Know Who You’re Serving
First, know your community. As a Latina, you likely speak English as a first language, though you are of Hispanic heritage. A “Hispanic” business owner may have grown up speaking Spanish, whereas a “Latino” or “Latina” is going to be the son or daughter of that individual. The Latinas were born into America, so they have both heritage aspects defining them.
What this means is that there are communities in America where Spanish is spoken more prominently than English. Accordingly, small businesses operated in such communities should cater to the clients they serve. If you’re in, say, Santa Ana, California, then you may run a bar, salon, or retail outlet where there isn’t an English word anywhere.
Similarly, if you were running the same business in Kansas, you would want to have English be at least 50% of the signage, pricing, and other details defining your shop. So your first step in running a successful business as a Latina is knowing who you’re catering to. Following, we’ll cover a few more steps to help get you started.
Utilizing Available Resources
Next, beyond knowing the people you’re serving with your small business, you want to utilize available resources as best you can. A great example might be the information on becoming a successful Latina entrepreneur available through the hyperlink. Another great resource to help you here may be your local Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber of Commerce in a given community will have information pertaining to where new retail outlets and subdivisions are being built. Additionally, you can determine by deduction where things are going well in the local community, and where there are difficulties.
For example, retail outlets in declining areas of town may not have many future plans available through the Chamber of Commerce. That’s a sign a community may be in decline. Certainly, you want to do the footwork yourself—never buy a property or rent an outlet you haven’t seen physically.
That said, sometimes communities in decline represent a golden business opportunity for the sort of products or services you provide. Not a lot of Latinas run liquor stores, some do. Salons and barbers are needed in declining communities just as in affluent ones; if your business model can cater to such clientele, this route may prove successful.
Understanding Your Budget
In order to make the best choices, you need to carefully design a budget that allows you to succeed. The difficulty here is, until your operation gets underway, certain budgetary items will not be available to calculate. So to a certain extent, you’ve got to just dive in and see where you’re at. However, you can prepare in advance.
Think of taxes, rent, utilities, tools like computers or hair clippers, maintenance, products, gasoline, and employees as overhead. Figure out what your monthly overhead costs will be, and give yourself a thick margin for error. If you come up with a number like $10,500 a month in operating expenses, call it $12k, and design profit margins to exceed that number.
If you’ve got a $12k monthly overhead cost including all incidentals, taxes, and even hidden costs like employee insurance as mandated locally depending on your situation, then you want to make at minimum $4k over that $12k figure. That is, if you want to keep a family, property, and a comfortable standard of living.
If you’re pulling in $16k a month and spending $12k of it in overhead, you’re netting $4k; or $48k a year. That’s a living for a midwest small business. It won’t work in New York City or L.A., where middle-class costs of living are $200k in N.Y.C. and $120k in L.A., on average. That is to say: $100k and $200k in the cities has the buying power $48k does in the midwest.
Maximizing Profit Potential
Using available resources, designing an effective budget, and understanding those who you’re serving will go a long way to helping you design and manage a successful business as a Latina. Those tips go for any small business. As a Latina, the sorts of business you may excel at will be what differs most.
So consider what you’re good at, what you can afford, where you’re at, and whether or not you can afford to tread water while you get the balance right over the next ten years. Whether you’re a Latino or a Latina doesn’t matter as much as your willingness to work hard, and your preparation in advance.