Who Is?/Official Hype

Published on November 1st, 2021 | by Allison Kugel

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Digital Wiz Michael Sadler Discusses New Platform The Black Business Company

I recently had the opportunity to catch up with Michael Sadler, founder of the Black Business Company (BBCO), a new social-business networking platform where Black-owned businesses, Black entrepreneurs, and what he is calling “Black-allied businesses” can promote their businesses, products, services or artistry; network, get reviewed, benefit from the platform’s sophisticated SEO algorithm, and even gain access to funding opportunities.

The platform’s website black-business.co just took its closed beta launch live at join.black-business.co, where they drop some serious knowledge on Black business and financial history and you can sign up to become a part of their growing community.

What can The Black Business Company (BBCO) do for Black business owners that social media cannot accomplish?

Michael Sadler: BBCO is the first search engine-like platform dedicated, specifically, to the entirety of the Black business community. We seek to harness the collective ingenuity and hustle of Black culture, from established restaurateurs to burgeoning freelance graphic designers, and everyone in between, all centralized in one easy-to-use search engine. Outside of our singular dedication to the uplifting of Black businesses everywhere, we differentiate from social media platforms in a few key ways:

Universality
Some of our competitors cater specifically to brick-and-mortar businesses, but not eCommerce entrepreneurs, where so much of our community lives & breathes (like Yelp). Others cater to digital services professionals and freelancers, but miss an opportunity to serve the wider variety of services leaders like lawyers, tax strategists & accountants, locksmiths, auto repair shops and more (like Upwork, Fiverr, Taskrabbit, Angi, etc.). We are the only platform that caters to all, and I mean all, businesses and brands of any niche or maturity that supports the Black community, all in one place.

Designed for SEO Performance
Our platform is being designed with SEO best practices at its core. We’ve seen others try to tackle what we’re trying to accomplish, but without prioritizing SEO from the inception, we miss an opportunity to save business owners a TON of time and money they would otherwise spend on expensive digital marketing consultants. To be successful as an entrepreneur in 2021, and beyond, requires some aptitude in the digital space.

One must select an effective domain to get a head start, structure a website to be easily understood by search engines, choose the right eCommerce platform to host your store and more. SEO is essential for online success in 2021 and has been for many years now, but many of today’s entrepreneurs don’t spend a lot of time on it. By joining BBCO’s free marketplace, they won’t have to. Our platform will automatically do the things you’d normally have to pay an expensive developer to create. They’ll be set up to succeed from the day the join.

Monetizing Allied Virtuosity
Remember that day after George Floyd’s murder, when everyone posted the ‘Blackout Tuesday’ square on their Instagram? Well that SUCKED, didn’t it? We know that Black-allied virtuosity is growing in these United States, but what we haven’t known is how to effectively activate that sentiment in meaningful ways. I think it’s fair to say that we’re all busy and people don’t always have the time to picket. I also think it’s fair to say that social media protesting is slacktivism–it requires little and begets little.

Our solution for converting empty platitudes into monetized action for the Black community is for non-Black business owners and entrepreneurs who want to show up on our search engine, they must upload a receipt to their BBCO profile of their recurring monetary investment into the Black business community. This will be reviewed and periodically audited to ensure the integrity of this program.

It isn’t enough to claim ally-ship without an ongoing contribution to financially uplift the Black community. Generations of institutionalized slavery and its remnant systems of oppression still affect us in ways in which we cannot opt out. We’ll work with some partnering organizations to allow Black-allied businesses to make their investment directly from the platform, but any recurring receipt to a civil service organization focused on the Black community will be sufficient to show on BBCO.

We understand that Black-allied businesses come in all shapes and sizes and we want to uplift as many of them as we can. So the recurring minimum investment required to maintain visibility on BBCO is $5/mo. There a many other things we’ll launch with and are on our roadmap that make us stand out, but these core tenets will always be plainly visible about BBCO.

What is your professional and personal background which led to you creating this platform?

Michael Sadler: I’ve been working in various facets of digital marketing since 2013 and have seen the importance of digital dexterity grow and grow each year. I actually started my working life as a server at Bob Evans outside of Philadelphia in the 8th grade. I say that was my start because I learned some of my most important lessons there like how to speak with people from all walks of life, maintain a positive attitude, and even how to apologize and say “I was wrong.” These lessons still strongly shape who I am today, and they carried me through to college at USC in Los Angeles, where I studied International Relations and Business. Post undergrad, I started working for a management consulting firm that focused on technology. I’d grown up to see the birth and proliferation of dial-up internet and always knew I’d be involved in tech in some way.

After that experience, I worked in startups in the Silicon Beach district of SoCal where I got to see up close the mechanisms and hustle necessary to drive a new product to market. I didn’t stay there long because while I was good at sales, I was really looking for a trade. My family manages properties in North Jersey and in spending my summers working with them, I was taught how important it was to have multiple streams of income. I was then referred to a small tech firm that birthed a technology that managed Google Ad budgets. That was in 2013, and I’ve been in the digital space ever since.

My most recent full time position with a corporation was with a Los Angeles-based digital marketing agency that’d historically focused on theatrical marketing clients. I’d been with them for almost 4 years, most recently serving as an Associate Director on their Media team, and had incepted, implemented and managed the digital marketing campaigns for over 100 films when COVID-19 struck. That, for me, became proof that time + preparation brings opportunity & success.

I’d been side hustling for 5 years at that point outside of normal working hours, and had grown my personal portfolio to over 20 active clients. It was beginning to be too much, so my wife and I had been planning to potentially take off, travel the world, and work remotely. I’d wanted to build a remote team and run a remote agency before it was cool and the “thing” to do.  The agency I was with downsized, and then with all of the PPP loan requirements going around, the financial aid helping small businesses, and everyone’s need to go “virtual” asap, it was a great time to lean the rest of the way into my solopreneurship.

I’d done research on how to take on more responsibility within the Black community, and I was constantly measuring the search volume for terms like “Black business” and “Black-owned business” after George Floyd’s murder. That marked a shift where we saw a 1000% spike in searches for those terms almost overnight! Even in the months that followed, where we expected search volume to wane as the protests died down, after the NBA came back (yes THAT marked the end of the summer of protests, check the records) we still saw elevated levels of search activity looking for people who look like us. I decided at that moment that a change had indeed taken place and that I wanted to create the best Black business search engine and eventually, Black business marketplace, offering a range of funding, hiring, and social and educational components, in the world

This is a family affair. Had you and your brother always wanted to collaborate on a project like this one?

Michael Sadler: Bryan and I took slightly different routes within technology. Whereas I went the route of marketing tactics online, he became a builder of the entire ecosystem. He’s a full stack engineer and an awarded MERN instructor, so I don’t take lightly him lending his abilities to this project. Had we always wanted to work on a project like this together? Maybe.  It’s hard to know what you’re capable of when you’re super young. I am damn sure excited that he and his team are on board with this project and see the value in bringing this to the world.

When people go to join.black-business.co, what can they expect and how do they create an account?

Michael Sadler: As it currently stands, they’ll see our BBCO company landing page. People can learn about the mission of Black Business Company and get an idea of how the platform will work for them. They can also sign up for early access to our waitlist, which subscribes them to our newsletter that discusses developments in the Black business community, BBCO business features, and updates about our platform’s launch.

Once they sign up, they’ll also have a chance to nominate another business owner or entrepreneur they think would make a great addition to our community.

 How will business owners interact on the website versus solo entrepreneurs?

Michael Sadler: Our platform caters to established business owners and solopreneurs alike. We give no special privilege to more established businesses. We believe in new entrepreneurs and their vision, and we believe that even those trying out graphic design as a night gig and looking for a place to showcase their work in a professional environment, should have access to our most cutting edge SEO features and our community’s networking capabilities.

Will Black-Business.co be a place for Black businesses to network with one another? And how do you plan to incentivize non-Black businesses to interact with accounts on the site?

Michael Sadler: We’re considering what marketplace communications could look like on the platform and if that’s something we want to host. Eventually, visitors will be able to message with business owners, directly. But we may host our marketplace within other social media sites, initially. Otherwise, our core capabilities for the alpha launch will center around finding, sharing and leaving reviews for Black business owners.Non-Black business owners, just like Black business owners, look for the best talent when seeking vendors. We also know people are increasingly preferring to shop with those they align with, ideologically. Right now we are focused on giving a voice to the good work being done by Black & Black-allied vendors that receive far fewer reviews, good or bad, on average.

Will there be a social component? How will that work?

Michael Sadler: Yes! We’re planning a few social campaigns to help maximize the virality of the businesses highlighted on our platform. Through our gamification model, we’ll also incentivize the sharing of reviews to social media networks.

 Is this site open to anyone who wants to join, or just Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs?

Michael Sadler: Of course, anyone can join. We’re a fair and freely-open platform and anybody can create a user account. If you’re looking to create a business account, you must be a Black business/entrepreneur or an investing Black-allied business/entrepreneur.

What resources will be offered?

Michael Sadler: Our platform will host many educational and platform resources for the entrepreneur or business owner including:

  • SEO
  • Google/Facebook/Instagram/YouTube/Pinterest/TikTok/LinkedIn/Snapchat Ads
  • Content planning
  • Measuring your website’s performance
  • Business formation
  • Creative best practices

Will this platform be for all industries, and how will industries be categorized?

Michael Sadler: BBCO will cater to businesses of any niche, size or maturity.  We will have a few default industries available when prompting business owners to finish their account setups, but they’ll have the choice to define their industry as they see fit.

How can people find you across all platforms?

Michael Sadler: Right now, we can be found via our landing page at join.black-business.co, as well as the following social media handles:

Instagram: instagram.com/theblackbusinesscompany

Facebook: facebook.com/theblackbusinesscompany

Twitter: twitter.com/theblackbizco

Our email address is [email protected]

 


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