550 word article on the economic impact of Hispanic Businesses in the region and why encouraging diversity of service providers, vendors, etc makes smart business sense?

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No longer can it be denied: The Hispanic population is exploding with a purchasing power of $1.5 Trillion dollars. Hispanics tend to be more entrepreneurial, establishing businesses at 3 times the rate of non-Hispanics; in Maryland alone, there are over 38,000 Hispanic Businesses Enterprises, representing a growth of 67% since 2002. 

These numbers emphasize a previously under-served market.  New Clients, New Vendors, New Partners.  Yes, it’s obvious we should sell to the Hispanics Market: the HUGE numbers of buyers with disposable income.  But HOW DO WE SELL TO THEM?  How do we attract that buyer? How do we engage them? 

Translate the brochures? Hire an intern?  Not quite. The Hispanic Market is complex and widely varied; just consider that over 20 countries are lumped into the category of LATINO, all with different cultures, traditions, socioeconomic status, political views, etc.    First step is to understand your market-base and address it accordingly: “You wouldn’t sell beef to a vegetarian, right?” 

Begin with an employee or vendor that understands the client base, which is not only BILINGUAL but BICULTURAL.  They will direct you in effectively marketing to this diverse and highly loyal segment.  Will you mail letters or postcards? In what language? Tele-market? To the man or the woman in the household? Through Radio? Mobile reach? 

Partnering with Hispanic Businesses has another tremendous benefit: procurement and government contracting.  Per GOMA (Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs) for Year Ending 2011, Hispanic firms were awarded $142.8 Million in contracts and received over $90MM in payments, which supported over 1,018 jobs.   This is a 127% increase since 2007.   

As these awards increase so does the opportunity to partner with Hispanic Businesses and generate more revenue while diversifying your own revenue stream. 

The bottom-line: the Hispanic Consumer wants to be informed and educated and treated with dignity and courtesy.  And they want to spend their hard-earned money with merchants that treat them well and make the effort to reach and engage them.  Partnering with existing Hispanic Businesses also provides additional revenue streams.   
In short, acknowledging & engaging the Hispanic Consumer and Business can dramatically shift your 2012 financial outlook.  I highly recommend it. 

Veronica Cool is the Chairwoman of the MD Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and serves as corporate consultant on Diverse Segment Marketing, Procurement and Entrepreneurialism.  She can be reached at vcool@comcast.net.

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