We as African-Americans come from very different backgrounds both culturally and economically. As a result, we often have a variety of worldviews. We frequently encounter a variety of large-scale challenges and handle them using a variety of approaches. Pattern matching is the term you are looking for. You’re probably not used to hearing about market prospects you don’t understand if you don’t meet many Black founders.
In the wake of COVID-19 getting your business back together may seem like a hardship, one that you may or may not be able to overcome. For generations, those founders who didn’t even have to put up with the cruelty of COVID-19 still had a difficult time having to navigate the hardship that is being a founder of a new startup. Looking to the future I have taken it upon myself to come up with ways to overcome the challenges that might await new generations of founders.
Believe it or not
If you believe in a Black founding team’s abilities but you don’t understand the unique market opportunity they’re presenting, recognize that you should go and learn about that market and verify whether or not you’re missing out on returns for investors. Recognize that even when our companies focus on a more common market opportunity, we will still likely have different solutions. The reality is, most of the large competitors don’t have any people of color in leadership or on their product teams. There is a reason they don’t see the opportunities we see, and they won’t until we’ve made it relevant.
It’s all about the money
Black founders typically do not have access to the same caliber of VCs that most companies do. So more often than not we have to innovate how we receive our funds. Crowdfunding is one of the most innovative ways you can do this. It’s even gaining traction as the Issac Hayes III founded company, Fanbase has proven.
Speak the language.
Speak the vehicular! We each have our own set of cultural norms. “Blacks and whites read verbal and non-verbal cues differently, resulting in frequent errors in communication,” says Thomas Kochman, author of Black and White Styles in Conflict. The founder, however, bears the entire responsibility for identifying and bridging these communication gaps. Say what you mean and mean what you say. More often than not that will take you where you want to be.
Following these examples right here there should be nothing that you can’t achieve making your life as a fonder easier to navigate while avoiding all the Indiana Jones-inspired pitfalls.
This story was originally covered by the Harvard Business Review.
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