Jose Cuesta of Grupo Xela

Jose Cuesta is the founder and president of Grupo Xela, a Cincinnati-based marketing agency that specializes in the qualitative research of Hispanic demographics. By collecting first-hand information from Hispanic panelists, Cuesta's company offers valuable insight to clients who are interested in marketing to Hispanic consumers. 

How did you start your business?

Right before starting Grupo Xela, the US Census declared Hispanics the largest ethnic group in the country. My brother-in-law was an illustrator and designer, and I earned an MBA from Xavier, but we started a different company at first—coffee distribution for regional restaurants. That did not work out, but the work opened our eyes to the potential of Hispanic ads, corporate websites and market research.

What local resources did you take advantage of and how did they help?
The Hamilton County Business Center, where our Cincinnati office is located.

What would you do differently if you started your business again?
When we started out, Grupo Xela wanted to offer everything because you’re not going to know which services are more profitable—marketing and advertising could be a thousand different things, so we would do anything since it was a small niche. If I started my business again, I would focus on fewer services. When my brother-in-law left, the focus was taken away from creative work and placed on analytic qualitative research. Some entrepreneurs learn sooner which services they’re best at.

What’s next for you and your company?
One of the challenges I found with Grupo Xela is how to grow in cities outside of Cincinnati. I want to be able to deliver quality work for more cities.

Interview by Sean Peters