Inside Secrets for Black Business Development

Lawrence Spearman
Lawrence Spearman
It's important for Black businesses to be involved with Business Development Networking. This is true because just like the hand makes a more powerful slap than any individual finger, bonded together Black businesses are more competitive than any of them individually.

There has been a lot of hype lately about increasing numbers of individual Black businesses. A closer look at the phenomenon reveals its true colors. Most of these "new" Black businesses are “Mom” and “Pop” operations, average one employee, have receipts that continue to place them at the bottom of the business revenues ladder.

Our research shows that being on the bottom of the heap creates the following disadvantages:

1) Revenues are non competitive with other immigrant groups

2) We do not have the power to create an effective brand

3) We lack the size to participate in discounted purchasing programs or large contracts

4) Our small capacity limits the kinds of businesses-to-business opportunities we can explore

The real tragedy for Black businesses is that the resources we need usually exist, however they cannot be secured. They cannot be afforded, found, understood or effectively utilized. Unfortunately, this lack of Business Development Networking causes an inability to mobilize and use what is available.

Black technology and entrepreneurial networking groups have sprouted up on both coasts and in the Midwest (i.e. Network, Minority Internet and Technology Professionals (MITP), Chicago InterNetworking, Network of African American Technology Entrepreneurs List [NATELI] and Bay Area InterNetwork). Relatively few people of color are involved in networking outside of those areas.[1]

In comparison, The Indus Entrepreneurs (TIE) and the Washington High Tech Council have emerged as powerful networks of Asian entrepreneurs. Their ranks consist of some extremely successful CEO’s who have become angel investors in new Asian ventures. [1]

In the Hispanic community, there is National Internet Community of Hispanic Entrepreneurs (NICHE-Net). However, some also feel that more Hispanics would be successful if they became involved in mainstream networks for their industries. [1]

In many urban areas, the Asian and Hispanic Chambers of Commerce exercise Business Development Networking. They are intimately networked with major contract providers, so once their clients are listed in their databases, the network is used to get them contracts. In a similar manner, the Chambers are networked with area banks to expedite loans and certification agencies to facilitate minority certification.

Many would view this lack of Business Development Networking as unique pitfall. However, Inside Secrets views it as an opportunity. By bonding Black businesses through Internet technology, many things can be done that would be difficult to do alone. We can kill three birds with one stone . . . build consumer traffic, share business knowledge, and be more competitive. To their credit some Black groups have tried Internet bonding, but there needs to be more of them with a clearer focus,for example, in the areas of :

• Financing – Implement bootstrapping, cooperative economics, and volume purchasing programs

• Planning – Implement mentor/protégé relationships, business referrals, networking opportunities and virtual think tanks (consider new ideas, share experiences, and distribute materials) participation

• Buying – Implement supplier searches, consumer business directories, consumer literacy, computer equipment, office equipment, office furniture, office supplies, and professional services discount pricing, and bartering

• Promotion – Implement market research and coop advertising programs

Jawanza Kunjufu says in Black Economics p.160:

The Internet provides us with endless possibilities. While we must avoid web pages being "fronts" for monopoly chains, there exists great potential. An African American company can recive busines from a racist company without the latter being aware. An Internet company can do business worldwide, 24 hours every day. We can conduct business iwthin the African triangle, Amerikca, Caribbean, and Africa. African Americans receive the same low prices as Whites, particualarly in the automobile industry. There is less discriminaation online.

Read what James Clingman says in an article entitled, Blackonomics . . . Empowering Blacks on the Internet
Of the online sources that currently offer Business Development Networking for Black businesses these are the best:







In summary, Inside Secrets recommends using the Internet to address the challenges of Business Development Networking with other Black businesses and professional services. Instead of having to make time to call or visit each party the business owner can efficiently engage multiple individuals. This results in saving time, money, and headaches as well as building a strong network of qualified partners.

  • [1] Current Issues in Minority Entrepreneurship, Udayan Gupta, Peter Shatzkin, Lorraine Leung, The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, 7 February 2001.
  • Inside Secrets for Black Business Development was founded by Lawrence Spearman in 2006. Its a response to the fact that African Americans face a sad situation today. Many would view our challenges as futile, but we at Inside Secrets see opportunity.