How To Succeed In Business

Posted on December 15, 2010


While lawmakers and much of the population argue over immigration laws, expansive fences and whether or not the United States needs an official national language, many entrepreneurs see opportunity where others see controversy.

A recent profile in the Shelby County Reporter covered Isabel and Joel Rivera of Calera. The couple emigrated from Mexico to Texas in 1985 and then moved to Alabama in 1996. Seeing a population rich in other immigrants, the couple parlayed their native language and customs into a bilingual mini-empire that includes three groceries/restaurants, three radio stations and a construction firm.

In the Reporter, Joel Rivera cited the many business opportunities available to all in the United States. “The economy throughout much of Mexico is in poor shape, which makes it hard to operate a profitable business, Joel said. ‘It is 100 percent different,’ he said with a laugh. ‘Here in Shelby County, everyone has something to do all the time.’”

A growing immigrant population has also opened up opportunities for bilingual workers in the health care field, social services and education.

The prevalence of Greek, Middle Eastern and Asian food festivals in the Birmingham area shows that it is not only the Hispanic community that offers a market for foreign cultures and goods. Klingler’s European Bakery, Café and Catering Co. of Vestavia has flourished since 1982 by offering an authentic German menu.

Whether it is a unique cultural background or fluency in another language, business owners are making opportunities for themselves throughout the country. However, no one has to move to another nation to succeed. Entrepreneurs of all shapes and sizes can learn a lesson from the Riveras. In a landscape populated by strip malls and chain restaurants, it is often the unique and specialized that stands above the rest. Rather than looking at what’s already there, sometimes it’s best to spot the goods and services that are lacking and be the first to provide them.