According to the Kauffman Foundation, an organization that studies entrepreneurship, the most new businesses are started by people in the age 55 to 64 age bracket –Boomers! Instead of retiring at 62 – these “olderpreneurs” are gearing up for their second act by creating business models that they define and leaving jobs that have defined them. If you’re over 50 and thinking about going off down the road of owning your own business, here are a few tips from the Small Business Administration to help ensure your success:
1. Identify Your Market: Whom will your business target? Ask yourself, do you have a service or a product that people will be willing to pay for in amounts that will keep your sales/income greater than your expenses? Hone in on a unique niche product/service, or way of doing established products/services, and research if anyone else in your area is doing it (aim for low competition). Offering a unique approach than what other businesses in your area are already offering can mean greater success for your business.
2. Determine Your Costs. Many successful businesses are started on shoestrings, but you should figure out some basic costs to start/run your business for the first year. What will your equipment, inventory, advertising, utilities, etc costs be? How much money do you need to start, and how much do you have to spend? An expert consultant can help you here.
3. Develop a Marketing Plan. All successful businesses need a roadmap that includes the objective of their business and how it will be conducted. Some things you should identify: How will you find your customers? Mailing lists, internet, industrial, or professional listings? To learn how to create a business plan, visit Inc.com’s website for a basic how-to.
4. Your Contacts. With all the experience you’ve gathered over your working career, you likely have a few contacts that could help get the word out for your new endeavor. Tell them what you’re planning, give them any necessary materials, business cards, flyers, etc. and ask them to refer anyone to you that might be interested in your service/product.
5. Market Yourself. A website is a good advertising tool that also makes you look credible and legitimate to prospective clients. It should highlight both your accomplishments and abilities and the benefits to prospective clients. There are also many websites on the internet that post free articles that you can make use of to promote your business, like Linkgrinder. Creating press releases for your services on online sites is also a good idea, try PRWeb.
6. Social Media Savvy. Many business owners have Facebook accounts and/or make use of other social media sites like LinkedIn to promote it. If you don’t know much about how to use/navigate social media, there are community education courses in how to use them at your local community college or Adult Education programs.