How To Support Diverse Business Owners: 5 Tips From #BBATX
This fall, we’re exploring what it looks like to flourish. What conditions are best for our growth?
Couple that theme with craftHER Market coming up, and it’s the perfect time to touch on the ways that you can best help businesses in your community survive and thrive. Keep reading for 5 tips from our research and experience on how you can best support women-owned, LGBTQ-owned and POC-owned businesses.
This article was written and compiled by #BBATX’s Founding Executive Director Jane Hervey.
HERE ARE FIVE WAYS TO PUT ON BUSINESSES YOU CARE ABOUT:
1.) SHOP LOCAL.
Take a peek at your expenses and bank statements over the last few months. What businesses do you spend your money on? An even better phrasing of this question is: What businesses do you assign value to?
Are local businesses on that list? If not, that’s a good place to start. Local businesses better support our communities’ economies. Reports show that local businesses generate 70 percent more local economic activity per square foot than big box retail, because they hire locally and typically do not outsource labor. And the businesses in your local community are more likely to be owned by women, people of color, LGBTQ folks and more. When it comes to diversity in ownership, small businesses beat large corporations and Fortune 500s by a long shot.
2.) BE LOUD ABOUT IT.
Women, LGBTQ and POC small business owners, solopreneurs, freelancer and side hustlers are part of the largest growing segment of entrepreneurs, yet the most underserved. They deserve community support, visibility and opportunities to market to larger audiences.
So become part of the movement by becoming a fan. Advocate for the business owners that you know, research businesses you could better support in your community and amplify the spaces and places that put diverse business owners on.
Whether you post on social media or tell your friends, spreading the word works.
3.) VOTE WITH YOUR DOLLAR AND PAY FULL-PRICE.
This one’s tough. So many of us make our lifestyles work by shopping large retailers, getting those big box discounts on groceries, or relying on Amazon for cheap solutions and deliveries.
When we pay a little more to go local—when we pay small business owners for services and products that we *might* be able to get cheaper elsewhere— we are doing our part to ensure they can earn a living wage and pay a living wage to their own employees and staff. Studies show that our economies and communities only stand to benefit from more gender-equal business ownership, as women are also more likely to advocate for equal pay, create socially conscious businesses and media and employ more diversely.
Also, when we consciously support racially and culturally diverse businesses, we have the opportunity to redistribute economic wealth and value within our communities more equally. And that’s something we can get behind.
4.) SHOW UP.
When we pay attention to the small businesses in our immediate communities (like the grocery store down the street or the barber shop around the corner or that nonprofit community center in our neighborhood), we create a sense of place. The small businesses and organizations around your physical home often double as community spaces, too; you can physically see and be around other people who live in your area. Moreover, in times of crisis or gentrification, small businesses’ successes or failures may be a significant indicator of changes that will impact you or neighbors.
So, when budgets are tighter than usual, you can still support businesses you care about by showing up to their events, opening emails, reading their announcement and/or paying attention to what’s going on.
5.) CHECK YOURSELF.
If you want to build supporting local, diverse businesses owners into your lifestyle, make it real. Audit your bank statements once a quarter, take stock of where you’re assigning value with your spending and then adjust.
Being mindful—and realistic—about how you participate in your local economy and community will make you a better advocate. You’ll better understand how you contribute to the ecosystems around you and how you can continue to show up and support. :)
WANT TO SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESSES NOW?
Come through on October 12 and 13 for our biannual market, craftHER Market. We’ll put on 150+ businesses owned by women and nonbinary makers, artists and creatives. Learn more and mark your calendar at crafthermarket.com.