This article is written by Hunter Leonard, founder and CEO of Silver&Wise, a Career Money Life Certified Supplier. The original article is published by Smallville.
When you start a business in your 40’s and beyond, you are blessed with a number of qualities that will stand you in good stead as a business owner.
Here’s five that will help ensure your success.
1. YOU’RE THE ONE.
Since it is you who is starting the business, you have to put first things first and take care of yourself. Of course, I mean taking care of your physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. Make sure you exercise, eat well, get good sleep and get the time to do things that make you happy – that fill your soul so to speak.
However, I also mean putting in place other protections to take care of yourself. This can be things like getting some good personal insurance cover. You are the key to the new business; no one will have the understanding and information you do, so consider yourself a key cog in the success wheel, and get some protection.
You can also protect yourself by recognising that sometimes starting a new business can be a lonely experience. Coming out of corporate or a large team as an employee into a sole trader situation you could find it useful to find ways to get that interaction. I’d definitely suggest finding other Small Business owners, like yourself, in your local area, like a local business network, mentoring program or something similar.
There will be times when you need to speak to someone else who understands what you are going through – another business owner. Of course, have your social networks, but foster and cultivate professional networks too.
Of course, this might sound strange – how can you come into a brand-new business with experience? I don’t mean experience in running the business, but your existing experience in life and work. You’re going to need that experience to run a successful business, and while there will be new things every day to learn about your new ‘baby’ (the business), you’ll definitely find some comfort in your existing knowledge. How to communicate with people, how to listen to them, how to organise your day or the many other unique skills that you already have.
Business ownership definitely requires a decent helping of patience. No business takes off as fast as the owner originally thought. It will take time to find your target audience, time to make them aware and time to sign your first and subsequent deals. Be passionate, push hard but give it time too.
Be patient with yourself as well. Try not to make the mistake some people make of saying, “I should know how to do this.” Running a Small Business is a game of new things, and no one ever knows the extent of it until they’ve actually run a business. You can never know what it is like coming from a specialist job or from being an employee.
Don’t ever start a business just for the money or for an income or because you have to. Start a business in an area you are passionate about. Passion will get you through the tough times, and energise you when things are busy. Passion will make the lows survivable, and the highs even more intense.
Passion doesn’t mean jumping off walls and running around with a loopy smile on your face. It means a genuine desire to produce the product or service you make and to see it providing valuable outcomes in the hands of your customer. To get a genuine sense of joy and wonder when you see what you do, needed, wanted and raved about by your customers. Bring the passion and running a business will be a much nicer journey for you as the owner. Ignore the passion and watch out.
The quality of having experience, knowledge and judgement is how wisdom is defined. But it is earned through losses, mistakes and dumb choices as much as it is by wins. No one goes through life to their mid 40’s without having a fair share of the good and the bad.
The wisdom you’ve gained in your life is an amazing well of resources you can call upon to run your business. It will give you the ability to judge the rightness and wrongness of the options; a freedom to wait a moment before choosing which fork in the road; and finally, the knowledge that if you make a mistake it’s just more grist for the ‘wisdom mill’ that you can use again in the future, and not the end of the game.
A wise, experienced and mature individual can and will make a great business owner. In fact, this is proven in research. In maturity, business owners invest more and make more from business than younger entrepreneurs. Which makes you a pretty rare individual indeed.
Good luck on the journey.