The Colony Courier-leader > News
Business ownership brings with it advantages, challenges
As the adage goes, the key to a successful business is location, location, location.
Business owners everywhere see that as an added perk when they're in charge.
One of the biggest advantages of owning a business is deciding where it should be located.
Business owners often choose the city in which they live to locate their company to reinforce the roots they have already established.
Todd Kerr is one example. In 2009, the Coppell resident opened J. Macklin's Grill, located at 130 N. Denton Tap Road in Coppell, where a Chili's restaurant used to exist.
Kerr has had previous restaurant experience, operating The State House in Denton from 1986 to 1996. He then opened up a catering company, which he still runs.
"We wanted to put something into our neighborhood," said Kerr, a seven-year resident of Coppell. "It was good timing for us because the catering company has been doing so well."
Kerr said one of the biggest benefits of owning his own business is being involved in the community he belongs to.
"I get to see how things in the community work," Kerr said. "In the four years that we've been in business, I've seen young kids get into middle school and middle school kids get into high school. I've employed some kids who went to college and then came back."
Kerr pointed to nearby Mexican food restaurant Anamia's and its longevity.
"I feel like we're building a foundation for that for years to come," Kerr said.
John Meyer, who along with his wife Jamie, owns Cutie Pie Pets pet salon and boutique in Coppell, said community roots are important in starting a business.
"Especially in smaller communities, it's really big in connecting with the community," Meyer said. "With all the schools and various groups, the community has been vital in communication. Word of mouth has been huge. They know that we're small and family owned, so if they have a question, they will talk to the owner. The community has been a big support system for us."
Small companies can use as much help as they can get, and they often find challenges along the way.
Meyer said the location of Cutie Pie Pets isn't as noticeable for motorists as it could be.
"Our biggest challenge is visibility," Meyer said, adding that sign ordinances limit how often Cutie Pie Pets can put out advertising banners. "And we want to minimize our advertising because we don't want to blast it out there because it can seem less personal than we want."
Kerr said one of the biggest challenges of owning his own restaurant is name recognition.
"It's being an individual and not a chain restaurant because nobody knows who you are," Kerr said. "With time, courtesy, unique food and good service, we're building a strong foundation."
Jay Early owns Direct Source, a Flower Mound-based company that distributes a variety of products used in the restaurant industry, such as office products, food service gloves, straws, food cutters, children's menus and more. Direct Source recently expanded and now employs 50 people. He said success itself can be a challenge.
"It's a double-edged sword," Early said. "When you start from scratch, there's a learning curve. When you make your first million dollars in revenue, then you're first five million dollars in revenue, there's challenges at each step. Life is a constant change, so adapting to those changes is a challenge. But it's been very rewarding."
While local business owners have faced the challenges, they have also encountered ways to become successful. Atop the list is simply believing.
"If you feel like you have a good idea, be passionate about it," Early said. "Where there's a will, there's a way. You have to take your dreams and ideas and implement them. You also have to balance the risk with the reward, and stick your neck out there. Be prepared to put in long hours, and with that comes the reward."
Kerr said always look ahead.
"Do a lot of research," Kerr said. "And stay on top of your costs. Always know how much it's going to cost to produce your product."
Meyer said setting the company apart from everyone else is also key.
Make sure there is a need for what you're offering," Meyer said. "Be prepared by knowing what will make it stand out because there will always be competition."