Free Small Business Toolkit: Over 60 Resources & Digital Marketing Tips for Black Entrepreneurs
The United States is home to roughly 30.2 million small businesses, but only a small fraction see long-term success. According to an article by CNBC, 20% of businesses fail within the first year, 30% within the second year, 50% within the third year and 70% within the tenth year.
BIPOC-owned businesses face even greater odds of failure with eight out of ten failing within only 18 months. Additionally, COVID-19 has disproportionately affected BIPOC-owned businesses, particularly those owned by Black entrepreneurs, with 58% saying their business’s financial health is “at risk” or “distressed”.
There is no doubt that Black-owned businesses face more challenges in the marketplace compared to white-owned businesses. What might be causing this disparity? Here are several factors that may help provide some insight.
- Lack of marketing resources: Marketing allows businesses to create and maintain long-term relationships with their audiences. Unfortunately, many Black-owned businesses are coping with today’s economic challenges by cutting back on digital marketing efforts, according to an article by WordStream. As a result, their businesses become less visible and less competitive online.
- Inequitable funding: Successful businesses require working capital to hire employees, pay professional fees, acquire equipment and start up their operations. However, many Black businesses are shut out from accessing capital. When they do get funding, the amounts tend to be about $30,000 less than comparable white-owned businesses, with higher interest rates.
- Safety concerns: According to a recent article by Forbes, Black-owned businesses are more likely to be located in COVID-19 hot spots, whereas white-owned companies are less likely to occupy heavily affected areas. This can impact safety perceptions for many brick and mortar Black businesses.
The history of business ownership and the creation of wealth shows that Black business owners are at a disadvantage. These inequalities hinder Black businesses’ ability to innovate and prosper.
Black Businesses Matter
In a climate of widening inequalities and persisting racial disparities, it is more important than ever to empower Black entrepreneurs to sustain and scale their businesses. Doing so can create a more stable and prosperous economy for everyone. Here are a few other reasons why it is important to support and empower Black business owners.
In the U.S. economy, an increase in Black-owned businesses contributes to sustained wealth. A report on The State of Black Entrepreneurship in America found that existing Black businesses employ one million people and generate $165 billion in revenue each year.
For Black Americans, ownership of a business is a major factor of wealth. This accounts for 12 times as much wealth as non-business owners. More opportunities for business ownership could enhance long-term wealth for these groups.
Statistically, white households have an average wealth that is 6.5 times greater than Black households, according to the Federal Reserve Bank. Supporting Black businesses can lead to greater wealth for Black families over time, thus reducing the racial wealth gap.
Free Resources for Black Entrepreneurs
Using the free resources below, Black business owners and entrepreneurs can help to ensure the success of their business through the use of digital marketing tips, funding options, planning guides, COVID-19 safety toolkits, entrepreneurship training, association support and more.
Navigate through the resource sections using the following options:
Free Small Business Tips and Toolkits for Black Businesses
Developing business and ongoing operational plans is the first step to building a successful company. Here is a list of free toolkits, plans and tips designed to set Black-owned businesses up for success.
- Small Business Toolkit For Black-Owned Businesses — CNBC has created a small business toolkit designed specifically for Black entrepreneurs.
- Free Downloadable Business Toolkit for Black Entrepreneurs — This downloadable toolkit by We Buy Black offers resources on funding, access to capital, business taxes and more.
- New Business Resources and Tools for Black Businesses — Facebook has created a list of business resources and tools for Black business owners.
- Steps To Writing A Business Plan As Minority-Owned Business – This article shares a list of helpful steps for writing a business plan for BIPOC business owners.
- Facebook Tips for Black-Owned Businesses – This video shares a list of Facebook resources designed for Black-owned businesses.
- 7 Steps To Start A Black-Owned Business — This resource by All Black Media shares seven tips for starting your own Black-owned business.
- How to Start a Minority-owned Business in 5 Steps — This NerdWallet resource shares five steps for starting a BIPOC-owned business.
- 5 Tips for Starting a Black-Owned Business — This article presents five tips for Black business owners, including one advantage that many might not think of.
- 10 Practical Tips to Help Set Your Black-Owned Business Up for Success — This article by Blavity shares how the right resources and connections can set your Black-owned business up for success.
Digital Marketing Tips for Black Businesses
Another critical step for any business is to develop a marketing plan. Today, a digital marketing strategy is integral to your business’s success and performance. The following resources will help you educate customers, keep them engaged, build a solid online reputation and more.
- 7 Marketing Resources Every Black Business Owner Should Tap Into — These marketing resources are part of ONE37pm’s editorial series to support Black businesses.
- 5 Search Engine Optimization Tips from An Expert — Black entrepreneur Nicole McCullum, founder of Captivate Designs, shares five SEO tips to improve online visibility.
- 9 Marketing Tips For Black-Owned Small Businesses to Accelerate Business Growth — This article by BLACK ENTERPRISE shares nine marketing tips designed to promote growth.
- Marketing Secrets for Black-Owned Businesses — Black Business Boom shares four marketing secrets for Black-owned businesses.
- How We Achieved Multiple #1 & #2 Google Rankings (in Under 6 Months) — This Black-owned marketing agency shares tips on how they reached the first page of Google.
- 3 Important Branding Insights for Minority-Owned Businesses and Founders of Color — Discover how BIPOC-owned businesses and founders of color can brand themselves effectively.
- Black Female Small Business Owners Reveal Their Top Advice, Lessons Learned — Good Morning America sat down with several female black business owners to talk advice, lessons learned and more.
- Monetizing Black Businesses Podcast: Sales & Marketing Tips for Black-Owned Businesses — This podcast series shares sales and marketing tips designed for Black-owned businesses.
- 3 Tips to Increase Instagram Followers for Black Businesses — Explore three strategies for increasing your Instagram followers in this article by Black Business Boom.
- Top Hashtags for Black Entrepreneurs You Should Use for Your Business — This article by Black Business Enterprise shares five hashtags to use for your business.
Directories That List Black-Owned Businesses
Directory listings are a great way for you to expand your business’s visibility and access audiences that may have previously been out of reach. Here is a list of directories that cater specifically to Black-owned businesses.
- The Black Business List — Since 1997, this directory has been dedicated to helping BIPOC business people start, maintain and grow viable businesses.
- Black Business Green Book — Color Of Change’s Black Business Green Book is a directory where you can list Black businesses and discover many others.
- EatOkra— EatOkra is an app for discovering Black-owned restaurants. They have a “Get Listed” option to help you get started.
- Support Black-Owned — This site was created as a one-stop source that is used to bring visibility to Black business owners.
- Black-Owned Brooklyn — This website seeks to lift up and preserve businesses and rich stories that are often overlooked in the Brooklyn area due to gentrification.
- BBPA Black Business Directory — The Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA) has created a directory of Black businesses in which yours can be included.
- Shop Black Biz — This website and app lists local and worldwide Black businesses in a variety of categories including beauty, food and drink, health and wellness and more.
Associations That Support Black-Owned Businesses
Associations are an excellent resource for connecting with industry contacts — and, in particular, connecting with other business owners. Here is a list of associations that support Black-owned businesses.
- Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA) — Founded in 1983, the BBPA is a nonprofit charitable organization that addresses equality and opportunity for Black businesses.
- National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) — The NBCC is dedicated to the economic empowerment of Black communities through entrepreneurial pursuits.
- National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) — The NMSDC is committed to advancing opportunities for BIPOC business enterprises and connects them to corporate members.
- U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC) — Through the creation of resources and initiatives, USBC supports Black businesses in their work of developing and growing enterprises.
- Black Girl Ventures — This group is committed to Black/Brown woman-identifying founders with access to community, capital and capacity building in order to meet business milestones.
- The Black upStart — This organization trains aspiring Black entrepreneurs to start successful and profitable businesses.
- National Economic Association (NEA) — The NEA was founded in 1969 as the Caucus of Black Economists to promote the professional lives of minorities within the profession.
Funding Resources for Black-Owned Businesses
Even though Black-owned businesses face challenges when applying for financing, there are still several opportunities to help bridge this racial gap. Here is a list of funding resources to help you get started.
- FedEx Small Business Grant Contest — This contest is a grant program by FedEx to award twelve U.S.-based small businesses with grants up to $50,000, and up to $7,500 in FedEx Office® print and business services.
- 7 Ways You Can Get Funding for Your Black-Owned Business — This Cosmopolitan article shares seven ways that you can get funding for your Black-owned business.
- National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA) Scale-Up Pitch Challenge — The National Black MBA Association launched the Scale-Up Pitch Challenge to help create and support wealth-building opportunities.
- Top Black and Minority Business Grants and Funding Opportunities — This article offers a list of BIPOC business grants and funding opportunities.
- The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) Growth Grants Program — The NASE offers entrepreneurs and small business owners a wide range of resources and tools to help them run their business successfully.
- Small Business Funding: The 9 Best Options for Financing in 2021 — This Fundera article shares a list of small business funding opportunities to help you.
- 9 Grant Opportunities for Minority-Owned Small Business & Startups in 2021 — Explore this list of grant opportunities designed for BIPOC-owned small businesses and startups.
- Shea Moisture Women of Color E-Lab — Shea Moisture is creating an e-learning platform for female entrepreneurs of color to continue to gain education, access to resources, mentorship and advice on how to prepare for the economic downturn.
- Black Entrepreneur Program — As part of their action plan against issues of systemic racism, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) is committed to enabling economic growth and wealth creation for Black entrepreneurs.
Free Crowdfunding Resources for Black-Owned Businesses
The internet has made crowdfunding a viable and innovative way for Black-owned companies and other economically marginalized groups to raise funds, allowing businesses to secure small investments from large pools of investors. Here are some resources to help you get started.
- Crowdfunding Platforms for Minorities and Women Businesses — This article shares a list of crowdfunding platforms designed to help BIPOC entrepreneurs.
- fundBlackfounders — This rewards-based crowdfunding platform is doubling down on Black founders through culturally relevant resources resulting in the birth of more Black businesses.
- How to Finance A Business: Crowdfunding — This Harvard Business Insights Blog shares tips on how to finance a small business, including a section on crowdfunding.
- 12 Best Crowdfunding Sites For Small Business — This FreshBooks article shares twelve crowdfunding sites that you can use today.
- Which Crowdfunding Platform is Best for Your Small Business? — QuickBooks has created a resource to help you find out which crowdfunding platform is best for your small business.
Free Small Business COVID-19 Safety Resources
A business that demonstrates its commitment to health and safety can build credibility and customer loyalty — regardless of ownership. Here are several free COVID-19 safety resources to help you improve your customer experience.
- COVID-19 Toolkit for Business and Workplaces — This CDC resource offers tools to help business owners make decisions, protect their customers and employees and communicate with their communities.
- Workplace Health Toolkit for Small Businesses — The Health and Safety Authority has created a workplace health toolkit to help you keep your small business safe.
- How Small Businesses Can Reopen Safely — This AmTrust Financial resource offers guidance on how small businesses can begin to safely reopen.
- How to Create a COVID-19 Safety Plan for Your Workplace — Explore these seven steps for developing a COVID-19 safety plan for your small business.
- Resuming Business Toolkit — This CDC resource offers a downloadable PDF-based toolkit designed to help you reintegrate employees into your small business setting.
- How to Adapt Your Small Business for Social Distancing — This article shares tips on small business social distancing, as well as tips to help you determine which approach is best for your business.
- How to Update Your Google My Business Pages With COVID-19 Related Posts — This resource can help ensure your customers are constantly informed by updating your business information related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Allyship Resources to Support Black-Owned Businesses
There are many ways that you can show your support for Black-owned businesses and organizations, even if you are not an owner yourself. Here’s a list of allyship resources to help you get started.
- The Guide to Becoming a Black Community Ally — This guide by Southern Utah University shares tips and action on how to be a Black community ally.
- How To Find Black-Owned Businesses to Support Near You — Learn how to find and support Black-owned businesses in your area with the help of this resource.
- How to Find Black Businesses on Google — This article by CNET shares tips on how to find Black-owned businesses through Google Search and Maps.
- How to Find and Support Black-Owned Businesses — And Why It’s Important — This Mashable article offers tips on how to find and support Black-owned businesses, and why it is important.
- 7 Ways You Can Support BIPOC Businesses Now — This resource can help you learn seven ways to support BIPOC businesses in your community.
- 4 Reasons Why You Should Support Black-Owned Businesses — This article explores four reasons why you should support Black-owned businesses.
- 13 Ways To Support Black-Owned Businesses & Organizations — Explore thirteen different ways that you can show support for Black-owned businesses and organizations.
- How to Support Black-Owned Businesses on Instagram — This blog post shares tips on how you can use Instagram to directly collaborate with and support Black-owned businesses.
- 10 Meaningful Ways to Support Black-Owned Outdoor Businesses — This Outside Business Journal article offers ten meaningful ways to support Black outdoor businesses.
The inclusion of these resources is for educational purposes only and does not constitute an endorsement by Berkeley Boot Camps.