Having never considered buying a franchise, I suddenly find myself a partner in one. This comes as a bit of a surprise to me. Elsewhere on this website I’ve endorsed the benefit of buying a franchise as a startup. But … Continue reading
Are people born to be entrepreneurs? Or is it a skill that anyone can learn?
You might be interested to know that there is actually impressive research on this subject. Nicos Nicolaou from the Cass Business School at London’s City University and Scott Shane from Case Western Reserve University did the study. They found that inherent abilities, those you were seemingly born with, account for about 37% to 48% of entrepreneurial success.
This means that all entrepreneurs, whatever their natural talents, must learn the craft. Some people simply have a larger head start than others. They come into this world with personality traits that are strongly aligned with entrepreneurial effectiveness.Continue reading
Today’s print edition of USA Today highlights the growing community of encore entrepreneurs —or what they call "silver entrepreneurs." The article cites a variety of reasons why last year nearly one-in-four of all business startups were by men and women … Continue reading
The philosopher Carlos Castenada said that there are four impediments to learning new skills. They are fear, power, clarity, and old age.
The challenge of fear to learning is obvious enough. And by old age he refers to the mistaken beliefs we often hold about our limited learning potential in later years of life.
But how are power and clarity obstacles to learning? Power, he would explain, limits our sense that we need to change. When we have things under control, what motive is there to learn or do something different.
A similar scenario plays out with clarity. If we are convinced that we have a clear and complete understanding of something, we have not motivation to plunge deeper into it and explore it more thoroughly.
As this article spells out, encore entrepreneurs are particularly susceptible to each of these obstacles. And to the degree that these obstacles prevent them from learning, the obstacles stand in the way of success.Continue reading
In our thought process, beliefs rarely present themselves as beliefs. Instead, they masquerade as facts. Have you ever heard people say things like, “I could never be a good public speaker” or “I’m just messy by nature”?
Notice how these statements sound like statements of fact. In reality, neither of them is factual. They both state a belief. What they actually mean is, “I believe that I could never become a good speaker.” And, “I believe that I can’t be tidy and organized.”
Moreover, by masquerading as facts, these statements imply two things. First, they suggest that “this is who I am.” And second, “Because I’m this way, there’s not much that I can do about it.” The second statement even says, “I’m messy by nature.” If I’m messy by nature, I must simply accept it. Right?
As a result, because we mistakenly treat such statements as facts, they serve to disable us. They rob us of power and potential to change and improve.
But when we modify these statements and recast them as mere beliefs, not absolute facts, we start to see options and possibilities for ourselves. We see the potential for change and even greater success.Continue reading
People starting a business at any age need resilience. It’s particularly vital, however, for men and women starting their first business in their fifties, sixties, or beyond. Not only do encore entrepreneurs face all of the potential setbacks of business owners half their age, they also must contend with contingencies that are unique to adults in the last half of life.
These contingencies can be such major setbacks that encore entrepreneurs must have a high degree of resilience in three dimensions.
First is emotional and psychological resilience to allow them to bounce back when untoward events occur. Second is financial resilience to stay afloat whenever these contingencies interrupt cash flow for an extended period. And third is organizational resilience which allows the business to continue to thrive in the event a key employee is lost.
Your Business Startup:Have You Chosen the Right Business? Mike Armour I routinely ask encore entrepreneurs why they chose to start a business. As you might expect, their answers range far and wide. And I’ve noticed that the responses fall into … Continue reading
Before launching any business you need to assess the market potential, the capital requirements, the intensity of the competition, and your cost of operations. Equally important, you need to evaluate whether your personality is a "good fit" for the business.
A common mismatch is for an extravert to be in a business that is best suited for an introvert. Or vice-versa. In assessing your personality alongside the dynamic of a business, be sure to examine every dimension of the enterprise. Some businesses look like they are best suited for one personality type, when in reality the opposite may be true.
Don’t delude yourself by saying, "I know that this business doesn’t align well with my personality. But this business can make me a lot of money. And that’s enough incentive for me to make the necessary personality changes to succeed."
This kind of reasoning is a precursor to disaster. You may be able to will yourself into working day after day outside of the natural proclivities of your personality type. But in due time — indeed, sooner than you might think — the act will wear thin. Your enthusiasm for the business will start to wane. And once enthusiasm dwindles, you won’t bring the energy to the business to secure all of that money you dreamed of.
Solo 401Ks were particularly designed to serve the needs of small businesses which employ only the owner or the owner and his or her spouse. Since the overwhelming majority of small businesses in the U.S. are in this category, most startups are ideal candidates for a Solo 401K.
A Solo 401K is set up and administered in an entirely different way from a traditional 401K. And compared to traditional 401Ks, 503Bs, and the more familiar types of IRAs, a Solo 401K gives you much greater control of your retirement funds and increased flexibility as you invest them.
What sets a Solo 401K apart from any other instrument like it is the absolute and total control that you have over your funds. Your company, through an affiliated trust fund which it creates, is the custodian of your Solo 401K funds. And you personally serve as the trustee. This means that you have neither the expense nor the cumbersome rules of a bank or brokerage house being the custodian of your funds.
You have complete control of where your money is invested and when it is invested. There are no outside approval loops to go through. And if you already have other retirement programs, you can roll them all over into your Solo 401K so that you have this level of freedom and control over all of your retirement funds.
Without a doubt, there are unique challenges to starting a business in a low-performing economy. What’s often overlooked, however, is that there are equally distinct challenges for startups in good times.
When an economy is booming, retail and office space are more expensive, often notably so. Qualified workers are in shorter supply. And lower supply usually means higher wages.
Moreover, during strong economies, rates for advertising, equipment leases, and supplies typically increase. And because startups multiply so rapidly once an economy takes off, you may face more intense competition at the very time that you are still trying to establish your business.
Thus, while finding customers or clients is likely to be easier in a strong economy, the cost of launching your business is greater. So, too, are the early demands on cash flow.
In summary, then, you must contend with serious challenges, regardless of when you start a new business. Looking for the ideal time is likely to be more futile than fruitful.