Managing Growth a Hispanic Entrepreneur
01 May, 2012
Be careful what you wish for when managing growth, says Carlos E. Garcia in this third installment of his series on “The Accidental Entrepreneur”Every Hispanic business and entrepreneur wants his/her company to grow, and growth is a good thing. But managing that growth can be trickier than you think. Entrepreneurs are by nature ambitious, reasonably open to take on risk to gain a reward and many see their firms as sharks–if they aren’t constantly growing, they fear they will drown.
When we moved our 1,500 square-foot LA office to 5,000 square feet in Burbank, this entailed a HUGE risk. We were more than tripling our rent, hiring a lot of new people to man our phone bank, installing a physical infrastructure of wiring for phones and computers; we built out cubbies, a new focus facility, etc. I hired a good friend who was an unemployed artist and he did an amazing job painting and decorating everything.
So how did we pay for all of this? We applied for and won a small business loan from the City of Burbank that was running a Hispanic business growth program at the end of the recession of the early ’90s to help Burbank fill up lots of empty office space. The loan was to be repaid either in cash or through tax receipts to the city–ultimately taxes on phone service and our business tax, and we had no trouble ginning up the tax liabilities to the city and thus the loan was excused. Cool. Thank you, Burbank, and thank you to the clerks at City Hall who reached out to us to offer us the deal.
Absent that little bit of government assistance, I don’t know how we could have done it, even with our wonderful little tortilla company account and the revenues we were able to pay our own employees instead of paying those dollars out to technical suppliers.
The People Factor
But all of this growth meant one big thing that I underestimated was people–their value, contributions and need for my time. Growing with new computers was easy while building business with lots of people can be a mixed bag if you don’t take the time to select wisely and pay attention post hiring. Coaching, management and teaching have to be high on your action list even though you may feel like you have no time since you are in the lead to bring home that revenue bacon!