3. Protect Yourself (be extra careful)
I hardly need to say this because we all know that during uncertain times you have to watch your p’s and q’s not to mention your nickels and dimes. But that doesn’t mean you don’t open that second store or hold off on expanding your restaurant. It means you don’t go over the top on your inventory or your decorations.
Keep reserves. Develop contingency plans in case who knows what happens – either the good or the bad. If the economy should boom and you’re not prepared, you might miss out on some opportunities. If the economy should slow you don’t want your neck too far out there.
There are so many unknowns in our economy at this point, and most of them have nothing to do with our government. Which way the digital winds blow could make a big difference in what our small business environment will look like. Will there still be room for small players?
Just how exposed you might be to the governmental slings and arrows would depend on the nature of your business:
- If you own a restaurant, people will still have to eat.
- If you own a beauty salon/barber shop, people will still need perms and haircuts.
- If you own an import/export business, trade wars could really be problematic.
- If you are in construction, things look good for now, but this industry is to me the clearest harbinger of things to come.
- If you are an immigration lawyer, you may never be busier than in the coming years.
My overall sense is that this economy has a life of its own and it wants to grow. A lot of how things proceed will depend on how, and if, the relatively cooler heads in Congress will be able to keep putting out fires. Okay, it now looks like they have a can of gasoline in one hand and matches in the other, but I see them having second thoughts in public. We’ll see.
4. Keep Fighting (and a sense of perspective)
I started conducting multicultural research back in 1980 when it was a very tough sell. Hispanics were 5%. Hispanics were of interest only because they spoke Spanish and there was a new group of ad agencies that specialized in Spanish language advertising on the relatively new SIN (Spanish International Network) that became Univision.
But over time, America changed:
- The Hispanic market exploded to its current 18% of the US population. But that wasn’t the half of it. The Hispanic market changed. It is now more than 55% Bilingual and is much less dependent on Spanish language advertising even as it remains an important part of the mix.
- Diversity in advertising is now standard.
- American colleges and universities now no longer strain to achieve student bodies that represent America, they achieve it.
- The US military now accepts openly gay and transgender men and women, and women are allowed to accept combat roles.
- More women serve in Congress than ever before (but the same as last term). And a woman won more votes for US President than any man ever has.
So we’ll be fine. Trust me.
5. Keep Expecting to Prevail (because you will)
Generally you don’t win if you don’t deep down believe you will. Sometimes athletes surprise themselves, or balls bounce in ways that not even the underdog expected. But most of the time, wins go to people who believe in themselves. And you must.
That doesn’t mean you don’t keep your humility or that you calmly wait for random people to come and shove money into your wallet. I fight, you fight, he/she or it fights. We all fight because we believe that we, as Latino entrepreneurs, are collectively and individually making a difference for ourselves, for our families, our communities and our country. We shall prevail.
Latin Business Today Debate & Debrief #1, #2 and #3
About the author
Carlos E. Garcia, 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