Latinos are the entrepreneurial engine of the U.S. economy. Latinas are starting more businesses than any other ethnic cohort and the trend isn't slowing down. Yet, despite this staggering growth, minority-owned businesses, in general, struggle to scale. Maribel Lara Senior Vice President, Head of Consulting at The Sasha Group, discusses some of the barriers minority, women-owned businesses face and shares growth hacks MWBEs can use to accelerate the growth of their firms.
In this new age of social media, traditional market research has taken a beating. Influencers like serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk (Gary Vee) extol the importance of getting out and talking to their customers personally while countless memes of Steve Jobs’ quip against market research “customers don’t know what they want until we’ve shown them,” are shared endlessly online. To some extent, they have a point. Gary Vee’s “back to basics” approach of getting out in the real world and speaking to consumers makes sense. Technology has made it so easy to hide behind our screens that, just like the Wizard of Oz, we tell our customers what we want without giving them a chance to get to know the person behind the curtain. Nor can we get to know them.
The trade war, to date, has been somewhat hypothetical, existing mainly in the minds of consumers as it has yet to hit our wallets tangibly. However, this may be changing in 2019 as the latest slate of tariffs is likely to affect items in grocery stores across the country. Hispanic grocery stores, however, have enjoyed a steady rise in business during 2018. So, will the impending tariffs stunt this growth? Let’s take a more in-depth look to find out.
2018 has been an eventful year for Hispanic grocery stores. We saw Bodega Latina expand to Texas with an acquisition of Fiesta Mart, Winn-Dixie’s Fresco Y Más concept grew in Florida, and Albertson’s El Rancho Supermercado officially entered the Houston market. Acquisitions and consolidations have been accelerating at a break neck pace the past several years and they will continue to in 2019. But what is driving this trend? Understanding the underlying drivers of these acquisitions and consolidations in the Hispanic grocery store space can help us see what the future of Hispanic grocery holds in 2019.
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Women’s entrepreneurship is thriving in America. According to the 2018 State of Women-Owned Business report commissioned by American Express, 1,821 women-owned businesses were launched per day over the last year, bringing the total number of women-owned firms to 12.3 million, employing over 9 million people and accounting for $1.8 trillion in revenue. So, in these last few days of October, as we wind down the celebration of National Women’s Small Business Month, we are still reminded of the tremendous contributions women business owners have made to the global economy, but also charged with challenging the antiquated mindsets and inadequate policies that still plague our cause.
Every entrepreneur has his or her reasons for starting a business. As noted in our recent Entrepreneurship In America 2018 report, the “why” ranges from the pursuit of greater independence to leaving behind a family legacy. For me, as co-founder of ThinkNow, I knew there was a better way to gather meaningful insights on hard-to-reach audiences but needed the freedom to do it. The challenges I faced in starting a business, however, are specific to me. It would be a mistake to assume that my experience is reflective of those had by entrepreneurs of different social, ethnic, gender or geographic groups.
Women and Minorities Report Greater Obstacles to Starting Businesses Historically, small businesses in the U.S. have fueled the economic engine by supplying a steady stream of new jobs. However, in recent years, new business birth rates have slowed prompting the Kaufman Foundation to declare that startup rates are “half of what they were a decade ago.” This is surprising because the U.S. is seen as a global leader in entrepreneurship. Americans have created whole new industries from scratch through the courage, determination and skill of generations of risk takers. Is America at risk of losing this status? Perhaps, but why? It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact reasons for the overall decline in entrepreneurship in America.
By now, many marketers have heard of the tremendous opportunities the United States. Hispanic consumer represents in terms of numbers and purchasing power. However, in the age of hypersegmentation and targeting, Millennials and bi-cultural Hispanics have risen to the top of marketer’s go-to Hispanic sub-segments. While most companies focus on this target, there is an untapped consumer segment that has serious growth potential, Hispanic business owners.
Since we’ve launched our Minority Owned B2B Online Panel, I’ve heard that question a lot. What’s so different about minority-owned businesses that we need a separate panel for them? There’s an assumption that your client doesn’t need to include minority-owned business sample in their research because the standard B2B sample fairly represents the business landscape. That’s simply untrue. Minority-owned businesses certainly share similarities with general market businesses. However, minority business owners face unique challenges that may have a negative impact on their ability to fully scale their businesses.