How to Become a Successful Business Owner

Owning and running one’s own business is a big part of the American dream, but it is harder than one may think. There are some obstacles that people may have to overcome to make this dream a reality.

What do people have to do to become a successful business owner? The article “Starting a Business? 5 Disciplines Every Business Owner Should Practice” on the Brian Tracy website ( states that there are five things one should do before becoming a business owner: perform market analysis; create a business plan; learn the discipline of money–this includes six full months of operating costs before one goes into business; learn the secrets of power negotiating; and become a successful entrepreneur.

“To become a business owner, I had to work my butt off. Plain and simple. When you’re starting, not only do you need a great idea, but you need to wear all the hats. You have to navigate all the areas you know nothing about until you can scale and expand to have staff,” commented Jessica Dennehy, owner of Pivot and Slay, a company designed to helping people become successful business owners; Mad Men barber shops; and Whiskey Wax, a hair care product line for men.

For starting both small and big businesses, one has to start from the bottom. James Bruno, the owner of O’Shea Funeral Homes, commented on this: “I entered the funeral business/industry as a parking lot attendant at Albrecht Funeral Home. During my part-time work at the funeral home, I was anxious to see embalming, but my boss at the time would not allow me to watch without being a licensed funeral director or at least a resident. So, I decided to enter the mortuary science program at Nassau Community College. While attending the mortuary science program as a student, I took a part-time position at Lang, Tobia, DiPalma Funeral Home as a “greeter/family attendant” who would answer phones, show guests to the proper visiting chapel, vacuum, dust, and do just about everything that the funeral home needed to be done while continuing to work at Albrecht Funeral Home on an ‘as-needed basis.’ What started as a part-time job with Lang, Tobia, DiPalma Funeral Home became my home for the next 14 years. I went from a part-time employee, to completing my residency, to becoming a licensed funeral director, to owning/managing three funeral homes.” Bruno continued by saying that he had to work very long and hard for what he wanted.

What does one need to do to become successful in business? In the article “Three Things Most Successful Businesses Do Right,” on Business News Daily, it states, “Successful businesses use resources effectively and efficiently to execute business strategies. Create a culture of rigor and standards for financial stability. Require process around fiscal management, oversight, and decision-making. Execute strategies in an operationally efficient manner.”

“I equate success to starting at the bottom, going through the ranks. Being able to understand every aspect of your business from directing cars to caring for a deceased and their family at the worst time. (and everything in between),” said Bruno.

Dennehy added, “I’ve faced many obstacles as a business owner. The most trying for me was delegating. I’m an alpha female and a go-getter. If I want something done, I do it, and I do it fast. It’s hard to trust someone else to do things for the business you love so much. But if you don’t learn to let go, your business cannot grow. Your time is best spent being the face of the company, not the person doing small tasks that don’t make the business money.”

Businesses need to be able to reinvent themselves and thrive through adversity. Recently as a result of Covid-19, there was a shutdown that impacted many small businesses. “Reopening or opening a new business was hard during this time,” commented Dina Salmen, owner of Donzi’s Kitchen, new to Lynbrook.

Making one’s business different from others is also key becoming successful. “I studied the market, and I saw what was missing in the area and made sure to have affordable priced [products] and good quality,” stated Salem.

Surrounding one’s business with people who not only add support but help with the journey makes things a lot easier. “Most of all our team, from parking lot attendants, family greeters, funeral directors, receptionists… are all an extension of us, caring for the families that choose us to care for their loved ones. As you could imagine, our accountant and lawyer are extremely important on the business end,” commented Bruno.

Some final advice from Dennehy is to “stop waiting for the ideal time, and take the risk NOW!” Dennehy added, “There is no such thing as perfect timing. Believe in yourself and make it happen!”  Dennehy mentioned that she signed the lease on her first barbershop one week before giving birth to her first child, reiterating that the timing to start a business will never be perfect.