Ujamaa: the Principle That Should Be Practiced All Year

ujamaaSoul men and women, it is the fourth day of Kwanzaa, and today, we bring attention to Ujamaa, Kwanzaa’s fourth principle. Ujamaa is defined as Cooperative Economics; in short, making sure black dollars circulate within the black community.

Our readers would have observed that all year round, we write articles about black-owned businesses, so that we can show you that there is variety in black-owned businesses, and that there is no reason why everything you purchase, from beauty products to laundry detergent, shouldn’t be purchased from black-owned companies. There is no need to wait for a special occasion or the Holiday season to do so; these companies are open for business year round.

You will have seen, particularly in 2016, several persons within the black community, from journalists, to bloggers, to celebrities, encouraging you to buy black, and we applaud all the persons who did so and are still doing so. We will, however, look at cooperative economics, and what it entails, from every angle.

We’re about to get real on you, so hang on to your smartphones and laptops.

If You’re a Black Business Owner

Once you have successfully marketed your business and you begin to attract customers, make sure you do your part to ensure that those customers keep coming back. Some of you aren’t going to like this, but it’s the truth: if you’re rude, have an attitude, and your service is poor, you won’t be seeing that many customers. Good customer service is crucial for any business, and black-owned businesses are no exception. Don’t treat customers badly or provide bad service and then mouth off about blacks not willing to support their own.

When Others are Working For You

If we’re going to practice cooperative economics, a big part of that is treating your employees fairly. If you’ve gotten to a place where you are now able to hire others, count your blessings; not every black entrepreneur is financially stable enough to do so, and what you’ve done is create jobs for persons who may have been jobless had it not been for your company. Make sure you hire black, and, again, TREAT YOUR EMPLOYEES FAIRLY. Always think of how you would have wanted to be treated if it were the other way around and you were employed by them. Especially if they work hard, show respect and appreciation for their work ethic. Keep in mind that they are part of the reason that your business is thriving, as no successful business is run by just one person.

If You’re a Customer

Don’t expect freebies just because the company you’re buying from is black-owned. Don’t expect discounts on everything all the time. Bear in mind that this business is the entrepreneur’s bread and butter; this is how he/she makes a living, and he/she may have employees to pay as well. Be fair.

If we practice the Ujamaa principle all year, every year, we will be able to establish a healthy economy within the black community.

Happy Kwanzaa.

By: Danielle Dixon

Follow her on Twitter: @tooprettydani

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