Latinos Need to Make Learning a Key Priority of Their Small Business

Hispanic business woman's knowledge Latin Biz Today

Many Latinos believe that the “American Dream” rests in the ownership of a small business

Not strangers to hard work and strong work ethics, many Hispanics have launched businesses of their own which has given the U.S. economy a tremendous boost and have given Latino families a chance at prosperity and legacy. According to the SBA “there are approximately 5 million Latino-owned businesses across the U.S., generating more than $800 billion in annual revenue”.  The biggest industries represented are in the services sector. Aside from belief systems, legacy and in many cases life savings at stake, Hispanic businesses have much to lose if they fail. The small business community would be weakened, the confidence of our Latino/an entrepreneurs would lessen and quite simply, the US economy will be greatly impacted.

In a study on how Latino small businesses can be strengthened, it was documented that they face unique challenges including but not limited to access to capital; inadequate or no information on rules and regulations in running a business; lack of trust in pursuing formal small business program help; no knowledge of how to run a business, market a business, manage people.

With all these challenges to deal with and with so much riding on your Latino small business success, I have one tip that supercedes all tips and that’s to make learning your business.  Thousands of books and millions of personal stories will point to the fact that successful leaders who build successful organizations have a lust for lifelong learning. They love to learn. They look for any and every opportunity they might find to learn.

As an Educator, many expect that I would point them to formal learning and getting that parchment paper. While I do advocate for degrees and myself would still be in school getting a new one if I had the funds for it, I also know that learning comes in all forms and fashions. If you want to give your business the best shot at continued success.

Here are three things you can do  how to make learning benefit your business:

1.  Create a Personal Development Plan

It’s not too late to see how you can fit some life-long learning into your schedule. Formal or certificate programs, conferences, seminars all will work here.  It doesn’t matter as long as you start on the quest to be a better leader where you lead.

Keep in mind that being a better leader, one that is worth following doesn’t mean you have expertise in everything or just “skills”, it means you have a soul and are working on your emotional intelligence. Who wants to work for an intelligently, skilled meanie!

2.  Lead Yourself.

A team is only as good as its leader. In my 30+ year work journey, I’ve been astounded to find “bosses” who were more eager to tell you what to do then to model it themselves. If you want a learning organization where learning is valued, lead yourself to learning opportunities, share with your team and then set the standard by actually showing versus telling.

3.  Get Out of the Office.

Everyone knows as a small business owner you put in countless hours to get the business moving and growing but if you don’t meet other like-minded individuals with a passion and a purpose to contribute to society, leave their mark by creating fabulous products or giving amazing service then you will always be the lid in your organization.

In order to continue to thrive not merely survive as a Latino-owned business; you need to know what you don’t know. In order to lead well, you have to learn. So do yourself a favor, make your first order of business in the remaining half of this year, learning.  JFK once said, Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.

He was on to something there!

Related content:

Taking the Entrepreneurial Plunge

Hispanic businesses

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