It’s easy to think that the skills required to run a business are vastly different than those needed to be a successful executive. But in reality, many skills overlap. Executives and entrepreneurs both strive to create an impact while keeping a business going, and those efforts require many of the same fundamental abilities.
Latina entrepreneurs seem to have mastered many of those skills: they are launching new ventures faster than almost any other demographic in the country. Latina executives can and should learn from their successes.
Here are five of the top pieces of advice from Latina entrepreneurs:
1. Know What You Bring to the Table—and Show It Off
In the entrepreneurial world, this is also commonly referred to as your USP (unique selling proposition). It’s what you bring to the table in comparison to all potential competitors—essentially, your USP is what makes you, you!
Entrepreneurs use their USP all the time to sell to new customers and pitch their brand. Paulette Pinero, for example, is a Latina leadership expert with corporate and entrepreneurial experience. She has leveraged her unique identity as a “perfectly imperfect Latina CEO” to become a trusted resource for the Latina community.
While the term USP generally is used to refer to businesses, the same concept holds for the executive world—we just call it “personal branding” instead. Knowing your strengths and identifying what makes you stand out in your industry remains vital. Once you’ve figured it out, though, you must take a page out of the entrepreneurial playbook and start selling it. Add personal branding details to your LinkedIn profile and other social media accounts. Use your brand to introduce yourself at networking events. Shout it from the rooftops!
2. Collaboration Is Key
In the last couple of years alone, notable companies across industries have partnered with Latina-owned businesses—Rizos Curls and Thalía, Alamar Cosmetics and Disney, the list goes on. Knowing with whom to partner and how to collaborate effectively is a key skill for growing a business. What makes a collaboration worth it for all parties? What kinds of expectations should be set beforehand? What should be done after a collaboration? These are all questions entrepreneurs consider when beginning a new partnership.
Executives should be asking themselves the same questions, whether they’re collaborating with people on their team or from other departments. Because the truth is, most people are hesitant to work with another person, even if they share a common goal. Sometimes, it’s because people fear others claiming ownership of their ideas. Other times, they’d just rather not deal with another person’s work style.
But as we can see from the success of these Latina entrepreneurs, collabs can produce incredible results. Latina executives should remember that and make sure to lay the groundwork for the most successful collaboration possible.
3. Embrace Creativity
More and more Latina entrepreneurs are becoming known for doing things differently. Whether they’re creating culturally centered products like Bonita Fierce Candles or fostering a community of artisans and customers through storytelling, like Cadena Collective, their ideas and strategies require some out-of-the-box thinking. In other words, creativity.
Embracing this superpower can help Latina executives grow in their careers, especially if they feel a bit stuck. Start with small changes—mix up your daily routine or find a novel way of leading your meetings. Bit by bit, creativity will make an impact.
4. Get Comfortable with Pivots
Most entrepreneurs have to pivot at one point or another—and odds are that when they do, they have to move quickly.
In 2020, Marivette Navarrete—the founder of the Mujerista—found herself closing her Miami coworking space and shifting her efforts to build an online network dedicated to providing personal and professional growth resources for the Latina community. Through social media and virtual events, the Mujerista cultivated connections and created opportunities for thousands. This wouldn’t have been possible had Navarrete been afraid to make a radical change.
The prospect of taking that kind of leap can seem scary or uncomfortable, but entrepreneurs know that the scariest things are often the greatest opportunities. When you’re next confronted with the possibility of change, assess the situation, make a plan, and recruit help, if needed. Turn that panic into problem-solving!
5. Conduct Regular Self-Assessments
You cannot grow if you don’t know where you’re at. That is why entrepreneurs conduct monthly, quarterly, and yearly business reviews.
But establishing a system to track goals and performance is crucial to success in all scenarios, not just in the world of entrepreneurship. Most executives are required by their organizations to do check-ins with their team members, as well as biannual or annual performance reviews of their employees. But there’s not always the same incentive to do a regular weekly, monthly, or quarterly check-in with yourself. Are you on track to meet your personal goals? How do you feel in your current role? What do you want to improve on as a leader and professional?