The art of selecting and working with professionals of diverse disciplines can be daunting. Carlos Garcia shares key insights and lessons learned.
Building a Hispanic business, The Accidental Entrepreneur
You never run your company alone. Even if you make all of the decisions all by yourself (probably not a wise choice as a second pair of eyes and a balancing point of view is usually a good idea), you will need a strong team of professionals to help you achieve your goals.
I have until now failed to mention what is clearly an important part of running a Hispanic business today technology.
Having a grip on the hardware and software you need, having a grip on best practices for backup and security, having a grip on the maintenance and training all of these are hugely important in todays world. Now this isnt just about computers and servers, its also about tablets and smart phones. You might be tempted to think that all you need is a nerdy teenager you can drag to work with you on weekends, but its more than that its a key function for your accounting, for your business development, for the security of your business.
Who thinks about the difference graphics can make in your business?
Well, graphic services companies probably do, but believe me, having a relationship with a great graphics group can be very important to you over the years. You are going to need logos (which need to be updated every ten years or so), marketing materials, website design, etc. I was lucky enough to be introduced to a great graphics guy and beyond the business we became friends.
Again, you probably think insurance is just this annoying thing you have to pay for, but I would suggest that having a good relationship with a solid insurance expert (not just a salesman) could make a material difference in your business. Some of our clients would occasionally ask to be included in our coverage and we would sometimes need these documents done immediately. My insurance team was able to turn these around quickly thus allowing our business to grow.
Commercial Real Estate
If you need an office or retail space for your enterprise, you will need to have a commercial agent you trust. Here is another relationship that you will need to develop. You may well need to ask around, check people out and you shouldnt necessarily settle on the first person you meet. You want someone who understands your business needs, who gets you, who knows the market and will work to get you the best deal possible. You may need this person a lot more than you imagine.
This goes almost without saying, but a really good CPA that is smart, attentive, ethical and communicative is really important. Except for one short stint, we used either private practitioners or CPAs in small firms. And our last guy was the best. He was hyper ethical, but believe me, that is way better than someone who is going to offer you ways to cut corners. If a potential CPA starts talking about how he or she can string up your books with fairy lights, just say no.
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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