by Phindile Ndlovu, founder and Director of Bhekizenzo Foundation
We are urged so many times to support our local brands, to support small businesses, and even support black female owned businesses. We are encouraged to support those who are from disadvantaged groupings, who have stepped out and took the risk of starting businesses. I concede - starting a business coming from a disadvantaged position is hard and you need a good support system. When that business does not go well that month, that means the bills will not be paid and the family will struggle to have food on the table. So yes, we need to support, local, small and black owned businesses.
"... we ought to remember that the way in which we do our business is important for the next entrepreneur who is in the same position as us. When we fail clients, we make an impression."
I recently supported a lady and asked her to do my cake for my baby shower and we were gelling quite well and both ready to develop and cultivate a relationship. This soon came to an end when she cancelled on me three hours before my baby shower. I was furious - how could she disappoint me like that? I am now faced with a dilemma; do I support black owned businesses again or do I go and support trusted brands? Needless to add that I know people who could have delivered and this lady particularly does not represent all black owners. However, I do not trust them anymore.
There is something problematic in having a blanket view about business. Favouring one group and saying that one group performs better than the other due to race and gender is problematic. Any seller could have cancelled on me like this black lady did but the reality is we still associate competence with trusted brands owned by white people, especially men. As problematic as that may be, as black people, as females - we need to step up owning the narrative about entrepreneurship - that starts with working very hard to give clients the best experience.
The reason why I am sharing this story is because as small local businesses, black owned or female owned, we ought to remember that the way in which we do our business is important for the next entrepreneur who is in the same position as us. When we fail clients, we make an impression. We cannot afford to slip up and not deliver, we stand as one but come at ten thousand. There is pressure to not only affirm that females, black people can own businesses, but there is pressure to raise the bar and show that we can offer the same service as other advantaged groups can - which is excellent customer experience.
Phindile Ndlovu is passionate about Community Development pertaining skills development and education for the youth. She is experienced in driving life changing community development campaigns. Passionate about self-development and leadership, she works and speaks with young people across the Gauteng Province in South Africa, motivating and coordinating her vision and goal setting workshops through her organization, Bhekizenzo Foundation. Her skillset is based on project design, brand awareness and organizational surveys, amongst many others. Phindile has strong, professional media and communications expertise, particularly with event coordination and campaign strategy planning. She has obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Political Studies and Sociology at the University of Witswatersand Johannesburg. Learn more.
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