Planning for Entrepreneurship at Any Age
The Work from Home revolution and pandemic business disruption have motivated many aspiring entrepreneurs to take their shot in 2021. If you’re determined to make this the year that you promote yourself to Founder and CEO, these three tips will help smooth your runway.
1. Don’t quit your day job … yet.
Even if you don’t love your current job, you’re still awfully lucky to have one right now. In addition to providing for your regular household obligations, your job also provides two essential tools for launching a new business: working capital (if your monthly budget allows it) and health insurance.
Instead of jumping into a new business with both feet, consider testing your business model with a small group of prospective clients on your own time. If you have already been working a “side hustle,” explore ways to monetize that gig beyond having fun and earning some spending money. Think of this as a “proof of concept” business experiment. Your successes might not be enormous right away, but neither will your mistakes. You’ll learn, adjust, and refine your business plan so that it’s ready for a proper launch.
2. Craft a compelling pitch to customers.
A test pilot program for your new business will also give you an opportunity to answer one of the most important questions facing a new entrepreneur: What do my customers want?
After all, there’s very little chance that your new business will be able to compete with giant retailers on scale or price. And with so many displaced companies pivoting online, whatever your market is, it’s never been more crowded. How are you going to rise above the din on social media, attract loyal customers, and grow your startup into a viable business? What are you offering customers that they can’t buy anywhere else?
One of the most attractive qualities a new business can have is a strong mission beyond profit. Today’s consumers don’t want to feel like they’re just shopping – they want to feel like they’re part of a movement that’s making the world a better place. If your restaurant is connecting with local soup kitchens during the holidays or if your graphic design company offers employees profit sharing to build wealth in your community, tie that message into your branding and marketing.
Another way to set yourself apart is by providing a more personal touch. Depending on your business, that might mean exceptional, same-day customer service. Or, it might mean a higher degree of personalization than your competition can offer.
3. Consult with and learn from professionals.
Successful CEOs will tell you that one of their most valuable assets is their contacts list. Whether they’re launching a new product or trying to navigate a crisis, the best business leaders all have an inner circle of mentors, peers, and business coaches they rely on when they need an outside perspective.
A strong entrepreneurial drive is one characteristic that both millennials and baby boomers have in common. Connecting across generational lines with others in your field could give your business plan a major boost. Young workers who want to develop their passions into careers can connect with seasoned pros who have become mentors and consultants during retirement. Likewise, seniors who want to start their dream companies in retirement can learn about the latest trends in their business spaces and customer behavior by chatting with recent college grads or establishing a mutually beneficial internship program.
It’s also important to analyze how your new business plan is going to affect your overall financial plan. Before you set up shop let’s talk about how we can help you navigate this transition and continue improving your Return on Life.