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Advice From Entrepreneurs on Starting a Small Business

Key Takeaways

  • Maintain a healthy work-life balance.
  • Decide whether to lease or buy your business location.
  • Don’t be afraid to fail. You’ll learn and grow from your experiences.

By Melissa Green | Citizens Bank Staff

Whether you’re starting out or have a few years under your belt, you’ll be hard pressed to find an entrepreneur that hasn’t gone through their share of challenges. So with that cheerful reality, it can be helpful to be reminded that you’re not crazy for your choice to start a business. Just ask George and Costas Pappas, entrepreneurs and co-owners of Kravings Grille & Ice Cream in Millis, Massachusetts.

Looking for some inspiration to start a business? Read on for the three things the Pappas brothers recommend for starting and maintaining a successful small business.

1. Maintain a healthy work-life balance

Many entrepreneurs subscribe to an “always on” hustle mentality that requires them to be constantly working in order to be successful. Unfortunately, constantly working increases the risk of burnout, as well as some serious health risks. “If I worked as many hours now as I did when we first started 17 years ago, my wife would divorce me,” laughed George. Maintaining a business and a family isn’t an easy goal, but it's feasible. “My brother and I have each other and our wives. It’s a family business, and without my family I wouldn’t be successful,” said George.

RELATED: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Work-Life Balance

2. Decide whether to lease or buy your business location

If your business requires a physical location, you should determine whether buying or renting a space is right for your budget and your business. There are advantages and disadvantages to both options, and the decision requires thorough analysis and planning. For the Pappas brothers, the answer was clear. “Lease agreements didn’t make sense for us anymore. It wasn’t cost effective, and we wanted to have more control,” said George.

RELATED: Which Small Business Loan Is Right for You?

3. Don’t be afraid to fail

This is one of the most significant challenges business owners face. Small business setbacks don’t usually feel small; in fact, they can be devastating if you’re not prepared to bounce back. Whether there are issues with cash flow or a situation completely beyond your control, life happens and a strong entrepreneur will know how to recover. “Two years ago our restaurant caught fire, and we were forced to close,” remembers Costas. Instead of staying closed, the Pappas brothers took time to assess their options and determine their next steps. "Our new location in Millis is the perfect situation for our family and our business,” said Costas.      

RELATED: Tough Love Helps Coffee Business Owner Bring Vision to Life

Success isn’t one-size-fits-all

All businesses and entrepreneurs have different back stories and circumstances, but what they have in common is clear: The road to success isn’t a straight one. Costas and George learned from their experiences and leaned on their family to help make Kravings Grille & Ice Cream a success. You’ll experience hardship, obstacles, and situations that may seem impossible — but with hard work and smart planning, you can get on the road to success.

Ready to start a business?

Want to learn how a Citizens Bank Relationship Manager could help your business? Please call 1-800-4BUSINESS or stop by your nearest Citizens Bank branch today.

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