Talking Latino-Owned Businesses and How to Leverage Your Network…
In partnership with Chase, I spent the day in Houston speaking with hundreds of Latino business owners and professionals about the hurdles to self-starting, funding, and all around bringing in the business. That is the American dream, right? That si se puede (yes you can), be Self Made. Which happened to be the book title of as my interview subject Nely Galan (see interview here). This former Trump Apprentice, Emmy winner, President of Telemundo, author, media mogul and self-made Latina, was honest and transparent about the challenges that faced her and how she overcame them in business. If you are like me, banking, and funding is one of the most intimidating parts of business (I like these tools from Chase). We have so many ways to finance but, while you are busy working on how to bring in sales and the infrastructure of your business, it’s difficult to focus on the monetary side.
When I first started my business, ThreadsRefined, I had access to quite a bit of capital, to debt mechanisms and leverage, but I chose to use a business credit card. Full disclosure I do bank at Chase, as I only talk about items I’ve used personally. The most frequent card I’ve seen used from them is Chase Ink, click here for more on the rewards system. I’m pretty much a rewards junkie, I mean who doesn’t like free stuff?
So why did I finance that way? First, if I personally am not prepared to put my own money in my business, why should anyone else? OPM (other people’s money) is a beautifully capitalistic thing, but I like skin in the game. Don’t kid yourself if you get OPM first and fail, your reputation is seriously sullied. Free capital is never free. Second, I believe in business the reason most businesses don’t survive is that they over lever themselves, aka spend, spend, spend. They get too much capital, they pay too much instead of doing trade for items or negotiating, they don’t bootstrap, and the small costs pile up like papers in an abandoned driveway. For me to test my business I wanted to keep a keen eye to costs (aka have to pay them off each month). However, it’s important to separate your business expenses from your personal. Which is why I wanted a business credit card like Chase Ink.
Once we understand the funding side, the question then becomes which provider. When I am analyzing any vendor I like to think about it like a life partnership. This is someone I want to travel through time with. I want them vested in my business, I want to grow with them. I don’t want to re-learn processes and hop around for the lowest cost provider. Sometimes you get what you pay for. It all eventually goes back to the humans you engage with, even when you are choosing large providers. I loved this example. Nely Galan when she was building up her business (as the creator of the show the Swan), needed capital and to professionalize the financial side of her business. So she strutted (she does definitely strut like us Latina’s do), into her bank and looked around for someone who looked like her. She found herself a fellow Latina and now says, “A Latina banker changed everything in my business.” She’s right.
At the end of the day I have two philosophies in business;
1) Cash is king - without it you are a charity not a business
2) Networks = your net worth.
So you need some rock stars in your tribe, your own personal business board if you will.
I consider my rock stars in my tribe; my attorney, my accountant, my banker, my assistant, and my executive board. I certainly wasn’t alone among the panelists when they spoke about their tribe, check out an interview here and here with two Chase Ink users, CEO’s, and fellow change makers talking about the importance of their network. At the end of the day, keep it simple. Start with as small initial investment as you can, surround yourself with the best humans you can and focus on the cash flow.
Also – let your voice be heard! Use #ChaseNegocios for their answers and give them a follow at the sites below.
CHECK THEM OUT HERE:
Codie Sanchez Baker