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The Business Forum
Popular Mistakes Mid-Life Entrepreneurs Make
As a business entrepreneur, it is very difficult to
know if you are making good or bad decisions. Or if you chose the right
type of business. So how did you get started, and how do you avoid any
of these mistakes?
Starting a business in your mid 40’s or 50’s can be
fulfilling, but has its risks if you don’t have any guidelines,
especially if this is your first venture. To help you avoid being one of
the 80% of businesses that fail in their first three years, review these
mistakes that many businesses have made over the years.
Start with a passion and keep it going. When you started
the business you might have thought you had clarity and direction. Try
to not get caught up in the “BUT” excuses. For example, if you are not a
super salesperson or know how to generate sales leads, do not say “I don’t
know how to do this”, instead go out and seek help and constantly do research to find how
to improve your sales approach. Do not make excuses for not knowing how
to get things done.
Are you undercapitalized? Do not rely on banks or other
financial institutions lending you money because you have a great
product/service. Banks are not in the business of loaning money to new
businesses, it is just a fact in life. So make sure you have enough
capital to keep your business afloat for several months to a year before
even considering jumping in.
Before starting, estimate the overhead
to run the business, consult with friends or colleagues who have their
own business and ask questions on how they managed their first year and
what expenses they did not expect. There are a few organizations
available to help (such as SCORE) who are able to provide guidance and direction.
Build it and they will come. If you want to start a
business based on the fact you have a unique product and people are just
waiting to buy, think again. People have developed buying habits and the
only way to break into that habit is to let people know you exist and
have a great product. Offer compelling reasons why they should switch to
Do your homework. Identify who your
customers are, and then develop a plan how to sell to them. The two
simple reasons people buy are to avoid pain and gain pleasure. Not just
aches, but the pain of not liking something, such as their kitchen,
their clothes, or poor skin or hair.
Know when to quit. This is about an exit strategy. Even
though you are just starting out, knowing how you plan to leave the
business will help you develop a plan to grow the business. Sounds
weird, but this will help give you some clarity to building up the
Keeping track of your investment and
what you plan to get out of it puts things in focus. Did you know that
90% of businesses that go up for sale never get sold? So have an exit
5 Support from those you know, especially family. Starting a
business is a commitment, and that will put a lot of stress on a family.
In the beginning most of your time will be dedicated to building the
business, and that should be clearly understood when you take this giant
leap. After you get a foothold and the business becomes profitable then
you need to take time off. If you are married and have children, you
need to take a break from work. Vacations, even short, two day camping
trips will re-energize you and keep the family supportive.
To sum all this up:
Keep the Passion, Cultivate
Clarity and Continue To Learn From Others
is a Fellow of The Business
Forum Institute and he has been active in the advertising arena
since 1973. He has successfully developed unique concepts, programs,
designs and corporate campaigns for a variety of local, regional
and national accounts. He founded his own advertising and
publicity firm in 1980. Since that time, he has provided the
marketing and publicity services to a wide range of clients
including: Jeep Corporation, Sir Speedy Corporation, Yamaha
Sports, Regal Medial Group, Bell Brand Foods, Laura Scudder’s,
CBS radio, Uniden LPGA Golf Tournament, the City of Orange,
Universal Studios, Snak King, ASICS sporting goods, La Reina
Family Brands, Partition Specialties Inc., MVP RV, Yamaha Music
Schools, Encryption Solutions, Inc., McMahon’s RV, amongst
others. As a designer in Los Angeles, California, George
co-founded a design studio where he created materials for a
variety of television shows and motion pictures: including: “The
Sting”, “Kojak”, and “Lombard and Gable”. He also developed
campaigns for Kenny Rogers, the Osmonds, Kentucky Fried Chicken,
Budget Rent-A-Car, Transamerica and Occidental Life. George
holds a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design with minors in
English and Photography from Cal State University of Long Beach.
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