Latinos are the new Silicon Valley Start-up nerds.

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A friend of mine is a Washington, D.C. litigator.

He does what he does well: thinking, speaking, reading, dressing and litigating.

 

Guys like him get noticed.

Last year a young, awkward teen noticed him. The kid was working behind the counter at the litigator’s favorite sandwich joint. The kid hands over the sandwich and says, “I see you in here a lot. You always wear nice suits. You mind if I ask what you do?”

 

“Not at all. I’m an attorney.”

 

“Oh. Good. My friends and I are starting a video game company. We’re going to need an attorney… can I have one of your business cards?”

 

“Here you go,” my friend said to the nerd through the sneeze guard, “call me if you need help.”

 

Odds of this juvenile sandwich slinger becoming a client?

Not good.

 

And yet… a year later, the kid called.

He needed a lawyer.

 

 

His video game company was blowing up. Venture capital firms were circling, lobbing burlap sacks full of cash at them. My barrister friend now has a great new client.

“All from one conversation at the sandwich shop. Now whenever I see some pimply-faced kid with a Minecraft tee…. my assumption is he’ll be a successful entrepreneur.”

 

 

Good assumption.

 

 

Wouldn’t it be great if you knew where the next group of successful entrepreneurs would come from?

 

In construction, we do.

The Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity (KIEA) tracks entrepreneurship across the U.S.

 

The data from 1996 – 2013 answers 2 important questions:

 

What race will start the most new businesses?

Latino.

 

 

Race

 

 

In what industry will they start them?

Construction.

 

Industry

 

 

Race changes

 

 

 

 

Look around & you’ll see Latino entrepreneurship happening from Portland, OR to Atlanta, GA.

But many insiders are still missing it.

 

I recently met with a construction retailing Client. Spanish-speaking customers were coming & going all day long. I asked the Assistant Manager how the Spanish-speaking customers played into his next year’s revenue goals.

 

“Not much. If they speak Spanish, they’re probably here just picking stuff up for the owner.”

 

Bad assumption.

 

Look at the data.

Look at your customers.

 

Better yet – count them.

Count the number of Latinos walking through your puertas every day.

What % is it?

 

 

If you sell construction stuff, assume every Spanish-speaker you see is an entrepreneur-in-training.

He may be picking up materials today.

But tomorrow he’ll be placing the call.

 

The question is: Will he be making the call to you or someone else?

 

Start developing relationships with your Spanish-speaking customers today.

How?

 

 

Start with these 3 tips. 

1. Translate your credit app.

2. Order manufacturer’s sales literature in Spanish.

3. Say hola.

 

 

Haces algo.

Do something.

 

 

If you sell construction stuff, assume every Spanish-speaker you see is an entrepreneur-in-training.

 

Helping Latinos grow their future business is how you will grow your business.

The inverse is also true: failing to help Latinos grow their future business is how you will grow your competitor’s business.

 

 

My barrister buddy got lucky landing his new client.

He can’t develop a growth strategy based on spotting summer sausage-slicing seventeen year-old sci-fi savants.

There’s not enough of them and they are hard to identify.

 

 

You, on the other hand, have it easier.

There’s 53M Latinos in the U.S. and they are on every jobsite in the country.

Heck, they are coming to you!

 

If you sell construction stuff, assume every Spanish-speaker you see is an entrepreneur-in-training.

 

Do what you do well: thinking, speaking, marketing, and selling.

Just do it bilingually.

 

And do it mindfully.

 

Do that and you’ll get noticed.

 

 

 

Bradley Hartmann is founder and El Presidente at Red Angle (www.redanglespanish.com), a training and consulting firm bridging the English-Spanish (and a bit of Polish…) language gap in the construction industry.

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Categories: Construction Spanish

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