Ice Cream Cone or Fruit Cup?

Las Mangonadas opened it’s doors in December of 2016 to serve customers a variety of their forty homemade flavors of ice cream,  cakes and pastries made daily, fruit cups, and other tasty snacks.  Claudia Sanchez, the co-owner of Las Mangonadas, learned about the business from her uncle, Alfredo Sanchez,  who was already an entrepreneur. Claudia gained experience through a similar business she helped her uncle with in Illinois until she decided to move back to Austin.  Both created the Austin business to provide the assortment of sweet to salty munchies that also include corn cups, smoothies, Doritos locos, and so much more.  In business for less than a year, they have already started to see growth in sales.

Claudia first became connected with Economic Growth Business Incubator (EGBI) when she attended Curso Empresarial, EGBI’s series of workshops taught in Spanish by local subject matter experts who have years of experience dealing with start-up businesses.  “The workshops helped with the general vision of business and learning from the experience of other attendees and instructors.  I was motivated that running a business was not going to be easy, but with tenacity it was going to be possible.” Claudia continues, ” I continue to receive assistance from EGBI anytime I contact them. They are always ready to help with resources, their knowledge, and encouragement. ”

 

 

Do you have a Tamale Addiction?

Tamale Addiction is famous for being fresh, organic, local, and delicious! Since it first set up at a farmer’s market in 2010, these tamales have managed to collect a following of Tamale Addicts and in the process increasing their production from 80 tamales their first week to now 9000 tamales on a Monday through Friday work week. Their flavors have spread fast through markets and coffee shops around Austin, San Marcos, San Antonio, and major events as ACL Music Festival, Old Settlers Music Festival, Food and Wine Festival, Formula 1 at COTA, etc. Recently these savory meals have made it into local retail stores.  Now their product can be found in Wheatsville Co-op, Royal Blue Grocery, People’s Pharmacy, Fresh Plus, and Thom’s Market. You may even be lucky enough to spot a Tamale Addiction food truck in an office campus near you!

Owner Adrian Paredes and his wife Mariana’s experience in the food industry started in 2009. After a failed venture with Mexican desserts, a new opportunity randomly aroused when a farmer’s market director asked them if they could make and sell tamales (they didn’t know how, but they said “yes”). Over the next days, Adrian and Mariana called every family member they knew to collect recipes, tips, and tricks about making tamales. They worked all week to prepare 80 tamales for their first market. Those tamales were sold out within an hour. The couple rose to the task before them: going organic and local and create vegan and vegetarian options for their customers. They had found the magic!  This is when Tamale Addiction was born.

Due to rapid growth,  Adrian Peredes sought out training and consulting services from the Economic Growth Business Incubator to develop a business plan and financial projections.  “I  am so grateful for the training, support and networking EGBI has given my business.  The business has been such a great adventure for my wife and I.”  – Adrian Paredes.

Launch of the Consular Assistance Special Campaign for Mexican Nationals in Central Texas

The Consulate General of Mexico in Austin announced the launch of the Consular Assistance Special Campaign for Mexican Nationals in Central Texas, a new effort sponsored by the Mexican Government to promote “know your rights” seminars, US citizenship workshops, financial education clinics, and individual consultations with immigration attorneys, among other services.

This initiative is the result of extraordinary resources allocated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico to its consular network in the United States. In Austin, funds will be used in a capacity building effort to better protect the rights and interests of Mexican nationals within the Consulate’s jurisdiction.

The main activities and programs that are part of the campaign are:

  • Know Your Rights Information sessions. Attendees of these sessions will receive information about their rights, what to do in case of detention by an authority, and information about SB4.
  • Immigration screening consultations with immigration attorneys. Through an individualized screening consultation, a person will be able to talk to an immigration attorney to find out if he/she qualifies for any type of immigration relief. The person will receive legal counsel as to his or her potential options, and what next steps to follow.
  • Naturalization clinics. At these clinics, Legal Permanent Residents who qualify will receive legal assistance to apply for U.S. citizenship.
  • Emergency preparedness clinics. Attendees to these clinics will receive information on how to protect their children and properties in case of deportation proceedings. They will receive assistance executing powers of attorney forms, and other legal instruments, as needed. They will also receive useful information in case they decide to return to Mexico.
  • The Financial Assistance Window.This service, located within the Consulate, will provide training and guidance on how to protect patrimony, as well as cultural and linguistically appropriate financial and educational advice with the purpose of increasing financial literacy among the immigrant community.

All services offered will be free of charge to participants. This program was made possible in the collaboration of several organizations and attorneys throughout Central Texas.   Economic Growth Business Incubator was proud to be one of the organizations along with American Gateways,  Asociación de Restauranteros Mexicanos de Texas, Casa Marianella, Catholic Charities of Central Texas, De Mott, McChesney, Curtright and Armendáriz, LLP (DMCA), Education Austin, Equal Justice Center, Foundation Communities, Hispanic Alliance, Lincoln – Goldfinch Law, Migrant Clinician Network, Mis Cuentas, RAICES Texas, The Law Office of Yohana Saucedo, P.C., The Lyttle Law Firm, and Volunteer Legal Services.

  • Mexican and other Latino immigrants interested in knowing more about the campaign or how to take advantage of this opportunity for free services can register at the Consulate’s website https://consulmex.sre.gob.mx/austin/, under the Protección tab (Centro de Defensoría).

Why There’s Only One Ideal Type of Salesperson

By Ronell Smith

Last year Rand Fishkin, a Seattle software executive, started an exciting Twitter thread when he let loose a provocative comment regarding sales tactics:

“Best way to sell something—don’t sell anything. Earn the awareness, respect, & trust of those who might buy.”

As you’d expect, the comments that flowed in ranged from total agreement to disagreement bordering on denouncement.

In many ways, everyone is right and wrong: Sales and salespeople get a bad rap, some of it deserved, in large part because the worst examples (i.e., pushy, sometimes sleazy tactics) stick out in our minds and override those occasions when salespeople were actually quite helpful.

We have our brains to blame for the contempt, says Clifford Nass, a Stanford communications professor and co-author of The Man Who Lied to His Laptop: What Machines Teach Us About Human Relationships, said in a New York Timespiece on the topic.

Click To Enlarge

Why There’s Only One Ideal Type of Salesperson Infographic

Don’t Forget About Good Customer Service When Growing Your Business

By Al Lopez, EGBI Executive Director

Too often, small business owners and startups are so focused on becoming known and marketing themselves to the wider public that they forget about the importance of good customer service. Either they fail to take into account customer satisfaction or they begin to take their earliest customers for granted. However, don’t let the pursuit of fast growth blind you to the need for good customer service.

First and most importantly, good customer service is the foundation of building a trusted brand with an engaged and loyal customer base. Especially in the digital era, the power of word-of-mouth marketing cannot be underestimated. If customers aren’t happy with the service they have received, they won’t just tell their friends – they will also let everyone on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram know about it as well.

But look what happens when you keep a close focus on customer service: you can convert regular customers into super-customers of your business. Marketers often refer to these super-customers as “brand ambassadors” or “evangelists.” And it’s exactly these ambassadors and evangelists who can really help your startup grow and take it to the next level. After all, it is much cheaper to retain a customer or gain a referral than it is to find a new customer.

The most obvious way existing customers can help to jump-start your growth is by bringing repeat business. You no longer have to worry about churning through customers and finding new ones. And, it is often the case that customers will trust you to take on bigger and bigger projects as they gain confidence with you. For example, a loyal customer who comes into your restaurant on a regular basis might decide to hire you for a big catering project that can help take your new restaurant in a new growth direction.

You also won’t have to worry about spending a bigger and bigger piece of your overall budget on marketing. Your customers will do your marketing for you. They will make word-of-mouth referrals for you and let everyone know what a quality product or service you deliver each time. Best of all, these are authentic reviews. Nobody is paying them to say something nice about you, and that’s something that readers or viewers will immediately recognize. Authentic customer testimonials can be very powerful indeed.

That’s why a satisfied customer is good, but a delighted customer is best. There are many ways to “surprise and delight” your customers with good customer service. If you’re paying attention on social media, for example, you can sometimes pre-empt any problems a customer might be having. It’s best to get ahead of a concern on Twitter than to let a few bad tweets get out there!

And, you can choose to surprise and delight customers around special times of the year – such as with a special year-end holiday gift. Even a small gesture – like giving away a complimentary dessert “on the house” to help celebrate a special anniversary – can create a very loyal customer.

So you can see why quality customer service is really the key to sustaining and growing your business. Every interaction with a customer can become an opportunity to deepen the relationship and ensure that your customers are as happy with you now as when they first started using your product or service.

In short, quick and rapid growth is not just about piling up new customers as fast as you can – it’s also about making sure that your existing customers are still enthusiastic about what you offer. Great customer service is the key to growing your business.

Customer service

No se debe olvidar que un buen servicio al cliente hace crecer el negocio

Escrito por:  Al Lopez

Muchas veces los propietarios de nuevas y pequeñas empresas están tan centrados en llegar a ser conocidos por público que en general se olvidan de la importancia de un buen servicio al cliente. Ellos no toman en cuenta la importancia de la satisfacción al cliente o dan por descontado que esos primeros compradores lo serán eternamente. Sin embargo, no dejes que la búsqueda de un crecimiento rápido te nuble la necesidad de tener un buen servicio al cliente.

En primer lugar y lo más importante, un buen servicio al cliente es el cimiento para construir una marca de confianza con una base de clientes comprometidos y leales. Especialmente en la era digital, el poder del marketing boca a boca no puede ser subestimado. Si los clientes no están contentos con el servicio que han recibido, no solo le dirán a sus amigos, sino que también dejarán que todos en Facebook, Twitter e Instagram lo sepan.

Puedes convertir a clientes regulares en súper clientes de tu negocio cuando te mantienes enfocado en el servicio al consumidor. Los vendedores a menudo hablan de sus clientes como “embajadores de la marca” o “evangelistas”. Y son precisamente estos embajadores y evangelistas los que pueden ayudar realmente al crecimiento del negocio y llevarlo al siguiente nivel. Es mucho más barato retener a un cliente u obtener una recomendación de lo que es encontrar un nuevo cliente.

La forma más obvia en que los clientes existentes pueden ayudar a impulsar tu crecimiento es la llamada “clientes regulares”. Con ellos ya no existe la preocupación de la constante búsqueda de nuevos clientes. Y usualmente se da el caso en que ellos irán confiando cada vez más en ti que se permitirán incrementar sus compras debido esa seguridad que les das. Por ejemplo, un cliente leal que entra en su restaurante de forma regular podría decidir contratarte para un servicio grande de catering, lo que te ayudaría a que tu restaurante encuentre una nueva dirección de crecimiento.

Tampoco tendrás que preocuparte de destinar un monto importante dentro del presupuesto para marketing. Tus clientes harán esa publicidad por ti. Ellos transmitirán de boca en boca la calidad del producto o servicio que comercializas. Lo mejor de todo es que estos son comentarios auténticos. Nadie les paga para decir algo bueno sobre ti, y eso es algo que los lectores o los espectadores reconocerán inmediatamente. Los auténticos testimonios de los clientes pueden ser muy poderosos de hecho.

Es por eso que un cliente satisfecho es bueno, pero un cliente encantado es el mejor. Hay muchas maneras de “sorprender y deleitar” a tus clientes. Si estás prestándole atención a las redes sociales, por ejemplo, podrías prevenir cualquier problema que pueda tener un consumidor. ¡Es mejor salir adelante de una preocupación en Twitter que dejar que algunos malos tweets salgan por ahí!

Y, puedes elegir sorprender y deleitar a tus clientes en los momentos especiales del año como es un especial de fin de año- incluso el pequeño gesto de regalar un postre para ayudar a celebrar un aniversario especial – Todo esto puede crear un cliente muy leal.

Así que puedes ver por qué la calidad de servicio al cliente es realmente la clave para mantener y hacer crecer tu negocio. Cada interacción con un cliente puede convertirse en una oportunidad para profundizar esa relación y asegurar que tus clientes estén tan contentos contigo en la actualidad como cuando comenzaron a usar tu producto o servicio.

En resumen, el crecimiento rápido no se limita a acumular nuevos clientes lo más rápido posible, sino también, es asegurarse de que tus clientes actuales estén entusiasmados con lo que se les ofrece. Un gran servicio al cliente es la clave para hacer crecer tu negocio

Meet Monica Peña, EGBI’s New Marketing and Development Coordinator

Monica Peña will be assisting with the expansion of Economic Growth Business Incubator’s (EGBI) outreach by promoting programs and services through traditional marketing, social media, media outlets, and partnership development. She has an entrepreneur background including helping locally owned businesses as a strategist on marketing time management, promotion follow through, and maximization of their social media efforts. She has a strong passion for helping small businesses succeed and has been a supporter of EGBI prior to joining the team.

 

Meet Joni Foster, EGBI’s New Program Director

Joni Foster is Economic Growth Business Incubator’s (EGBI) new program director.  She has worked in the community economic development industry for over 25 years.  She is an experienced consultant, a skilled trainer, a former manager of a local loan fund for revitalization of inner city communities, and a serial entrepreneur, having launched her own businesses and numerous nonprofit organizations. For the past 5 years, Foster has worked as staff and consultant to the west coast-based Rural Community Assistance Corporation, developing new opportunities for rural economic development and entrepreneurship.  In addition, Foster has worked with the national financial intermediary, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, in various positions for over 17 years including the founder and executive director of the Jacksonville, FL LISC office for 11 years.  Foster has worked in urban and rural areas of the US, Nicaragua and Sierra Leone, and West Africa. Se habla espanol.

Barbra Boeta Accepts New Role as Executive Director at EGBI

With over 13 years experience working to grow small businesses within the Central Texas area, Barbra Boeta will transition from Program Director to Executive Director at the Economic Growth Business Incubator (EGBI).  For the past 6 years,she has spear-headed the organizations training programs and volunteer recruitment, she is looking forward to building and securing relationships in order to grow EGBI and local small businesses within the Austin area.