This article was originally published online by the Orlando Business Journal.
We live in a country that constantly is evolving. The minority population is growing rapidly, and whether executives are ready to embrace them or not, they definitely will affect their company’s revenue now and well into their future.
Hispanics are not a sub-segment of the economy. They are emerging as a powerhouse of economic and political influence.
More than 40 percent of entrepreneurs in the U.S. identify themselves as minority, according to “Hispanic Businesses & Entrepreneurs Drive Growth in the New Economy,” a report from Geoscape and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Hispanics are entrepreneurs at heart. In 2015, the number of Hispanic-owned businesses increased to more than 4.7 million, up 57 percent from 2007.
Hispanic-owned business revenue jumped by $661 billion in 2015, an 88 percent increase since 2007, said the report. Also, the growth annual percentage between Hispanic-owned firms vs. all U.S. firms was 7.5 percent vs. 0.5 percent (2012-2015).
Thirty percent of Hispanic households that identify themselves as small business owners earned more than $100,000 a year, compared to 23 percent of all U.S. households.
The bottom line: Hispanics are an opportunity every business must learn, understand and start including in their business plan to assure steady growth.
Keep the following 5 tips in mind and you can start enjoying a new revenue stream:
- United they stand: Hispanics love the USA. They came to this country for the same reasons our founding fathers did: to build a better life for their families. Home ownership is the American dream and the same holds true for the Hispanics. They want to put down roots.
- Know your market: Many Hispanics business owners straggle to implement strong financial planning and cash management procedures. If you are in the financial industry, there is a range of services you can offer and provide. Hispanics over-index on commercial banking services and invest at a higher rate compared to the mainstream market. Banking services such as online bill pay, home mortgages and online banking are among the most used.
- Have a plan in place:“The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance — it is the illusion of knowledge,” said American historian Daniel Boorstin, who was the twelfth Librarian of the U.S. Congress from 1975-1987. Many companies haven’t been successful when reaching out to this market because they see it as either an outreach of the general market business practice or an extension of a brand strategy. Make a genuine effort with a cultural relevant strategy that truly speaks to their needs and they will become your best brand ambassadors. Allocate a reasonable budget so you can assure ROI. Testing the waters won’t take you anywhere.
- Hablamos español?: According to the Geoscape report, 60 percent of Hispanic business owners are bilingual and bicultural. Many companies determine their approach based on language. This is why they fall short on their efforts. It goes beyond language. It is about culture and how well you know it. Depending on your demographics and acculturation levels, reach to them in both languages. Cultural relevancy is key.
- Building momentum:“The toughest thing about trust is that it’s very difficult to build and very easy to destroy,” said American businessman Thomas J. Watson Sr., former CEO of IBM in the early to mid 1900s. Remember, the sale doesn’t end when the cash register closes. Keep the contact alive and build on the relationship with Hispanics. Trust has a powerful influence over their decisions. It can make or break you when you look for that all important “personal referral.”
Hispanics are a long-term investment that truly will pay off your ROI. The fist step is to be committed. Remember, success is on the other side of fear and comfort.