The Truth About Black Folks and Our Reputation in Business

Four reason some black businesses get a bad rap (and what entrepreneurs can do to fight it)

Late and unprepared: To be on time (which is to be early) and prepared you must create new habits.  Usually people who are late all the time and unprepared are trying to do too much.  Learn the word “no” and realize that every “yes” means “no” to something else.  When you say, “yes,” I’ll be at that meeting that means 30 minutes for the commute and 60 minutes for the meeting, i.e. an hour and a half less that you have to work on and prepare for something else.  Can you afford to do that?  Start managing your time like it is money because it is actually far more precious: Time is our only resource we can never replace.  Don’t waste it.

Regardless of the circumstances, there is no reason to run a sub-par business long-term.  Those operating in excellence should continue to do so and pass along wisdom to others.  For those who need help, it’s time to get honest, get tough and change the conversation because that’s the only way to change the reputation.

Felicia Joy is a nationally recognized entrepreneur who created $50 million in value for the various organizations and companies she served in corporate America before launching her business enterprise. She is the author of Hybrid Entrepreneurship: How the Middle Class Can Beat the Slow Economy, Earn Extra Income and Reclaim the American Dream and a regular contributor on CNN. Follow her @feliciajoy.

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  • Jacqueline A. Grimes

    The above article was well written and emphasized some real problems in black culture, especially among business ventures. I think part of the issue stems from the legacy of U.S. slavery for blacks–the “remains of the day”, if you will. Our ethnicity has always been dangled in muck and mire for political gains and social advancement, even prior to the Civil War. Some have grown insensitive to negative language (continuous use of “nigger”) through constant rejection and prejudices over matters we cannot change (e.g.,skin tone, original hair texture). We’re a real standout for ridicule and statistical analysis on nearly everything (poll comparisons to whites and others from education to medical conditions). It’s a trip to listen to and see news reports about us. I try to represent the Agape LOVE that’s in me by design, so loving my people is easy; helping them transform their mind, so that they can be strongly supported, is challenging. But still, I try.

  • WriteMoneyInc

    Public perception of a business depends on the mindset of the business’ leaders. I’ve done business with top notch firms owned and operated by black innovators and leaders. As the article begins, poor business products/services aren’t isolated to black owned companies. Maybe some of us focus on poor service more when dealing with a black owned business, thereby creating blinders and diminishing the same poor service when we see it at other businesses. Bottom line is successful businesses provide quality products and services, else they would likely not survive. There are many black owned businesses that fit this description. Look for good and see if it doesn’t start showing up more in your life.


  • jerry

    Denise, you sound like a 12 year old. Stupid comment

  • Robin Walton

    Felicia Joy’s articles were right on point. As Black people who own businesses we must band together to work hard so that we all can accomplish our dream. I own a cosmetics company and I have excellent products sold at a reasonable price. I have an online right now, but I look forward to opening a store in mall in the near future.

  • Destined4Success

    From my perspective, the author is speaking about two seperate issues: One being the power of positive affirmations and second, the mindset of some Black business owners. They are not one in the same. Positive thinking and speaking is great if that is your mindset. However, with respect to those businesses who fit into the negative stereotype, there are obviously issues that they have not or may be unwilling to address. Until that happens, we will continue having this subject raised. For those owners who have taken the time to educate themselves on how to successfully run and sustain a business, I will continue to give you my support.

  • Janine Bell

    This issue is two-fold but it’s a mindset issue on both parts. We business owners have to take ourselves and our business serious enough to compete in the market. Just like in any field we have to go the extra mile- arrive the earliest and stay the latest BECAUSE these stigmas exist. Stay relevant and ahead of the curve. And like Felicia says, be honest with yourself. These stereotypes don’t create themselves. If there was nothing subpar going on, consumers wouldn’t have anything to complain about.

    The other side of the coin is the consumer. We can’t treat these businesses like they are all the same. We tend to carry a chip on our shoulder when it comes to Black-owned businesses. One bad experience ruins it for everyone else. That doesn’t make any sense to blame Peter for Paul’s crime. Then, we ONLY do it in our own communities- that’s a whole separate issue in and of itself. We have to give each business a fair chance at our business/loyalty. The “part” does not necessarily reflect the “whole.”

    As an entrepreneur and consumer I understand both sides of this detrimental coin.
    I recently wrote a blog entitled “Stop Treating Black Businesses Like the Ex Who Cheated on You” on this very issue- the consumer side. It’s funny how I came across this as well.

    Great post Felicia.

    Peace | Love | Light
    -Janine Bell

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  • Judy A. Brown

    I’m a 67 year old Black Woman with 2 patents, and have designed a park that would benefit my community and give our children and families a safer place to play and learn. My first patent I designed a stroller seat only to have a big company copy the idea of the intention of it’s use with the help of my patent lawyer. I received a patent for a portable urinal only to be told the mold could not be made, so now I’m in the process of having to apply for a new patent because a modification is not allowed.I am determined to get my products out there, but I just don’t know how. This article is very enlightening.I will contact the U.S.SBA and Score asap. Thank you.

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