Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Bruce Osterhaven, owner of Big O' Smokehouse Inc., located in Caledonia, MI, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Big O' is a team of hard-working people working to keep up and overcome obstacles in the world of big business. Our customers come to us for high-quality specialty smoked products. It takes great attention to detail to produce excellent smoked products every time. Specifically, smoked fish products can be extra challenging.

Tell us about yourself

My father, Keith, started the business in 1997. I (Bruce) Started full-time in 2001. My first push to work with my dad was when I tasted the product. We were hanging out on a lake in Michigan. At the time, I didn't like fish, and I didn't know much about smoked products. I was converted that and day. Our team enjoys not only selling to people that already love smoked product but also introducing it and converting people into loving fish. It is a good snack option, and fish is a great renewable, sustainable healthy option.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I would say my biggest accomplishment is building a team of people that are committed to working together. Not only to be profitable but also to improve personally and welcome new people that have our core values and want to do the same.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

One of the hardest things for me is having tough love. I tend to want to fix people. It is nice that we have grown enough to establish processes and procedures. This helps eliminate miscommunication and unclear expectations.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

Test the waters before you jump all the way in. Talk to others in the industry, and see how you measure up to the competition. What do you have to offer that sets you apart? If you are going for it, make sure you have support from the people you love and do whatever it takes to make it work.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

It is easy to come up with ideas and dreams. Actually, getting focused and working on the plan, and fighting off the negative to see your vision all the way through is the hard part.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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