Start-Up Success Strategies for Boomer Entrepreneurs
Part 1 and 2 of a 4 Part Series
By Dr. Marie Langworthy, Co-author, Shifting Gears
Part 1: STOP! What Are Your Non-Negotiables?
Without a doubt, entrepreneurship is alive and well among the Boomer generation. Several reasons contribute to this phenomenon — among them, an ever-growing number of Boomers with the time, energy, and financial independence to compel this generation to strike out on their own, venturing into creative career areas heretofore inaccessible or unimaginable. Boomers are realizing that they do, in fact, have the power to create a vibrant last third passage of life pursuing a financial goal and a vocational passion in their own time and on their own terms.
But hold your horses! Wait just a minute! As a Boomer, you’ve survived enough personal, financial, career setbacks and experiences to realize that nothing worth accomplishing is easy, that the road to success, however each of us defines it, is paved with hidden, strategically placed minefields, and that you’d better do due diligence, do your homework, and aim several times before you fire into the field of entrepreneurship.
For starters, STOP! Define your non-negotiables, and determine not to negotiate them! Start by identifying those ‘non-budge’ aspects of your life which, at this enviable point in your life, you are not willing to sacrifice, to do without, or give up, no matter what. For example –
Non-negotiable #1 – As a couple, you don’t travel separately anymore – anywhere!
For most of your married lives, you and your spouse saw each other sporadically. Yours was a commuter marriage, as both careers required extensive travel. You became expert at juggling work schedules, airline flights, and rendezvous destinations. You were on a first-name basis with hotel desk clerks, and accumulated volumes of frequent flyer miles. Yes, now you’re joined at the hip, and prefer it that way.
Non-negotiable #2 — You have banished winter from your lives.
Based in the snow-belt during your prime years, you raised your family amid the fun and flurry of ice-skating, skiing, sledding, sliding and skidding. As boomers, you have since happily re-located to the sun belt, and the closest you ever want to approach even a facsimile snowflake is on the evening news, or on a greeting card you receive from snow-belt family and friends. You don’t do winter, anytime, anywhere.
Non-negotiable #3 – You’re allergic to cats.
When cats are near, your eyes water, your ears itch, you develop an annoying hacking cough, and your clothes magically attract seemingly magnetic fur and hair. No amount of promise of entrepreneurial success is worth your coming in contact with these feline beasts, which, you’re convinced, conspire to target you as a helpless and hopeless victim.
What are your non-negotiables? It behooves you to define and determine these well in advance. Be ruthlessly honest with yourself about what and can or cannot, will or will not compromise, let go, give up. Otherwise, you run the risk of sabotaging your opportunity for success.
Part 2: LISTEN! Competition Is Everywhere!
Listen! Believe it or not, sometimes our negative naysayers are our best allies in disguise. Give at least a cursory courtesy to all those obstructionists who warn, “You can’t … you shouldn’t … because ….” It behooves you to heed their objections and to address each one head on.
Next, turn your attention to the competition. Ferret out your competitors and eliminate the need to compete. Your goal – to provide that unique product or service that distinguishes you from the pack.
Research. Homework. Data. Three critical keywords that you, the Boomer entrepreneur, need to adopt as your mantra before you act on any entrepreneurial idea. The importance of researching every aspect of your potential business, of assuming the role of devil’s advocate and facing hard data cannot be overestimated. Doing your homework, in terms of ‘knowing the enemy,’ is critical to success.
Fortunately, you have ready access to user-friendly current technology tools as powerful allies. Two web sites, in particular, will arm you with invaluable information about competition both near and far. These sources also provide you with critical advice and the strategies you will need to make your dream idea a reality.
American Fact Finder, will jump start your market research with U.S. Census and other demographic data in an easy-to-use form. Its Deep Linking Guide provides a unique how-to process to build, load and save queries in various demographic patterns. Oh, the places you will go, and the information you’ll discover – all powerful assets and critical information you’ll need to jump-start your entrepreneurial journey.
Another one-stop shopping site for budding Boomer entrepreneurs is, 25 Essential Entrepreneur Resources . Here you’ll find a wealth of information covering —
- Small Business Administration Resources
- IRS Tax Implications
- Developing a Business Plan
- Patent & Trademark Information
- Technology Business Tools
- Incorporating vs. LLC
Enough about the broad picture. What about what’s happening locally? What is the competition within your potential sphere of influence? Who do you need to beat within the radius of your planned customer base? Is your universe local, state-wide, national … or broader? How wide is the demand for your product or service? Do you plan to market your product or service locally, state-wide, nationally … abroad?
The Internet has no geographic boundaries. With a web site, you can target the entire world with your product or service. But that brings us to our next challenge – Focus, focus, focus!
Click here for Parts 3 and 4.
Dr. Marie Langworthy is a retired educator and current author/editor. Through her online business, Super Writing Services , she specializes in “writing it right”–the way you, the client, want to say it.
Her recently published book, SHIFTING GEARS to Your Life and Work After Retirement, co-authored with Dr. Carolee Duckworth, is available on Amazon and on the Shifting Gears website .
Marie is a contributor to Boomer-related publications, web sites, and blogs, and is available for interviews and workshops on a timely and broad range of Boomer retirement issues.
Together with her co-author, Carolee Duckworth, Marie conducts, empowering retirement seminars for Boomers throughout the USA.