nah man, I be at my baby mama’s crib, I cant be supplying that kind of information to the feds”
Black Man 2: “Point proven..”
Change Needed: An ecosystem is built on receiving what you put out, if you aren’t contributing to society, it ain’t looking to pay you back either homie.
4. Stunting on your customers
If you have a business in one community, make sure you enjoy your benefits in another community. Brothers aren’t trying to see their barber making it rain on their chick with the money they paid him for a trim. Brothers be scheeming to rob a man stunting in the hood, let alone one that is stunting on their money. Like DonKwelu once said: “If wealth is equally distributed, negros are cool, once there is a level of inequality we riding with ski masks”
Change Needed: “Dont sh*t where you eat at.”
I laugh when I see the title ‘CEO’ for a business with barely two people involved. Where are the board of directors and shareholders that you are going to need to report to on a frequent basis? Every time I see the words CEO, I just think dude is so far from reality that its very unlikely that they understand the concept of business.
Lets not run before we can even crawl. Plus like Lord Sugar once said, “an entrepreneur is what people call you, not a self proclaimed status”. Its like those brothers that call themselves players, you just know they have no game, because a true player / mack / gyaless never has to say the amount of women he bellied (slept with) or if he has 7 Bentleys, with an indoor and outdoor pool.
Change Needed: “Humble before you crumble.”
2. Too Many Chiefs not Enough Indians
For anyone that saw Top Boy, you would have learnt that when it comes to business certain road antics cant run. When you consider the amount of arguments that Kano and Asher D’s characters had throughout the series, you can start to see why their operation was not working. In business, too many people want to flex their muscle for personal gratification rather than the benefit of the group. Such an environment is not sustainable because its all good coming up with strategic plans to make millions, but if the soldiers aren’t there to handle the work ts long.
Change Needed: Expand the team if needed, get people into the team that are happy to have a smaller stake in the business and are willing to do the leg work.
Going through all the points mentioned above, there seems to be a recurring theme here of “the lack of trust”. Negros don’t trust Negros – Period. This lack of trust will be the death of our whole race. A friend of mine made a very powerful statement on Twitter which stuck with me and I paraphrase. “It takes too much time and effort not to trust someone”. I thought that was so powerful and testament to what is happening here. We spend too much time trying to second guess our friends and business partners that we don’t have enough energy or time to invest in the business. Brothers and sisters are spending hundreds of pounds copyrighting, trademarking, patenting their ideas -of which I don’t argue against- but in modern day business of open source, there are plenty of ways you can go about creating innovative product though sharing of ideas.
People that are afraid to share ideas are usually people that are unable to create any new ones. Wikipedia, WordPress and Linux have all created sustainable business models through the concept of sharing and building communities of like minded people. Looks like we arent trying to hear that.
Change Needed: “TRUST”
There you have it, my perspective on the Black enterprises in the UK. I would like to hear your thoughts on the state of black businesses and how we can continue and grow our contribution to the wider economy and what is holding us back if anything.
I leave you with one word: Calcutta!
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