Solutions for your Business Challenge By Lea Márquez Peterson

Lea-4x6-high-resolution-Tucson-Hispanic-Chamber-Pres-pictureFrom the moment a small business opens its doors, it needs customers to survive – and thrive. Under normal circumstances, acquiring new customers is a real challenge for most businesses; the challenge is compounded for businesses located in smaller communities and rural settings. Some reasons for the lack of new customers include:

• The quality of products and services not meeting customer expectations
• Prices not aligned with customers’ purchasing power
• Limited number of local customers (particularly in economic distressed areas)
• Lack of a systematic approach to marketing & sales
• Internal production costs are too high
• Product and service brands are unknown to potential customers
• Limited understanding of the Voice of the Customer (i.e. customer wants & needs)
• Lack of funding to create effective marketing campaigns
• Lack of leadership networking and alliance building “know-how”
• Lack of trained personnel in customer experience and customer service concepts

Left unchecked, this challenge causes businesses to underperform, and in many cases, close their doors.

At the Tucson Hispanic Chamber, we are tackling these challenges daily and determining solutions. The Tucson Hispanic Chamber was recently awarded a U.S Small Business Administration Grant to assist businesses in Arizona to improve their operations, marketing and seek new markets. We have hired staff and business consultants to work with businesses throughout Southern Arizona. In addition, our chamber has expanded our service area and has recently launched the Sierra Vista Hispanic Chamber, the Nogales Hispanic Chamber and the Douglas Hispanic Chambers. We have also expanded our International Trade assistance to businesses who are interested in finding customers and suppliers in Mexico and other countries.

Workshops, Webinars and consulting begin on November 1st and target existing businesses who are ready to grow and innovate. This is a FREE service and is funded by the U.S Small Business Administration. Space is limited. Contact us today to learn more at David@TucsonHispanicChamber.org.

Members of our chamber maintain that the top challenge facing their business is getting a business loan. Our businesses are slowly recovering from the economic downturn, and many have not recovered unscathed – they may be credit challenged and unable to go the traditional sources.

The Tucson Hispanic Chamber has launched an exciting partnership with Chicanos por la Causa’s Prestamos business lending program, and represent their Southern Arizona efforts. Businesses need not be members of our chamber to apply. Alex Cooper, the THCC Business Development Manager meets with businesses and reviews their financial performance. He assists them in putting together their financial package and submits to a loan review committee located in Arizona. Loans are generally from $25,000 – $250,000. Interested businesses can reach him at Alex@TucsonHispanicChamber.org.

At the Tucson Hispanic Chamber, we have worked collaboratively with many agencies to provide resources to our business community. The chamber is a destination for many who are interested in starting their own business. The THCC has partnered with the Tucson chapter of SCORE to provide FREE consulting by retired Executives. SCORE hosts office hours weekly at the Tucson Hispanic Chamber and consults with new business owners in English and Spanish. If you are a start up business in need of advice, you can make an appointment by emailing SCORE@TucsonHispanicChamber.org.

Our efforts at the Tucson Hispanic Chamber are focused on improving the business climate in Arizona and growing our economy. We serve the business community in the bilingual, bicultural region of the Arizona – Sonora border. Whether you are a member of our chamber or not, please contact us to learn of the business resources available to help you grow your business.

Visit our website at www.TucsonHispanicChamber.org or call us at 520-620-0005.