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Five reasons why 2021 is the year for black businesses in the UK

2021 is going to a create the perfect conditions for black UK business to grow at a rate never seen before. You will be mistaken if you think Coronavirus and Brexit are going to slow down black entrepreneurship.

In mid 2020, heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua called for people to “invest in black-owned businesses” and the message has really hit home with movements like the launch of ‘Black Pound Day’. Initiatives like Black Pound Day are making the focus on Black-owned businesses official. There are also some amazing groups on Facebook such ‘Support UK Black-owned Business’ and Black Owned Economy all advocating for the advancement of black-owned businesses.

We have highlighted ‘Five reasons why 2021 is the year for black businesses in the UK‘.

1. Black online businesses are filling a gap

The COVID pandemic has shifted e-commerce in 2020, maybe more than any other time in history. Traditional retail sales have declined due to the lock downs and consumer confidence in high street shopping. Black online businesses providing uniquely black products are filling various gaps that are opening up due to consumer behaviour changes.

Black women in the UK are embracing natural looks and purchasing locally sourced, organic hand made products.

2. Trends are changing in black hair & beauty

Talking about uniquely black products, the biggest mover in black UK business has been UK black owned hair products. Black women in the UK are embracing more natural looks and purchasing locally sourced, organic hand made products. Examples of businesses meeting this demand include The Afro Hair & Skin Co., Natural I Am and Von Botanicals.

This demand has led to a growth in new UK startups catering entirely for black and mixed race clientele. This trend has also enter the world of black cosmetics but that is a whole conversation by itself.

Black women are mastering social media marketing
3. Black entrepreneurs master social-media marketing

Instagram. Facebook. LinkedIn. Pinterest. Twitter, Snapchat. Black entrepreneurs have been able to utilise various social media sites to promote their brands, products and services. By mastering social-media marketing, these businesses owner have mastered:-

  • Brand awareness. Savvy black entrepreneur are working hard to create brand presence on social media platforms to find potential customers and generate new business. With the sheer volume of people using social media today, social media platforms are the perfect place to promote a brand’s story and help people get a better feel for the business.
  • Brand loyalty. Social media gives brands an unparalleled opportunity to join in conversations and engage with their customers. When executed properly and consistently, these interactions pave the way for brand loyalty. While it still takes time to earn customer loyalty, social media engagement can help businesses build that trust more quickly.
  • Customer insights. With more black consumers shopping online, a tremendous amount of important customer data is being collected on social media platforms by black entrepreneurs. Through social listening and engaging with followers, black owned businesses are able to engage with prospective customers in ways not possible before.

4. Afro-Caribbean food sees increase in demand

The last ten years has seen a rise in demand for authentic Afro-Caribbean food. The big four supermarkets in the UK, Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons have taken advantage of this with more stores across the UK are adding or expanding their Afro-Caribbean isles.

This trend has shifted online with new black food products making their way into online baskets. Following the Tropical Sun boycott, black consumers in the UK have become more conscious in regards to the brands they purchase. This has driven a rise of small businesses to enter various markets.

5. Black women are taking their seat at the table

In the past, when it came to securing finance for startups, black women in the UK  often faced the double whammy of racism and sexism. Times have changed and launching a start-up has never been easier. Black women are finding new resources that are equipping them with the tools need to succeed.

The Memo: What Women of Color Need to Know to Secure a Seat at the Table
Why is it important to support black businesses?

Supporting black businesses in the UK is beneficial for everyone. For one, it stimulates the UK economy generating millions for the treasury. Secondly and most importantly, it allows new products to enter the market and drives competition. Variety is the spice of life and having new products and services is beneficial for all of us.

Three lessons to learn from Pure Gym’s marketing faux pas

There is a belief in business that ‘There is no such thing as bad publicity‘. Whilst this may be true for multinationals with millions to spend on PR, this does not apply to your startup. If for any reason you missed Pure Gym’s moment of marketing madness, which was trending for most of yesterday, you should take a moment to read what went wrong and how you can avoid making a similar mistake.

So what did Pure Gym do wrong?

PureGym has had to issue a formal apology after a local Luton & Dunstable gym posted a ‘slavery-based’ fitness workout five days into Black History Month. Whilst it is obvious that there was no racist intent behind the post, the post was widely condemned and mocked.

Pure Gym's Marketing Faux Pas

In their swift apology, Pure Gym made it clear that the post was not approved by their head office. They went on to add ‘individual gyms control their regional social media accounts’. This could explain why this happened in the first place and is the first of our ‘Three lessons to learn from Pure Gym’s marketing faux pas’.

Three lessons to learn from Pure Gym’s marketing faux pas

1. Measure Twice, Cut Once!

Proverbs will serve you will when starting your business. The old adage of measuring twice and cutting once helps to avoid costly mistakes. In the case of Luton & Dunstable’s Pure Gym, a sanity check would have been more appropriate. Had the post been checked by two different people, this PR disaster might have been avoided. Whilst the negative attention won’t affect Pure Gym in the long term, it could destroy a startup.

In all aspects of marketing your startup business, measuring twice and cutting once will save you money and time. From targeting prospects to launching campaigns, double-check everything to avoid mistakes. You will make some mistakes but you want to make sure they are not going to destroy all your hard work.

2. There is no such thing as a free lunch.

Staying on the theme of proverbs, startups must understand when it comes to marketing, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Whilst social media can be an amazing tool to generate leads and promote your business, it is very important to remember that it should be used as part of the marketing mix and not as a free marketing platform. Posting for the sake of posting eventually leads to situations like the one Pure Gym is now facing.

Think Before you Speak to avoid marketing faux pas

When it comes to social media, jumping on trends to be noticed can often backfire and should be done with extreme caution. As a startup, gaining the attention of prospective customers and clients should be a top priority. This doesn’t mean you should shoot from the hip. Think carefully about your messaging and what you align your brand with.

3. Two heads are better than one

When it comes to problem-solving, two heads are clearly better than one. The assumption here is that the one head is not a member of mensa. As an entrepreneur, it is important to remember that you don’t have to be an expert in every field. If you are running a startup and you are your team, it makes sense to get advice from a wiser ‘head’ to keep that marketing faux pas at bay.

If you don’t understand Google Adwords, reach out to someone who has experience in running Google Adword campaigns. There are many contacts you can connect with via networking on sites like LinkedIn. Many of these individuals will happily share advice for free. Need help writing a press release? Again, there are many experienced individuals you can reach out to. You may find treating someone to lunch for five minutes of advice may save you from making costly marketing mistakes.

If you have done all the hard work to get your business idea out of your head and created a business, do you really want to risk it? By choosing not to lean on advice from more experienced individuals, you are potentially only one step away from a marketing faux pas that could kill your reputation and business.



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If you are reading this, there is a chance that you are one of the ten million people in the UK currently furloughed. But have you thought about what is really going to happen when the furlough scheme comes to an end?

Whilst we commonly refer to it as furlough, under the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme, workers placed on leave have been able to receive 80% of their pay, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month. But the scheme is set to end in October and that could mean a winter of discontent for many households across Britain. Read more

One month on from Black Pound Day, where is your startup?

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So you want to be your own boss. Are you ready for it?

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