Starting an Encore Business
What’s an encore business? According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, an encore business is a start-up owned by someone who is 50 or older.
The Small Business Administration has many resources for many different entrepreneurs, including those who are 50 and older, women, minorities and others. It’s a fantastic resource in general, but the primary drawback to the SBA is time and access. The organization partners with groups like SCORE (retired business owner and executive volunteers) to help businesses get started and grow.
Which brings us to . . .
You get what you pay for.
The SBA and SCORE offer free services. Their success rate cannot be determined, since neither keeps statistics about how many people sign up for their workshops or enroll in their services. Now, with online services such as mentoring and “live” help, it’s even more difficult to determine how many entrepreneurs who sign up with SBA or SCORE and end up with a successful business. Some of the studies are at least 10 years old, such as this well-known study from Texas that produced the information that only 20% of restaurants survive beyond two years.
Some business reports indicate that the growth of new small business is slowing. This report from Washington Monthly paints a dire picture. Reuters covers the facts for the most recent year full statistics are available: 2010. Start-ups are slowing down, and have been for a long time.
That was then, this is now.
You are on the website of a start-up, and this start-up isn’t going to fail. And neither are you.
How do you get your business off the ground?
It’s not easy, and it won’t happen overnight. I have one main sales tool to encourage you to invest in the services of Pacific Human Capital. A preventable cause of failure of new start-up businesses is learning how to invest your time and finances wisely as quickly as possible. This is why I mentioned the SBA and SCORE. You could be thinking, “Why should I pay anybody any money when I can get everything for free from them?” See above (“You get what you pay for.”). Simply put, while the SCORE executives and mentors are fantastic people, there is no incentive for them to do anything other than repeat to you what they knew or learned during their active business career. This worked for them. It doesn’t mean it will work for you.
The SBA is comprised of many people who’ve never run a business in their life. Neither is the best fit for a new or startup business, especially in new or cutting-edge sectors. All businesses have unique challenges, so a “one size fits all” approach isn’t the best, either.
Also, do you have hours and hours – maybe even, if Malcolm Gladwell was right in his book Outliers – 10,000 hours (5 years of full time work) to learn to do what I do? Because that’s what the SBA is asking people to do when they fill out the 150 question SCORE/SBA business plan template.
Invest your time and money wisely.
Of course you do not have to pay for professional business planning services. But if you want to take work that you did during your first career, such as a former professor of Gerontology did, and turn it into a business that will help others and make money, you can go with your strengths: organizing a strong team and putting together a great product and operations plan. Then, you can get someone to write your ideas in professional business plan language, study the competition, help project expansion plans and income, and put the business in context for funders. The professor knew his strengths, and he knew that he needed help to put the rest of the pieces of the puzzle together.
Another company would have come up with an alternative to the medical management software that was a result of his own original research and work, if he had invested many months meeting with SCORE volunteers and attending SBA training sessions. They would have already sold the product to his customers by the time he even began to market it.
You probably have a lot of ideas about a “dream” business. Or, you have experience that you’ve always thought could be a successful business concept. The possibilities are endless.
Instead of listening to the negative nay-sayers out there, let’s listen to Forbes on new start-up businesses and entrepreneurs. There is a new drive to support the creation of new businesses by several sectors of entrepreneurs, including “encore” businesses operated by what Forbes calls “boomers,” who are getting younger every day! 45-54 is the Forbes age group for the “boomer” entrepreneurs. And here I thought I was on the tail end of the baby boom.
Others who are contributing to the entrepreneur trend include young entrepreneurs (24-30), women entrepreneurs, and ethnically diverse entrepreneurs, especially members of the Latino community.
Look at new initiatives like Grow America. You don’t have to wait around for them to give you money. You can make it on your own.
Contact us today to find out how we can help you get your encore business off the ground.