By Rieva Lesonsky
As early as 1926, America began setting aside time in February to celebrate black history. By the 1960s, with the progress of the civil rights movement, the whole month of February was designated Black History Month. Each year, Black History Month has a specific theme; this year the theme was At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality, marking the 150th and 50th anniversaries of two pivotal events in African-American history--The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington, respectively.
How is your business celebrating Black History Month? Did you attend any Black History Month events or host an event or promotion of your own? That’s great—but Black History Month isn’t the only time that your business can benefit from events and outreach targeted to minority Americans and minority business owners.
If you’re a minority business owner, there are many government programs available to help you start and run your business. You should also be aware of and attending events happening in your community and across the country—both those for minority business owners and for minority customers. Getting involved in local community events as a sponsor, host or exhibitor can help your business grow, and also send a message to your customers about your pride in your minority heritage.
The Minority Business Development Agency lists current events for minority-owned businesses nationally and worldwide. On a more local level, your city and state business offices will be able to tell you about other important events for minority business owners that you’ll want to attend. Join your city’s Chamber of Commerce to stay in the loop, and attend networking events sponsored by local Small Business Development Centers and SCORE centers.
What if your local community doesn’t have any significant events planned? Take charge! You can always create a marketing campaign with a minority celebration theme:
- Chinese New Year—February
- Black History Month—February
- Irish-American Heritage Month—March
- Asian Pacific American Heritage Month—May
- National Black Family Month—July
- Japanese Culture—November
Whatever the holiday, your business can celebrate with special menu items, coupons, discounts and social media outreach. Educate your customers by including important historical facts in a flyer or email newsletter.
Celebrate the minority event on your website and offer free shipping in honor of the holiday. The more you show that your business supports and celebrates all nationalities, the more customers will want to support your business by spending their hard-earned cash with you.