New Beginnings… If not now, when?

It’s the first weekend of Fall. The fourth quarter of 2022 is officially upon us. All that Summer represents is in our rearview mirror, and all that Fall represents is in full swing with pumpkin-flavored everything seemingly everywhere.

Halloween decorations are trying to hold their own against the premature introduction of Christmas decorations as retailers try to get a jumpstart on the holiday season. Nevertheless, pumpkins and candy-filled displays at the front of supermarkets along with costume store popups and Halloween party invitations remind us that Halloween is just a month away. Yet, holiday plans are starting to take shape.

On the business front, many entrepreneurs and business owners are making a full court press to close out the year on a high note. Some are hoping to salvage the year. But all have their eyes on the new year ahead, as well.

It’s very common at this time of year to reflect upon the goals and resolutions that were established at the beginning of the year. Questions are many.

Have goals been met to-date? Will there be enough time to achieve the goals before year’s end? How about those New Year resolutions? Were they just words with no plans and yet another year of not following through?

Further, will year-end bonuses be less than expected, if at all? How will either affect the next year?

Before year’s end, can more accounts be landed? Can more deals be closed? Can more projects be completed?

Can more pounds be lost? Can more miles be run? Can missed vacations be rescheduled?

Should plans be made to prepare for those potentially real possibilities with action be taken immediately to make things happen over the next few months — beginning right now, today?

There are many questions along the same lines and they can and all be answered with a resounding, YES!

Of course, YES! But only if this time of the year is considered to be a time for new beginnings, new possibilities, and new opportunities. And with that, new commitments and new focus. Or should I say, recommitments and refocus?

In any event, it’s time to make things happen and make things count. So, let’s get started with some inspiration and motivation with the following quotes:

“The best way to predict the future is to create it!”

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“Always ask yourself if what you’re doing today is getting closer to where you want to be tomorrow.”

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Can you do this? Of course, you can!

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Have a great quarter. Make it happen. Make it count!

Revisiting a Personal Experience of Fear and Consequences of Failure

I’ve been asked time and again, and once again this week to post the following article that I had written about in 2011 regarding my own personal experience as a multi-unit franchisee where I succeeded at first, only to crash and burn later on.

Over the years, this article has been posted on several of my blogs, picked up by numerous other blogs & online publications, and discussed on various podcasts. I have received numerous comments and inquiries about the article and my experience as well as individuals sharing their own personal experiences and requests for assistance.

Although I cringe at the thought of any business failing, I admire and respect the fact that franchisees and franchisors alike (small business owners and individuals & teams running larger organizations as well) know when to put their pride aside and ask for assistance, and I always look forward to providing my experience and expertise to help determine a practical resolve to their problems. 

I’m proud to say this article and talking about the same, has been instrumental in helping a number of businesses keep their doors open and work towards recovery. On the other hand, I’m also sad to say several businesses were not as fortunate, but at least the owners were able to exit with dignity and in few cases, with less liability than they previously thought possible. And, in one case, the business owner actually exited in the black when we were able to facilitate the sale of her business when she previously thought about just walking away.

Considering the difficulties many small business owners, restaurant operators, franchisees, entrepreneurs and organizations have experienced over the past two years and with challenges continuing, I’m sharing this article once again.

Fear and Consequences of Failure 

I can personally relate to the trials and tribulations of owning franchise businesses as I have “been there and done that” and have experiences on both ends of the spectrum from achieving overwhelming success to dealing with bitter failure. I have definitely come to understand the fine line between success and failure in trying to nail down the American Dream.

I know it is sometimes counterproductive to even mention failure which is why the subject is always avoided and never discussed. Yet, it’s out there and it’s real. Once franchisees face the possibility of failure and its very real consequences, they can be motivated to understand that failure is not an option and commit 100% to a plan that addresses immediate problems and provides solutions accordingly. Even if it’s necessary for the plan to be quite drastic or aggressive due to prevailing circumstances, franchisees that unequivocally realize that failure is not an option are prepared for immediate action.

Let me emphasize one point. Franchisees should not view poor sales and disappointing profits as either potential or immediate failure and stick their heads in the sand. I made that mistake in the past and suffered the consequences. Instead, franchisees should build upon the courage it took to become a franchise business owner and recommit to success as they did when they first took the entrepreneurial plunge.

They need to remember their wishes, hopes and dreams that prompted the decision to own their own business. They need to remember the admiration of family and friends when they heard about the new venture. They need to remember the excitement when they actually signed the franchise agreement.

Unfortunately, there’s a very distinct possibility the root of the problem is embedded in the franchisee’s actions, non-conformity to the franchise system and unwillingness to face reality. However, as there was some shining light evident during the franchise award process, it may not be a totally lost cause if the franchisee is made to completely understand the implications and consequences of failure.

As franchisors are faced with the potential of closed units [during this recession] that may be the result of things out of their control, it’s imperative they don’t lose even a single unit just because a franchisee just flat out needs a snap back to reality. It’s worth the effort.

Let me clarify something. I failed as a franchisee. Not because of anything the franchisor did or didn’t do but because I put and kept my head in the sand and did not face reality. I could go on and make excuses about things that happened around me but at the end of the day I could have turned things around if I got my own head out of the sand, made some difficult decisions and took full, immediate responsibility.

Unfortunately, I was scared of failing. I was afraid of what people would think. I was ashamed at what other franchisees, ones I put in business, would think of me. I couldn’t even think of facing my family. All lame excuses for not taking responsibility. Maybe a hard swift kick you-know-where would have helped.

Did I mention that I previously ran the franchise company where I failed as a franchisee? Did I mention I was elected by fellow franchisees, President of the National Advisory Council? Did I mention that I owned and operated five franchise units?

If I had clearly understood the implications and consequences that were looming on the horizon and if I was able to get my big ego out of the way and address things head on, maybe I could have survived. Maybe I could have at least implemented an exit strategy that would have, in some small way, paid back the loyalty and support of my employees, family and friends.

In the end, I may not have survived because it may very well have been too late when and if I finally took action and responsibility. But maybe I could have at least exited with some dignity. Also, I could have saved many innocent people a great deal of hardship, embarrassment, wasted effort and ill-spent resources if I did face reality. This includes my family, my employees and yes, my franchisor; all who believed in me.

Yes, it was a tremendous learning experience but not one I would bestow or wish on anyone. Now, all I can do is to offer my experience to anyone in the franchise industry that needs assistance. As we’re again in the realms of economic uncertainty, I’m certain already difficult situations have been compounded but I’m confident a snap back to reality could only help. If just one franchise business is saved from the consequences of failure, then we’ve made progress. Progress we’ll continue to build upon.

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Fear and Consequences of Failure… A True Story Retold

If you’re interested in hearing more of my story, you may do so in my interview with Stan Friedman, CFE on Franchise Today. I’ll be forever thankful to Stan for prompting me to share my experience, LIVE on the air. It was difficult to do but upon doing so, I’ve felt even more compelled to share it again and again. Below is the promotion (and link) for the episode as written by Stan.

Franchise Today enters its ninth year with co-host Stan Friedman interviewing fellow co-host Paul Segreto. As has been the case multiple times in the past, Segreto shares his story of near-catastrophic failure to help others who may be fighting through their own business challenges. Also, he shares the story as transparency to a time in his life that on occasion has spurred questions and rumors without all the facts at the foundation of the matter with the strong belief that others will only benefit by realizing the magnitude of fear and consequences of failure.

You can listen to the interview HERE.

Assistance for Your Organization

The future may be a bit bumpy for some, more so for others. Knowing who to turn to and when to turn to for guidance and help is important. Having resources at your disposal is also important. So, if you hit a wall, for whatever reason, please feel free to reach out to me for assistance or even if you just need someone to talk to. Please do not hesitate. You can reach me on LinkedIn, by email to Paul@Acceler8Success.com, and by phone or text at (832) 797-9851.

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

Hispanic Heritage Month Continues: Let’s ALL Participate in the Celebration

As a reminder, Hispanic Heritage Month is September 15 to October 15. I just wanted to be sure to remind everyone that it does not end at the end of September as monthly celebrations are typically observed within a calendar month. The celebration continues into mid-October so please do your part to participate in this event.

I am please to see a great deal of news coverage around Hispanic Heritage Month. More so than I originally thought might be the case. To see a seemingly endless stream of articles, I suggest doing a search of the event on Google under the News tab.

It’s interesting to read various accounts of the journey to America by Hispanics, many success stories about sacrifice for their children, and heartwarming examples of their unwavering work ethic. As well, it was interesting to see some negative news about companies and organizations that really did not give much thought to the information they had shared about the event.

For instance, the National Football League (NFL) got roasted on Twitter for their lackluster efforts to recognize Hispanic Heritage Month. Latino and Hispanic users called the NFL logo design for the event lazy and bombarded the NFL’s tweet with memes. Others cited the poor grammar by the NFL. I’d say that attention to detail certainly appeared to be lacking at the NFL.

All in all, the celebration has been very positive and front and center thus far, as it should. I was particularly fond of a FOX News article (opinion) by Claudia Romo EdelmanWhy Hispanic Heritage Month matters more than everI felt it was written from the heart, a very proud heart…

“Hispanics are the second-largest population group in our great country and we are strong believers in the American Dream.

I’ve been asked more than a few times both by Hispanics and non-Hispanics whether it is still needed, relevant, or meaningful more than 50 years after it was established. 

The answer is not only yes, but now more so than ever. For Hispanics, it is a time of taking stock of where we are today, a month of pride and celebration, a rallying call to unite around our shared values and dreams.

For non-Hispanics, it is a window into a community whose incredible diversity makes it hard to connect the dots in a way that tells a cohesive story. And there is one. 

For all our differences in race, origin, religion, politics, occupation, socioeconomic status, and every other demographic and belief, the truth is that the Hispanic community comes together around one principle. 

We all believe in the American Dream. Whether our ancestors were among the first settlers in America or arrived last year, our lives and ambitions are shaped and guided by the values that drive our great nation.”

Helping Hispanics Achieve the American Dream

A few months ago, I announced that we’re very excited to partner once again with Michael Dermer and The Lonely Entrepreneur. I thought it prudent today to remind everyone once again of their newest project, The Hispanic Entrepreneur Initiative. This initiative is of major interest to Acceler8Success Group as we continue to build upon a growing list of clients from Mexico and Latin America whose interests focus on entrepreneurship in the U.S. 

With a goal of empowering 100,00 Hispanic entrepreneurs, Hispanic entrepreneurs will be provided with free access to The Lonely Entrepreneur Learning Community – a one stop shop for the knowledge, tools and support an individual needs to start or grow a business. This access is provided free due to the financial contributions of corporations, philanthropies, individuals, and economic development organizations. 

Supporters include UPS, Microsoft, US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, HISPA and Molson Coors and the initiative has been endorsed by over 50 Hispanic leaders including: 

  • Dr. Juan Andrade, Jr. (President, US Hispanic Leadership Institute, Recipient – Presidential Citizen’s Medal) 
  • Luis Ubinas (Investor, Entrepreneur, Past President – Ford Foundation, Past President – Pan American Development Foundation)  
  • Dr. Loui Olivas (Professor Emeriti, W.P. Carey School of Business At Arizona State University)  

The challenges for entrepreneurs in general are great. The challenges for Hispanic entrepreneurs are even greater. And there isn’t just one “Hispanic” entrepreneur – there are entrepreneurs from various countries that face some of the same – but some different – challenges and opportunities.

In addition to lack of access to capital, many Hispanic entrepreneurs possess passion and great ideas but lack access to the knowledge and support they need to succeed.

With the help from corporations, philanthropies, individuals, and economic development organizations, the Hispanic Entrepreneur Initiative will change that by putting the tools in the hands of 100,000 Hispanic entrepreneurs.

How it Works

In this initiative, organizations sponsor a certain number of Hispanic entrepreneurs who receive free access to The Lonely Entrepreneur Learning Community – a one stop shop for the knowledge, tools and support a current or aspiring Hispanic entrepreneur needs to start or grow a business. The platform addresses both the business and personal issues Hispanic entrepreneurs face and provides multiple ways for Hispanic entrepreneurs to get the answers they need:

• Knowledge: 500 learning modules that cover both the business and personal issues entrepreneurs face including issues Hispanic entrepreneurs face

• Tools: 100s of templates (e.g., business plans, legal agreements) and reviews of the top vendors and solution providers they need (e.g., accounting software) including Ongoing Support via Two Channels: multiple ways to solve their pressing challenges, Guidance from the TLE Team in Our Community: where entrepreneurs can ask questions and get answers from members of the TLE Team, Group Coaching: entrepreneurs can sign up for an unlimited number of group coaching sessions on the various business and personal issues they face. If they miss sessions, recordings are available for future reference at any time.

• Funding Sources: 150+ funding sources available for entrepreneurs

• Vendors: 50+ vendor reviews, discounts and a list of “vetted vendors” (including some free resources)

• Procurement Opportunities: 150+ opportunities made available by large organizations

• Business and Personal Issues: our program not only covers business issues, but all the personal issues entrepreneurs face (dealing with stress, ego and humility, leading)

• Daily Perspective: an entrepreneurial “tip” sent to every individual each day

• Access: 24/7 access from any desktop or mobile device

Having the Learning Community at every step of the journey significantly increases their chance of success.

The Needs of Different Hispanic Entrepreneurs

There isn’t just one “Hispanic” entrepreneur. There are native born and immigrant entrepreneurs from various countries that face some of the same – but some different – challenges and opportunities. In addition to providing answers for the issues facing all Hispanic entrepreneurs, the initiative addresses the issues and opportunities faced by the different Hispanic entrepreneurs, including entrepreneurs from: Mexico, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Venezuela, Guatemala, Cuba, Chile, Spain, El Salvador, and Peru.

Program Supporters

The initiative has gotten off to a fast start with programs launched by major corporations including:

• Microsoft empowering Hispanic entrepreneurs in El Paso Texas as reported in El Diario Mx and on television

• UPS launching its program at the L’Attitude 2021 conference to empower Hispanic entrepreneurs

• US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Benefits of the Program

There are multiple benefits to the program:

• Help Entrepreneurs: provide individuals with the knowledge, tools and support they need

• Proven Success: the program has been implemented successfully by a vast array of corporations, governments and charitable organizations

• Scalability: the ability to put the tools in the hands of a large number of individuals quickly

• Branding: various elements of the program would be branded including landing pages, access to the leaning assets and a group in the online community.

• Minimal Effort on Your Part: the program is turn-key and is executed with minimal lift on your part

• Turn-Key Execution: you are investing in a program that delivers turn-key execution

• Marketing Opportunities: making a program like this available and the success stories that come from it are powerful marketing opportunities

• Flexibility: to apply to the specific type, geography or group of entrepreneurs

• Measurement: the ability to measure activity and impact of the program

The program provides the opportunity to quickly get tools in the hands of a large number of current and aspiring small business owners.

Integrated Marketing to Highlight Impact

The TLE Team works with supporter marketing teams to maximize the impact on their public image:

• Public Relations: coordinated communications with media outlets to highlight supporter efforts

• Social Media: ongoing social media activities to show the impact supporter is having

• Success Stories: to be used in marketing and to inspire supporter audiences

Endorsements from Leaders

A coalition of stewards of the Hispanic community have endorsed the Hispanic Entrepreneur Initiative:

• Yvette Donado (former Chief Diversity Officer of ETS; Hispanic Magazine, 50 Most Influential Hispanics)

• Marcel Portmann (Latin America Advisor for +70 global brands; liaison to Inter-American Development Bank (IADB); former Vice President of Emerging Markets, International Franchise)

• Dr. Pilar Nava-Parada, (Philanthropist and Leader For Women Entrepreneurs with Mexican Origin)

• Dr. Joy Nicole Martínez (Raised $240m for nonprofits; inaugural member of Peace50 Community; Director, World Woman Foundation)

• Andrés Guardado, (Mexican Football star and his wife Sandra De La Vega)

• Sheila Ivelisse Borges, (Managing Director, Research, at Rutgers University; former Assistant Director – NYU Adjunct Professor/STEM Educator/Diversity & Equity – Columbia University in New York City)

• Gabriel Brodbar, (Social Impact Leader; former Executive Director, NYU Social Entrepreneurship Program)

• Nepherter Estrada (Charlotte Business Journal 40 Under 40 Honoree)

• Catherine Milone, (President, Junior Achievement of New Jersey)

• Ivonne Díaz-Claisse (Founder/CEO, Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement (HISPA)

… and other notable Hispanic leaders.

Measuring the Impact

Three different areas are measured to ensure that current and aspiring entrepreneurs are getting the value of the Learning Community and moving toward the achievement of business results:

• Engagement – engage with the Learning Community and fellow entrepreneurs

• Achieve Key Business Activities – achieve business activities and improvements that are necessary steppingstones to achieving business results (e.g., form a company, prepare financials)

• Achieve Business Results – achieve key business results (e.g., increase revenue)

Each day, entrepreneurs in the program improve their chance of success.

For more information about this exciting initiative and how you and/or your organization can participate, please reach out to me or Acceler8Success Group president, Erik Premont on LinkedIn. Or, if you prefer, please send either of us an email to Paul@Acceler8Success.com or Erik@Acceler8Success.com. We look forward to helping to make a difference for Hispanic Entrepreneurs everywhere.

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

Is your business hanging on by a wing and a prayer?

There was more bad news yesterday with the rise of interest rates for the third time in the past few months. Some entrepreneurs including small business owners, restaurateurs and franchisees, may be wondering about whether their businesses will survive. After all, many are already hanging on by a wing and a prayer.

Last night and through the wee hours, I had given significant thought about what I would write for today’s newsletter. I thought about yet another article about ways for business owners to fight the war against inflation. Honestly, I was stumped. I felt I was at a loss for words.

At that point I found myself praying for inspiration. I prayed for the words that could help those lying awake all night wondering about the future, and some about just being able to cover payroll at the end of the month. I asked God, how did we get to this point?

Early this morning, I sat at my computer staring at the screen still not sure about the message and information I thought would resonate with my daily readers. More so, I was searching for the words that would help those with immediate needs as well as those that might need a nudge or a push – inspiration and motivation, if you will – just to leave the house this morning to face another challenging day.

Well, as I was searching through various newsfeeds for my own inspiration and motivation using search terms such as business challenges, business owner worries, and hopes & dreams of entrepreneurs I saw a search result that caught my eye. I found the words I was looking for – thank you, God.

The Entrepreneur’s Prayer

As I awaken with the gift of yet another day and prepare for the tasks at hand, I offer up this most ardent prayer:

I pray for continued clarity of purpose so that I may hold my vision steady and keep my focus on the needs and success of others, which in turn shall bring me my success.

I pray for the wisdom to expect abundance in my life, that it surrounds me and is available for the taking and to be shameless and unapologetic upon its receipt, for I deserve abundance.

I pray for a cheerful countenance, be it clear or cloudy skies and that I may radiate and infect others with my positive attitude.

I pray for the trust of others that they may recognize my sincerity and true intentions so that we may move forward together.

I pray for the strength to fend off adversity and use my desire and determination as both weapon and shield.

I pray for the courage to carry forth my convictions during the battle of business and to resist temptation to a quicker monetary result when such temptation compromises these things for which I stand.

I pray that I may be used as a lightning rod to collect the amazing ideas already present in the universe and when blessed with such inspiration, that I may be able to apply my talents and abilities to turn the power of thought into measurable advancement of my goals.

I pray to retain my childhood wonder so that I can recognize and revel in the small miracles of each day that others may miss.

I pray for an infinite supply of self-confidence for it alone fortifies faith, strengthens my resolve and conquers the largest enemy I will ever face – fear.

I pray for a compassionate spirit and the patience to offer those who seek my advice and my help, my full and undivided attention.

I pray for good health and a feeling of well being, and the continued desire to improve those areas of my physical life I may be neglecting in the name of my spiritual and entrepreneurial advancement.

I pray that today is a day of excellence and at its conclusion I can acknowledge and be grateful for the forward motion I have made and the growth I have experienced.

I pray most of all for the understanding and support of those closest to my heart, my family, that they will equate what may seem like endless hours of apparent pre-occupation with affairs of business to what is at the very core of my being, that which drives me, for once I achieve what I have set out in its fullest, I will become that more complete being I strive to be.

It is for these things that I pray, for I am an entrepreneur.

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Maybe it’s okay to hang on by a wing and a prayer as it may be prayer that spurs the inspiration and motivation needed to survive these challenging times. I know it has done so for me this morning.

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

(you can download an mp3 of The Entrepreneur’s Prayer here: http://www.bettersalesrightnow.com/prayer.mp3)

Credit for The Entrepreneur’s Prayer goes to Rick Beneteau, co-creator of the breakthrough Make Every Day A Great Day Program. Read the powerful, life-changing testimonials and discover how this revolutionary product can dramatically change Your Life too!:

http://www.MakeEveryDayAGreatDay.com/yes

The Future of Entrepreneurship: Millennials & Gen Z Will Lead the Way!

We’ve all heard the terms, Millennials, Generation Z and while we’re at it, let’s look at Generation Alpha, as well. So, as we look at the entrepreneurial tendencies of these generation groups, let’s understand the actual definitions for each.

According to Wikipedia, Millennials, also known as Generation Y or Gen Y, are the demographic cohort following Generation X and preceding Generation Z.

Researchers and popular media use the early 1980s as starting birth years and the mid-1990s to early 2000s as ending birth years, with the generation typically being defined as people born from 1981 to 1996. Most millennials are the children of baby boomers and early Gen Xers; millennials are often the parents of Generation Alpha.

Also according to Wikipedia, Generation Z (or Gen Z for short), colloquially known as zoomers, is the demographic cohort succeeding Millennials and preceding Generation Alpha.

Researchers and popular media use the mid to late 1990s as starting birth years and the early 2010s as ending birth years. Most members of Generation Z are children of Generation X.

Have you yet to hear of Generation Alpha? Well, Wikipedia refers to Generation Alpha (or Gen Alpha for short) as the demographic cohort succeeding Generation Z.

Researchers and popular media use the early to mid 2010s as starting birth years and the mid 2020s as ending birth years. Named after the first letter in the Greek alphabet, Generation Alpha is the first to be born entirely in the 21st century. Most members of Generation Alpha are the children of Millennials.

These groups are the future of business. They are the future of entrepreneurship. For now, we can look at Millennials and Generation Z as the two groups most likely to start businesses today. Although, as both groups make up a large portion of today’s workforce, it’ll be Gen Z that will own more businesses in the long run than their millennial counterparts.

Difference Between Gen Z and Millennials (credit to DifferenceBetween.net)

Millennials and Gen Z are typically characterized as technology savvy and they daily use social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. Also, they are passion-oriented, development-focused, driven to make a difference, and motivated by entrepreneurship.

In the book, Generations, it was predicted that during the adulthood of the majority of the millennials, family ties would be stronger, criminal behavior would be lessened, and those in their 20s would take less risks. Apparently, these predictions all came true. The millennials are also knowns as “generation Y” or “the me generation” due to the claim that they are prone to be self-centered. 

The following are some research-based characteristics of millennials: 

  • Internet dependent
  • Upbeat and receptive 
  • Atheists or agnostics
  • Mix business with pleasure 
  • Believe that money cannot really buy happiness 

Generation Z or Gen Z is the next batch after the generation Y or the millennials. This makes other sources refer to them as the post-millennials. Also, they are sometimes called “iGeneration”, “Gen Tech”, or “Gen Wii” due to their exposure to the internet since (and even before) birth. According to several studies, the following are some of the characteristics of the youngest generation: 

  • Pragmatic 
  • Risk-takers 
  • Highly value authenticity 
  • Prefer person-to-person contact
  • Involved with the community 
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What are the differences?

Due to the influence of apps and speedier technology, Gen Z tend to have shorter attention spans as compared to millennials. This also implies that millennials could wait longer and endure less entertaining situations than those from the generation Z. 

  • Since the millennials experienced the recession, they tend to be more frugal than their younger counterparts. In fact, a survey concluded that millennials have higher preferences to visit a website just to get a discount coupon as compared to Gen Z.  Similarly, millennials follow products’ ads before buying them. 
  • The most used devices of Gen Z are smartphones, TV sets, and laptops. On the other hand, millennials most often use desktops, smart phones, and TV sets. 
  • As compared to millennials, those from the Gen Z are more difficult to be reached by advertisements since many of them are on multiple platforms and they are more active in using adblocking software. 
  • Though both Gen Z and Millennials actively use social media sites, a survey indicated that millennials tend to use Pinterest more frequently while Gen Z are more into Vine. This implies that the older generation is more comfortable with sharing and browsing pictures while millennials prefer videos more. 
  • The working personality of most millennials veer towards independence while that of Gen Z reflect the team player attitude. 
  • As compared to millennials, Gen Z thinkers are better at multitasking since their brains have been conditioned to perceive various stimuli which is largely caused by newer apps and devices. 
  • As compared to millennials, Gen Z friends look for more quality relationships as compared to meaningless connections. They have apparently learned from their seniors as they have seen how millennials’ quantity-based friendships resulted to less genuine conversations. 
  • Gen Z entrepreneurs are more adventurous with their greater desire to start businesses as compared to their predecessors. One of the possible reasons is the lesser amount needed in setting up shop as online entrepreneurship does not need that much financial support. In addition, the mushrooming of start-up companies has encouraged bolder business moves. 

“The next generation will always surpass the previous one. It’s one of the never-ending cycles in life.” – Masashi Kishimoto

A New Generation of Entrepreneurs: Millennials and Gen Z (credit to SBA)

This new generation of entrepreneurs is more focused on social impact than ever before. Millennials and Gen Z are values-driven, demanding social change and accountability, from themselves, their peers, businesses, and political leaders.

The top three areas of concerns are healthcare/disease prevention, climate change and protecting the environment, and unemployment. They are also more community oriented, keen on taking action to create meaningful change, and prefer to shop with businesses whose products and services benefit their communities and focus on sustainability.

Younger business owners tend to be sole proprietors or operate with less employees than previous generations. According to the US Office of Advocacy, as of 2017, they made up 26% of non-employers and only 6% of employers. This points to a rising trend for self-employed individuals and gives rise to an opportunity for more resources for solo entrepreneurs.

One of the most prominent barriers to starting their own business is that of the entrepreneurs born between 1982 – 2000, 42% say they don’t have the financial means to start a business as 82% of this demographic has at least one source of debt. This can include credit card debt, mortgage, student loans etc.

Entrepreneurship Considerations for Millennials & Generation Z

The Millennial and Gen Z generations continue to grow, and a big reason for this is the increasing number of young immigrants and refugees arriving in the United States.

Thanks to Adecco’s ‘Way to Work’ survey, which surveyed 1,001 Americans who are mostly currently in college or recently graduated and in their late teens to mid-20s, the primary differences between the two generations and how these differences might play out in the workplace have been identified.

Three key takeaways, or differences between Millennials and Gen Z regarding work include:

  • Members of Gen Z are more concerned about the cost of education (21% of respondents), compared to Millennials (13% of respondents).
  • Millennials value stability (34%), while Gen Z puts more of an emphasis on finding their dream job (32%).
  • More Gen Zers follow their parents’ influence (42%), compared to their Millennial counterparts (36%).

According to an article in Inc. Magazine, Why Millennials and Gen Z are Going to Take the Small Business World by Storm:

There’s great potential in these groups. Despite reservations and setbacks, many young people are pursuing side hustles, creating their own opportunities, and going into business for themselves. In fact, even though some economic conditions have worked against young entrepreneurs, Millennials and Gen Zers have several natural characteristics that will lead them down the path of small business ownership.

Entrepreneurship and new ventures have the most significant impact on the economy, driving job growth, shaping the future of work, and creating entirely new products and services. Millennials and Gen Zers hold the power to do this, as we will soon see them start small businesses in ever-increasing numbers.

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What about franchising, once the American Dream of Baby Boomers?

Franchising is not often considered by the approximately 139 million Millennials and Generation Z population (as of 2020). But, with so many qualified people looking to start or extend their careers, and on their own terms, every job option merits consideration.

Here are five important considerations for Millennials and Gen Z open to this path of entrepreneurship:

  1. Affordability. Most people between the ages of 18 and 35 cannot afford $800,000 for a brick-and-mortar business but a home-based business might cost between $40,000 and $60,000. There are a vast variety of franchises. Millennials and Gen Z can find one that fits their budget as well as their ideal income, lifestyle, wealth and equity.
  2. Digital Minds. Both groups are digital natives who can capitalize on the Internet to grow their business. Every type of franchise can benefit from someone proficient in the cyber realm, whether that be growing an at-home business in pajamas, creating a digital work force or driving business with a creative social media campaign.  
  3. Control. Some franchises have a web presence that is systemized from the top. If that’s the case, Millennial and Gen Z candidates need to decide if controlling the social presence is important to them or not, then choose a franchise accordingly.
  4. Do Good. Many young people are as concerned their life work be meaningful and socially responsible as they are with money. A franchise allows Millennial and Gen Z candidates the opportunity to “do good” while being their own boss. Franchises exist for dog sitting, tutoring and healthy food, among countless options available for those looking align livelihood with their social mission. 
  5. Difficulties. Both generations like their own voice on social media, their own marketing plan and are generally excited to execute their next big idea. Franchisors offer a replicable model so customers know what to expect. A Millennial or Gen Z candidates who decide to become a franchisee must be sure they completely support the system they choose.

As the future of works rests on the shoulders of Millennials and Generation Z, changes to the work force will continue and most likely, not return to any semblance of what was common pre-pandemic.

I guess the most important questions (concerns) for me are, will Millennials and Gen Zers pull professional culture in opposite directions, or do both generations have common ambitions? After all, the workplace structure cannot be a work in progress forever.

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

Is Entrepreneurship the Path to Economic Recovery?

Is it necessary to change how to conduct business, adapting to the circumstances of the times instead of adjusting, revising which may be more akin to putting square pegs in round holes? Are we crazy to think different (as entrepreneurs, restaurateurs & small business owners), or should we just go with the flow?

Maybe we need a wrist band to remind us? What Would Jobs Do?

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What Would Jobs Do?

Think Different Because the American Entrepreneurial Spirit is Alive!

As we know, small businesses and restaurants are having a difficult time due to rising costs due to inflation, supply chain issues, and labor challenges (I’m not so sure about actual worker shortages). Feeling the inflation pinch, as well, customers are being more diligent as to where and when they shop or as they may decide to enjoy a meal at or from a restaurant.

Although, some businesses and restaurants are realizing sales increases over pre-pandemic levels. Why and how are they thriving while others are barely surviving? But the real question in my mind has to do with change – not a shift, not a pivot, but actual change.

I just love the words of Steve Jobs shortly after he returned to Apple, the company he founded and launched the Think Different campaign. He started things off with these words:

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

I especially find his words fitting as it’s been repeatedly stated that entrepreneurship will be our country’s path to economic recovery. After all, we may not be able to imagine life without the contributions of one, Steve Jobs.

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I am an entrepreneur. Go ahead. Say it!

So, if entrepreneurship is front and center as the path to our country’s economic recovery, why is there reluctance to say, I am an entrepreneur? I’ve been asked that question many times. Heck, I’ve asked that question of myself on more than one occasion. It seems, at times we’re prouder to call ourselves, Founder or CEO or to say, I’m a business owner. Why is that?

Are those titles more respectful than, entrepreneur? Yet, we hear of late, we’re in an entrepreneurial economy. So, is that a bad thing or a good thing, and especially if we have a hard time fully admitting to entrepreneurship? Or should we just be entrepreneurial in how we approach our work, whatever that truly means?

Are we claiming to be in an entrepreneurial economy to justify the disappearance of the lifelong career at one company, and this is just a way to say we need to create and prove ourselves over and over again, and forget the gold watch?

Back to the reference of being an entrepreneur… Is there a stigma of being a dreamer, always looking for something better, bigger, faster as opposed to what some believe is mundane, repetitive work with the security of a paycheck? Often, I hear it’s mostly due to yesterday’s immigrant mindset of being thankful to just have a job, yet it’s that same immigrant mindset that is the epitome of entrepreneurship.

We are living our fears.

Actually, I believe it’s because of fear — fear of failure, fear of what other people think, fear of the unknown, fear of the what if, fear of starting over, fear of change… But it’s when those fears are hit head-on and the adrenaline rush of success far outweighs those fears because you know, deep in your heart that you have a deeply ingrained talent that can and will make a difference.

Does that mean failures aren’t possible? Hell no, but it’s working through those failures, those blips, those aberrations that provide experience and resiliency to improve and innovate to make the next step, the next task, the next venture successful. That is entrepreneurship.

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And it’s when I don’t consider what I personally do as entrepreneurship that failure mostly occurs. Conversely, it’s when I focus on what I do as an entrepreneur, complete with that thinking outside the box and failure is not an option perspective, and when focused more on results as opposed to opinion of others that success mostly occurs.

Yes, I’m an entrepreneur. My focus will stay as such as it is not only good for me, but also for my family and for those that rely on me to help them achieve their wishes, hopes and dreams! Why? Because I believe in possibilities, as without them, there are none. How about you? Are you an entrepreneur? If so, then say it, and say it proudly because our great country needs you!

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Still not sure about being an entrepreneur? If so, I’ll leave you with another quote by Steve Jobs…

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

Resources about entrepreneurship and business ownership may be found at the following sites powered by Acceler8Success Group. Please check them out and if you’re interested in learning more, please submit the form on either site. We are here to help you achieve your entrepreneurial goals. Thank you!

OwnABizness.com and Entrepreneurship411.com

The Reality of Entrepreneurship

As we slowly move toward Q4 amidst challenging times and economic uncertainty, I’d like to share a heartfelt story about the hard truth of entrepreneurship. As more and more are exploring entrepreneurship as a career alternative for a multitude of reasons, I feel compelled to share this story as I believe it truly outlines the efforts and emotional toll of today’s entrepreneur.

I met Amy Martinez through a local group of restaurant owners and managers. This group was started to enable restaurant operators to exchange ideas, discuss difficulties they may be facing, and as one might imagine, just to vent. I’ve been honored to have presented to the group several times and often interact with members as the need arises.

Approximately a year or so before COVID raised its ugly head, I started interacting with Amy on Facebook as she was building her brand, Grazeables. It was essentially a side-business whose products were described as artisan-created grazing boxes, boards & tablescapes. You see, Amy was a full-time nurse and a single mother of four. So, it truly was a side-business.

As many know, I am extremely interested in seeing an entrepreneurial quest unfold. Amy’s quest was one that was a textbook example. Amy would often share absolutely magnificent photos each weekend on Facebook of extraordinary tablescapes for clients’ events — birthdays, anniversaries, family get-togethers and the like.

Each beautiful tablescape included magnificent arrays of mouth-watering food, all exquisitely displayed. They were true masterpieces with absolute attention to detail. This was not your typical restaurant catering off to the side for the sole purpose of providing food for that evening’s guests. Instead, Amy’s work — a work of art — was the centerpiece of the event. It was also a conversation piece as evident by the detailed positive reviews after the event.

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There was no doubt Amy was committed to excellence. She truly exemplified the delivery of positively memorable experiences — all the time. However, it certainly wasn’t easy as she wore so many hats. Yet, wore them exceptionally well — at least so it appeared to everyone looking in from the outside.

Well, it’s not my story to tell as to what Amy endured as she juggled work, family and business. One day, I’m sure there will be a book that will share Amy’s story. But what I do recall was Amy openly sharing her struggles. Although, it was never about the hard work or the long hours, nor the difficulties of being a single parent. It was about the struggle between her job as a nurse helping others and being able to dedicate full-time to her brand and business.

Today, I’m proud to share what Amy posted this past weekend on Facebook. I don’t know what prompted her to do so. Although as many entrepreneurs do, or should do is to share her thoughts and frustrations, and maybe even vent a bit. But more so, that as an entrepreneur or not she is also a person and as such, has emotions and feelings just like everyone else. She may appear to be Super Woman by her drive and commitment, but she is still human and should always be respected as such.

The Truth of Entrepreneurship by Amy Martinez — Creator of Grazeables

The majority of people with side hustles or small businesses are hobbyists, not entrepreneurs. There’s a HUGE difference, and I’ll tell you why.

Walking the tightrope of Entrepreneurship is HARD and SCARY AF!!! It’s quitting your secure job and selling everything you have to lay yourself and your creativity out there… naked… to take a chance with no safety net. It’s the nauseating churn that forces you to work 3 days straight without sleeping because if you don’t sell, your kids don’t eat. It’s the painful loss of relationships along the way because effort & focus are never evenly divided.

We spend MONTHS, years even… researching, building, and scraping every penny just to pour it all out over a dream while we hold our breath and pray that it works. We jump the hoops with exhausted legs, we sign our security away on the dotted line, and we navigate our communities in the dark with the hope of discovering that one missing piece we can fill with our work.

The creative process is an IMMENSE amount of effort… but it’s NOTHING compared to the magnitude of work it takes to scale that process into a profitable business. Then, just when it all starts to come into focus, you learn how completely unprepared you are for the toll it takes on your spirit while you fight like hell to protect it.

This enormous, beautiful, soul-aching, brilliant work that we do… I guess I just wish that more people respected and understood the gravity of the accomplishment for those of us that have succeeded… ESPECIALLY as women!

When you marvel at the originality and uniqueness of someone’s work, please also take the time to notice & appreciate the efforts behind its publication.

Profitable businesses require years of strenuous and consistent effort, high risk, deep investment, and personal sacrifice. If you aren’t willing to put in the required amount of work & education it takes to lay the foundation from the beginning, you will spin your wheels on the very short road to failure.

Please also understand the occasional frustration from those of us that try like hell to mentor others along the way. We offer tons of wisdom and experience, but none of us can do the work for you, nor will we reveal the proprietary information that gives us the distinct, however minute, edge over our competition and its the essence of who we are. Our brand is our baby, and we protect it al all costs.

Those in the trenches get it. Everyone else? Well, they never will.

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Very well said, Amy. Your words are truly from the heart and soul of an entrepreneur. You are amazing. Thank you for sharing your thoughts as I’m sure they will resonate with many, as they have to me.

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

Weekend Motivation & Inspiration at Acceler8Success Cafe

I fully understand the importance and necessity for today’s entrepreneur to be motivated & inspired, and educated & well-informed. I also acknowledge that an entrepreneur’s time is limited, and quite valuable.

As such, and as part of my commitment to entrepreneurial success at all levels, me and my team will do the heavy lifting and review podcasts & videos we know will help entrepreneurs achieve their goals. Then, each Sunday I will share what we believe to be of interest to our growing list of current and aspiring entrepreneurs, and as a complement to daily editions of Acceler8Success Cafe.

In addition, below the videos, I will provide links to the past week’s articles to provide an opportunity to read what may have been missed during the week and/or to be reviewed a second time.

“Here’s to your entrepreneurial success. Make it happen. Make it count!”

NOTE: Please pause video before moving from one to another. Thank you!

Articles from September 12 to September 16

Our focus this past week was on immigrant entrepreneurship as we recognized and began to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage month which runs from September 15 to October 15.

The Path to the American Dream of Business Ownership for Immigrant Entrepreneurs

Hispanic Entrepreneurship Front & Center at Franchise Expo South

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month With a Focus on Entrepreneurship

Immigrants and the American Dream of Business Ownership

The American Dream: Is it [still] alive for immigrants?

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Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

Shit Happens, But So Does Change. In Either Case, Taking Swift Action is Key!

To get what you want you must make sacrifices, trade-offs and decisions no one else can make except for you. The decisions to change are often difficult to make but are necessary to continue moving forward even if it means taking a few steps backwards in order to get back on track.

Change that can help make even incremental progress towards a goal is priceless. But remember, effective change requires thought and calculation. It is not meant to have caution thrown to the wind in a flurry of reckless abandonment to change just for the sake of change.

Act swiftly. Act decisively. Make it happen. Make it count. This is the mantra at Acceler8Success Group and as an action plan, it works and especially when change is necessary or imminent.

Change in the Workplace

But why is change good? Why is it important to adapt to change? These questions are addressed by Leadership & Management Expert, Karen McCullough in her article, Why Change In the Workplace is Good! A Guide For Companies. She shared the following:

Change in an organization leads to many positive aspects – that lead to retaining a competitive edge and also remaining relevant in your business area. Change encourages innovation, develops skills, develops staff and leads to better business opportunities, and improves staff morale.

Change in the workplace can make us uncomfortable as we step out of what we normally do and attempt new ways of working. Adapting to change in the workplace is often difficult because it’s too easy to stay accustomed to our habits, however… change is essential to many aspects of business and our working life.

Those companies that don’t change can stagnate and not develop. Our current world is constantly evolving in terms of technology and many other challenging but innovative ways. Having the ability to face these new challenges head-on will not only develop the company as a whole but also those who work within it.

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Change… Because Failure is not an Option

Like a ship at sea, a business should make directional changes in a long, sweeping manner. Conversely, although abrupt change in direction may create havoc, it may be deemed necessary by the captain and navigation team to avoid what may not be apparently visible on the surface to others on the ship but is evident nonetheless through compilation of data and viewing radar.

In any event, well thought-out plans, including contingency plans must be in place and acted upon to arrive safely at a specific destination within a certain time frame, and with available resources.

However, what happens when seas are rough, or when a storm is approaching, or when an engine shuts down? It’s then the captain’s responsibility to crew and passengers, and to the ship’s stakeholders to make any and all necessary changes to ensure all interests are protected.

Thereafter, when the ship is safely docked, management must review the events that took place and explore options to ensure the same problems don’t reoccur. Management must identify ways to improve performance by developing strategy and executing on tactical plans to accomplish objectives at all required intervals – short, mid and long-term.

Change requires thought and planning, just the same as operating a successful business. As change occurs, many within the business are exposed to decisions that on the surface appear to be “drastic or severe” and are not understood and/or agreed upon.

But what is typically not realized are areas of weakness and vulnerability that must be addressed and with the utmost sense of urgency. In many cases there are common denominators across multiple areas of the business. Most will be directly attributable to reduction in sales. Some will adversely affect profitability.

Unfortunately, financial concerns are back and now even more so than during the economic downturn of 2008-2012. And as was the case back then, deficiencies, previously overshadowed by high sales levels are standing out once again like sore thumbs.

Accepting these facts while realizing limitations and shortcomings is vitally important but knowing what and how to improve [and change] is required. Being proactive and acting now is paramount!

Change what needs to be changed. Prioritize changes that will make the most immediate impact. Grow into the changes that aren’t urgent. However, do it all within the time frame where challenges present themselves as survival may be dependent upon the same. Change, as unpopular as it might be, is necessary to recover AND to move forward.

To this end, hard decisions must be made – with absolute conviction and without delay for the good of the business and ultimately, for all within the business. Yes, change is difficult. But so is failure, and failure is not an option!

Action. Not Just Words!

Change is necessary. Change is imminent. Don’t procrastinate. Do not put your head in the sand, thinking whatever is prompting change will miraculously disappear. Change requires taking swift action. After all, just as shit happens, change happens, too. And neither should be ignored!

So, I leave you with this… Success is a marathon, not a sprint. Do you have what it takes to cross the finish line to success? In the face of change, are you committed to staying the course, yet doing whatever is necessary to succeed? Are you prepared to address change head-on?

Which brings us back to the Acceler8Success mantra… Act swiftly. Act decisively. Make it happen. Make it count!

Have a great day. And yes, make it happen and make it count!

The American Dream: Is it [still] alive for immigrants?

This week I’ve been sharing information about immigrants and the American Dream of business ownership and entrepreneurship. Hispanic and Latino entrepreneurship was in the spotlight as we began celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15). Today, I’ll wrap up this series with a look at whether the American Dream is still alive for immigrants.

According to a recent story at Axios.com… We often hear the American Dream is dead. But whatever you think of immigration, every year people come here from around the world in pursuit of that dream.

Why it matters: People across borders and oceans still view the U.S. as the place to come to build a better life for their children.

  • And 70% of U.S. adults — across race, gender, political party and income — say the American Dream is achievable, Gallup polling found.

Three stats to chew on:

  1. Founder frenzy: 44% of Fortune 500 companies have at least one founder who is an immigrant or the child of immigrants, according to stats from New American Economy, founded by Michael Bloomberg.
  2. Upward mobility: Even the children of immigrants who fall in the poorest quarter of the U.S. end up in the middle class, Princeton researchers found.
  3. Self-made wealth: 80% of America’s millionaires — foreign- and U.S.-born — are first-generation.

The bottom line: The U.S. remains the leading destination for immigrants with big dreams. 20% of all the world’s immigrants are in the U.S., according to Pew Research Center.

Historian James Truslow Adams gave an eloquent interpretation of the American Dream in his 1931 book Epic of America:

But there has been also the American dream, that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to his ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.

I’ll end this week with a look back at an article I shared last month, Pursuing & Achieving the American Dream. It’s a story about my grandparents and about one of my best friends, and their experiences toward and in achieving the American Dream. My grandparents are long gone, and my friend, Gustavo’s life sadly ended as a result of COVID. However, the light of the American Dream shines brightly within their families.

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Statue of Liberty

Pursuing & Achieving the American Dream

I recently read an interesting article at Vox.com about what the American Dream looks like today for immigrants. The article referenced a massive study by the National Bureau of Economic Research. Published in 2019, the study examined millions of father-son pairs of immigrants over the last century. The authors found that children of immigrants have higher rates of upward mobility than the children of those born in the U.S.

More significantly, they found that shifts in immigration policy and country of origin have not altered the pattern — and that it holds true whether the first generation was poor (in the bottom 25th percentile of income distribution) or relatively well-off (in the top 25th percentile).

For those who’ve personally watched upward mobility work within their families, the promises of the American Dream often feel like promises kept. Hard work and education led to significantly better outcomes for their children, with more stability for the entire family.

Immigrants Achieving the American Dream

My grandparents immigrated to America from Sicily with little money and few belongings to their name. They were moved through Ellis Island and settled in Brooklyn. They weren’t provided with government housing or given welfare checks.

Initially staying with relatives and friends of family, some they barely knew, they took menial jobs as they could find them. They saved every penny they could and as quickly as possible they secured an apartment, and then a better one until they purchased a home, and then a nicer one.

My grandfather started as a laborer and eventually became a bricklayer. My grandmother worked in the garment sweatshops, often starting work at 4AM. Literally, working their fingers to the bone. Yet, supper was on the table every day without fail.

Sundays were an open house for family and friends. My grandparents had no education. Nor did they ever own a car. All they wanted from America was opportunity and the chance for their children to have better lives than they did.

Well, they helped my Mom and I as my parents had divorced when I was a young child. We lived in their home with my two uncles. They helped one of my uncles start a business while putting my other uncle through college and medical school. And they never received, nor expected anything from the U.S. government. Yet, I had never heard them complain.

As they sailed past the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor they only wanted one thing and that was opportunity. They found it and capitalized on it without handouts, grants, welfare, etc. Truly, they wouldn’t have accepted any of it as they were very proud people. They lived for their dreams, and accepted their responsibility. I’m forever grateful for the foundation they built for our family.

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Gustavo Hernandez

A very good friend of mine, Gustavo Hernandez legally immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico with barely a dollar in his pocket. He worked his butt off, taking whatever job he could find and worked his way through the ranks of the restaurant industry. From doing menial jobs to waiter to assistant manager to manager to restaurant owner, he excelled at each position.

Over the years, he worked to attain U.S. citizenship and did the same for his wife, Betty who had immigrated from Central America. Betty worked at a local hospital as they started a family. Despite all the hardships they had gone through, they were determined to achieve the American Dream, and they did.

Gustavo started a restaurant with his brother. He made sure to bring in other family members along the way. In a relatively short period of time he started a second restaurant and then a third. He and Betty purchased a home, and eventually a second home while keeping the first one to rent to a friend of the family. Gustavo was already helping others within his family and community.

My wife and I were honored to be invited to attend Betty’s swearing in ceremony for her American citizenship. I’ll never forget how proud they were as they were now a family of American citizens. And like my grandparents, they never accepted anything from anyone in the way of financial assistance. I couldn’t believe how much money Gustavo spent to legally achieve American Citizenship for himself and for Betty. It was an insane amount of money!

One time Gustavo asked me why so many people that were born in America were unhappy and why so many had trouble finding and keeping a job. He said he couldn’t understand it as he had hundreds of friends that had immigrated to the U.S. and he didn’t know of any that were unemployed. In fact, some had two, three, and even four jobs!

As Gustavo’s eldest son was preparing to attend college, Gustavo came down with COVID and passed away two months later. The last time I had met with him, just days before he got sick, he informed me he had leased the restaurant where we had first met some fifteen or so years ago. He said it felt like he had come full circle.

Today, the new restaurant is open and his dream continues as his family has stepped up to keep his legacy alive. His son is still attending college. Gustavo’s influence carried on to two of his nieces who have graduated from college with degrees in mechanical engineering. The family continues to carry on Gustavo’s dream as he has helped them achieve their dream… The American Dream!

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El Chaparro Mexican Bar & Grill

As the 2nd Anniversary of Gustavo’s untimely passing quickly approaches, with tears in my eyes, I remember sitting at the bar at one of his restaurants awaiting his family after his funeral. I recall that I couldn’t help but focus on the American Flag hanging on the wall. It made me smile as I thought back to the many conversations Gustavo and I had over the years talking about America and the American Dream.

He had very strong opinion about the great opportunities in America. He was proud to have become a U.S. Citizen and that his wife, Betty did as well. We talked often about business ownership, establishing a culture within the business and the importance of people being the heart of the business.

One time we talked five straight hours about employment opportunities in America. He specifically stated, the desire to work is the first step toward achieving the American Dream.

Gustavo Hernandez was certainly proud of his heritage but he was also proud to display the American Flag, not only for himself, but also for the benefit of others. I know there are many other immigrants just like Gustavo with a similar feeling of pride.

To Gustavo, to my grandparents, and to all immigrants that have kept and who are keeping the American Dream alive, I say, thank you!

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!