Since its inception in 2008, the Hispanic Chamber of e-Commerce (HISCEC) has grown to 1,700 members. The for-profit organization is a B2B membership-based national small-business association that provides tools and solutions to increase their presence online.
"One of our first goals was to connect with the non-connected Latino-owned businesses," said co-founder Tayde Aburto. "We wanted to build a space where home-based and small businesses, like ours, could feel welcomed and part of a professional organization."
Aburto and his business partners opened an Internet marketing consulting firm in 2006 at a time when e-business, especially in the Latino community, was still in its infancy. The HISCEC, based in San Diego, was formed to fill that void. Now, Aburto says, Hispanic enterprise owners are adopting technology and closely following Internet trends.
HispanicBusiness asked Aburto to speak more about the HISCEC's offerings and what members get from the organization.
HB: Do these businesses operate only online, or do they have a brick-and-mortar storefront?
Tayde Arburto: Most of HISCEC's members have a brick-and-mortar storefront. There are also a lot of e-businesses listed on HISCEC's business directory.
HB: What are advantages and disadvantages to having only online operations?
TA: First of all, a business can't afford not to have an online operation these days. The costs of not doing e-business include loss of customers to competitors with good websites and loss of potential revenue. An online operation can help a business to target new customers, including customers beyond their local market. Even if the business owner doesn't sell anything online, a website makes it easier for potential customers to find them.
An online operation can help a business owner to find better business deals. They can use the Internet to find information about products, services and suppliers. Some of HISCEC's members have been able to generate new business thanks to their listings with us. There are some listings that are ranking well for specific keywords, and in some cases HISCEC's listing is ranking better than the business' website. We put some effort at making HISCEC's business directory Google friendly.
A website can increase a business' sales by providing access to new markets; by making it easier for customers, potential customers and suppliers to look at their products and services; and by making it easier for people to buy their products. A storefront only operates during business hours, (but) a business' online store is open for business 24/7.
A lot of Latino-owned businesses fail within the first two years because of the lack of a marketing strategy or a not well-planned and executed strategy. An online operation enables a business to improve its marketing strategies. With the Internet, it's easier to summarize and analyze information about customers visiting and buying from a website. Business owners can use that information to modify their promotional strategies to maximize sales.
The disadvantages of having an online-only operation is that it could be a deal breaker (because of credibility issues).
I organized (our first) event from my apartment with no staff and very little money, but I was determined to make it happen. Besides the credibility factor, I really don't see many disadvantages of having only online operations. The advantages are greater than the disadvantages.
HB: Statistically, Hispanics aren't highly represented in the tech world. What are some things entrepreneurs can do to get more tech savvy?
TA: First of all, we need to encourage young Latinos to get Web programming, Web designer and IT degrees or specialize in areas related to e-business -- careers that can help them to create or join tech startups. I'm not a Web programmer or an IT specialist, but I decided to focus on learning e-business (e-commerce and e-marketing) right after I earned my bachelor's in economics.
I strongly believe that over the next two to three years we are going to see more Latinos and Latino-owned businesses playing a key role in the Internet. There is already a trend of Latino tech startups that is going to help to build that momentum.
HB: Why should a business invest in a social media presence?
TA: We all know by now that a key component of an Internet marketing strategy is having a social media presence. It can be via the traditional social networks (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn), via microblogs like Tumblr, a video-sharing site (YouTube) or a picture-sharing site (Instagram or Flickr). What is important is to select the social site that it is going to offer the best ROI possible for the business.
Having a social media presence helps a business to reach a large number of people in a more spontaneous way without paying large advertising fees.
HB: What are some benefits of an online marketing strategy?
TA: Once a business has established its online presence, via a website or through the use of social media profiles, effective marketing is the key to getting the most out of the time and money they have invested. If they don't have a clear idea of the direction they are planning to take, they are going to get lost and they are going to end up spending tons of cash without seeing any results from their efforts.
Effective Internet marketing ensures that people know about their online presence, that they know what their target market needs and what they are saying about their business online, and that they use data generated online to improve their business and overall marketing strategy.
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By Tayde Aburto / in Blog, Fluid Grid View / March 15, 2013
ProAbition - Whiskey lounge and restaurant is open for business! A sophisticated prohibition era restaurant and bar located at 3597 Main St. in downtown Riverside. The sophisticated prohibition-era speakeasy restaurant is the hot spot restaurant to go in Riverside. ProAbition's unique selection of Whiskeys and fine menu will help guests to escape reality on their lunch hour or relax at Happy Hour. ProAbition serves burgers, flat breads, pizzas and salads. You can take a look at ProAbition's full menu here:
By Tayde Aburto / in Blog, Fluid Grid View / March 8, 2013
PewResearch Hispanic Center released on March 7, 2013 the study "Closing the Digital Divide: Latinos and Technology Adoption". This post summarizes some of the key findings shared in the study. The analysis find that when it comes to using the Internet, the digital divide between Latinos and whites is smaller than what it had been just a few years ago. Between 2009 and 2012, the share of Latino adults who say they go online at least occasionally increased 14 percentage points, rising from 64% to 78%.
Now, lets talk about closing the digital divide between Latino-owned businesses and the general market. If you are a Latino business owner without an online presence or a weak online presence, it's time for you to take action. There are not good excuses that can justify the reasons why thousands of Latino-owned businesses are not online. The stats shown above gives you enough reasons to have a strong presence on the Internet, why?, well, lets put it this way, you are missing the opportunity to grow your business right now!
If you decide to get your business online with a well defined Internet marketing strategy, I guarantee you that you are going to increase your sales. If you need advice or if you just want to connect with other businesses owners who have taken the initiative to use the Internet as a business tool, join the Hispanic Chamber of E-Commerce (HISCEC). You can join the HISCEC for free.
It's never too late to conduct an assessment of your business operation. You can easily add an Internet marketing strategy to your overall marketing plan. You need to start thinking more strategically to get the better ROI possible from the resources that you have available to work with. The right use of Internet business solutions can help your business to increase its competitiveness, take action! There is an ocean of opportunities out there, make sure that you use the Internet to get a good share of them. Good luck!
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Please mark your calendar for Wednesday, April 17th to join the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce and the Hispanic Chamber of E-Commerce for a Great time of Food, Networking and Beer/Wine Sampling at the Oceanside Business Expo.
By Tayde Aburto / in Blog, Fluid Grid View / December 13, 2012
Google Inc. is expanding its push to help more small businesses get online, this time en español. The Internet search giant held a free seminar Tuesday to teach Latino business owners how to create and manage their websites and promote their businesses.
At a production studio in Los Angeles’ warehouse district — transformed for the day with colorful chairs and candy jars — Google employees explained in Spanish how to register domains, set up Google Alerts and use tools such as Google Calendar and Google Docs. Among those at the seminar were handymen, travel agents and insurance brokers.
“I have had many clients ask me if I have a website,” said Alejandro Gerakos, 34, a West Covina makeup artist who works for independent film studios. Gerakos, who said she didn’t see the importance of being online before, hopes the website will help her draw more local referrals and make her less reliant on work that requires travel. Her contract work often sends her as far as San Diego or San Francisco.
The Los Angeles event was only the second time Google has presented the program, launched in 2011, in Spanish. A similar event was held in Miami last week. It’s the latest effort the company has made in a push to increase its presence in the expanding Latino market. Read the full story here.
I got very excited when I read this story at the L.A. Times. Four years ago we had the vision to create an organization that could focus on promoting the use of the Internet as a business tool and that's how the Hispanic Chamber of E-Commerce was born. The growth of the organization has been organic, we haven't had the resources to promote HISCEC's mission and its community but it keeps growing month by month one business at a time. I'm happy to see that Google is taking the initiative to connect micro and small Latino-owned businesses. Our community needs that. There are hundreds of thousands of Latin-owned businesses that don't have a presence online but they do have great products and services to offer.
Marketing is one of the biggest challenges faced by Latino-owned small businesses so to give them the opportunity to promote their businesses online is huge. Google got it right! They know that it is vital for our economy to help Latino-owned business to have a strong presence online. About a year ago, we put together what we called the Hispanic e-Business Initiative to show the reasons why it is important to foster the adoption of Internet business tools to enhance the competitiveness of Latino-owned businesses. The more competitive Latino-owned businesses are, the bigger the impact they will have in the communities where they operate.
So big-shout out to Google and its Get Your Business Online Initiative now focused on helping Latino-owned businesses to get online. I can't wait to see what's going to happen in the next few years. It looks like one of my dreams will come true: To see the majority of the Latino-owned micro and small businesses online.
Obviously you don’t need me to tell you that life here in the second decade of the 21st century is somewhat more… hectic… than it was back in the good old days. The advances of the Information Age were supposed to usher in a Jetsons-like life of leisure, with machines doing all the work while we sat back and sipped our cool drinks. Well, needless to say, that isn’t the way it went down.
Whatever your plans in life, be they humble or ambitious, it is (or should be) a given that you are going to have to work hard to achieve them. But as most successful people know, hard work alone will not cut the proverbial mustard if you allow distractions, poor planning or misdirected energies to blur your focus and force you to put in more work than is necessary to accomplish your objectives. Working hard is a necessity for success, of course, but working efficiently is every bit as critical. I tried to avoid procrastination the best way I can. I'm constantly trying to find ways that can help me to optimize the time I spend working on different projects. I drive about 500+ miles per week. That means that I spend about 9+ hrs. driving every week. However, I'm still able to get things done in time. Here are some guidelines for getting maximum results from your valuable work time.
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If you always seem to see things in a slightly different way, are constantly “improving” the way any task is accomplished, and find others looking to you for ideas and motivation—you could very well be an entrepreneur-in-the-making. Entrepreneurs can’t help but try to make the world a better place; fixing things, changing things—it’s in their blood. So, what’s the difference between having an idea and being an entrepreneur? Taking action, of course.
"When you grow up, you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life it's just to live your life inside the world trying not to bash into the walls too much...Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money...That's a very limited life! Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact and that it is, everything around you that you call life was made up by people that WERE NOT SMARTER than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you will never be the same again!" - Steve Jobs