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.
Many of the factors that contribute to running a successful business are the same no matter what age you start. However, the mid-life entrepreneur will also bring unique skills and face unique challenges that must be overcome.
If you’ve read previous articles, you’ll know I am passionate about helping people who start their first business after the age of 45. That is my focus, but beyond that, I believe there are only positives in support of mature age business ownership.
Here are the eight big things you’re going to need to ensure your success:
1. HAVE A GOOD BUSINESS IDEA.
There really would seem to be no sense in launching a business with a bad idea, but it happens every day somewhere in Australia. But what defines a good idea? Is it what you think is one? Or your mum? Or your family?
No, the only true definition of a good business idea is one where there is a need or want from a defined target audience. And that target audience would be willing to pay you enough for each product or service so that you can make a profit.
2. THINK STRATEGICALLY.
Most people are good at dreaming or wishing for something bigger or better than they have now. But it takes a strategic thinker to work out what needs to be done and when to turn a wish into a goal. The real difference between a wish and a goal is that someone has defined it, and is working towards achieving it with action. Not just hoping it is going to happen.
Thinking strategically in business means working out those things you need to do over time to reach a goal and then carrying that out successfully.
3. MANAGE THE FOLDING STUFF.
More than 40% of all business owners will nominate cash flow as their #1 business challenge when asked. There are many reasons business owners have poor cash flow – and most are their fault.
They don’t price their product or service correctly, they don’t invoice on time, and hence they can’t get paid for their work. Then they spend money that isn’t theirs which keeps contributing to their poor cash flow, especially when they get surprises with tax and super over dues.
You’ll have to be good at managing money if you want to be a successful business owner.
4. WORK WELL WITH OTHERS.
Even a sole trader business will have to work with people to be successful; whether it is suppliers or customers or advisors. As they grow, they’ll have to work with staff too.
Having the skills and systems to support good, positive relationships that help to get ‘stuff’ done in your business are critical.
It’s not about being nice to people; it is about achieving productivity from all whom you work with. The investment of effort into getting things done, whilst getting along helps everyone enjoy the journey.
5. VALUE AND QUALITY.
Businesses that fail invariably do so because they didn’t understand, create or deliver value to their target audience. Value is simply the additional benefit someone perceives they get from a product over and above its price. If the value estimated is above the price, we think we’ve got value, if it is below, we don’t. Quality is an important contribution to value.
And so, value and quality are important skills and conditions to have in your business.
6. THINK NICHE.
One thing people get wrong time and time again is thinking that bigger is better. “Everyone is a target of my product”, they say. But the reality is, a Small Business usually has limited resources of time and money. So, finding a niche to target and promote to is a smart way to ensure a successful outcome when you start your business.
Take on the world after you get established, don’t waste resources trying to be ‘all’ things to ‘all’ people.
7. BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND.
Businesses get started to fulfil a purpose that the founder has in mind. Some people are good at starting businesses. Few are great at ending them. Even if the ending is passing the baton to someone else through succession planning or sale, business owners rarely consider or plan far enough ahead.
Always begin with the end in mind, and plan for it from the start.
8. BE ADAPTABLE.
The world today is getting faster and faster paced. Technology changes daily. To be successful as a business owner, you will need to be adaptable. It doesn’t mean your business will change every day, but you’ll need to be on the lookout for ways to adapt so you can survive over the long term.
You won’t become a guru in all these things from day one, and you’ll never be perfect. But if you remember that these areas are all important, it will help you focus your energy on the things that matter in running a business successfully, and you’ll avoid doing stuff that adds no value to you or to your customers.