Most definitely echo what Lilith says.
I would also add that you should consider the "why" of creating a faction, as that might help you decide whether an NFG is a more appropriate choice. Why do you want to create the faction? What is it going to do for you, for the people it employs, and the people it sells to? If your faction is of a type that is very prolific (ie production/mining), do you have some kind of plan to gain enough of an income to make the Faction worth the expense and maintenance costs? Further, if the faction is not unique, are you entering a flooded market?
Like Lilith, I find, in general, if you're dedicated enough to run your own faction, you're dedicated enough to rise far in a larger faction that might need trustworthy leaders and active players. Perhaps consider taking your "small and poor" group and offering your services to another faction that has a mindset similar to your own, and in which you can flourish. You can often get all the experience of running a faction within a Nationalized faction of a larger group. It takes time to work your way up, as very few of the worthwhile groups to partner with will just Give you leadership roles off the bat, but I strongly believe it's worth it in the end.
As far as Practical advice when running a faction? Management and Organizational skills are key. I love my spreadsheets, and I hate that Inventory Export has lost its ProductionETA column. Learn to use the tools that the Devs have spent so much time coding for us, and make it as easy as possible for yourself to manage your faction and its assets. When designing systems to organize work, consider what works now AND what will work later when you grow.