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Baby Boomer: Before you start a business. Ask (yourself) about yourself!

I am a Baby Boomer, and businessperson dedicated to helping others  get quality dental care and preserve their savings by traveling to Panama (www,panamdentaltours.com).  As a a SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) counselor, I volunteer to help people in small business to achieve their goals.

Entrepreneurs will find the following to be most useful:

Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” Aristotle said this about 2,500 years ago and it seemed to work for his prized pupil, Alexander the Great.

More and more Baby Boomers are looking at starting their own business. Whether their motivation is to boost a flagging 401-K or to fulfill a lifetime dream, you need to know that a successful business is more than a good idea.

In my six years as, I have no clients whose ideas conquered the world…yet . Whatever the merits of the business, the “big idea” often has less bearing on future success than the personality of the person starting the business. Like the stars that guided the ships of Ancient Athens, there are 10 personal questions the would be entrepreneur should ask him or herself before launching their business. Knowing yourself will help you rise above the competition.

1. Can you afford financial risk?

Because: Many new ventures do not succeed, and you may lose much of whatever money you have.  This may affect your financial goals, such as children’s college expenses, or retirement savings.

2. Are you ready to  give  up your current lifestyle for potentially a number of years?

Because: Unlike working for others, your own business may require longer workweeks, fewer or no vacations and maybe years of scrimping and saving before things take off.

3. Are you good at speaking and persuading others?

Because: In any new business, explaining your ideas—to investors, customers and employees—is a good part of what you will need to do.  You will be selling your idea and product all the time.

4. Are you prepared to run all aspects of your business?

Because: In the beginning you may need to do everything, from sales to marketing to bookkeeping.  You may not like, or feel comfortable, with some of the tasks you will need to do.

5. Are you comfortable with a lack of structure?

Because: In a new business, you will need to feel comfortable making all decisions, without any existing structure or guidance (actually SCORE can help provide guidance).

6. Are you a self-starter?

Because: Entrepreneurs need to be able to take rejection and keep going.

7. Does your “significant other” agree to your plan?

Because: Marriages and relationships can be tested by the time and money a new business requires.

8. Are you passionate about your business idea?

Because: You need to be totally motivated about your business,  and know about what you are getting into (going into a field you are not familiar with makes success more difficult).

9. Do you have a history of executing your ideas?

Because: Successful entrepreneurs usually have a history of coming up with ideas and seeing them through. A past with leadership roles may be an indication.

10. Do you need a business partner?

Because: If you don’t have all the skills you need, you may need a partner who can make up for your shortcomings.

If you cannot comfortably answer “yes” to most of these questions,  you need to think about how  you can overcome your weaknesses (you can change).  Your SCORE counselor can help with free counseling. For an online If you cannot comfortably answer “yes” to most of them,  you need to think about how  you can overcome your weaknesses or whether going into you own business is right for you.  Your SCORE counselor can help.

If you would like a free PowerPoint presentation that covers the 10 Questions in more depth, leave a comment here or send an email to me at japton@panamdentaltours.com.

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8 Responses to “Baby Boomer: Before you start a business. Ask (yourself) about yourself!”

  1. Steve says:

    Excellent advice. Although I encourage baby boomers to live their passion, there are always risks! You must understand what they are and be willing to risk them!

  2. Coach Gia says:

    I agree Steve ;) thanks for sharing Jeff good information.

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