Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Tim O'Neil, Co-Founder of Wellness Croft, Inc., located in Plymouth, MA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are an agricultural sustainability cause brand with a social and regional sustainability mission. We are all about food as medicine and the ability of functional foods to improve and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Our customers believe in regional sustainability or are investigating plant-based diets for health, health conscious, northeast locavores, or are seeking super nutritious functional foods to aid with general health, overcoming obesity, reversing diabetes, preventing or treating cancer or mental health uses that functional foods have proven to be a natural and less toxic course of action.
Tell us about yourself
I am a mission center individual who champions causes. For me, striving to be of great service to others has always been a motivating driver. Identifying an opportunity to create great change is what powers my motivation. Self-professed renaissance man: I am a high school dropout, US Navy engineer and combat veteran, honor roll/dean list engineering college graduate (state schools) with corporate-funded/directed top tier executive education in general management (UT McCombs Business School University Texas, Austin, TX) and Strategy and Innovation from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
I am also a patented inventor whose innovation has been awarded by both the Smithsonian Institute and the Unified Communications industry via awards and recognition. Early retirement afforded my wife Dina of 25 years and me the ability to create a commercial positive energy machine that we call Wellness Croft. Helping farmers and healing families every day!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Creating a new market opportunity for all northeast farmers to participate in what is called "the northeast freeze-dry market" in an effort to overcome the competitive attack of "massive in scale" out-of-region producers and their negative impact on our smaller regional farmers/growers. We are losing acres a minute to real estate development in the northeast region. The market for in-region growers has been shrunk by the west coast and international players. The generational transition rate of family farmers is abysmal, and something more needs to be done to help maintain and grow market opportunities in our northeast region for our farmers/growers. We are doing something big about this social cause.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Uncertainty. The entrepreneurial process is one wrought with uncertainty. Correct market? Proper market segmentation? Best offer? Best/correct and scalable technology, right-minded partnerships? Correct margins?... As a business owner, one must maintain cognizance of all of these issues simultaneously and under the stress of reduced resources and shorter timelines. The hardest thing about being a business owner for me, besides uncertainty, is making sure I have taken the time to take care of my own mental and physical health. Yoga, chi-gong, meditation, and sporting clays shooting are my tools. Namaste!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Have enough start-up funds to get going before you qualify for financing or investment but understand you will not have profit for a few years.
- Create lasting and mutually beneficial partnerships in all facets of your business. Mix them up, blend them, create new social circles, cross-pollinate, and leverage.
- Be deeply and passionately involved in your mission and objectives. Live to work, not work to live. I jump out of bed to get to the next action item every day gleefully.
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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