Author Stephen Covey in his book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” shared the idea that one essential key to success was to “Start with the end in mind.”
As the world has turned an ear to the injustices that have plagued the black community and has spilled over into the black business community, impacting their bottom line for decades, it is essential we start with the end in mind.
I believe for any business the goal should be economic sustainability. The ability to build, grow and expand your business is the objective of any business owner.
As black business owners, we must come together and dialogue. We need to partner with our local Black Chamber of Arizona, which I believe is the foundation where these discussions should be taking place.
From this initial organizing, I believe three phases should emerge. I call them:
We need to identify what challenges we are having, whether they are internal, policy driven, racially driven, lack of opportunity, access to capital or business training. We need to be able to clearly define what our challenges and needs are.
Not in a generic sense, but in a detailed and outlined way.
We need to have conversations with law makers; CEO’s of major companies in Arizona and put a demand on them that equal access to opportunity is granted to black business owners.
We need to establish oversight committees that hold these companies' feet to the fire and that we have measurable results. We want representation in boardrooms, hiring practices and contract awards.
We want law makers, politicians and CEO’s to commit to putting in place polices that guarantee fair and equal access to contracts, growth opportunities and access to capital.
Capital access remains the most important factor limiting the establishment, expansion and growth of black-owned businesses. The playing field needs to be leveled when it comes to gaining access to business opportunities in the private and public sectors.
The black business community must take advantage of the current climate and work together to see our businesses grow. We also need to identify which of our businesses are ready right now to play at a bigger level, but have been denied this opportunity in the past. These businesses need to be put in the forefront and highlighted.
Now more than ever, we have the opportunity to close the wealth and opportunity gap in Phoenix. This will not happen over night, but we are now in position to move the needle forward.
Lastly, we need to reach out to our brothers and sisters from all communities that have been and continue to want to help us. This is a team effort, we can’t do this alone. We need this to be an all hands on deck effort to bring black businesses to an even playing field.
Since I moved to Phoenix, over a decade ago, I have always felt our city would play a major role in changing the landscape of America. It’s now our time to show the world that Arizona has everything you need from A to Z.
Editor’s Note: Dr. Will Moreland is CEO of Moreland Training and Associates; his website is drwillspeaks.com.