“We are happy to get the kind of money that jingles, but we’d rather have the kind that folds.” That line from “Coming to America” was great. It echoed the offering time at churches and on tv that many of us roll our eyes at while the “building fund” builds everything except improvements in the church. Today it is used to make a funny in conversations about earning money from one hustle or another. Interestingly, that line is not highlighting the idea of coins being invaluable but more so about quickly getting meaningful dollars.
Our businesses struggle. Many businesses struggle. Getting large influxes of cash through frequent new and repeat customers tends to only happen to the Apples, Targets, and Amazons of the world. Many small or Black-owned businesses, or both, reach out for loans and grants to keep on the lights. Loans can be a great way to improve your business through various means, including paying staff that could otherwise be laid off, purchasing equipment, or moving to a better location.
The grants are where I want to focus my ire. Grants are good. They are a great way to fund small needs for a business. My hope is that Black and brown entities do not try to live off of those grants. $1000 or $5000 from a grant that you can only apply for once per year may be helpful, but in reality, it’s the kind that jingles. Sure, it can garner a much desired open and closed sign. It might get you an ad buy on social media, but to get to the kind that folds, we must understand that successful entrepreneurship requires a keen focus on customers in and out of your establishment (or website) with receipts. If businesses seek to keep the lights on with grants it may be time to pause, take a look at the business model, readjust, or make a difficult decision to find a new and profitable idea.
– De’Marco Kidd