How did those failures impact you personally?
I had other employment and eventually started business coaching. I wanted to start another business but was afraid at that moment because of those three failures. Ask me what you shouldn’t do in a business; I did it all. At that moment, I thought, maybe I'm not entrepreneur material.
How did you silence those voices? Or did you not silence them and say, I'm gonna do it anyway even though I'm scared?
To be honest, even sometimes right now, I have the voices. It's something that you have to deal with and you have to look back at what you have done. If you focus on the good, you will see good things. But if you focus on the bad things, you will just see bad things.
I lost money. I spent too much time on things that didn’t add value to my business, rather than delegating those tasks.
But I know what I learned from my mistakes. And, afterward I got two master’s degrees. I had a lot of experience doing consulting. So yeah, I made mistakes at that time, but right now I have more experience, more knowledge.
What are the challenges specific to Hispanic business owners?
The main difficulties that I have seen with Hispanic communities relate to confidence. South Carolina’s Hispanic community has a lot of immigrants, and doing business here is very different from any Latin American country.
For example, a lawsuit in Mexico or in Colombia, you can deal with a lawsuit. But here the lawsuits are millions of dollars, so you could go into bankruptcy.
There’s also a lack of confidence due to language barriers. Business owners are afraid people will take advantage of them because they’re not native English speakers, which does happen. They’re concerned they might not be fully understanding of the details of things like contracts, bookkeeping, taxes and laws.
So, many would rather do business in Spanish, or with Spanish speakers. Even some people who grew up here and speak excellent English feel this way.
Why is that a problem?
Sometimes they are limiting themselves to only Hispanic customers when, in fact, many different groups of people want their product or service.
What are some other culture-related issues beyond language?
They might also be dealing with a cultural stigma against using credit instead of cash, which is a big part of doing business here.