Social media marketing has been around since the rise of some of our favorite platforms. In the years since, countless small businesses and entrepreneurs have become reliant on social media to showcase their products to a large audience.
While TikTok is a newer app, it has quickly become one of the most powerful marketing tools for entrepreneurs, especially minority small business owners who face greater challenges in their journey. A national ban on TikTok would block Americans’ path to success and disproportionality harm minority communities.
My business, Dos Tacos, brings customers Mexican street food with a twist. Though I have always believed in my vision and the quality of my offerings, starting a business was nonetheless overwhelming. Food service is highly competitive, and I had to find a way to reach people while balancing the costs of everyday business. With just a few videos, Dos Tacos has been able to gain a following on TikTok of over 1.6 million and counting. TikTok’s impact to our success cannot be overstated. Several other businesses are also using TikTok to reach new customers, and they deserve access to these same tools. Perhaps more importantly, Congress should not have the ability to take away these tools.
More than nine billion businesses in the U.S. are owned by minorities, accounting for over $1 trillion in revenue to our economy. Despite the incalculable benefits these businesses provide, they still face greater challenges than most.
According to CNBC, 8 out of 10 Black-owned businesses will fail within the first year and a half. This statistic has remained the same since before the COVID pandemic. This daunting number isn’t due to lack of talent or quality in product; it’s because of the lack of recognition and resources afforded to minority business owners. A Stanford study found that 70 percent of funding for Latino small businesses comes from the owners’ personal savings. Meanwhile, only 6 percent of starting funds for Latino small businesses come from commercial loans. Minority business owners invest a lot when starting a venture — without always knowing if their investment will pay off.
TikTok is able to help minority business owners flip this narrative. Minority small business owners need access to every tool available to succeed. No one can deny that TikTok is at the top of this list. The platform has grown exponentially in just a few short years. It is the go to platform to reach people across all ages and demographics.
Further, TikTok has made it a priority to uplift and promote minority-owned small businesses. The platform has created a support Black businesses page. Through the use of hashtags, TikTok is able to add to several minority owned businesses’ promotional value, free of charge. These hashtags land throughout hundreds of thousands of “For You pages” and expand a business’ consumer audience.
A ban on TikTok would hurt the chance of success for millions of American small business owners. For that reason alone, lawmakers should stand up against a ban. If they need more reasons, consider how disproportionality Black and Brown businesses would be affected. Protecting TikTok not only protects our basic rights as humans — it allows minority entrepreneurs to enhance their success and encourages others to follow their example.
Jamal Abed, an entrepreneur, taps into TikTok’s power to expand his customer base and promote inclusivity with 1.6 million followers.