Turning Point

The Road Ahead

Minority business owners often look on the bright side.

By Charlotte Mulhern

Although entrepreneurs are widely known for their enthusiasm, a recent Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) study reveals that minority small-business owners are even more optimistic about the future than their nonminority counterparts. Why the variance?

"Minority businesses are getting more respect from their various suppliers [than in the past]," contends William F. Doescher, senior vice president at D&B. "They're finding it easier to manage cash flow and overcome the traditional problems of getting access to capital, and they're feeling less discriminated [against]." These factors lead to a notable 72 percent of minority entrepreneurs expecting healthy profits this year, compared to 62 percent of nonminority entrepreneurs.

"We're very optimistic," says Gordon H. Chong, founder of architectural firm Gordon H. Chong & Partners in San Francisco--the same company, by the way, that landed the number-three spot in our January listing of the nation's top 10 minority-owned small businesses. Why is he so confident? "There's a tremendous amount of pent-up demand that has yet to be satisfied, at least in our industry," says Chong, who expects nearly a $1.5 million increase over last year's $12 million in revenues.

As the results indicate, Chong is not alone in such positive thinking. And all the shared optimism leads to real benefits for this second-fastest-growing segment of small businesses. "Optimism leads to more aggressive marketing and greater investment in business," explains Doescher. "But best of all, the optimism should result in job growth in small businesses, not only further sustaining the U.S. economy but also strengthening minority-owned small businesses."

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This article was originally published in the April 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Turning Point.

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