The Black 411 Targeted information service helps customers find black businesses nationwide
WITH A CURRENT BUYING POWER OF $1 TRILLION, THE AFRICAN American community is 44 million strong and 13% of the population. African American consumers looking to “buy black” may be surrounded by Black Owned businesses and not know it. They can find out by asking friends or contacting a local black chamber organization.
Helping to fill that void is The Black 411, a target information service that allows consumers to find black-owned businesses in select cities across the country. Current locales include New York, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and South Florida.
The Black 411 works similar to 411 Directory Assistance Service, except it offers listings of participating black-owned businesses located in a particular city or region that provide the product or service someone is searching for. So, someone traveling to and looking for a black hair salon in Atlanta would simply make that request via a mobile device to get a quick answer.
“We have partnered with several leading-edge telecom networks to provide a solution that can give you the information you need in real time. We are like Google Search for black businesses. We provide you listings of black-owned businesses instantly,” explains Larry Spear, the president of Florida-based BE Telecom [no relation to Black Enterprise]. The Black 411’s parent company, BE Telecom, is a Black Owned telecommunications company that was launched to help promote black business through technology.
BE Telecom was founded by Spear and other telecom executives with more than 50 years of combined experience between them. The official launch of The Black 411 was in the 3rd quarter of 2006, but the service was re-launched with new features and technology in 2014. Currently there are more than 4,800 business customers in The Black 411 Business database, which is expected to grow to 6,500 by year-end. Additionally, some 980 consumers who are in the consumer database are expected to grow to 2,000 by year-end. Projected revenue for 2015 is $750,000.
There are black doctors, lawyers, accountants, airline pilots, stock brokers, grocers, barbers, hairstylists, and more all across this country, notes Spear. “It is our premise that consumers don’t readily purchase from or use black-owned businesses for a large part because they are not easy to find or they get tired of searching through directories,” Spear believes. “But if there was a quick and easy way for them to find and locate the product and services they need, they would gravitate toward that solution.”
He also is quick to point out that African Americans are one of the leading consumers in this country, giving more than 95% of their wealth to other ethnic groups and not keeping their spending dollars circulating in black communities, adds Spear. “BE Telecom Inc. and The Black 411 were created not only to make it easier to find black-owned businesses, but to help grow them.” Entrepreneurs interested in registering their businesses for the service at $150 annually can call 706-871-4411 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
—C.M. B. The Black 411 Targeted information service helps customers find black businesses nationwide
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