Increase Your Odds Of Business Success By Solving Desperate Problems That Require Immediate Solutions
For the reasons I explained in great detail during this post, Black business owners who are serious about success need to stop structuring their businesses around hopes of appealing to African-American consumers. The masses of African-American consumers are emotionally incapable of responding appropriately to any visibly Black-owned business, regardless of its quality. African-American business owners need to position their businesses as “colorless” in order to tap into the larger pool of nonblack consumers. Unless they find out otherwise, many (if not most) American consumers will assume that a business is White-owned. Making your business “colorless” means to preserve this assumption of White ownership for as long as possible.
It takes emotional discipline to have a colorless business and to maintain secrecy about it being Black-owned. This means that you don’t get to puff your chest out and brag about how you’re a business owner. This often means that you don’t get the emotional payoff of visibly looking like The Boss.
But if you’re in tune with reality, then you know that life is not fair and that you can’t afford to behave the same way as nonblack business owners. That is, if your priority is to make the sale while providing excellent goods and service. The reality is that you won’t even get the opportunity to provide excellent products and service to most potential customers (of any race, including Blacks) if they know your business is Black-owned. As I mentioned to a reader during an earlier conversation,
For AA business owners, it’s a difficult, hostile business environment all-around. I agree with you that things are not much better with nonblack consumers. I never said it was Paradise with them. But here’s what I feel is the (meaningful) difference:
If you can position yourself in such a way that maintains “colorlessness”—let’s be blunt, in a way that maintains the illusion of White ownership—then your business has the chance to survive long enough to maybe, perhaps . . . be judged on its actual merits. There’s NO realistic hope of that when dealing with AA consumers as a visibly Black-owned business. AA consumers won’t patronize the business, AND they’ll be more prone to rob and/or steal you blind if they know it’s Black-owned.
If your business can survive long enough, you might be able to develop a professional reputation that’s well-known enough to get you over that “racism from nonblack consumers” hump.
It’s not a direct comparison (after all, she’s a WW dealing with other White people), but this is what the Men With Pens blogger was able to accomplish with her online business. She “passed” as a WM-owned business long enough to more or less get over the sexism hump.
She came up with a decidedly MALE pseudonym, and named her blog the manly-sounding “MEN With Pens.” Her problem was that at a certain point, she had to make business phone calls. And then customers would hear her (woman’s) voice.
She talked about all of this in her post entitled Why James Chartrand Wears Women’s Underpants.
I’ve heard tales of Black business owners who do like the AA plumbing company owner who pretends to be an employee of his own company when he goes out on service calls.
Later on, I’ll get back to the nuances of making your business as “colorless” as possible. But for now, let’s discuss another strategy. A strategy that can mean the difference between success or failure for visibly Black-owned businesses:
STRUCTURE YOUR BUSINESS AROUND SOLVING DESPERATE PROBLEMS THAT REQUIRE IMMEDIATE SOLUTIONS
This is an overall strategy that I learned from reading Alexis Dawes’ excellent ebook for information marketers, Desperate Buyers Only. She has noted,
Desperate people—people with throbbing problems, pressing issues, and insane drives—buy on impulse. Desperate people buy on impulse because they’re in an emotionally charged state-of-mind or state-of-being and they want to get out of it. So when you create information products for desperate people, you change the dynamics from being the person who’s doing the chasing . . . to becoming the person who’s constantly being chased.
Sales letter for Desperate Buyers Only. She gave an example of how this strategy can be applied to businesses that provide services.
A few years ago, a friend of mine had a wisdom tooth that was on the verge of exploding in his mouth. Needless to say, he needed a dentist – stat. I began thumbing through the telephone book looking for a dentist in our area. Have you ever done this? Looked in the yellow pages for a dentist? If you’re in a big city, there are like a million of them in there.
However in my search I quickly discovered there were only a handful of dentists who specialized in emergency cases. And only 1 that had a location within a 20-minute drive.
So guess who got my friends business? The closest emergency dentist we could find. My friend didn’t care about the cost. There was no time to comparison shop. We just found the dentist, and jumped in the car.
The moral of the story… pain is one heck of a motivator.
Sales letter, Desperate Buyers Only.
She’s right. A desperate consumer is a highly motivated consumer. Motivated enough to be much more likely to look beyond their racism. I can think of other examples I’ve seen in real life. When their basements are flooded at 2:00 a.m., many homeowners don’t care about the emergency plumber’s race or ethnicity. They want somebody to come out and fix the problem before they’re up to their eyeballs in water.
TO INCREASE YOUR ODDS OF BUSINESS SUCCESS, FIND THE “DESPERATE” ANGLES TO YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE
This will take some brainstorming, but it’s worth it. Look for the most painful and urgent problems your business can solve; and structure your business around solving them. Read this post as an example of a blogger who discovered a more “desperate” consumer base for his product.
[*Audience Note* I don’t have any affiliate relationships with anybody. If I mention or recommend a product, it’s because I’ve found it to be helpful for my own projects.]
Tagged as: art of black-owned business