National Small Business Week

How to Build an Institution, Not a Short-Term Business

Senior Entrepreneurship Writer at CNBC
6 min read

Not all businesses are created equal.

If you are looking to build a business that stands the test of time, then you need to be strategic, determined and patient, says Maria Contreras-Sweet, the newest head of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Prior to coming to the helm of the U.S. small-business organization, Contreras-Sweet held a bevy of executive roles and was an entrepreneur herself. She launched ProAmerica Bank in Los Angeles, the first Hispanic community bank to open in California in more than three decades.

For want-to-be business owners, “it is really important to be in an emerging field. You don’t want to be in a dinosaur industry that is going out,” Contreras-Sweet told Entrepreneur.com at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce during National Small Business Week last month.

In California, Contreras-Sweet noticed that the Hispanic entrepreneurial community was growing faster than the businesses serving them. “They were very, very interested in having a bank that they could call their own. I didn’t see in Los Angeles law firms that were called ‘Martinez and Gonzales,’ I didn’t see big corporations that were called ‘Contreras,’ and yet, there in that town, 1 in 3 is Hispanic,” she told Entrepreneur.com.

In building ProAmerica, Contreras-Sweet said that it was critical to the bank’s survival that she build a strong human and physical infrastructure early on. A bank, in particular, needs to comply with countless regulations and so if she were to take a shortcut in the startup process, said Contreras-Sweet, that would have come back threefold down the road.

Building a strong, sustainable business “is an arduous process, but when you do that right, you are building an institution as opposed to a short term business,” she said.

Watch the video for more from Contreras-Sweet about starting a business that can support far-reaching growth.

Related: 

New SBA Chief Jumps Into the Red Zone, Taking On the Infamous Disaster Loan Program

SBA Chief: The Secret to Being a Good Boss Is Being a Good Cheerleader

30 Secrets to Hiring the Right People
 

More from Entrepreneur

Terry's digital marketing expertise can help you with campaign planning, execution and optimization and best practices for content marketing.
Book Your Session

For a limited time only, get this bundle of Entrepreneur PressĀ® titles for less than $30 (60% OFF) on our bookstore when you use "LEAP" at checkout.
Buy Now

Are paying too much for business insurance? Do you have critical gaps in your coverage? Trust Entrepreneur to help you find out.
Get Your Quote Now

Latest on Entrepreneur

My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.