Older Workers Must Be Proactive About Their Future - Entrepreneur

Older Workers Must Be Proactive About Their Future - Entrepreneur


Older Workers Must Be Proactive About Their Future - Entrepreneur

Posted: 21 May 2020 06:59 AM PDT

6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Rick Terrien is the author of Ageless Startup: Start a Business at Any Age, via  Press. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound.

The world has changed. This is not a drill. are especially vulnerable to being left behind. No matter what our career is, we are all facing a new normal in our . There are more than 100 million people in the U.S. between the ages of 40 and 65. All of us need to consider new options to create and work in the future. If older workers wait for help, we will likely find ourselves waiting a long time.

We need to get ahead of this entire problem, not just the immediate issues this crisis presents. Planning for the recovery means taking stock of where you will be working 10 or 15 years from now — or even a couple years from now.

You can choose a course for yourself of just keeping your head above water in roiling business currents, or you can take active steps right now to build more economic resiliency into your life. A better approach is to be about your future and begin building more stable platforms under yourself.

Being proactive allows you to grow your networks and put the building blocks in place to work and contribute as long as you want. For most people, it is easy and inexpensive to launch one-person Limited Liability Companies (LLCs). Creating a professional business shell around yourself gives you an independent  economic platform to experiment with as you test and grow your business model.  

Having your own small-business shell around yourself does not guarantee success, but it does give you access to tools you will need to succeed. You need to start there. Trying to operate as an individual, without the benefits that an LLC or other entities offer, can put you at a disadvantage with work partners, customers and your own operations.

New ventures of every kind are needed right now to meet the opportunities ahead. Entrepreneurs fix problems. If you don't see enough problems in the situation we're in, you're not looking. You don't have to leave your day job if you have one. A much better approach is to gradually transition from paid to self-employment, working out the details of your new enterprise while you still have some financial support.

Related: Laying the Groundwork for Your Ageless Startup

Once you establish your own base, you can begin reaching out to other entrepreneurs, creating valuable networks that you can all bring to the market. Proactively planning your career in this environment is not a lone-ranger policy. You need to first wire up your own small-business platform and then begin reaching out to other independent entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

No one person is an expert at everything. However, we are all great at something we know and love. Start there and then build teams of collaborators around yourself. By aligning your new with other entrepreneurs, you can aggregate sufficient knowledge and know-how to offer customers comprehensive solutions to changing problems.

Build your know-how networks as a tool for this new environment. You are offering the world not only your own solutions, but the more comprehensive solutions only available through curated teams. You can build your own valuable teams and join others, project by project. Once you begin building your list of collaborating organizations, you have the makings of a proactive, long-term plan to grow your new enterprise.

In this new paradigm, business projects can emerge as "intentional startups." A city needs a new plant to produce X. A business needs a new service to provide Y. A nonprofit needs to expand into Z but doesn't know how. You as the entrepreneur and the convener of teams of support businesses can offer turnkey solutions by creating an intentional startup out of the skill sets you've assembled. You and your team can come together for whatever time is available to initiate and launch your solutions, then move on to new projects.

You are not alone. Of the 32 million businesses in the U.S., 25 million are one-person (non-employer) businesses. As a solo entrepreneur, you can position yourself at the exact point in the value chain where you provide the most effective solutions. Consider those 25 million small businesses your collaborators.

In this model, work you excel at doesn't have to emerge solely from your own marketing efforts, but will develop over time as other entrepreneurs seek out your specialty for emerging projects. You can proactively manage your career by creating new options that work for your needs, that focus on your skills and knowledge and that fit into the time you have available.

How can you make an ageless startup work for you? Consider the benefits:

•  One person businesses can be planned and launched for a few hundred dollars.

•  Your own small business gives you the freedom to work on whatever you most love in communities and markets you are passionate about.

•  Ageless entrepreneurs excel at working from home.

•  You can work as much or as little as you choose.

•  You can minimize your risk by creating a freestanding entity with built-in liability protections.

•  You can minimize your risk by documenting and adhering to your mission, values and goals.

•  You can minimize your risk by creating your own guidelines for the kinds of work you want to engage in and eliminating projects that don't meet those standards.

•  You create value by offering specific solutions to problems you are familiar with. You create value by teaming with like-minded entrepreneurs, from anywhere in the world, to create comprehensive solutions to those problems. Collaboration just might be your superpower.

Older workers face many new uncertainties in this 'new normal'. We can let ourselves be swept up by the tides of turbulence surely ahead of us, or we can proactively take the steps needed to make ourselves more economically resilient.

Related: Why Marketing Activities and Tracking Will Help Your Ageless Startup Succeed

The world needs you. The communities and markets you love need you. Society needs new ideas and new solutions. You have the knowledge, the know-how and the networks to join this fight and to make the world better for all involved. Take the proactive steps needed to get your next act underway. I recommend starting small, starting smart, and starting right now. It's not hard. It's just new.

4 Ways to Determine If Now Is the Right Time to Launch Your Business - Entrepreneur

Posted: 19 May 2020 12:26 PM PDT

6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Ideas for startups are often clouded in uncertainty during the best of times. In the midst of unprecedented global uncertainty, you might think it's best to shelve any such plans for the time being. 

In reality, it could actually be the best time ever to launch. With the growing for new ways to work and sell in light of health concerns and desire for new ways to access in-demand products, your startup idea could be just what's needed. Here's how to decide.

Ask whether your business idea is in demand

Over the course of the last two months, it has quickly become clear what type of gaps exist between what's needed during right now and what's actually available. Quick searches uncover where there are supply chain issues and a lack of domestic manufacturing for much-needed products and for services to expedite those products. 

Now's the time to create the type of change that could help solve such issues. This might not be the only time we face a crisis of this magnitude. The question is whether your business idea fills the right role or not. If it does, then move quickly and find ways to accelerate its launch. If it doesn't, then it may be better to wait until the environment is more conducive to your offer. 

Related: The First Question to Ask Yourself If You Want to Be an Entrepreneur but Don't Know Where to Start

If your idea is in demand, contact the organizations that need what you plan to provide. Reach out to government and private funding sources to get a financial boost and identify a strategy that will bring your offering to market more quickly. 

Determine whether you can pivot or change the idea slightly to meet the new demand

If your small business idea isn't quite ready for primetime just yet, consider whether it meets the new demand with some slight modifications or a pivot. If you are willing to redirect your business vision, it might be well worth putting in the necessary extra research rather than wait for the next good economic cycle to return. 

Related: 4 Ideas for Actually Pivoting Your Business Right Now

Business owners will need to explore ways to alter their current business plan and evaluate the costs, resources, skills and timing necessary to do so. Evaluate the and funding availability to make the pivot possible. You might even be able to return to your original idea later on. For now, though, consider the type of response you get from investors and your target audience in order to determine the viability of your pivoted idea. 

If that evaluation proves viability, then you can proceed. Otherwise, you'll need to put your plans on hold.  

Seek grants and funding to help launch the new business idea

One of the biggest deciding factors will be your ability to obtain funding. The challenge here is the lack of funding now available, thanks to the ongoing crisis. Investing in general is down, but a Crunchbase analysis of company funding statistics since the Great Recession shows there are certain sectors and business types that may be worthy of investment, even now. These include both early stage companies and later stage ventures. Slack, for example, held its seed round in 2009, while Coupa and Box did their C and B-1 rounds respectively that same year.

Related: Five Ways To Raise Money To Launch Your Own Startup

Some of the largest companies around were actually founded during deep recessions. From and to , ,  and , some of today's biggest successes launched before or during economic downturns like the Great Depression and the dot-com bust. These companies either operated on bootstrapped budgets or received funding from investors desperate to put the back on track. 

If you can make the case that your business model helps to solve a problem and can put people to work, then you might be able to attract investors looking to help reignite the success of small businesses worldwide. Also, explore programs like The New Business Preservation Act. Policymakers' focus on these programs, along with an historical perspective, should provide a positive framework for doing the same with today's startups. 

Search for talent to help get the business idea off the ground

Another critical factor is whether you can find the talent willing to join your startup and take a chance on it during such uncertain times. We're talking about graphic designers, coders, virtual assistants, bookkeepers, copywriters and the like. Depending on the financial position of available talent, they may or may not be able to work on an equity basis. Ask potential talent about whether they would consider working for a startup and under what conditions.

Related: 8 Reasons You're Losing the Best Talent to Your Competition

Alternatively, you might be able to recruit freelancers who are currently dividing their talent and time among many startups. For now, this approach can get you the required skills to launch. Later on, if the situation improves and your startup develops, you might be able to convince them to leave their other freelance roles and join you full-time. 

Start your talent search on online job board sites and through tech recruitment agencies to gauge interest and availability. Be prepared to provide a detailed description of the role and opportunity. 

Pressing the pause button is an acceptable choice

If you decide that this is not the for your startup idea, don't feel bad about pressing the pause button. These uncertain times will pass and you'll have another opportunity to launch. This moment to reflect may even give you more time to research, plan and develop your business idea to improve its odds for success down the road.  

Want to launch a business? Robbie Allen's Durham-based startup makes it easier - WRAL Tech Wire

Posted: 03 Jun 2020 08:37 AM PDT

DURHAM – Have an idea for a business, but don't know how to get started? A new company cofounded by well-known Triangle entrepreneur Robbie Allen is hoping to make it easy for you.

Enter Startomatic, a platform launched this week that offers a "complete toolkit" to get your new company legally formed and online within 48 hours, its website promises.

From choosing a name and logo, drafting and filing legal documents, securing a domain name, creating a website, and setting up company email and social media accounts, it handles all of the tasks required to launch a business.

"Our mission is simple. We want to increase the rate of new company creation and extend the average lifespan of small businesses," said Allen, who is the former founder and CEO of two artificial intelligence/machine learning firms, Automated Insights and Infinia ML.

It comes at a time when some 31 percent of small- and medium-sized businesses are closed and only 45 percent of the owners plan to rehire the same workers they had onboard before the COVID-19 pandemic wrecked much of the US economy, according to a new survey from Facebook.

"It's very daunting to build a business," added Allen. "There are so many different facets of a company; so many areas you have to figure out including legal, sales, marketing, finance, HR. I looked around and there are very few software solutions that have been built to help the early entrepreneur. I thought I could build software that automates much of the process of starting and running a new business."

"Even before the pandemic, we knew the U.S. workforce was changing, and that entrepreneurship was going to play an increasingly important role in our economy. Now, we know Startomatic is the perfect vehicle for innovators and job creators to quickly and affordably get their ideas into the real world, and get America's economic engine running better than ever."

With his business partner, Andrew Fisher, a "recovering" corporate lawyer and cupcake bakery owner, the pair built a product called LAUNCH, which includes logo design, domain registration, and website design, legal formation, social media and trademark search. It is currently being offered to the first 500 companies 500 companies at the discounted flat fee of $299 (normally $499) plus state filing fees, which range from $150-$300 in most states.

The second product, OPERATE, is a monthly subscription service with a customizable library of common legal documents, advanced website builder, SEO and DNS tools, trademark search, custom logo generation, and more.

For those reticent to start a business during these uncertain times, Allen offered up some reassurance.

"In many ways, this is a great time to start a company," he explained. "Especially if you've recently lost a job, now might be the right time to launch a new business and Startomatic is a new resource to make that process easier, quicker, and less expensive than ever before."

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