So I have to give the typical, “ahh so sorry I’ve been away” schpiel that is also unfortunately true. I do apologize, not to you, but myself. I was on a good roll blogging and it’s now been over a year. I have 10+ drafts of posts I haven’t been motivated to complete. So I need to do better for me
Business is good. It’s really good. So much so that the first and last thing on my weekend agenda is to typically lay motionless for most if not all of it. I have many stories and lessons to share, but let’s first start with laughter:
We have outgrown the hatch patch ass accounting and tortuous payroll hell that has evolved over the years that I need to stop doing. When there are a few people, it’s manageable. But now that our staff has grown to 12…I can’t be bothered. Taxes are becoming more foreign, new opportunities, funds, and contracts have come up. We needed to hire people more knowledgeable than ourselves. So, we began shopping for CPA firms and encountered three tropes: the big shots, the hearts, and the clown. It felt like an Old Testament fable.
The first was too big, not small enough; the second was perfect but needing context, and the third…the third was as such:
There are about 5 current financial goals we have before the new year that we expressed and discussed with the three firms we visited. One of these goals, which I have had for YEARS, is to get Minority Business recognition by the state of Maryland. The advantage this will bring is access to competitive government contracts. With how health insurance has evolved, this would be a fantastic respite from the rollercoaster that is healthcare.
Well, the CPA asked how we could be minorities if it was owned 100% by a man. Now, another goal we have is to become partners. My father will maintain majority ownership and I minority. So I thought maybe this may have been miscommunicated with him. I asked him how he could ask that? He asked if I would become 51% owner or…
I asked if he had dealt with this sort of thing and he said he had. So I asked how he thought we could not qualify as a minority business without my having to be a majority owner. He gestured to my father and said well yea because, “He is Indian. And so you could only qualify as a woman…” I kept repeating that even if we are Indians we are minorities. Indians are minorities. Asians are minorities.
Ignoring my explanation, he goes on to explain that there are three ways to be recognized as minorities: you can be black, a woman, or Hispanic. My father interrupts and says he is African.
The CPA continues…“Okay so you guys would be SBA not a minority business.”
After what becomes the most awkward mix of silence and nervous laughter my father explains that he is Ethiopian.The CPA is still perplexed. At this point I have to mention that earlier in the meeting he said he knew we must be related because after looking at the website (WHICH LOOKED AMAZING***) he saw and compared our names. And not that people of different races can’t be related…but…like…
We are almost an hour and a half into what is supposed to be an introductory/exploratory appointment and so I had little patience left. He finally asks what I am then, I tell him that I am African American. I didn’t know any other way to explain that I was black to this man. He looked like he understood what this new terminology was. So then I proclaimed, “WE ARE NEGRO!”
At this point I was over the situation. I needed to leave. This was a major red flag that I had no interest in trying to paint white. I want to give my business to people who have some education on race and ethnicities. We are a black business. It matters.
So I ask again if he has had experience with minority businesses because…and he interrupts and says.“yes, I’ve worked with negros.”
Just like that. What a schmuck.
Suffice to say we went with our perfect fit. This was the confirmation that they were right for our size and needs. Cultural sensitivities and all.
I shall endeavor to once again resume The POTT. I may sometimes falter in faith but never in works. So, I’d like to continue to share my lessons so that my ignorance may be someone’s wealth.
Until then, I wish you laughter in your business or whatever endeavors move you.
***the company site is very sexy, praise me: www.prhsinc.com