You've probably noticed them. Very likely, you're one of them yourself...a baby boomer who is approaching retirement age (or is even well past it). But if you're like many over the age of 50, you may be feeling the itch to start a business and go looking for new opportunities and untapped markets.
And why not? People over 50 have a host of things working in their favor, from decades of work experience to a valuable network of connections to the financial resources needed to start and run a new business successfully. All of these combine to make this a great time to take the leap and try turning your big idea into something big.
Here are two more reasons why the "over 50" age set is an opportune time to start a business: the internet revolution and the explosive growth of technology, both of which have generated important new tools for older entrepreneurs to consider. Running a thriving, modern company today depends on advanced technology capabilities and extensive internet knowledge, both of which you and your company need to have. Here are 5 things to consider as you start to develop a business strategy for these fast-changing times, which I'd like to share here:
5 tips for starting a business over 50
Cryptocurrency (Bitcoin, Litecoin, Zcash, Dash, Ripple, Monero, etc.) has been rapidly gaining significant attention over the last couple of years. Still, many older entrepreneurs are missing the vast possibilities of these new currencies. Because the way they work is so different from the traditional way of paying for goods and services, some people distrust them and think they aren't worth the risk.
However, like it or not, cryptocurrency is probably here to stay, and in fact, can actually help entrepreneurs in these significant ways:
- Faster and cheaper transactions: The idea behind the development of cryptocurrency was to enable peer-to-peer transactions from and to anywhere in the world. There is still no centralized authority that controls the circulation of cryptocurrency, which, although worrisome to some investors, makes transactions a lot faster and cheaper compared to traditional payment forms.
- Full ownership: A scary fact of modern banking is that you don't really "own" your money. (Banks can freeze your assets, PayPal can suspend your account.) It's true: all of your digital currencies are in the hands of third parties that can stop you from accessing your funds at any moment. But with cryptocurrency, you do actually own all the "coins" in your account. Although they may fluctuate in value, they are owned entirely by the person (or investor or company) who possesses them.
- Governments can't take your cryptocurrency: Because of the way Bitcoin and other altcoins were created, it's impossible for anyone but you to have access to your assets. There's no way to access a Bitcoin account without possessing both the private and public account keys, which makes cryptocurrency a much more secure way for businesses to safeguard their financial holdings.
Robots aren't coming, they're here. If you want your company (either startup or established) to compete in today's marketplace, you need to consider incorporating robots into your business plan, especially when it comes to quality, production and cost.
Moreover, even though people may not want to hear it, it's been proven that robots can achieve output goals and hit production targets that wouldn't be possible if humans executed the operations.
These are just some of the advantages robots have over a human workforce:
- Operating in extreme surroundings: In a number of industries, working conditions are often unsafe for humans and/or dangerous to their health, mostly due to hazardous environments. With robots, this is not the case.
- Quality improvement: Robots are often more precise than people and can perform certain actions (especially boring repetitive ones) with optimal exactitude, minimizing rejections and reducing loss. Able to achieve more accurate measurements than those conducted by humans, robots can typically turn out manufactured products of higher quality compared to those produced by human hands.
- Increased production: Robots don’t need to rest. Nor do they need bathroom breaks, vacations or sick days. They can work continuously without a pause. As a result, production levels increase and so does profit.
3. Ride Hailing, Ride Sharing and Autonomous Vehicles
Ride-hailing and ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft are changing transportation as we know it. Understandably, this has automakers and auto-related companies worried about the future of their industries. And for good reason. Forecasters predict that people are going to stop buying cars (think of the money you can save on car insurance when you don't own a car) and seniors who no longer drive will get some of their independence back (and spending power) once they discover they can still get around. Add to the equation less traffic on the roads, reduced emissions and hopefully with autonomous cars, fewer collisions, and this disruption has some undeniable upsides.
4. Using the Internet to Build a Business
The rise of the internet has created a new type of entrepreneur: one that builds, tests and operates an entire business online (think Elon Musk/Tesla or Mark Cuban/AXS TV). With over 2.5 billion internet users today, you've got a massive market to tap into when starting a successful company online. Plus, you can take advantage of the almost immediate feedback capabilities of the internet to market, test and repurpose your company, if needed.
5. Human Resources and Artificial Intelligence
AI is quickly penetrating every major industry, including Human Resources. Chatbots (software that can have a conversation with a human) are already used for employee recruiting, development and coaching. A recent survey conducted by ServiceNow reports that 92% of HR leaders agree that the future of providing an optimal level of employee service will include artificial intelligence. So as an over-50 entrepreneur, if you're not in-the-know about how AI could and should be used in your company, it's time to do your research and get up to speed, soon.
Make the Most of Your Many Years of Experience
Good news: one of the most important advantages of being over 50 when starting a new company is the life experiences you've had. I truly believe that combining all of your strengths—having weathered the ups and downs of the business world—with the enormous possibilities offered by today's new technologies is a great recipe for success.
To Learn More, Check Out These Blogs and Podcasts
For a deeper dive into how to be a successful entrepreneur, I invite you to read these blogs and listen to these podcasts:
Blog: How To Get Family And Friends To Invest In Your Startup
Blog: Why Is the Buyer's Journey Critical for Successful Entrepreneurs?
Blog: How To Make Your Startup A Success When You're Over 50
Podcast: Andy Simon—Confessions of a Successful Entrepreneur
Podcast: How Women Entrepreneurs Can Build Sustainable Businesses and Change the World
Entrepreneurs: how our 6-step process can help your company thrive
At Simon Associates Management Consultants, we specialize in new business development, especially early-stage companies and turn-around situations. Our 6-Step Process is designed for entrepreneurs (of any age) who need smart, innovative business strategies so they can adapt to changing times and capitalize on new technologies. Please contact us to discuss how our process works and also how we might help you find startup capital, launch your business, capture customers and grow market share. We look forward to hearing from you.
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