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Starting Your Own Business and Embracing the Entrepreneurial Spirit

Starting Your Own Business and Embracing the Entrepreneurial Spirit
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Starting your own business can provide a solution to many people who are over 50 and struggling to find employment. But be careful out there.

There are a lot of things that motivate us to start a business. It could be the pursuit of a passion or the simple frustration with a job-market that doesn’t seem to want us. Regardless of your reasons there are some critical steps you absolutely have to consider before you launch your new venture.

I have worked as a brand consultant for 40 years and as an executive coach during 7 of those years. I’ve seen many entrepreneurs succeed and fail. What’s interesting and a bit sad is the chronic pattern of behaviors that have led to failure, and the consistent pattern of behaviors that have led to success.

Let’s stay positive

The most critical success factor for any new venture is a well thought out and developed business plan. It’s quite simple actually. It’s 50 of the toughest questions you can imagine about your venture and your business. It will take you hours and hours and day and days to complete. Do it! Every hour you spend on your business plan will save your days if not weeks of frustration in the future. It will also save you thousands of dollars.

On the negative side…

For the record, every person I have worked with who has done an excellent business plan is still in business and most are thriving. Conversely, individuals who neglected to do a business plan or never got around to it have failed and many lost their entire life-savings. I’m to the point that I won’t consult with anyone who has not done a business plan because I know the inevitable results.

The whole world is not waiting for your product or idea

Every inventor and entrepreneur is convinced that the whole world is going to love their idea and that it’s a “no brainer.” If that’s your opinion there is a 99% chance you are doomed. Do your homework. Look at the competition and what’s out there. Understand the marketplace and your target market. Stop sitting at the kitchen table with a calculator and figuring out how much money you’re going to make if you sell a million of ’em, and get on the Internet and see who else is selling your idea and what you can do to make is special or different.

Start and stay simple

We’ve all heard the stories about great ventures starting in a basement or garage. Do it! Stay simple and low cost. The minute you rent space or hire employees you are obligated to meet monthly payments and payroll. Wait until you reach the critical-mass known as sustainability.

Achieving Sustainability

Sustainability is when the income from your business not only covers your business expenses, but gives you an opportunity to grow and actually realize some significant profits. We don’t go into business to lose money. We do it to make it. Your business plan should indicate the critical success factors to allow you to reach sustainability. Then you have to sustain it. Don’t get ahead of yourself with assumptions. Let the business tell you how you’re actually doing and manage yourself accordingly.

Stay focused

Don’t stray from your core-strength. If you started a pottery barn don’t think that selling beef jerky on the side is going to grow your business. Remember who your customers are and why they are they and deliver on what you’ve promised. It’s branding 101. “Promise what you deliver and deliver what you promise.

Learn about marketing

Do you have a website? It’s a necessity. So’s a facebook page and don’t forget to collect email addresses. You don’t have to do a commercial on the Super-Bowl, but you have to get the word out. Social marketing and a website are easy solutions and you will be invisible without them.

The Big Step: A storefront and employees

This varies depending on your business model but many small businesses have to take the big step to a storefront and the hiring or employees. Take a deep breath here because this is when it gets serious. The fact of the matter is that it’s easier to start a business than it is to stop one and a brick and mortar space plus employees is what makes that so hard. This gets back to the question of sustainability and a business-plan that you have continued to upgrade and re-evaluate. If it makes sense -do it. If not. Step back and rethink the proposition.

Packaging and selling your business

Many “serial entrepreneurs” create successful businesses and then sell them to someone else. You don’t have to make this your goal, but if someday you simple want to actually “retire” you could always bundle up your successful venture and sell it to someone. Depending on the nature of your business you may have to stay on-board for a while, but if you have succeeded in creating a successful venture it’s something to consider. Then again, you could always give it to your kids.








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