Tips for starting a successful military family business 

It’s exciting to think about a family business venture, but how do budding entrepreneurs go from pipe dreams to reality? Read below to learn more about how to launch your own family business and find success.

Here are 5 tips for starting a successful military family business (and free resources to get you started!):

Find a mentor

The best way to start a family business is to let yourself be taught. You don’t know what you don’t know, and to save yourself the trouble, find a mentor who can guide you. You will find that many business owners you want to help new entrepreneurs! If you don’t have anyone in your circle to give you advice, the non-profit SCORE can help. It is the largest network of volunteer business mentors, and now offers support to veteran-owned small businesses, called the Small Business Hub for Veterans.

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“When you are in the military, you are part of a community, much bigger than the individual. We understand that at SCORE, and we make it our mission to give every veteran the support they need to succeed as a small business owner,” said SCORE CEO Bridget Weston.

SCORE offers several free resources to veterans (perfect for boot-strapped companies on tight budgets!), including webinars and workshops.

Register for workshops

Speaking of workshops, immerse yourself in the world where you want to be, both online and in person. Learn the lingo and get to know 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.

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Attend conferences

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 are going through. In addition, they will closely understand each victory as you progress in your success.

Mention your strengths (and weaknesses).

For a family business, each person will be bringing their own strengths and weaknesses to the table, so make sure the jobs match their personalities, skill sets, and desires. An assessment such as the DISC test can be helpful. Creating positions that meet individual needs and highlight each person’s expertise (instead of exposing their gaps) is an easy way to get the most out of your work.

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Keep going

Your business will have highs and lows, and how you react to them will determine whether your company survives. “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 scaled back from zero.”

Prepare to evolve as needed. “We sell mainly on e-commerce now, and my family has been a big part of that making it successful,” Scales said. “As a family, we did what was necessary to adapt to our customers and continue to serve them.”

The most important part of running a family business: keep going. It will be hard work, but the effort you put in will be worth it.


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