It is exciting to ponder a family business venture, but how do budding entrepreneurs go from pipe dreams to reality? Read below to learn more about launching your own family business and finding success.
Here are 5 tips for starting a successful military family business (and free resources to get started!):
Find a mentor
The best way to start a family business is to allow yourself to be taught. You don’t know what you don’t know, and to save yourself the hardship, find a mentor who can guide you. You will find that many business owners want to help new entrepreneurs! If you don’t have anyone in your circle to mentor you, the nonprofit SCORE can help. It is the largest network of volunteer business mentors, and it now offers support to veteran-owned small businesses, called the Small Business Hub for Veterans.
"When you are in the military, you are part of a community, much larger than the individual. We understand that at SCORE, and we make it our mission to give every veteran the support they need to thrive as a small business owner," SCORE CEO Bridget Weston said.
SCORE offers several free resources to veterans (perfect for boot-strapped companies on tight budgets!), including webinars and workshops.
Sign up for workshops
Speaking of workshops, immerse yourself in the world where you want to be, whether online or in person. Learn the lingo and become familiar with the experts in the field. Ask questions, take notes, and study your niche. Workshops are a great way to continue learning about the business you’re in.
Surround yourself with like-minded business owners. Network by making genuine connections with other entrepreneurs; it will be mutually beneficial! Not only can you learn together, but on the hard days, these will be the people who understand exactly what you’re going through. Additionally, they will intimately understand each win as you progress in your success.
Name your strengths (and weaknesses)
For a family business, each person will be bringing their own strengths and weaknesses to the table, so ensure jobs match personalities, skill sets, and desires. An assessment like the DISC test can be helpful. Creating positions that suit individual needs and highlight each person’s expertise (instead of exposing their gaps) is an easy way to get the most fruit for your labor.
Your business will have highs and lows, and how you react to them will determine if your company endures. “It’s been a tough climb from a ‘rock bottom’ moment in March 2020,” Charlynda Scales said of her family business, Mutt’s Sauce. “Our business model was 90% in-person events for revenue, so we basically have climbed our way back from zero.”
Prepare to evolve as needed. “We sell mainly on e-commerce now, and my family was a large part of that happening successfully,” Scales said. “As a family, we did what was necessary to adapt to our customers and continue serving them.”
The most important part for running a family business: keep going. It will be hard work, but the effort you put in will be worth it.