One of the things I realize we brothas and sistas have not learned growing up in the classroom is simulation. We have been taught visualization where we think and fantasizing of being successful and wealthy and we execute where cats are just waiting for us brothas and sistas to fail. But what I realized we have not been taught was simulation.
I bring this up because I went to a restaurant that I never seen before with a date and I didn’t have the kind of money to blow like that. But when I got in, the hostess at the restaurant told me they didn’t open yet and invited us to stay and they would give us free drink and meal as they were just simulating day to day operations. So me and my date got a full course meal as the waiter and the cooks were trying to get the order right. They gave me my check and the amount said 0.00 and they wanted me to simulate receiving it.
Now, with what I just described, you ever heard of any Black entrepreneurs around us do something like this? Not me because what I always see in our community is we open up shop and expect to be successful day one and get mad if we didn’t get it right and start complaining Black people don’t support Black businesses. No, the truth is we don’t do dry runs and we don’t create prototypes or simulations and that is a big mistake in Black business and explain why we don’t last long and get in trouble fast after opening up a business.
In addition, we got a lot of our own Black people who ridicule something like simulations because they either are too macho or too spiritual or whatever crap they got up in their head preventing them from practicing. They think they too good to look like they practicing the hustle or God will show up and personally help them stack paper on day one of their business opening up. These are the same Negroes that would go see a college football spring and summer training camp not realizing the football team are simulating but will laugh at an entrepreneur or this blog if I bring up creating models and simulations so practice our hustles.
All technology firms and experts (including me) run tests and simulations worldwide of our technology to see how it works. Bio-engineering firms do all kind of test on lab monkeys and simulations with computers on their next drug. But when it comes to starting up a Black business, some of yall don’t want to simulate or test anything and just visualize the hustle, go open up business and hope it works out alright.
We got to incorporate simulation in the Black community and start embracing the practice. This includes doing role playing, doing prototypes and full run trials. Let’s explain each of the stuff I just mention.
Role Playing. This is where you “play store” with monopoly money or toy money as a kid. You bring in another person and you create the scenario such as creating a cash station to accept payment, store receipts and inventory products. You can do this role playing with your children and they love playing with you this way and they learn and become inspired to be an entrepreneur.
Prototypes. These are a working model of the actual product you are trying to peddle. The goal is to be able to feel and touch exactly what you want to bring to market. As you work with the prototype, you test to see if it has that feel and the more comfortable you are seeing and interacting with your prototype, the more comfortable you are with releasing it to the public.
Test Trials. This is where you test the end to end process of your hustle. This is really the part your family and friends should be involved in supporting you where you tell them how to use the product or what steps to take and you see the whole process in real life being done using real people. You find out the parts where things need improvement or find out your strengths that you can capitalize on.
With that said, I would like to see more African-Americans engaged in simulations. We have to really educate and stress to our own Black people that simulations are not a waste of time and if cats still want to grumble, tell them to step on somewhere and drop them from our friend/associate list. Because if we are truly going to create economic empowerment frameworks, something we Black folks haven’t done before, we are going to have to simulate.
Dream and Hustle will be running simulations throughout 2012 here in Atlanta and will invite cats to participate. For example, we may create a simulation to help side hustlers learn how to setup tables to sell products so when the next For Sisters Only event rolls around, the participants will have enough experience to rock and roll. We can help some cats simulate selling from a food truck with “paper food” and play money so they can understand the process. And the next level is getting a full retail building and let cats help simulate running it. All of this builds up experience among Black entrepreneurs.
See, this is not the same as “incubators” which is still the execution and not growth. You cats don’t need “business mentors”, you need hands on experience just running through the hustle game where you get the feel of how to do business. We are going to conduct a mobile payment simulation as well as a stock market simulation for the hood where cats can go online and simulate making transactions.
Here is what you and your people around you can do right now. You should get together not to start a business, but to simulate running a business. See what kind of business you want to side hustle and yall work together on simulating the process. Look, cats who form a band simulate performing in front of a live audience and so do athletes who practice the sprints and runs. We need to start doing it in business.
This is probably what set Dream and Hustle apart from the rest of these characters because me and my people actually do run simulations and trials and know how important simulations and prototypes are to the process. You can best believe most of the economic empowerment models that been talked about here on this blog is being simulated overseas or in the hood right now as you are reading this.
In summary, African-American entrepreneurs need to go beyond just writing out a business plan and start doing simulations of the work flows and the process of hustling and get the practice down right. When I needed to shine shoes as a young adult hustling downtown Chicago, you know I shined all of the shoes that were around the house with my family members wearing them before I hit those streets. With that said, let’s start incorporating simulations, modeling, prototypes and test trials into our hustle to get ours.