Hispanic small business owners looking toward the future

According to a report from Bank of America, 68 percent of Hispanic small business owners believe their local economy will improve over the next 12 months.

In comparison, just 54 percent of non-Hispanic small business owners have that same belief, based on feedback shared in the Bank of America Business Advantage: 2019 Hispanic Small Business Owner Spotlight.

Rebeca Lopez, founder and owner of Milestone Pediatrics, explained that her business has experienced significant growth over the last few years.

“I feel that Arizona is very supportive of small business owners and small businesses,” Lopez said.

Milestone Pediatrics, founded in Arizona in 2009, provides therapy services for children with developmental disabilities.

“I saw Arizona as really supportive, especially being Latina. I feel like they’re very supportive of my heritage and my growth, so that’s why I decided to start here in Arizona,” Lopez added.

The state’s support of small business and the positive attitude of many Hispanic small business owners have contributed to their optimism.

“When I am in the financial center speaking to small business owners, I feel like they have a very ‘can-do’ attitude,” Lynn Searles, Bank of America SVP small business banking market manager, said. “They believe in themselves and the business venture and they’re passionate about it and they feel like the economy is on their side.”

This optimism and attitude may lead to more growth and expansion. According to the report, 87 percent of Hispanic small business owners plan to expand over the next 12 months.

“They’re seeing the economy trending up. Arizona is one of the markets in my opinion where we help one another; Hispanics want to support Hispanic business owners,” Katia Duenas, Bank of America VP small business banker, said. “So, they’re talking amongst themselves, especially from one industry to another. They’re referring within the community.”

It can benefit the community in a variety of ways when small business thrives.

New and growing businesses will likely hire people to fill positions. This growth increases job opportunities and helps employees build a career.

“As they grow and expand, in addition to hiring you can start looking into credit facilities, which then allow you to start applying more inventory or you get an SBA loan to buy a new building,” Searles said. “So, that helps the local economy from commercial property activity.”

While business owners are optimistic about their endeavors and the economy, they are aware of some issues that could arise.

“One of the things they are more concerned though than their non-Hispanic business owner counterparts are some of the potential items that can go wrong in the economy. Although they’re very positive about the economy, they worry more about certain aspects of it,” Searles explained.

According to the report, the economic concerns include:

“One of the things I think we do really well as a firm is to help understand the client’s business and act as an advisor and help them prepare to weather a storm from a financial perspective,” Searles said. “The benefit of expansion and credit is fantastic, but we make sure we do it in such a way that it is responsible and helps them maintain the business through some type of economic downturn.”

Building a strong foundation will help small business owners reach short-term and long-term goals, prepare for issues and set them on the path for successful growth.

“I absolutely believe that this is going to continue to be a huge growth market and expect it to grow exponentially,” Searles said.

She added, “As they start getting into business for a period of time, then that will start changing their banking needs and a number of their needs. So, I think we’ll see a difference in the way they handle some of their banking or some of their activity with their company.”

Hispanic small business owners are expected to continue strengthening their use of technology to grow their business, attract new employees and reach their target audience.

“I think these millennials and younger folks are also going to be promoting more through social media, so that’s going to attract even more clients now and more retention,” Duenas said.  “Technology is the key area for the next three to five years on the trends of the Hispanic community.”

Sierra Ciaramella

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