According to Oberlo, 60% of people who start small businesses are in the age range of 40-60. Contrary to what someone fresh out of college may think, most entrepreneurs have greater success rates later in life compared to young entrepreneurs. Why? Experience and maturity. When I was young, I couldn’t wait to grow up and always thought I was so mature for my age. Now, I want to grow back down and love getting the chance to NOT act my age! If you’re considering starting your own business, you’re in the right place. Research, learn, research some more and check out my Entrepreneurial Academy, (charlesmalexander.com). My experiences as a business owner have led me to helping others, just like you. Here are 5 actions you should take if you’re thinking about Becoming Your Own Boss.
1. Talk to your family.
Your family should be your biggest cheering section and your strongest support system. Having your immediate family on board with your plans and dreams can help build your confidence and reduce stress during the start-up phase. Keep them up to date on business decisions and don’t be upset by their hesitations. These people know your faults better than you. If they have a hesitation or a concern, hear them out and truly listen to their concerns. They may unknowingly steer you from stepping into your first mistakes and help send you in a direction that would work better for you. Together, work on a business model that fits your business goals and your family’s needs. Your family is at your side, sometimes when you don’t even want them to be. Build your business as a family goal and your business will eventually feel like a second family.
2. Research. Research some more. Research again.
Before you solidify your products and offerings, your services or your model, you need to make sure you have a target market, there is a need for your product or service and that it’s a viable good or service that you can produce for a cost others will pay. Each part of that needs to be researched individually.
- Who is your target market or consumer and where are they located?
- Product/Service need or desire in your market.
- Viable Good/Service that you can produce reasonably and at what cost, including labor needs.
- The amount your target market will pay for your product/service.
- Cost to bring to market and timeframe for overall profitability.
When researching, talking to your friends and family doesn’t count here. They may be the smartest people you know. Unless they’re research analysts in your service area or product offering, you need to do your own independent research. Start with the U.S. Census Bureau Small Business (census.gov). Utilize a service like the Small Business Development Center in your area Find Local Assistance | Federal Resources for Small Businesses (covid-sb.org). Make your business decisions for your new business on facts. Your passions will only take you so far, especially if you find out that 20 other businesses in your geographic area are offering the same services at prices below what you can offer. RESEARCH.
3. Trust the experts.
The most successful people you can think of are willing to ask for help. Knowing and being able to admit that you don’t know something is going to be key to your success as a business owner. Acknowledge that you don’t know and immediately find out how to learn more or ask/pay someone to show you. You’ll recognize pretty quickly that most small business owners love their community of other small business owners and truly want to help each other succeed. Just make sure you’re picking people that are experts, that have been in it a while, and have a proven track record of success. Reach out to other entrepreneurs. Utilize a service like SCORE Homepage | SCORE as a place to get started.
4. Plan diligently.
If you wouldn’t necessarily call yourself a “planner”, take notes. You’re going to need a plan. A very good plan. Document everything. Organize continuously. Keep records thoroughly. Take the steps to lay the groundwork and build a strong foundation. This is where your age will definitely be a benefit. Usually by our 40’s we’ve developed a system that works for us, or you at least know what doesn’t. Again, trust an expert where you know you have weaknesses. Ask for help and plan accordingly.
5. Keep track of costs.
This is a big one. It’s big because it seems so simple that we let expenses and costs slip through that we didn’t account for. Keep records and organize them. If you know money management is a weakness, hire a bookkeeper or someone you would trust with your whole entire world, because that’s what your new business is. Keep lists of one-time and recurring expenses so you have (cough, cough, see #4) a PLAN! You don’t want to find yourself in the red, right out of the gate, because you don’t remember where your money went. It’s not a good feeling. Don’t do it! You can avoid it!
These 5 actions are just a few of the hundreds of strategies I’ve learned in my 35 years of owning businesses. I’ve owned 18 businesses across 9 industries. Believe me, I know a thing or two about what not to do – I should have a wing named after me at the ‘College of Hard Knocks’. Locate, screen and trust an expert – that’s what I do. When it comes to starting your first business, I can help and I truly love getting the opportunity to work with aspiring entrepreneurs.
Check out my Entrepreneurial Academy here (charlesmalexander.com) and keep an eye out for my new book, “Be Your Own Boss,” coming in early 2022! I look forward to hearing from you and setting you on your path to success.