A Twenty-Pound Note That Goes Round Comes Round.
What is a community? A community is a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common. In this blog post, I want to focus on the second definition – people who have similar characteristics.
If you are African, you will likely understand the word community more than most. Africans have an inborn community spirit that enables us to seek out our own wherever we might be in the world. Whether you live in Australia, Malaysia, or Canada, the special bond that connects you with your kindred is shown at the airport, in the mall or while waiting at the doctor’s surgery. We naturally look out for each other and rarely turn a blind eye when one of ours is in need – even if it is just to offer a word of sympathy. However when it comes to the business world, our story changes.
I learnt that money goes round the Jewish community seventeen times before it leaves their coffers. I heard the Asian community support their own in words and deeds to ensure they all rise together. With the successful appointment of the new Mayor of London, I am desperate to find answers to a provocative question.
Community Spirit in Business – Why is this not working in our community?
The Symbolic Power of a £20 Note
I was privileged to be the keynote speaker at the Black African Women Rock Annual Award Event last year. It took me no time at all to come up with a topic because there is a matter that has burdened me for so long. I was determined to touch on the reason why we do not circulate money in our community and try to find some answers amongst the audience.
I started my presentation by handing out a £20 note to the first table and asked each person to touch the £20 note and circulate it. In two minutes, it had reached the back of the room and was handled by almost 100 people. I marvelled at how the money was circulated in no time at all.
So Many Questions That Need Answers
Why as the highest consumers of afro hair products do not dominate the afro hair supply industry? I am surprised that most cosmetics meant for black skin at not produced by our own. I am also trying to work out why most of us will choose to patronise another community while our businesses struggle to make ends meet. As regular party organisers, how many of these event halls do we own?
Who is the problem, the supplier or the buyer?
For many years, the service providers have been blaming the buyers and the buyers blame the vendors. Who is holding us back from creating an economically vibrant community away from our motherland?
Business Owners – are we our worst enemies?
Do we want the CEO title and the finest things in life without the price tag or the effort it takes to create sustainable businesses? Do we treat our customers as if they are doing us a favour whereas it should be the other way round? Do we handle feedback and criticism like a taboo and refuse to allow it to propel us to a greater height? Are we delivering high-quality services and reinforcing our presence in the market place.
Customers – Are we making it worse?
We discount products and services because they are ‘our own’. We ask for bargains without taking into account the time and effort the business owner has put into the offering. Is it because we do not respect the prices and hence do not comply with the business owner? Are we quick to criticise and belittle businesses rather than support and help them grow?
Many Rivers to Cross
There are so many hurdles we must cross to be able to build a financially strong community and it starts with each one of us. We can start by taking a step towards excellence – delivering high-quality products and services that rival those in any other market. Whether we own a shop, supply a service or run multiple businesses, we should have the mindset that we want to be the best and dominate the market. We must be in business to win more customers and keep their custom for years to come. We have to develop a longevity mindset so we can leave a legacy for our children.
We have to open our eyes to the problems that plague our community and come together as one to solve it. We have to stop being content with our little slice of cake when we can have the whole cake factory. We have to rise together and build stronger communities, businesses and much more.
Constructive suggestions are welcome.
Temi Koleowo is an idea catalyst and founder of Business First Steps. She is passionate about creating multiple streams of income as a means to fund bigger visions. She is also dedicated to helping people find their true purpose through their passion and create amazing viable products, services and life transforming solutions. Many individuals discover and develop their passion into products through her flagship programs Package My Passion and the Multiple Income Streams Club. You can find Temi at www.businessfirststeps.co.uk