Saturday, July 11, 2015

Are Black Entrepreneurs Really Unprofessional?



Are we really? Or it is just a myth? Someone once told me that most black entrepreneurs, across all industries lack professionalism. Since that person could not back this brave statement with facts or at least scenarios, I concluded with a maybe - a fat ‘maybe’ even. I am not the one to sit around and entertain assumptions nor mabare bare, but I truly find it difficult to take anyone who settle for anything unprofessional serious. How do you even deal with such a person? While that person disappeared just after I asked for those facts, I on the other hand wondered how this person arrived to that conclusion. Surely something happened. I might not know the events (if there were any) leading to this person making such a conclusion but I also muttered some words more than twice along those lines. Before you call me something I am certainly not, let me explain.

There are companies that are doing very well and owned by black entrepreneurs in South Africa. These companies are breaking records historically by white owned companies. They have a good…actually make that a great online presence and also well calculated PR tactics. What I like about them lies in them showing us upcoming black entrepreneurs that it is possible and it can be done irrespective of the sometimes difficult situations if not always that comes with entrepreneurship. While that is freaking amazing and well, the same doesn’t always translate offline – from the way the receptionist answers the phones to the way they treat their own employees. Not only these two things but the way in which you are treated when you are at their premises or in their presence. Surprisingly they make profits, how, I do not know! In fact, I would like to know.

As a black owned company, you will always be compared with the next company that is sometimes way smaller than you are, even lose business to them. Yes, it happens. Sometimes companies forget that what you do on the left, has to be done on the right too. You cannot have a superb website, social media and digital media articles while your back of the house is not efficient let alone communicated to properly in terms of expectations. Online should always be an extension of your offline’s bottom line. For example, if you invest in a state-of-the-art website, you should also train your staff to be more efficient in dealing with your customers. Remember your website will prompt customers to buy either by sending an email, calling you or buying there (if it’s an online store) and expect you to deliver just like you say you will on your website. For me it does not make sense to have a fabulous online presence while neglecting the offline part which is where most of the company lives.

This is not to say all black owned business are the same nor is the case with all of them but it can happen when you are too busy chasing the next deal forgetting to get your ‘house’ in order - black or white. People do not buy products or services because they have to most of the time, but how they are treated plays a big role. They will like what you offer but the deal lies in making them feel like it’s not possible to experience that feeling anywhere else. We always say that you can never please everybody but imagine if you please five and offer them shitty service because of lack thereof? Do you think they will come back? Trust me, they will certainly tell another five you were looking into pleasing and the chain will just go on and on.

It is very difficult to get that one client, let alone keeping them. Yep, it’s not that easy. However, I can’t promise you ‘easy’ but what I can say is, be professional and provide the best service possible, you are bound to land a good deal subsequently a customer/client for life.

If you do not know where to start, just let me know! Email ngwako@tembisaonrecord.co.za
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