5 Tips on Building a Modern Black Wall Street
Black Wall Street is an iconic concept for most people to think about today. This post will outline my 5 tips to Building a Modern Black Wall Street. I know it is possible because it has already been done with fewer resources and less access than we have today. If you are an entrepreneur reading this, be sure to go one step further and buy a book that will teach you more about your particular business so you can one day be an expert.
Focus on a Niche
Black Wall Street was achieved out of necessity. Due to the discrimination experienced by Black Tulsans, businesses were created to support the direct needs of a specific group. A Niche is an interest that appeals to a small specialized population. In order to successfully grow a modern day Black Wall Street, there must be businesses that focus on serving the Black population within Fashion, Food, Hair Care, Child Care, Transportation, etc. I do not promote discrimination or segregation, I want to make that clear. I do however, highly promote ownership. I do not foresee a Business that thrives by exclusively serving the Diaspora. I see a business that allows for all customers to experience a unique and quality experience through the cultural lense of the Diaspora. This will create an exchange of culture. If we want to build a modern Black Wall Street, businesses must focus on the needs of the Black consumer.
Quality, Quality, Quality
From my personal experience, the quality of customer service, products, and communication of Black owned businesses has not been up to par with the flagship companies. This is something that I struggle with as an entrepreneur myself. As small businesses, we do have access to the trained professionals, marketing platforms, customer support platforms, or other resources to create that seamless quality experience. But we must. To ensure customers return, we must focus on developing great experiences for our customers. Starting small is a great way to accomplish this, focus your efforts and resources on serving a specific group of customers. Once you have developed a system, and you can service your set customers like clock work, then expand and hire support staff. Amazon wasn’t built in a day. To grow a modern Black Wall street, we must value quality over quantity.
The best way to scale a small business with limited resources is by utilizing technology. In order to compete in the modern business arena, Black Entrepreneurs must understand and utilize key technologies like website platforms, social media, automation services, cryptocurrencies, etc. In order for us to grow a modern Black Wall Street, we must use modern tools. For example, too often I see small businesses or sole proprietors that only accept cash. By using tools like venmo, paypal, square, or cash app a small business can increase its cash flow and customer market. Technology is your friend.
As a community, we must place education at the forefront. Today America is a knowledge-based economy, meaning jobs and opportunities are made available to those with the knowledge to perform the job. With America no longer leading the charge in production, intellectual property (Trademarks, patents, copyrights,etc) have become the driving force of the American economy. We must ensure our children are getting a quality education, and are equipped with the tools to become financially literate, obtain a job, and create intellectual property. The original Black Wall Street community took matters into their own hands and created their own schools. While I think this is a powerful option, I do not think it is the only option. As a community, we must take more of a vested interest in the education system and how it is servicing us. Ask your child what they learned today. Show that you are interested in their education by attending district meetings. If you are already doing this, keep up the great work!
It is crucial to understand the different benefits and limitations that come with business structures. I know a lot of passionate business minded people that want to start Non-profit 501(c) companies. Why are non-profit companies so popular? I am currently reading “How to Build a New Black Wall Street” by Kyle Davis and he talks about this exact topic. According to Davis, people use the Non-profit structure to avoid taxes, receive grant funding, and help the community. Davis also goes on to describe the downsides to a Non-profit structure and the benefits of building a Corporation instead. The biggest benefit of having a corporate structure, in my opinion, is the ability to recruit investors and stakeholders. If we are to create a modern Black Wall Street we must all be invested in each other. This section really should be its own post. If you want more information check out “How to Build a New Black Wall Street” by Kyle Davis or do some research on the various business structures. I think corporations have become synonymous with greed. It is possible to own a corporation but still give back and still be invested in the community. We must use the benefits of the corporation to change the culture of the corporation.
Bonus: Understanding Intersectionalities
I included this as a bonus because I think it is vital to building a modern Black Wall Street but I also think it's vital for an understanding society. As a sociology major in college, I learned about the intersectionalities of cultures and identities. The African Diaspora is extremely diverse and contains cultures from all over the world. With that said, understanding how black culture intersects (or connects) with Chinese, Mexican, Indian, Korean, Hawaiian, and other countless cultures will help build cultural bridges. We are all connected. I love and appreciate the cultures of the world, and if you take your time, you can see the similarities between cultures. Think about it, how many cultures can you think of that eat curry? We are a global family.
It can be done. Well honestly it is already being done. All over Black entrepreneurs are creating businesses but we are all doing it alone. The power of Black Wall Street was the centralized location and the collective consciousness. How will you be a part of building the modern Black Wall Street?
De'Von T. Walker