By: Jenka Rojas, Contributor, EforAll
Editor’s Note: Entrepreneurship for All, is a non-profit organization that promotes economic development in mid-size cities in Massachusetts by offering free English and Spanish language business training, ideas pitch contests, networking events and mentorship. They welcome aspiring and current entrepreneurs. For more information, visit eforall.org
Many of us have to come to this country where much is totally unknown and asked ourselves, “How do we start anew?” Here, I’ll tell you my story in the hopes that it may inspire you.
I was an engineering student in the Dominican Republic but when I moved to the United States I was confined to working in restaurants, grocery stores, laundromats and other jobs that did not necessarily require the educational experience I had. One day, I had enough and decided to open my own business.
Just as I did, you can also start your own business to leverage the experience and knowledge you brought with you from your country of origin. To make it happen, I have three suggestions: start moving, never stop, and never lose sight of your mission.
To start a business, first you need an idea. In the initial stages, you’ll need mentorship from experts who can help you craft a business plan. A very good option for anyone who wants to start a business is to look for nonprofit organization whose mission is to help develop entrepreneurs (such as EforAll).
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Once you’ve you finalized your business plan and launched your business you must raise awareness of it and yourself. Twelve years ago, when I was getting started, it was more difficult to get people to know about your business. We didn’t have social media at our disposal but today, those networks make it increasingly easy to connect with other professionals in the areas in which we live. If you haven’t done so, I highly recommend signing up for professional social media platforms such as Linkedin.
Now, social media is great but don’t be afraid to meet new business contacts in person. Joining professional networking groups is a great way to get started. If a professionals network isn’t for you, you can become involved at church, or if you have school-aged children, join the PTA. The most important thing is to be seen in the community and for people to learn about your business.
It should go without saying that knowledge is key and, as such, you must ensure that you are up to date with the latest news and information in your area. Make sure to read the local papers and informational materials in the stores and shops you frequent.
When you do visit these shops, make sure to always introduce yourself to the staff and owner. This will help you open new doors and develop potential business references or clients.
It doesn’t matter when you arrived in this country. This is your moment and opportunity; take it.
Perspectivas Profesionales is a new monthly section in El Mundo Boston featuring the leading Latino voices from the world of business and entrepreneurship. For more content like this click here. Puedes leer este artículo en español aquí
Jenka Rojas is owner of candy shop based in San Francisco de Macoris, Dominican Republic. Additionally, she is a real estate agent, an MBA candidate at Bay Path University, and most of all, she is a mother.