The first time I walked into my mother-in-law’s home, I saw a sign that read, “Mi casa es su casa,” meaning in English “my home is your home.” And boy, that was the truth. Irene was a wonderful woman who made everyone feel special. Her outlook on life is that family always came first and hard work was expected. She’s strong, devoted, smart, funny, loyal and she passed her values down to her kids, including my wife Maria.
When I met my wife, she was a single mom who had just started her own small business. She worked incredibly hard and was 100% committed to her daughter, her family, and her business. She was (and is!) an enthusiastic whirlwind.
She is not alone. I was not surprised, indeed was heartened, when I was able to review a sneak peek of the inaugural Bank of America Hispanic Small Business Spotlight. The Spotlight surveyed 348 Hispanic small business owners from across the country on a range of issues and tells a story of business ownership not unlike my wife and not unlike her mom.
It tells a story of confidence, commitment, and community.
Not only are Hispanic entrepreneurs one of the fastest growing segments of all small businesses, they are also among the most optimistic. According to the Spotlight:
- 71% of the Hispanic business owners surveyed expect their revenue to increase in 2017
- 76% plan on growing their business over the next five years, and
- More than half plan on hiring new staff this year
Like all small business owners, Hispanic entrepreneurs are concerned about a wide range of business issues. Twenty-three percent say achieving work-life balance is a top challenge, 19% report finding qualified employees to be their biggest concern, and 11% find day-to-day operations to be their biggest issue.
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But one place where Hispanic small business owners seem to be unique, and one of the most interesting aspects of the Bank of America Hispanic Small Business Spotlight, is when it comes to family and community. It turns out that community is vital to the success of Hispanic small business owners.
This shows up in three ways:
- Hispanic business owners are much more likely to turn to family for business support. This is especially clear with regards to financial, operational and emotional support – and most (93%) reported turning to family for such support.
- Community plays a huge role in the success of Hispanic small businesses. Whereas less than half of non-Hispanic business owners indicated that community support was key to their success, almost three-quarters of Hispanic entrepreneurs say it is. And by the same token, just about the same number say that they give back to the community that supports them.
- Finally, and this one does not surprise me at all when I look at my own extended family, the Hispanic small business owners in the Spotlight report by more than a two-to-one margin that they plan on passing their small business on to a family member. Only 18% of non-Hispanics indicate they would, compared to 42% of the Hispanics surveyed.
It’s almost as if the sign in my family’s house could have said “Mi negocio es su negocio.”
My business is your business.
About Steve Strauss
Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success.© Steven D. Strauss.
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