In uncertain times Latino small business owners need perspective.
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Ironically, I happen to be writing this on Groundhog Day. Here we go again.
As a small business owner, I have seen growth and struggle, recessions and booms and then even the great recession (which I refuse to honor with caps) followed by the great recovery (which doesn’t deserve the caps either). After decades of progress gained as a country in the embrace of diversity it may seem to be headed in the other direction.
Even though Latino entrepreneurs are making a huge difference in our local and national economy, it’s hard to not feel singled out. So what should Latino small business to do? Be positive, be productive…here are five recommendations:
1. Stay Calm (don’t freak out)
As Latinos, we are used to dealing with adversity. As I saw over and over again through all of the focus groups I did on financial issues during the great recession, Latinos are resilient, resourceful and determined.
Latinos survive by sharing resources, keeping things simple and circling our proverbial wagons. Most of us are immigrants or the children of immigrants, so we know better than to take anything for granted. Frankly, we’ve seen worse and lived to tell the tale.
For every individual or group out there that hates Latinos, there is an ally. It is distressing, but we still have the constitution on our side, we still have a determined opposition, we have marchers in the streets and a vigilant press.
2. Don’t Expect Too Much (good or bad)
I mean this in both directions. Don’t expect too much bad stuff or good stuff. Which way our economy will go is anyone’s guess. The first two weeks of the current administration have been volatile to say the least, and the economic winds could blow any which way. This uncertainty is unto itself a concern, because people don’t know if they should borrow to grow and expand, or shrink back and hunker down.
But America is America. We have the world’s strongest economy, a competent work force, powerful companies, a decent infrastructure, and demographic growth (particularly for the multicultural populations). Ultimately we’ll be okay. But we also know it might get iffy.
So keep your eyes and ears open, pay attention to the macro world around you but also to the micro world of your business and your customers. These will not be times when coasting or just floating along will be okay.
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About the author
Carlos E. Garcia, a Latin Business Today, Partner: Research, Trends, Insights was born to Mexican immigrant parents, grew up in East Los Angeles and attended Pomona College, UC Berkeley and National University (BA, MA and MBA respectively). He has over thirty years of experience in the field of US Hispanic consumer research, twenty one years at the helm of his own company, Garcia Research. Most recently SVP at GfK: Knowledge Networks, where he headed up their Hispanic research efforts. He's gone full circle and now back at the helm of Garcia Research, a Hispanic market and Multicultural-focused research firm.Website