A Final Solution for Black-owned Businesses…
A Final Solution for Black-owned Businesses…– The “Black Individualism” Problem Identified and Solved!
By Pete Lorins
For every Michael Jordan, or Magic Johnson, or BET Founder, Oprah, Jay Z, and others, there is a plethora of intelligent minds that happen to be Black and happen to be aspiring entrepreneurs that will never experience any form of true business success… WHY, you might ASK?
The answer is rather complex but I will simplify it by being the first one to coin a name for the problem: “BLACK INDIVIDUALSM”…
… So, what is “Black Individualism”?
Black Individualism is a state of mind in which one feels like he or she does not need any partnership or networking or collaboration or mentoring to succeed in business or life… It is a mindset that can be experienced by any historically suppressed group of any race, but it is one that primarily affects people of African descent. It often emanates from the fact that one had to INDIVIDUALLY find self-belief without the support of one’s surroundings or “own people or even race.” It is the state of mind in which a Black person deceptively believes that he or she is smarter than any of his potential partners or simply more sophisticated or aware and thus either does not need to deal with any potential partners, or simply has no time to waste with them or just prefers to be fully in charge (nearly dictatorially) and thus, decides to start his own business without enough checks and balance, preparation, partnership, capital, clientele, market research… just to say that he or she finally is the boss or finally owns something or finally is in charge… admittedly is an exhilarating feeling, and I recall becoming my own boss at 22 years of age and how happy and pleased I was… I was on fire and I was good at it, and did create a healthy client base selling training products, formatting resumes and career development. But the reality of running a business exists in the realm of supply and demand and profits and losses, competition, changing markets and trends, and adaptions thereof. Thus, for any Black entrepreneur, a “Black Individualism” state of mind is not only reckless but also misguided if not foolish at best.
Result of Black Individualism – Dilution of Black Talent
The result of Black individualism is an increase in the number of sub-par Black businesses, including churches, law firms, and medical centers. This problem, correspondingly, and partly emanates from the fact that instead of having concentrated groups of Black or diversified entrepreneurs pooling their resources together to intelligently position themselves into set markets both financially and geographically, you have INDIVIDUAL Black entrepreneurs who are out there barely "breaking-even" but happy to be HIS/HER OWN INDIVIDUAL BOSS. I said “diversified” because it is smart to include individuals from all walks of life into our structures. Blacks, often, accuse Whites of not being inclusive enough (i.e., not hiring enough Blacks) but Blacks fail to bring in enough Whites and other groups in their businesses as well. Historically, most entrepreneurs had to pay their dues (i.e., get their feet wet, build good will) prior to being fully respected... that is usually called "branding".... But nowadays, particularly in our post 9-11 and tough economy – one in which people can’t find ideal jobs, almost every Black person wants to start his own business right at the end of their academic careers. Although some might make it, most will not. It is analogous to the fact that every other Black person who found Jesus while being in Jail feels like coming out and enlightening the World and feel prepared to start a Church of some sort and the result is what? A number of ill-structured and non-functional Black churches led by incompetent people, who really have marginal influences on Black minds… I mean these folks actually believe that they are more enlightened than learned men whose counsels they should seek (e.g., local scholars, elders in their communities, average folks etc.) I mean, if you are going to start a business to serve a certain group of people, would it not behoove you to find out what would please these very people if you truly respect them?
Similarly, with the advent of more Black law school, medical and business school graduates, Blacks need to start thinking differently… They need to cure themselves of “Black Individualism”, and here is my proposed solution.
Solution to the “Black Individualism” Problem – Strategic Partnerships not Just with Blacks But also with all Other Groups
Strategic Partnerships –Strategic Partnerships – Strategic Partnerships: Historically, Blacks folks have proven to be the worst group when it comes to partnering with each other or edifying each other except in moments of crises when the whole race feels attacked concurrently, or during a political or activism movement of some sort. Black businesses will never thrive without strategic partnership, which I will call the BIGGEST BLACK LACKING. A strategic partner is worth more than millions. It has always been said in all cultures that two or more heads are better than one. A partnership requires understanding, trust, respect, professionalism, etiquette, and often a degree of admiration for what each partner brings on the table. These are things that Black entrepreneurs in all fields have to work on, and instead of having their own just to own their own, they can have less individual sub-bar shops and more high-end conglomerates in which resources are pooled together and all partners are enjoying success of their hard work while creating franchising and dealership opportunities for other entrepreneurs, especially other Black entrepreneurs who normally would not have been given a chance by other entities.
This proposed solution would minimize the number of shade Black doctors, lawyers, and business entities out there, but it would increase the quality of Black brand/equity, so that Black businesses would not only be taken seriously by Blacks, but also all other groups.
Acceptance and Tolerance for Others’ Views
Most Blacks tend to be either your friend or your enemy without even truly knowing you. It’s also a problem that emanates from Black Individualism. There is hardly any gray area. The above proposed solution can only be implemented if most Back entrepreneurs would agree to become less insecure, self-centered, and egotistical about their own views and allow some room for those of others. Historically, the latter is one of main sources of “Black Individualism” and I am proposing that it should be dealt with prior to curing the plague of Black Individualism which affects Black folks in all of our continents, namely, Africa, Asia, America, Australia… In 2014, there is no superbly-run or nearly developed Black nation; it is a darn shame and the very result of what I have coined in this article. One cannot reach a solution without identifying a problem, and I believe I have “hit the nail right on the head” in this article.
We cannot measure success by the success of the exceptional ones of us. Most people out there are barely average or above average intelligence-quotient wise. Therefore, solutions have to keep the majority of Black businesses and consumers in mind, and this solution is geared towards helping both the average and brilliant Black entrepreneur. The failure of any Black business should threaten society at large. Black entrereneurs and consumers should be as respected as any other groups, but that cannot happen without focusing on substance/quality as opposed to form/quantity.
This article was written by Pete Lorins, Editor in Chief of LorinsPOST… any questions or concerns should be directed to Mr. Lorins at: email@example.com