Starting your own family-owned business can be a great way to achieve financial independence and build something that you can pass down to future generations. However, it's not always easy, and it helps to hear from people who have been there. That’s why we want to share some of the lessons we've learned from our years starting up and succeeding at Southern Natural.
Do your research: Does your idea have a good opportunity for success? With this step it helps to have a clear vision for your business, so take some time to clarify your goals. What does success look like to you? Taking the time to do the groundwork will help you make the next step.
Come up with a business plan. This includes a mission statement and motto. Don’t skimp on this step. Knowing your mission, your motto, and your plan will help give you a path forward when you’re not sure which way to go. Some things to consider:
- How will you fund your business? Options include using your own savings, taking out a loan, or looking for a business partner or investor. Consider carefully, because this is an important decision.
- What will your business name be? Research the names of competitors, available websites, and what reflects your goals and values as a company.
- Where will you operate your business? There are many practical things to consider here, like travel time, storage, and other details that will be unique to your business.
- How will you sell your goods or services? This may be online, at trade shows, door to door, in a store, or some combination. We’ve used multiple models for Southern Natural and changed our plan as needed.
Don't be afraid to ask for help. There's no shame in admitting that you need help to get your business off the ground. Reach out to family and friends, or hire a professional if necessary. Just a few things you might want advice on:
- Choosing a business structure – whether your business will be a sole proprietor, LLC, or corporation
- Getting registered and obtaining federal and state tax identifications
- Obtaining a business license
- Setting up a business bank account
- Getting the appropriate business insurance
Don’t get overwhelmed. There might be a lot of things you don’t know, but you can learn each thing, one step at a time.
Avoid procrastination. You’ll be tempted to put off certain things because you don’t understand them or they’re not fun. However, you’ve still got to do the work to succeed. Try to check one item off your list each day.
Consistency is the most important thing. Keep working, be patient, and don’t give up. There will be some challenges along the way. The key is to not let these setbacks derail you from your ultimate goal of success.
Surround yourself with like-minded people. Being around those who share your vision helps you stay on track. Other entrepreneurs can be a great source of encouragement, practical advice, and wisdom.
These are just a few of the lessons we've learned starting our own family owned business. Remember, you can do this! Don't get overwhelmed by all the things you don't know. You can learn each thing, one step at a time. Have faith in yourself and your team. Starting a business takes a lot of hard work, but it can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Believe in yourself and your team, and don't give up on your dreams!