Entrepreneurs past 50 years of age make up a vibrant group in the world of small businesses. If you’ve been thinking about starting your own business, this is a great time to become one of them. Trust me, it’s a lot easier to establish a business today than it was when I first started out 25 years ago.
Before you set up shop, however, it’s good to consider what the factors are that determine entrepreneurs who will succeed and those who won’t. As you will see, it’s not simply a question of experience or having the right diploma.
Being able to solve problems
Is your company going to solve a problem facing the consumers you are targeted? While starting a business is easier than ever, creating yet another online shop or one more pizza delivery service is not likely to get you very far, unless people in your area really need more pizzas. Think about this for a moment, because this is huge. If there is no market, if there is no demand for what you are offering, there is no business.
Low running costs
How much money do you need to keep your business running from month to month? If you need office space, costly hardware and other technologies, and a large team, you may be in for a hard time. Start-ups that thrive today often do away with office space by enabling employees to work from home on their own devices, and outsource services to avoid the costs of maintaining IT, customer support, and marketing teams.
Doing what you love
Is your business an extension of who you are? Successful entrepreneurs enjoy what they do. They enjoy not just the role of being an entrepreneur, but rather the whole pyramid of processes they supervise. It takes dedication and hard work to get a business going, and without believing in what you do, you may not find the time or the energy to persevere in the face of obstacles.
Having a good network
Do you know people who will be interested in what you have to offer? The more friends and acquaintances you have who would appreciate what your business can provider, the easier it will be to get your small business running. This is especially important for local businesses.
Willingness to learn
Transitioning from the corporate world to running a business involves a lot of learning. Your skill-set has to be adjusted, and so does your approach to many things. Decisions become in many cases more important than your own productivity, which can be outsourced. You may have to take on project management, leadership, or soft skills courses. Are you willing to put in time to deepen your knowledge?
Adaptability to technology
Businesses today have become more dependent on technology than ever before. From the small local store to the online shop that delivers goods in all states, companies use a mix of devices, applications, and online services to speed up their processes, increase productivity, and get work done on time. Your competitors are already using technology, which means that you can’t afford not to use it. This key factor alone is worth a separate article on its own.
There is a lot of talk about automation and delegation, about the four-hour workweek and entrepreneurs who just set things up and then let the business run on autopilot. The truth is that in the first months at least, your business will likely require your full-time commitment. I still recall the 60-hour work weeks with one of my start-ups.
How much time are you willing to put into your business? What about Saturday and Sunday calls? Are you willing to take them?
Probably the best thing about being a 50+ entrepreneur in the 21st century is that you can learn as you go. Neither your diploma nor your past experience can prevent you from starting a business centered around something you care about. But to make it all happen, you need to be fully committed and willing to work hard, at least in the beginning.