Since we’ve launched our Minority Owned B2B Online Panel, I’ve heard that question a lot. What’s so different about minority-owned businesses that we need a separate panel for them? There’s an assumption that your client doesn’t need to include minority-owned business sample in their research because the standard B2B sample fairly represents the business landscape.
That’s simply untrue. Minority-owned businesses certainly share similarities with general market businesses. However, minority business owners face unique challenges that may have a negative impact on their ability to fully scale their businesses.
Below are three ways minority-owned businesses differ from general market businesses and the hidden opportunities that these gaps represent:
1. Access to capital
This is an issue for all business owners but is particularly pronounced for minority-owned businesses. Minorities tend to open businesses based on “personal motivations” not hardcore facts about underserved markets. Because of this, minorities are less likely to pursue funding which greatly diminishes their ability to grow their businesses.
But despite these limitations, Latino-owned businesses are still the fastest-growing segment of small businesses in the country, generating around $400 billion in annual revenue, per the Congressional Hispanic Conference.
Companies like Camino Financial, a lending institution based in Los Angeles, CA, saw a chance to fill a very big gap in the Latino business community by providing access to funding for Hispanic-owned businesses in the area.
2. Personal Motivations
Minorities are more likely to start businesses for personal reasons than the general market. But what are those reasons?
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that all minority-owned B2B companies are strictly in it for the money. Being profitable is definitely a concern, but so is building a legacy to pass on to future generations. Minority business owners are much more likely to have personal connections to their businesses.
Learning about what’s really driving their passion for the business can help position your client’s brand positively in the minds of minority business owners. This could pay off when they have a need for that product or service down the road.
3. Business connections
Minority business owners have a smaller network of like-minded business owners to share their trials and tribulations with. Furthermore, they often have limited access to mentorship opportunities with larger firms in which to learn more sophisticated approaches to business strategy.
Understanding this type of business owner isolation could be a way for your client’s brand to step in and metaphorically “listen”. Content, social networks, and events that target minority business owners will give minority business owners a vehicle to mix and mingle with other like-minded individuals while placing the brand in a favorable position.
A great example of this is the American Express OPEN Forum. Through its website, sponsored live events, and various other forms of content, they empower small businesses with the tools and connections needed to be successful.
These differentiating factors present an ideal scenario to engage minority-owned businesses in a dialogue. The insights gathered are invaluable to developing marketing campaigns that are relevant and timely instead of generic and late. Don’t miss this opportunity to nurture a loyal B2B consumer base that has been largely ignored for decades.