Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Steve Milligan, president and founder of Sun Coast Loaded Cannon Distilled Spirits LLC., located in Bradenton, Florida, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are a grain-to-glass award-winning craft distillery. We pride ourselves on sourcing our raw materials locally when possible and giving back when we can. Our customers are individuals, families, and friends. We don't just make spirits. We make visiting an adventure. We bring local pirate lore to life.
Tell us about yourself
I am a retired chemical engineer, and this is my playground. I love what I do and share my excitement with our customers. My tours are interactive and fun! I love to teach, and there is not a dull day. I started distilling in Saudi Arabia.... a long but good story!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
That's a hard one. We were named best-flavored vodka distillery in NA and one of USA Today's top 10 new distilleries. Also nominated and a finalist for small business of the year. Those are great honors. However, I'd have to say that our ratings, which are near perfect, remind me that the customer connection has been our key to success. Very personal.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Getting other businesses to buy locally and making customers aware that we are here. You wouldn't believe how many other local companies will not give us a chance. When we get a person in the door 95%+ to buy something...it's getting them to know where our door is that's hard.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Have adequate financial resources.
- Understand your business and how to connect with the customer.
- Simplify and simplify again! Complexity adds curves. No one likes curves.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
We are proud of what we do, and we are good at it. Support local shouldn't be just a phase. It should be a way of doing business.
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 email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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