Small Business Advice No One Tells You; From Fellow Entrepreneurs

By: Susan Farhang, USHCC Director of Marketing

National Small Business Week — April 30-May 6, 2017

Starting a business has its ups and downs, and words of encouragement can help through the tough times.

Whether you are just getting started on your new business venture or wanting to grow your biz, our Hispanic Business Enterprise Members* are here to help. These entrepreneurs have been through it all, and their guiding words are the small business advice no one tells you — but they do!

*Hispanic Business Enterprise (HBE) Program, provides a national platform for Hispanic-owned companies that have scaled and grown beyond the scope of local chambers of commerce. The USHCC equips members with resources & knowledge to grow their business by raising awareness on procurement opportunities and introducing them to a broad network of decision makers in both the public and private sectors. Find out more here.

Elijah White, CEO, C&E Pipeline Services

Claudia Mirza, CEO & Co-Founder, Akorbi also suggests:

“Focus on hiring for your weaknesses. In life and leadership, we are drawn to people who think, act and are interested in similar things as we are. For a leader, it can be problematic to only surround with people who have your similar interests and talents. A successful leader will hire people who are strong in the areas they are not. They will surround themselves with experts in their own fields to be able to draw from that knowledge base while still being able to focus on what they do best.”

Oscar Casillas, President & CEO, BEPC Inc.

Katherine O’Hara, President, The O’HARA PROJECT has some more advice:

“Whether it be starting a business or entering a phase of growth, entrepreneurs are quick to get stuck in the weeds by taking on day to day efforts. The excuses all sound valid. “Who knows it better than me?“ “It will get finished quicker if I do it.” By doing so, one risks losing sight of the greater scope of the business. Entrepreneurs must remain mindful of this common reactive practice of putting out fires and instead use their energy to think proactively about ways to grow their business in the right direction.”

Betty Manetta, President & CEO, Argent Associates Inc. has some great tips:

1. Starting Up is Messy: Have you ever seen a clean and organized construction site? Why should starting your company or initiative, be any different?
3. Ignore the Noise: Apropos for startups, ignore the noise is about cutting through the noise to drive results. Whether criticism, excuses, or simply bad luck, ignore the noise so you can focus on winning.
4. Define Your Company’s Culture: Clarify your culture from the start. The two of you. Who are we? Define your culture. Grow it to 1000 people. Your first day of big trouble is if you don’t. People make decisions when you are not there. That’s how you scale. You only have 24 hours in a day.
5. Innovation is Rewarded, Execution is Worshiped: It’s not just about a great idea, it’s about the great implementation of that idea. So get out there and start doing!

Rosa Santana, Founder & CEO, Santana Group suggests:

“Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan”
These key words were given to me by one of my first mentors. Plan your work — Decide what you want to achieve, then develop your plan to get there. Work your plan –to reach your goal.

Don Salazar, President & CEO, Creative Times Inc. has some key tips:

  1. When starting out in business it is imperative that you base your choice on two dominant issues,
    a) It must be something that you LOVE! This new venture of your choosing will demand more of your time, more of your focus, more of your commitment than anything you have done previously.
    b) You must be prepared to perform: you need to arm yourself with the tools necessary to be the best in which ever industry you choose to pursue. TRAIN, EDUCATION, KNOW YOUR MARKET!
  2. Broaden your base! Become involved in business organizations and the business community at large i.e.; such as the USHCC. The business community is commerce friendly although very competitive most business folks readily give advice and you will find that on piece of counsel could save you years in development and have tremendous impact on your bottom line. My message is don’t do it alone use every resource available to you.

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