Saturday, February 6, 2010

Baby boomers as Entrepreneurs

Tips to make your own business come true

Are you a baby boomer nearing retirement? Or are you a boomer who has gotten fed up with helping pay for someone else’s Mercedes? Is it time for your own venture? I’m a baby boomer, too. I own businesses and I know how you feel. These tips will help get you started.

We baby boomers make terrific entrepreneurs because we have the three things necessary to kick off a successful enterprise: the drive, the creativity, and the funding. Those attributes and these tips can make for a killer small business recipe.

1. Take stock. Determine your unique area of expertise. What do you have to offer a consumer? What interest really stirs your blood? What can you do better than many other people?

While baby boomers may have a wealth of expertise in many areas, they have at least one or two skills or knowledge levels that exceed all others. Target those areas as potential sources for a small business venture.

2. Identify your target market, your customers. Boomers who go into business for themselves usually do so with a product or service connected to the industry in which they are currently employed. No one knows better than you if there is a niche in your business that is not being filled. Identify that need and then start polling your business contacts. Positive responses are a good sign that you may have found an untapped diamond mine.

3. Create a new or better product. Now that you know what the market needs, it’s time to tap in to those potential solutions that have been circling around your brain. You’ll toss out many as unsatisfactory, but you will find one that you can refine, and ultimately sell.

This product may even be a new way of thinking. Or it may be a way to teach newcomers your business. Many boomers have become successful entrepreneurs as consultants.

4. Set up your company: a sole proprietorship, a limited company, a partnership. Call upon the services of a good accountant and a lawyer to assist you in choosing the type of entrepreneurial venture that is best for you. But whatever you do, get started. A sole proprietorship is at least a first step.

5. Avoid overhead. Most baby boomers already have a home office. Let that be your womb as you kick off your new venture. Use your available monies to fund your new product, your advertising campaign, and your marketing materials; don’t rent office space and end up padding some landlord’s wallet instead.

6. Funding. Baby boomers are well established both personally and within their business communities. Call in your favors. Share your exciting plans with others who you feel are in your corner; encourage them to back their belief in you with money.

Rely on bankers and venture capitalists as a last resort. Also, check your government’s small business division; is it offering any starter business loans or grants to first-time entrepreneurs? If so, take advantage of this free or low interest money.

Boomers also have lots of equity in their homes and this can be tapped by collateral loans. But whatever you do, go as far as you can with your new venture without incurring debt.

7. Write up a business plan. Value your thoughts, your ideas and your new venture with the creation of a business plan. Many business plan templates are available on the Internet making this once tough task, very easy.

Don’t listen to the nay-sayers who may try to talk you out of going into business for yourself. Don’t believe them. Believe in yourself. If you feel you have an idea others will want, others will buy, then go for it. After all, you only live once and the opportunity to start your own business may never come again.


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