Hispanics are creating new businesses at a faster clip than any other ethnic group. Hispanics make up more than half of the nation’s 40 million foreign-born, and they are starting businesses at a rate that exceeds even their population growth.
There are millions of Hispanics in the construction industry. And more and more of them are opting out of the labor-only mindset. They are starting their own businesses.
Take the drywall industry, for example. I know several foremen who had been leading crews of Hispanic laborers – largely consisting of men they recruited personally – and as business slowed, they decided to leave & start their own gig.
These Hispanic foremen were hanging 40 sheets of 5/8 board every day while the owner was sitting in Skybox Suites and golfing three times a week.
As the economy slipped, the overhead structures of many businesses no longer supported the creature comforts that were standard issue through 2006 – golf junkets, sporting events, up-scale dinners with Purchasing agents, et al.
Many Hispanic foremen figured they could eliminate much of the overhead, run it themselves, and take their teams with them. They knew the numbers, they knew the talent, all they needed was some Capital, Sales Skills, and a boatload of Confidence.
Those who made the leap were not alone. CNN Money reports that 28% of all new firms started in 2012 were created by immigrants. Hispanics led the way.
What’s driving this Hispanic entrepreneurship surge?
CNN Money: immigrants are over-represented in lower wage sectors like construction, which was hard hit during the economic crisis, according to Rob Fairlie, a professor at the University of California-Santa Cruz.
“Recession drove low-skilled workers into figuring out what to do,” said Fairlie, who authored a recent report for the Kauffman Foundation.
These Hispanic ‘treps took matters into their own manos. In the universal entrepreneur mentality, they said: “Instead of complaining about The Man, I’ll take his spot and do it my way.”
If you are in the business of selling Products (productos) and Services (servicios) to Hispanics, this is a huge opportunity for you.
Entrepreneurs face an uphill battle when starting out. There is a reason 90%+ of all new businesses fail in their first 5 years. It aint easy.
For Hispanic entrepreneurs, there may be language barriers, limited education from their native country, and capital constraints. Sizable obstacles, to be sure. Nonetheless, these new firms may have found a niche. Or maybe they can acquire new business with an owner who works (physically), razor-thin overheads, and a ferocious will to win.
Help an Entrepreneur = Gain Incredible Loyalty
Entreprenuers understand the odds. They feel the pressure every day. If you can learn about their business and help them out – say, establish a small line of credit, discount prices in exchange for weekly purchases, provide free delivery, and call them by name when they enter your store – you will gain incredible loyalty.
These small, minority-owned businesses need to buy construction materials, safety gear, and tools from somewhere. Why not you?
Don’t assume a Hispanic entering your store is simply a “runner” from some company that sent him with a shopping list and a mandate to be back in “veinte minutos.”
He may represent another new business looking for a trusted partner to help him grow his business. Help him.
Say, “¿Qué tal? ¿Qué necesitas?”
How’s it goin? What do you need?
Instead of searching for new customers, why not help the ones already walking in your front door?
What ways are you growing your Hispanic customer base?
Do you have any success stories with Hispanic entrepreneurs?
Check back in tomorrow for the 8 Rules for Selling Más to Your Hispanic Customers.
Bradley Hartmann is founder and el presidente at Red Angle (www.redanglespanish.com), a Spanish language training firm focused on the construction industry.
Categories: Jobsite Leadership