In this series of articles focused on mature age Aussies who are starting their first…
Just Getting Started in Your 40’s
So, you want to be a mature age business owner?
There are many things you’re going to need to know about running your business, but above all else and before you start your business, there are three absolutely critical things you need to know.
Chances are, if you’re thinking of starting your first business after 45, you’ve either lost a job, been made redundant or you are just sick and tired of working for someone else, and you want a change.
Awesome, may I wish you a very hearty welcome to the business ownership club.
When you run your own business, you’re going to notice a lot of differences from when you worked for someone else, particularly if you came out of a large business.
I want you to be successful, and in this short article I’m going to share three secrets you’ll need to know to be successful:
1. Chief, cook and bottle washer.
In the first few days of running my own business, the one thing I noticed was I didn’t have the resources and people around me to support me in my job. I had been used to having an executive assistant, creative teams and associates. In my first week, I needed some stamps to send a mailing out to prospective clients and realised I didn’t have envelopes or stamps and to get them I had to go and do it ‘myself’.
I know this sounds ridiculous, but at the end of the day, ‘everything’ that had to be done in those first few weeks required ‘me’ to do them. I cleaned the office, I took phone calls, I organised the phones to be connected in the first place, I went out and bought the computer and the printer and so on.
Of course, you can outsource tasks to people on Airtasker or Upwork or look in the yellow pages, or ask around if anyone knows someone who can do some administration or office work for you. But in the first few weeks and months of running a business – especially a brand new one – chances are you won’t have the money to pay someone else to do it.
The positive of this situation is it will give you a complete handle on all the tasks that need to be done. If you spend some time organising these tasks and working out a checklist of how to do them, you will be well on the way to working out who you need help from down the track, and what type of roles your business needs.
2. Is my idea any good?
Stepping back a bit from working out who is going to do tasks in your business, before you even start I really want you to work out if your idea for your business is any good. I’ve seen so many examples of small businesses being started because someone thought it was a good idea and they failed because either the product or service was no good or there was no demand.
Please take the time to do some surveys, research the idea with potential clients, check out the local competition (if you’re competing in a geographical location), and be sure the idea has ‘legs’ before you go and invest in business names, offices, and all manner of other stuff. Don’t waste the opportunity up front to test if your idea is any good.
It’s important not to just start any business because you need money or a wage. If you are moving from a corporate role into small business ownership, you’re going to find out pretty quickly that there is competition in every market segment and some of those competitors are going to be cheaper than you, and more well-resourced than you. One of the things that will set a small business owner apart from others is their passion.
Passion will help you get through the tough moments in running your business, and believe it or not, will add value to your customers. If you are passionate, you’ll have the energy and interest to make it go right for both yourself and your customers, and it will stand you in good stead.
Never start or buy a business where you don’t actually like the product or service it is offering. A friend told me of examples where they’ve seen mature age people buy themselves a job through a franchise in a café or sandwich shop – and they don’t even like retail or food service!
There are many things you’re going to need to start and run a successful business in your best years.
But recognise these three things:
- The buck stops with you.
- Choose an idea with legs.
- Follow your passion.
These will be a bloody good start on the road to your success. Enjoy the ride!
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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