Five tips to starting your own business when over 50 years old

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As a 50 year old man, my employment opportunity is lower than the fresh out of college graduate.  We cost more, have more family obligations, and very often struggle with health issues.  While we have more experience and can do thinking jobs generally faster and more accurately than the typical 25 year old, most businesses worry more about throughput than accuracy.  For us older folk who might have experienced a job R.I.F. (reduction in force), starting a new business might be just what the doctor ordered.

Assuming we’ve managed our money through our younger years, we should be more financially stable and able to bear the cost of starting a small or micro business operation.  At 50, if we didn’t wait to have children, our kids are out of the house and some might be graduating from college.  

Tip #1:  Reallocate that “child” money to building your business.

Tip #2: Use your large network of other 50 something friends to help promote your new endeavor.  The magic words are, I am starting a new business and I would like to ask for your help.  People are much more likely to “help” you then commit to giving you money.  There are things way more valuable than money.  Ask your friends for connections, resources, and advice.  Spending some time flushing out your business idea with a trusted friend is (IMHO) more valuable that making a presentation at the local Chamber of Commerce.

Tip #3:  Use your financial comfort to your advantage.  Don’t over spend to get started and where possible utilize the barter system to get things done for your business.  

Tip #4:  Study your competition, watch them present at the local Chamber of Commerce and leads/networking groups; then formulate a differentiation.  As a micro-business, you have flexibility on your side.  You can pivot easily and offer things an established business can not:  like money back guarantees, additional time for customer service, and 30+ years of business experience.

Tip #5:  Join a local leads group and then use that network to help you with your business and personal life.  Buying your business cards from local resources may cost a few dollars more, but the relationships your build will generate more leads.

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