Tag Archives: business

Starting you Own Group/Venture

This space has resources often to help you create or find a venture or group. Often if you are creating one then business plays a part as you want to be able to be self-sufficient from the start or near there if you are funded.

One of the difficulties organisations have is looking at a business model to begin with. The first question being who do I sell services to if people who are in need want to use it and likley cannot afford.

This can be answered by partnering with a local organisations or services and selling your service to them.  An example would be a day centre for vulnerable adults, the adults pay through their personal budgets to attend. Or a local authority pays for each person to attend sessions at a workshop your organisation provides as it finds it cheaper to use an external source rather than an internal one.

One thing to consider would be going to tender to get these services. Its where public services set out what service they need then your service shows if it ticks all the boxes and matches what the outcome of the service will be for the end user.

Organisations can also use membership or subscription to sustain itself depending on what you do in general. Like a business a organisation to be most effective must have a unique offering and benefit to the local and wider community. They can have a less unique purpose but there will be more competition for end users and funding. It may have greater challenges.

Check out the sources on building a organisation below:

Funding and Resources

Setting Up A Business

Social Enterprises information

Social Enterprise Body

Community Interest Companies

Charitable Organisational Structure

Procurement

The theme this time is the three pillars of procurement, Accountability, Capability and Transparency. This is a wide ranging perspective on black based crowdfunding campaigns and promotions. In the black sphere/network there are people who will ask you to donate to there projects but there is a lack of substance.

I have yet to see a person who is well known to black people who has shown accountability, showing they will accept the plaudits of success as well as the consequences of failing to deliver. There is an example with the numerous videos out there where some people are talking heads, saying this needs doing but that needs doing, when clearly they are not looking at a way to look forward and use their energy to make things happen.

Some talk a good game, but when delivering then they can be found wanting, one way this could be started would be to create a pilot project, prototype then when it is up and running, measure the failure or success the measure how capable you may be with the real thing. This will show how capable you are to deliver the final product you would like funding for.

Committing to the development of a project, campaign or promotion is one thing, showing them value for their money is another. Many of the black talking heads are not good at giving updates, and if there are updates not giving credible ones, which are very vague. If a project is to be transparent, having access to the plans (as far as possible – if confidentiality or data protection), a clear direction of where the project is going and open access to the project. Clearly, some black projects are closed off and so it can be disappointing if you have pledged financially to the cause.

Based on what is said if all three of these conditions are like this then a project is not worth investigating on, we all make mistakes even I did (and I apologised see the blog). Think before you put time, money and effort into someone’s campaign as they might just be trying to create a wave with no foundations behind it.

Black and Franchising

Often, along with gentrification there can be regeneration which was discussed in another blog I wrote. With this comes the ability to get finances and support to open businesses and to become economically, socially and politically visible.

Franchises are a way in which you can create a business income, which can lead to a growth in employment in the local area. In the UK there are a number of businesses which are franchises which black people go to such as Chicken cottage, Subway and Costa coffee. The latter is one which is sometimes visited by black people.

In the US I am sure there are many different types of franchises which you could open in the local area as a way to get your first business. Other groups of people are able to open these franchises with the assistance of their fellow nationals (by grouping their resources together).

This is a way in which you can take advantage of local regeneration as new buildings are being built and possibly office and residential blocks, with some shops and services needed in the local area. If you know the type of business’s franchises you would like to buy into then why not.

The way you can get finance is possible through grants, loans and different schemes and often, finance can be more easier to secure for a franchise than for a independent business but you would need to have start up capital and collateral, which is where the group comes in (group economics).

If you are interested in a franchise then there are many things to consider such as:

  • Long term contract
  • Run the business in a uniform way set by the brand not you
  • Devoting all your time to it
  • Having some capital as collateral and start up cash and more

 

Further Resources

10 Franchise Considerations (www.entrepreneur.com) 

Costs of a Franchise (www.franchising.com)

Introduction to Franchising (www.startup.co.uk)

11 Steps to Franchising (www.franchisedirect.com)

Starting a Franchise (www.fitsmallbusiness.com)

Economic Developments

Over the last few months in the UK there has been much discussion about the UK’s exit from the European Union and how this can affect both the UK and the international economy. The UK is in a period of transition around the world and also the world is too to a smaller degree.

In regards to black people in the UK this is a time when we can take advantage and get back to the levels of business ownership before the early 1990’s. There are programmes out there for people in their late teens and early youth. Though, if like me, you are early 30s there are some ways in which you will be able to benefit. If you have experience of professional work or have an interest in a trade then there will be more opportunities to do this.

This is a time when you will need to have an added income, rather than just a job, two or three incomes each is needed since the economy is weakening.

There are other schemes available for you to use you can get these from the businesses resources section of the website

(Some) Further Resources (Books and Podcasts):

Smart Passive Income

$100 Dollar Start Up

4 Hour work Week

Lean Start Up

Entrepreneur Revolution

 

Economy Of Knowledge

In the 1980’s and mid 1990’s (if your old enough to remember) there were people who were working in factories and mills. This was the case until the UK economy had moved towards a service economy (banking, customer service, technology based – IT and computer programming).

The aim of the government moving towards this economy was to maintain and create enough jobs for the current labour market, who were losing jobs as a result of moving away from a industrial towards a more knowledge based economy.

The movement should have been towards a entrepreneurial based economy and education system (in the UK). Since the education system was designed to prepare you for working in a bricks and mortar industry. The education system was slightly modified for the service economy as they thought they could up skill all the workers to work in the service jobs, as a result of getting a degree.

To get to this the national and local government looks at attracting investement and companies into regions, cities and towns as a way of providing more job opportunities. This is a good idea, which is why you see state of the art buildings being constructed around the place, as a place where businesses can set up or warehouse or industrial units built in the outskirts of towns and cities.

This in theory works but in practice the results are mixed since, many of the roles that these companies offer are menial as only low skilled tasks might be undertaken by that regional branch. Usually the research and development departments (the place where the more skilled vacancies are) are usually in the headquarters or home country.

The history of those born in the early 1970’s to late 1980’s being encouraged to join the knowledge economy was due to a skills shortage for high skilled jobs in the late 1980’s. In the late 2000’s there were more qualified people than jobs to match the skills.

This is evident today as black people who were adults in the late 80’s early 90’s with children did not prepare them for what was coming, instead of keeping hold of businesses we sold many of them of (with a few remaining) and told our children to join the knowledge economy in the late 90’s early 2000’s.

The economy is now changing from a knowledge based one to a entrepreneurial one, with the need to have more than one income. If the next generation and this one (18-40) do not have more than one income or at least access to one then we will not fare well as jobs are becoming less and less.

The government is attempting to get people skilled in technological areas such as computer science and sciences. It is great theses areas are looked at but as a people, we need to first and foremost look at developing business running skills, having an idea, developing it and then looking at many ways you can get income from this idea.

Further information

Knowledge is a myth (www.theguardian.com)

Knowledge Economy Myth (www.theweek.co.uk)

Local Community Sponsorship and Business Growth

Recently, I have been working with a black local community organisation and they are sponsored by a black themed business which is not owned by black people.

Initially I thought this was a bad idea but it made me realise that there are very few businesses in the UK, which have established themselves to a point where they can provide a great amount of funding to such a prevalent cause which affects black people in the UK.

It is a case of black people in the UK looking at themselves especially those who have run or are running businesses. I myself will look to be accountable to this also. If we build a business we should be able to generate income over a number of years to be able to expand into a chain which this business is and make it applicable to different audiences.

Even in the case of black companies making a great amount, very few will likely put their tax breaks or donate some finances to causes such as this one as they are worried of being too black or too affiliated with a cause that affects their own people. Some black businesses may not be interested in funding a community cause unless it is a international or universal cause.

In the UK black people have been here anything between 70 and 40 years and we should be looking at having chains of shops and services, rather than having small businesses which cannot support community needs.

If we are to develop stronger businesses amongst our smaller communities in the UK, we can look at different creating networks of businesses and liaise with community groups and organisations on how they can work together in a partnership where both parties get something out of the agreement.

This will mean organisations like the one I am currently working with will be self-sufficient and will be able to remain exclusively black rather than relying totally on public funding and can do what they set out to do with businesses having a similar ideology supporting and providing resources to make this happen.

Black People and Sports

For years there has been much discussion about black people and playing sports. This has been something I am interested in, as a kid I wished I could go to university to play sport, then do a profession at the same time.

This was in line with playing football (soccer), but I went to university in the UK (twice – Undergraduate and postgraduate). Now I would not encourage black young people to go to university unless they were going to become a lawyer or a medical professional.

Recently the person who protested was brave and honourable but as many have said if it wasn’t for the football players getting involved then he probably would have been left to starve or given up as there would have been little support.

This demonstrates there is much economic weight behind the people who fund sports in the west. Black people are exploited in going to play college sport and academy sport in the UK. The question I have is whether or not they are encouraged to look at alternative careers.

I remember as a young man always thinking if I became a sports person I would get some education as I heard too many stories of people knowing only sports and when they were dropped out of the sport they went into drugs and crime.

The way I see it is people should look at playing sports like Tennis or Cricket where they can get a qualification and they have to work during the off season if they are not the best to keep an income coming on, it keeps you honest. For men you can pick up a trade – Electrician, plumber or carpentry, even set up your own business. For women it could be health and well being or just setting up a business which allows you flexibility between playing your sport.

Many of times I see sports trying to take you away from real life when you play for them yet when they have finished with you they will drop you like a hot coal.

These sports people in america (and the west) should be looking towards setting examples like with the hunger strike but setting up or working with black support groups who can provide counselling and advise in relation to what alternative/back up careers you can look at if things do not work out.

Much of the time the institutions are only interested in what you can give them at that time and any external ideas or approaches are seen as a threat to them, rather than thinking only 1 in a 100 will make it through so lets prepare them for life after this sport. We must do it ourselves with organisation, planning and preparation.

Technological development

Recently I have been working with technology and attempting to (largely successfully) repair and take apart and reconstruct technological devices.  It lead me to think about how technology is consumed by the black community but is not repaired or created by us.

I am in the process of going back to a childhood hobby of fixing electronic devices. Though I have been in the last year undertaking a level 3 qualification in electronics, I am specialising in another area related to this.

I find that young blacks people even older young black people do not consider going into repairs as a feasible profession even though, we use and consume them at a high rate.

There is a thought that it’s not lucrative or that there is much maths and some people are more practical than others, plus there’s the viewpoint that it’s not lucrative and as straightforward as other industries.

This is true to a certain point though it must be considered that there is some money to be made but just a steady income and its a unique skill being able to fix things. I am still seen as a technician in my family and friends say if something breaks or is not working. As a kid I could tune TV’s and VCRs, build speakers, fix VCRs which weren’t working correctly,  know why a TV wasn’t working simply from watching my dad or technicians who came to fix things and know how to rewire a plug or test the voltage on a plug socket at age 7.

Despite being in my early 30s and gone down a project route I still feel useless unless I can fix something and have decided to go down the technical route. I would like to see more young black people go down this route rather than the knowledge economy as I feel our communities would be stronger as a result and it would in turn create fellow black citizens who can contribute to rather than just consume the technology.

The maths aspect is true to a certain point but only when looking at voltage and resistance, in some repairs. The practical side is important, but many people have this skill, but may look at making an easier living (like I have in the past). The importance is that if you like the aspect of problem solving and are practical then why not. Besides, technological shops make up 25% of black dominated areas high streets in the UK.

This is important for the younger generation to look at more and more as technological reliance increases, technological know how and mechanical expertise growth within the black community should be on the increase too. Me I just want to make sure Im still in tune with how current technology works.