I grew up surrounded by Hispanic entrepreneurs. My father was a former Mexican migrant worker who, along with other members of my family, started businesses that are still successful today.
Although they faced many challenges along the way, they ultimately succeeded because they believed in themselves.
I’m glad to see that the spirit of dynamism is still very much alive today in the Hispanic business community. Recently, Nationwide partnered with the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Reimagine Main Street to conduct a Hispanic Small Business (HSB) survey. Even after a tough few years battling the pandemic, nearly seven in 10 Hispanic business owners remain optimistic about the future of their business.
The investigation revealed something else that was familiar to me. Many Hispanic businesses do not seek professional advice when planning for the future.
Early on, as my father built his business, he wore many hats and figured out how to solve each day’s new challenge largely on his own or with the insights of his family and friends. This is how entrepreneurs of all walks of life are wired. But I find it especially prevalent in the Hispanic community.
It is an admirable trait. However, as a business grows and becomes more complex, there comes a time when every leader must recognize that professional advice and guidance can help improve their business performance.
This is where advisors and financial professionals can make a difference. Nationwide, Hispanic Americans and five million Hispanic-owned businesses contribute more than $800 billion to the US economy each year. This growth is accelerating as Hispanic entrepreneurs start businesses at three times the rate of the general population, representing a huge opportunity for agents, brokers and financial advisors to deliver value.
Unfortunately, this community continues to be underserved by our industry, according to the Nationwide survey. Over the past year, less than a third (29%) of respondents have worked with an advisor or financial professional to update their business investment strategy, and only 14% have worked with a advice to plan for a business disruption.
Here is the good news
When you look for opportunities to build relationships with this group, you can involve them knowing that they want your help. Almost all (94%) HSBs are willing to seek advice on ways to make their business more resilient, but nearly half say they struggle to find the right partners.
Whether it’s a Hispanic business client or the general market, my challenge to you is to think of yourself as more than an insurance advisor. You can build an even stronger relationship with your clients when you come to the table as a risk management partner. This can mean engaging with solutions that are already in your toolbox, or it can mean helping customers identify other gaps in their protection strategies and bringing the right partners to the table to address them. By doing so, you will build trust, strengthen the relationship, and create an opportunity for mutual referrals with other partners you bring to the conversation.
When engaging business customers, take the opportunity to lead a broader discussion about risk management. I like to think of risk in the following categories, which may also be useful in your conversations with these customers…
Does the company have a strategy in place to deal with the next financial disruption? Here are some quick tips to remedy this situation:
- More than half of HSBs (56%) say the difficulties of the past few years have left them without cash reserves. Support them by developing a strategy for securing capital to replenish reserves, invest in the business now, or at least develop a plan to access capital when they need it. This could involve helping customers build a stronger relationship with a bank or financial institution – or understanding solutions such as Securities-backed loans as a source of liquidity.
- One of the most common actions taken by HSBs to prepare for future challenges is to reduce operating costs (55%). One way to help your business customers control their expenses might be to consider self-funding their employee health insurance plan, and include medical stop-loss solutions that protect them from the impact of major claims activity.
What happens if a company loses its most valuable asset or fails to attract the talent it needs to grow? Here’s how to talk to customers about this risk:
- While ESBs say they are hiring, only 18% have increased their benefits offerings and more than half (55%) offer no benefits. Only 14% have worked with a consultant to explore new social advantages Add value by connecting customers to a resource to seize this opportunity.
Where could the company reduce its risk of being sued? Does her insurance policy cover everything they think she does? As an advisor, you should know that:
- Only about a quarter (26%) of ESBs have worked with an insurance professional to ensure coverage is up to date. If they haven’t met their agent in a while, recommend that they revisit that relationship or consider putting them in touch with a good one. commercial insurance agent in your network.
- Only 11% of HSBs said they were likely to consult a lawyer for advice on business resilience. There are many risks that a simple consultation could assess and address. This is especially important if they run a business that invites customers to their premises.
Cyberattacks are on the rise. Are your professional clients ready?
- Less than one in five HSBs (18%) have worked with a technology professional to update their company’s cybersecurity strategy in the past year. If they’ve grown since putting tech protocols in place, it might be time to help them find a new partner to make sure they have the right level of protection. And if they don’t have cyber insurancenow may be the time to do something about it.
Does the company have trusted partners who practice good business hygiene, and do they have a backup plan if their current supplier or partner cannot service them for some reason?
- Vendors, consultants, or anyone they trust to manage key data or relationships can help or hurt their brand. The HSBs are struggling to find new partners according to our survey. If they’re not getting the right level of service from an existing partner, it could be a harbinger of a bigger problem for the business. Leverage your network to bring new options to the table if this is the case.
Nationwide has created a discussion guide to help insurance advisors and other finance professionals meet with clients with a broader risk management perspective. I encourage you to use this as a starting point in your efforts to position yourself as a true risk management partner.
When engaging Hispanic or general market business customers, start thinking about how you can broadly help them with risk management. You’ll find that they see you as a more indispensable part of their team, which can open the door to additional sales opportunities and referrals. You can also feel good knowing you’re helping them face an uncertain future with a stronger game plan.
Juan Jose Perez is President of Corporate Solutions for Nationwide. This article is published with permission from Nationwide and may not be reproduced.