Who owns the company? No, really. We’re going to want to know who holds an equity stake in the company, and what percentage of the equity each owner holds. What percentage of the company is owned by blacks? To be considered black-owned by Black Enterprise, at least 51% of the equity of the company must be owned by black people. Not every company featured in Black Enterprise meets that standard, but for certain sections of the magazine, such as our Making It profiles in the Small Biz section, our goal is to showcase black-owned businesses.
Who are your top clients? This is one of the ways we reality-check the sales figures and other information provided by entrepreneurs. Yes, we will want to talk to your clients, as well as other parties who can vouch for the viability of the business and the credibility of the owners.
How many employees do you have? Are they full time, part-time, seasonal, temporary or independent contractors?
You’d think I’d be used to it after more than two decades at Black Enterprise, but I continue to be amazed by entrepreneurs who expect us to write about their business with no financial information about their company. We are a business and financial media company, so we use numbers to tell the story. So with all due respect to your passion for your business idea and your deep desire to give back to the community, if you’re not willing to divulge financial figures and other data to help us to measure the size and performance of your business, you’ll have a hard time convincing us to do an in-depth profile of you and your company.
Most of the businesses covered in Black Enterprise are privately held companies, which means we have to ask you to provide the information we need, and then verify it through our own network of industry experts and analysts. If you want to be featured in Black Enterprise, you have to be willing to share details—including the numbers—of your story with our audience. Doing so will increase your appeal to our editors, and increase the odds that your story will be told in the magazine.