Nine out of 10 Hispanic business owners are optimistic about their prospects over the next two years but concerns about the U.S. economy have led the majority to focus on conserving cash and managing expenses more carefully, according to the PNC Bank survey.
America’s largest and fastest-growing ethnic group, the survey also found that most of these owners often employ family members, but not their family’s financial resources, in their operations.
“Hispanic business owners are taking a conservative approach to managing their business as
they hunker down in the current economy,” said Jesús Muñoz, vice president of business banking in a press release.
“Small businesses are sensitive to economic cycles so it is important for them to manage productivity, expenses and cash flow through the inevitable up and down cycles.”
Hispanic business owners said their business is meeting or exceeding their expectations for sales and financial performance (69%), despite a significant number expressing pessimism about the national economy (31%) or local economy (23%). More than three in four (77%) hope to grow their business over the next two years.
Seven of 10 (71%) “definitely” or “probably” will conserve cash in the next six months, and 59% said they plan to reduce capital spending. In addition, more than two-thirds (68%) will reduce or eliminate expenses in the business while 15% intend to reduce staffing. Fewer than one in four (24%) plan to take out a new loan or line of credit, while 62% will trim debt.
“For Hispanic business owners, adapting to the U.S. business climate is an important first step
toward success,” Muñoz said. “However, it is often the education and insight gained from banks and
other business partners that enable an owner to continue making the right decisions to help grow their
business going forward.”
The majority of Hispanic business owners have their family involved in business operations (60%), and nearly half (45%) intend to keep the business in the family when they retire. When starting their businesses, owners considered encouragement from friends and family (46%) as important as having a strong group of customers (45%). Families also helped fund start-ups, with 4% of businesses relying on family money as their primary funding sources for their business. Nearly three in 10 (28 percent) use personal savings or personal credit
Much like other ethnic groups, Hispanic business owners are increasingly acculturated to the U.S.
way of life, especially as it pertains to success. Among other findings, the study revealed that most are U.S.-born. Fifty-five percent of Hispanic business owners were born in the U.S., and for those business owners born outside the U.S., they have lived in the country for an average of 35.4 years.
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Most Hispanic owners are seeking to hire English-speaking employees, with 85% said speaking English is important, compared to only about one-third who felt it is important to speak Spanish.
For these survey results, Artemis Strategy Group conducted a telephone survey among 523 Hispanic or Latino business owners or senior decision makers of Hispanic-owned small and middle-market businesses (annual revenue $100,000 to less than $10 million) from May 18 to June 12, 2012. The survey was offered in both Spanish and English. The national results are based on 402 qualifying interviews conducted across the continental U.S.
–Alanna Stage, @AlannaTweets