Many small businesses are struggling due to economic challenges imposed by the pandemic.

In fact, research shows* small businesses owned by people of color have been hit harder than others.

The National Bureau of Economic Research reports that between February and April 2020, the number of Black-owned businesses declined by 41%, Latinx-owned businesses fell by 32% and Asian-owned businesses dropped by 25%. Meanwhile, small businesses declined 21%. This is concerning, especially since small businesses create 1.5 million jobs annually and account for 64% of new jobs created in the U.S., according to the Small Business Administration.

As people of color business owners look to the future, their inherent entrepreneurship and ambition, combined with external support, will help them recover and grow faster. Following are a few tips businesses should continue to keep in mind to be successful:

Take Advantage of Technology

Businesses have embraced digital business models to safely stay connected to customers. Even as restrictions continue to evolve, there will be an ongoing need to supplement in-person business with digital service.

Some businesses have turned to technology partners to determine the optimal technology for their business. When looking for a technology partner, consider:

  • Easy and quick account access and the ability to retrieve or reset passwords as needed.
  • Remote management to remain in touch and customize product features, adjust services or troubleshoot.
  • Constant connection through voice features like call forwarding, voicemail, and one-touch conference calls.

 Keep Communication Lines Open

With the shift to online business, many face-to-face interactions were replaced with virtual interactions. Social media, video streaming and conferencing continue to be powerful channels for maintaining customer engagement. Consider using these channels to inform customers about new business changes or solicit their feedback. Meanwhile, cloud-based communication, messaging, and collaboration tools** can keep employees productive and updated.

Apply for Funding, Marketing or Technology Support

To provide support for people of color businesses, Comcast made a three-year commitment to offer marketing support, advertising creative, production and media services and technology consulting through an innovative program known as Comcast RISE, which stands for “Representation, Investment, Strength and Empowerment.”

The Comcast RISE program also offers eligible Twin Cities-based people of color owned small businesses the opportunity to apply for a chance to receive direct grants of $10,000. The Comcast RISE Investment Fund is focused on small businesses that have been in business for three or more years with 1-25 employees. Businesses eligible include those in the seven-county Twin Cities metro (Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington Counties).

Beginning on October 1 through October 14, eligible businesses in the Twin Cities can apply for a $10,000 grant at www.ComcastRISE.com. A total of 100 grants in the Twin Cities will be awarded in late November 2021. 

Ending the Year Right

Without a doubt, businesses have had a lot to juggle this year. By partnering with the right technology experts, pursuing assistance programs and keeping an open line of communication, these businesses can ensure that their operations are running smoothly.

* Robert W. Fairlie, “The Impact Of Covid-19 On Small
Business Owners: Evidence Of Early-Stage Losses From The
April 2020 Current Population Survey”;
https://www.nber.org/system/files/working_papers/w27309/w2
7309.pdf

** November 30, 2020, “Work and Collaborate Seamlessly from Anywhere with Unified Communications”;
https://business.comcast.com/
community/browse-all/details/work-and-collaborate-seamlessly-from-anywhere-with-unified-communications