For Scott and Veronica Romney, owners of LoSoMo Inc., an online marketing agency specializing in location-based businesses, entrepreneurship is in their blood. Veronica's parents are Cuban immigrants who gave up everything to come to come to the U.S., including their careers. Scott's parents saw business voids and founded successful companies to fill them.
When you grow up with entrepreneurs as parents, you learn the lessons of entrepreneurship early on—what it takes to start and run a business, the value of hard work, and the importance of work-life balance. In fact, a recent study estimated that parental entrepreneurship increases the probability of children’s entrepreneurship by about 60%. What do these children know that others don’t?
Find a need and fill it
A vital ingredient for any successful business is that it fills a need not being met by other companies. “Look for a need that no one else is currently fulfilling, and make yourselves the perfect fit for that sweet, sweet gap in the market,” said Entrepreneur contributor Nick Leftley.
Scott's parents founded their own successful businesses after they noticed needs that weren't being met in the market. His father had been a gym manager and realized that gyms weren't correctly processing their clients' payments each month. So he started a payment processing company for small businesses, and it has thrived over the years. His mother was an esthetician and stay-at-home mom who wasn't happy with the makeup on the market. So she founded her own mineral-based makeup company, Naked Minerals, which still in operation today.
Forbes contributor Larry Myler offers a simple two-step process for finding an unmet business need. “Ask any group of people (friends, neighbors, relatives, social network) what really bugs them in their work or personal lives. What’s inconvenient? What wastes their time or money? What makes no sense? What frustrates or angers them?” he said. “After hearing their responses, ask them to come up with a better method or product—one that would solve their problem. Voila! Instant business niche brainstorming!”
Finding that unmet business need seems to come naturally to children of entrepreneurs, and Scott and Veronica are no exception. Their new business, LoSoMo, was created when they saw that local businesses were not taking advantage of Local, Social, and Mobile SEO optimization. With experience and expertise in local search optimization, the Romneys stepped in to fill that business need.
Always give 110 percent
My dad always told me: “Give it 110% percent, never quit, be better and you can do it.” Persistence is part of what makes an entrepreneur's endeavor thrive.
Veronica's parents understand the importance of hard work. Her mother was in medical school in Havana but had to abandon her medical career when she left the country during the Mariel boatlift. Her father was a professional sports coach who left his career to come to the U.S. two years later. They knew they needed a trade, and they found one that would never be obsolete in Florida—air conditioning. The couple founded Air Boca, now a 25-year-old company that's the top-rated AC provider in South Florida.
They worked hard and made their business into a successful, reputable company. And when they hit hard times—including having a partner steal over $100,000 and the 2008 financial crisis—they stuck with it, worked harder, stayed afloat, and now thrive.
Children of entrepreneurs like Veronica know firsthand that committing to your business, through the good and bad times, serves to strengthen you and your company.
Work to live
Running a business and having a family or personal life requires a delicate balance—something that children of entrepreneurs experience daily. From the lessons of their parents, the Romneys have learned to work to live, not the other way around.
"All of us want to be successful and have financial security, but for what purpose?" Veronica said. "To take care of the ones we love. What's the point if we don't ever see them?"
There may be tough times, especially in the early days of a business, when you spend more time on the business than with your family. In fact, Melanie Lindler of Forbes interviewed a number of CEOs of small businesses who said that anywhere between 50 to 100 hours of work per week was normal. But as the owner, you're in the driver's seat and can decide how to balance when to be with your family and when to be at work.
Veronica and Scott were fortunate to have parents as entrepreneurs who taught them the secrets of business ownership. Together, the Romneys spend a great deal of their resources and time mentoring youth the same way they were mentored, and they both are passionate about giving back.
Regardless of whether you had the opportunity to grow up as a child of an entrepreneur, you can learn the secrets of filling a need, working hard, and balancing your work with the rest of your life. Become an expert at these three fundamentals, and you’re well on your way to a successful career as an entrepreneur.