Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kevin McInerney, founder of Southpaw Golf Company, located in Boston, MA, USA.

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

Our business is built around performance athletics & media, more specifically focused on golf apparel & accessories. The name Southpaw Golf is inspired by the commonly used reference to left-handed golfers as 'Southpaws.' Growing up around the game of golf, it quickly became clear that left-handed golfers are few and far between, and the disparity was consistent within service levels, from lessons to equipment. For these reasons, among others, Southpaw Golf's mission is to serve the underserved, regardless of handedness, through the game of golf with high-quality apparel & accessories.

Tell us about yourself

The game of golf has given me so much, from quality time with family & friends to the lessons learned from my first jobs in the golf industry. Golf has a unique ability to bring out the best & authentic versions of myself and everyone, and it's a game truly resembling life. Starting a business in the golf industry became very clear & easy after experiencing such enthusiasm and positivity my entire life, and Southpaw Golf Company is a great way to create a winning scenario by becoming more involved within the golf community while creating products & services that are functional for all golfers, including myself.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

One of the biggest accomplishments of being a business owner so far is starting from scratch and bringing a product to life, from an idea to the first sale. It's very easy to underestimate all of the processes that need to take place prior to selling your first product. Business entity creation, business bank account creation, website development, graphic designing of logos and product renderings, procuring sample products from vendors, creating social media accounts, placing large minimum orders quantities, figuring out shipping & returns, processing payments - all before actually bringing the best version of your product to market. And then what happens when your product hits the market? The first sale is by far the most rewarding feeling, and to sustain sales over a longer period of time is truly an amazing accomplishment.

Arguably an even bigger accomplishment is being able to utilize your business as a catalyst for positive change or impact. After our first two years in the market, Southpaw Golf was privileged to host the Southpaw Summer Shootout at Granite Links Golf Course in Boston - which was a golf tournament & subsequent gala supported by 200 attendees, with all proceeds directly benefiting the charitable organization, Team IMPACT. We were fortunate to raise & donate nearly $8000 that day, and the reach & impact of bringing 200 people together to celebrate the game of golf & raise awareness for such an amazing cause was another incredibly humbling experience.

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

One of the hardest things that come with being a business owner is the constant uncertainty and the never-ending responsibility of wearing every hat within your business. Until your business reaches a point of a certain scale, you will need to be comfortable with the uncertainty, with the amount of risk that you are enduring with your time & money, and the constantly changing market conditions. Also, until your business reaches a point of a certain scale, it's very likely that you'll need to personally become an expert within every vertical function of running your company. If you're working in a CPG company, think about all of the different verticals, from graphic design & overall product development, vendor procurement & relations to a number of the go-to-market specialties listed above (social media management, website design, content creation, etc.). Your business will continue to be more efficient as you're able to scale your team with the right personnel within each of the necessary verticals.

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

Choose something in which you are truly interested, passionate about, or already have significant experience.

In the early stages of bringing your idea to reality, spend considerable time & effort using your imagination to visualize what success looks like for you and the milestones that are necessary to achieve reaching that success. For example, if you would like to start a supplements brand, take time ideating on and already putting the following in motion: name, naming conventions for marketing, branding, overall market potential/capitalization, social media accounts, partnerships, events, PR, different product lines, logistical efficiencies, automated technologies, building a small & tight-knit team, etc.

As your understanding & knowledge of the market grows, but also of your strengths & weaknesses, you will gain a better perspective on how to most efficiently attack your business idea & goals.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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