Month: April 2010

Immigration Uproar & the True Value of the Hispanic Population

I don’t speak Spanish.

I will help businesses reach the Hispanic Community via advertising in a local Hispanic Newspaper.  These are non-hispanic companies that want to invite Hispanic Americans to do business with them.

Recently the state of Arizona stirred up some dust by passing a “show us your papers” law that many say is unfair, others are saying it’s about time.

I don’t know the answer to illegal immigration, but I do know the positive impact of the legal Hispanic population.  Take a look at this story from Mediapost:

San Diego Thrives Via Hispanic Business

Propelled by a thriving Hispanic business presence, many business sectors in San Diego have remained comparatively stable during recent down economic times.

As the Hispanic market plays an increasingly integral role in the overall U.S. economy, San Diego’s convenient location across from the Mexican border and large Hispanic population, ranked 10th in the nation, has positively contributed to the city’s success. As more and more Hispanic entrepreneurs and Hispanic-focused businesses flock to the city, San Diego’s reputation as the U.S. hub for Hispanic commerce has grown conversely.

Latino-owned businesses are increasing at a rate triple that of the national average. According to the 2002 U.S. Census calculations, Hispanics owned about 35,000 business in San Diego County and about 23,000 in next-door Riverside County. Nationally, Hispanics owned about 2.7 million businesses, a figure expected to swell to 4.2 million by 2012.

These numbers alone provide considerable evidence for the significant role Latinos play in the overall U.S. business scene. What has yet to be configured is the vast amount of organizations focused on targeting Hispanic consumers. The combination of Latino-owned and Latino-focused businesses makes up a considerable amount of the whole picture.

In San Diego, technology is the driving force behind the Latino business boom. Internet-based organizations proliferate in both Hispanic consumer and B2B markets as they ease in-market communication, geographic boundary crossing, networking and increase accessibility.

Many San Diego-based Latino companies are finding success in online business strategies. MexGrocer.com is the nation’s leading online Hispanic grocer. With more than 70% of American households — including both Hispanic and general market — purchasing ethnic food products, MexGrocer.com is well position to benefit from an increase in demand.

Busca Corp. is an online Hispanic entertainment network that provides a family of sites on the cutting edge of technology. Headquartered in La Jolla, Calif., a San Diego suburb, with branches in Tijuana, Baja, Calif., Mexico City, and Santiago, Chile, the company recently signed a deal to become the official video gaming channel for MSN Latino and focuses on the videogame and entertainment enthusiasts markets. The various Busca Corp. sites, including LevelUp, Deporte1, MetaTube, Buscatodo and Tarreo resonate well with the young, media maven, socially active Hispanic community.

The Hispanic Chamber of E-Commerce (HISCEC) is another San Diego organization adding to the quality of the area’s Latino business scene. HISCEC is an online Hispanic business association focused on promoting Hispanic businesses and the use of its own free software applications. The chamber accumulated more than 750 businesses and professional members in its first year.

To further support Hispanic business and the use of Internet and e-business tools, HISCEC is hosting the 2010 Business and Technology Expo Sept. 10 – 11 at the San Diego Convention Center, where businesses will enhance relationships, research the market for leading products and services and learn about the lasted best business practices.

As these and many other San Diego-based Latino companies continue to flourish, the city has been increasingly recognized as the detour location for Hispanic commerce. This acknowledgement is evident by the increased amount of Hispanic-oriented conferences being held in the area such as the recent National Hispanic Bar Association Mid-Year Conference and the upcoming Latin American Energy Conference, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities Conference.

The Hispanic community will become more vital to the business world in years to come. As its role grows, so will the economies of metropolises with established Latino commerce. San Diego will continue to prosper through Hispanic business.
Richie Matthews leads communications at the DiálogoPR offices in La Jolla, Calif. DiálogoPR provides public relations services for the Latin American and U.S. Hispanic markets. Matthews has contributed many feature, news and technical articles.

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Debt: Good or Bad?

The following story caught my eye this week:

Target Will Issue Its Own Credit Cards; Drops Visa

Target will stop issuing Visa Target cards next week and instead will offer cards that can be used only in its own stores, Stacey Vanek-Smith reports. The company says that customers who use store-brand credit cards spend more money than customers who have Visas they can use anywhere. A pitch that offers 15% in savings to people who sign up for the card helps to seal the deal.

“It’s part of a bigger strategy,” Nick Bourke, who runs the Safe Credit Cards Project for the Pew Health Group, tells Vanek-Smith. “It’s really about driving people to come into your store more often and to spend more money at your store.”

Store cards are also filling a void created when card issuers began to get tougher on credit lines. And, points out Ben Woolsey of CreditCards.com, store cards skirt some of the new credit card regulations, allowing customers who have trouble getting a Visa card to still buy on credit.

My generation has seen a drastic change in the way we think about debt.  As far as government debt, we just don’t relate to such big numbers.  They are beyond our comprehension.  And so the public is not likely to pay attention to the consequences, no matter how much the conservatives talk about it.

But something that I noticed about 8 years ago when I was buying a car, the dealership automatically assumed that I wanted to go in debt to pay for a set of wheels.  They didn’t ask how much I wanted to spend, they asked what I wanted for a monthly payment.

I didn’t want a monthly payment.  I was going to pay cash. $7,000.  A few years later the same thing happened at another dealership.

We, as individuals have gotten ourselves into debt by thinking about paying for what we want later, over time, with interest instead of what my parents taught me to do.

My parents said the same thing, pay over time, but without paying interest.  Instead, earn interest.  This is called saving for what you want, and then paying for it in full.  Like I did with my first car and also with the last few cars.  There were a few cars in between that I made payments on, and while it seemed okay because “everyone did it that way”, it feels much better knowing that I don’t have car payments.

The church I attend is in debt.  They call it a line of credit, but the problem is they have larger annual obligations than they have income.  They are not alone, many, many organizations are running into this as well as individuals.  It’s a mindset.

The story I shared with you about Target is perhaps a sign of things to come as businesses adapt to consumers acceptance of being in debt and paying overtime, and now Target instead of Visa will collect the interest payments.

I haven’t seen the marketing campaign for this yet, but I’m sure they’ll dress up this pig to look like a delicious steak.

And we will continue to turn a blind eye to the consequences of indebtedness, both on a personal level and by our federal government.