Look Before You Leap
Many boomer women get so excited about parlaying their passions into sustainable businesses that they sometimes forget to do the legwork needed before jumping into entrepreneurship. While this process may seem tedious at first, and something that is simply delaying your dream, evaluating the marketplace, your skill set, and how the two fit together proves to be empowering, illuminating, and undoubtedly saves you lost time, energy and money.
When you think you\’ve done enough research, do some more. You simply can\’t ask enough questions or do enough digging when it comes to starting a solid business. Think about what you would expect if you were your ideal client, and interview yourself. Then, ask a trusted colleague to do it, as friends and family may not be as objective or honest as you need your feedback to be right now.
Will you need additional education or certification to start the business you\’re dreaming of? What gives you credibility with your prospects? Why should they hire you over a competitor? Are you patient enough to handle customer service issues? Are you disciplined enough to manage your own enterprise?
Then, interview other people in your desired field to estimate startup costs and equipment needs, understand the principles behind ongoing maintenance and management, and learn the biggest mistakes they\’ve seen (or made) in their businesses. If you have a knack for photography, for instance, but balancing your checkbook gives you a headache, you will have to learn the basics of business management at the local college or through a business coach in order to run a profitable operation.
Instead of looking at this process as adding to your startup time and to-do\’s, reframe it as an opportunity to cut your learning curve by half (if not more). Some startup mistakes can cost you the business itself, so protect your dream by “insuring it” through comprehensive market research.