Columbian-born Luis Eduardo Barón came to Sarasota in 1999 and launched TV Net Media Group, which publishes three Spanish-language magazines and a weekly newspaper. Barón recently wrote 12 Claves Para Construir Un Negocio Exitoso (12 Keys to Building a Successful Business), which has earned the No. 1 spot on Amazon.com’s best-sellers list in the Spanish language book category.
Why did you write this book?
When I came to this country 14 years ago, I discovered two things: 1) This country is propelled by small businesses, and 2) If you have your own business you can truly take control of you life. The Hispanic demographic is under-served. I made plenty of mistakes when I first started my business and wanted to teach others how to start off the right way. The book is the first step I am taking to give back. I’m donating the proceeds from the book sales to UnidosNow, a local nonprofit for young Hispanics in the area. The book’s success came as a surprise. We had no idea that it would reach first place on Amazon's best sellers list.
Can you mention three of your steps to building a better business?
Once you've taken the initiative to start a business, you have to market your product or service so that people are aware of you and so your business will grow. The second step is persistence. It's important to persevere in your dreams and be consistent and thorough. The third step is to learn every day how to innovate. Five years ago we didn't have as many small businesses, and the influence of social media was far less important. With all the new competition and devices today, such as iPads and Kindles, we have to keep up.
What else are you doing?
I wear so many different hats. I own a media group, which takes up a lot of my time. I also created the "Instituto de Negocios," an online business school, in order to teach Hispanic entrepreneurs how to start a business. I have 600 students in 33 different countries, such as Japan, Italy, U.K., Spain, Russia and most of Latin America. Having this online business school makes it easy to reach all of them at once. I usually teach online webinars and courses that people can download in order to learn about the fundamentals of starting a business. Right now they're learning about social media and the changing business landscape. I'm also on the board of directors at UnidosNow. Through our "Future Leaders Academy" program, young immigrants can become more aware of how to succeed in this country. We would like to give kids that need access to better education and college a chance to thrive. --Griffin Guinta