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Insights from the Governor’s Small Business Summit

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Pictured on the right, Adrian Villarreal, President & CEO of International Bank of Commerce – McAllen, was among the panelists at the Governor's Small Business Summit, conducted by the Small Business Development Center at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Holding the microphone, he actively participated on stage. Joining him were Eligio Sánchez, a Loan Officer from PeopleFund, and Stephen Sutton, the Co-Owner of Yucca Street Investments. Photo by Roberto Hugo González
Pictured on the right, Adrian Villarreal, President & CEO of International Bank of Commerce – McAllen, was among the panelists at the Governor’s Small Business Summit, conducted by the Small Business Development Center at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Holding the microphone, he actively participated on stage. Joining him were Eligio Sánchez, a Loan Officer from PeopleFund, and Stephen Sutton, the Co-Owner of Yucca Street Investments. Photo by Roberto Hugo González

Texas Border Business

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By Roberto Hugo González

The recent Governor’s Small Business Summit provided valuable insights into the current state of business, with a particular focus on emerging opportunities, understanding the lending process, pandemic-related growth strategies, and the evolving landscape of digital currencies. Adrian Villarreal, President of IBC McAllen, was among the key panelists who shared their insights.

Identifying Opportunities and Planning for Growth

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According to Villarreal, the Valley is a dynamic place for future business growth, particularly in the trade and medical industries. The significant contribution of small businesses to border trade and the expansion of the medical and education industry in South Texas are some of the promising signs for aspiring entrepreneurs.

On a broader scale, Villarreal stressed the importance of doing homework and in-depth research to identify demands within growing industries. Finding a niche or an unmet demand within these industries could be the key to success.

Creating a Compelling Business Plan

When it comes to seeking financial support from banks, Villarreal outlined essential components that banks look for in a business plan. The core of the plan must prove that there’s a demand for the product or service. Moreover, unique value propositions, relevant experience, data-driven insights, and a comprehensive understanding of costs, competition, and market dynamics are also vital.

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In addition, Villarreal emphasized that having “skin in the game” is crucial. Entrepreneurs must not only project revenue based on demand but also stress test those revenue sources to understand if they can cover costs and what liquidity is available for unexpected scenarios.

Lessons from the COVID Pandemic

The pandemic has forced businesses to move fast, and Villarreal noted that time is never on one’s side. The lessons learned from this period include the need for sacrifice, automation, efficiencies, and having the right people in the right positions.

Staying close to the customer and building relationships was also noted as essential. Villarreal remarked, “You’ve got to earn that business so that it’s sustained, and you’re able to leverage off of that.”

The Future of Digital Currency

Villarreal’s viewpoint on digital currency was cautious. While he believes that digital currencies are the future, he also acknowledges the challenges they face, especially from a regulatory standpoint. He cited the debacle of FTX as an example of the uncertainties in the digital currency market.

Villarreal’s perspective highlighted the trust factor in dealing with digital currencies. The lack of government backing and the potential for loss, as seen in the FTX situation, make digital currencies a risky option for some. However, he also acknowledged that as regulations and guardrails come into place, digital currencies will likely have staying power.

Adrian Villarreal’s insights at the Governor’s Small Business Summit offered a comprehensive view of the current business environment. His contributions underscored the importance of research, planning, adaptability, understanding of both opportunities and risks, and a willingness to utilize available resources.

Whether it is identifying emerging industries, crafting compelling business plans, learning from pandemic-induced changes, or exploring the future of digital currencies, Villarreal’s perspectives provide a valuable roadmap for entrepreneurs and business owners looking to thrive in today’s rapidly changing business landscape.

Villarreal concluded by emphasizing the importance of using available resources and maintaining an open, coachable mind. He encouraged entrepreneurs to leverage the wealth of resources available and to stay open to learning and adapting.

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