Retirees: Don’t Waste Time With Useless False Starts
When you determine you want to start a business, the next step is to find out which type of business is right for you. The way to do that is to participate in self-reflection that is brutally honest so that you can get started on the right foot with the exact right business for you. It can be a very difficult time to choose the right business.
When I was faced with deciding what I wanted to do, I had to look at my past experience. I discussed it with my wife and we looked at my strengths and weaknesses. I had a wealth of skills and experience but really wanted to try freelance writing. I was frozen in fear of failure due to poor writing and grammar. But my wife told me she would help me.
I also discussed my hesitation with my associates. A good friend offered me this advice: If I write like I talk, I shouldn’t have any problem communicating. That was five years ago and now I am writing this blog to help other retirees who want to make a difference in their lives. We still have many years (hopefully) to contribute to improving the lives of others.
Here are some tips to help you.
- There Is No Such Thing as a Sure Thing – No matter what anyone says, there is no business idea that is a sure thing. That’s why one person can make a pizzeria into a million-dollar business, and the other person goes bankrupt in the first six months.
- Do What You Know or Can Learn – If you start with what you already know, your skills and strengths, that is usually best. However, if you really want to change directions, take the time to learn new things instead of jumping into a situation where you have no idea what to do. This is especially beneficial for retirees due to “exercising” your brain and delaying those “senior moments” indefinitely.
- Study Other Businesses – When you get an idea about the direction you want to go, start looking at those businesses that are already successful to find out a common reason why. If you can determine what they’re doing well then you can emulate that later. Read books on the subjects and interview business owners and ask them why they are so successful at what they do. It may cost you a cup of coffee, but you will gain a friendly hand in your quest for starting a business.
- Ensure There Is Sufficient Demand – With any business idea that you have, it’s important to make sure there is enough demand to support your income requirements and needs. Use Google to search for the service or product you are interested in doing and see what comes up. It should give you an idea of what people want.
- Develop a Business Plan – When you have zeroed in on something you like, try making a one- or two-page business plan which will force you to analyze every aspect of the idea. The business plan is an essential component of choosing the right business, and people make the mistake of thinking you only do that when you’ve already picked the business. Don’t obsess too much on this.The business plan looks at the market, the demand, the product or service to meet the demand, and the expenses to begin the start up phase.
- Visualize Your Plan with Mand Mapping-Mind Mapping can help formulate a plan to help you get started. Mind mapping is taking a blank sheet of paper and putting your idea in the center. Then brainstorm all the areas you think relates to the idea and link it to the proper topic. A picture of your idea emerages in visual format that can later be developed for your business plan. Note: I am not talking about a formal proposal for “Shark Tank” investors. This is your roadmap to your business.
- Ask for Assistance from Others – If you know people in the field, simply ask them what they’d do differently, better, or if they’d do it again at all. They’re likely to be very honest with you about the mistakes they’ve made and the successes they’ve had if you ask. Sometimes, you can do this by telephone or Skype. Other times you may want to treat them to a lunch or coffee to gain some private time with them.
- Work for Someone in the Field for a While – One way to learn whether you even like a certain type of business or not is to work in it. Ask people you know to let you volunteer or work for low pay in their business. As a retiree, you can offer skills not normally available to the employer at this pay level. Don’t forget your work ethics, dependability, and enthusiasm will work wonders in your relationship with the owner. I have a friend who wanted to have a bookstore and worked there for six months. She decided she would rather be a customer than stock shelves. She saved herself the financial and human capital it takes to start a bookstore.
- Look for Market Trends – Match your skills with current market trends to see if you can find a good match that excites you. Don’t let this be a substitute for ensuring there is a market for the trend today and in the future, but it’s a good start.
I read a wide variety of books when I was considering what type of business I wanted to do and what skills are necessary. Here is a good book, Make Money From Home: How to Run a Successful Home Based Business by Donna Partow. It will help you assess your skills as well as run a successful business. I wrote a book review here. You can g I wrote a book review here. You can get the book here.
Choosing a business that is right for you takes some work. But, if you do the work before jumping in, you will have a better chance to experience success with your business idea.