What businesses can do to support social justice
Consumers are increasingly voting with their wallets, and savvy business owners know they can do well by doing good. Big corporations are making a lot of noise about supporting social justice initiatives, but small businesses can make a big difference at a grass roots level. Here are some things business owners and larger corporations are doing to support social justice initiatives that are also serving to boost their business.
3 Ways your business can support social justice
Making a commitment to social justice doesn’t have to be a lengthy or expensive process. Here are three ideas you can adopt for your business model – starting right now.
- Rethink recruitment by identifying and removing barriers to success for Black employees. Actively recruiting at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and using a diverse panels for interviews are two approaches to take.
- Work with diverse suppliers by instituting a ‘code of conduct’. You can’t tell vendors how to run their business, but you can set a standard for behavior. If their actions run counter to your expectations, you can address the issue – or, as any consumer would, you can take your business elsewhere. Many companies, including Hiscox, expect vendors to take racial and social justice seriously, and communicate those expectations to them.
- Support your employees y allowing those who choose to organize or volunteer for social justice causes to take an extra PTO day to do so. You can also offer that extra day to anyone who needs a mental health break.
Spread the word among other businesses
Just as consumers vote with their wallets when they decide where to shop, as a business owner you have a say in the companies you do business with. Ask your suppliers what their policies are relative to social justice, and don’t hesitate to take your business elsewhere if their views don’t align with yours. If you’re looking for minority suppliers, try the National Minority Supplier Development Council, which promotes minority-owned businesses in the B2B space.
What Black-owned businesses are doing to promote their businesses
Many consumers will redouble their efforts to patronize Black-owned businesses during Black History Month. You’ll see lists on social media to help people know where to buy.
Step one is to find the lists. You can search on social media for lists about your product or your geographic area. Google ‘Black-owned businesses in DC,’ or ‘Black-owned photography businesses,’ for example. and you’ll find a wealth of options.
Getting on these lists is easy – it often just takes a comment on a social post or a message to the creator of the list.
Another way Black-owned businesses are promoting themselves is by forming an alliance, especially in areas where there are few Black-owned firms. In Boston, the Boston Black Hospitality Coalition was formed to help Black-owned restaurants weather the COVID-19 pandemic, but collaborations like this can help in any environment.
Many organizations that support Black-owned businesses have gotten easier to find. For example, the Minority Business Development Agency provides information on loans and grants, as well as advice from business experts at local Business Centers. Accion International invests in and partners with underserved businesses worldwide.
Implementing permanent change is critical, and there’s no better time to start than right now. Small business owners are nothing if not imaginative. The first step toward a better future for society and for your business is to imagine it, then work toward it.