Monday, June 14, 2010

Advice for Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs

Either through retirement or because their job evaporated, Baby Boomers are becoming entrepreneurs and their medium of choice is the Internet. Why? Because less resources are necessary to get started and a worldwide audience awaits. But don't be fooled - it still takes a lot of planning, hard work and expertise to be successful.

Starting an Internet-based operation offers Boomers the chance to take their "great idea" and turn it into a profitable business. But don't expect overnight success. It takes as much time and as much work to create a successful Internet business as it does to launch a "brick and mortar" equivalent. Plus, one additional piece of expertise is required - an understanding of how Internet marketing works and what it takes to gain online visibility among a target audience.

I would say that 95 percent of all newly launched online businesses are doomed to failure. People put up a canned Website and wait for the business orders to show up in their email. Months go by and nothing happens. They can't understand it and are at a loss about what to do next.

Here is some advice for new Baby Boomer entrepreneurs:

  • Before Baby Boomers spend any money, I urge them to do their homework first and give your "great idea" a sanity check by subjecting it to the rigors of a business plan. For those who do not understand how a business plan screens ideas for feasibility, click here for a free guide.
  • If you have not mastered the technical aspects of gaining Internet visibility, hire an expert to help you. Otherwise, your Website will not show up within the first three pages of Google, Yahoo or MSN Bing when someone searches for your product or service. For all practical purposes, the only people who will even know your site exists are those to whom you directly communicate your site address. Otherwise, your business will remain invisible on the Internet.
  • Being successful with an Internet business requires continuous work. Your site must be frequently updated and constantly promoted via a variety of online avenues. This requires money, time and effort. Again, if you are not an Internet guru, hire one to relieve yourself of this burden so that you can focus on running your business.

A word of caution. There are countless schemes appearing that offer Boomers turnkey solutions to running their own Internet business. They contain gushing endorsements from other Boomers who have enjoyed overnight success and become wealthy while working part-time. Do yourself a favor and thoroughly check these out before giving money to anyone. Many of them are multi-level marketing schemes. Others fail to disclose that you will be entering a saturated market or that members actually compete against one another on the Internet. Usually, just googling the outfit will turn up any negative feedback from dissatisfied customers. Checking them out with the Better Business Bureau is also a good idea. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

The key to Internet business success is to leverage the wisdom and experience you gained during your own career. Don't rush into something. Take your time and thoroughly evaluate opportunities. And be committed once you make the decision to proceed. Expect it to take time and hard work. Set out benchmarks to gauge your progress. Celebrate your successes and adapt accordingly when you discover that something isn't working. If your "great idea" is solid, eventually you will enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Managing your own Internet-based business your home office is an exciting way for Baby Boomer entrepreneurs to supplement their income and remain engaged in the business world. It can be a part-time or full-time endeavor - you set your own pace. Ultimately, you may even create an online enterprise that can be profitably sold when you feel ready to fully retire or explore other opportunities.

No comments: