Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Start up at any age

      Free daily tips, information, advice and ideas
      to help you better manage your small business.

     People start up small businesses at any age. Age is not part of the equation.

     Doing business comes naturally to the young, just as it does to older people. While they have less experience, young entrepreneurs compensate with loads of enthusiasm and imagination. 

     Example: When I lived in the big city, I walked to the corner every morning to catch the bus. As I approached the bus stop one day, I saw four or five people gathered around a small table. They were picking up and examining things displayed there. Coming closer, I recognized my neighbor's young daughter among the adults--one of whom was the child's mother. It turned out that this 6-year-old had gathered some smooth stones, painted them in blazing colors, and was offering them for sale at a dime each. People smiled, plopped down their dimes, pocketed the stones, and boarded the bus. I decided to catch the next bus, lingering to talk with the youngest entrepreneur I ever met. Why set up your table here, I asked the girl. Because that's where the people are, she answered without hesitation. What will you do with all the dimes, I asked. Save them in my piggy bank, she told me--looking up at her mom. It's almost full, the mother added. As my bus came to a stop, I put a quarter on the table and took a yellow stone. I still have it. 

     Children catch on quickly to the ways of the world. I've often wondered what became of the young stone painter. I'll bet she is successful, no matter the future she chose. 

     You're never too old to start up a business, either. Turning dreams into realities is a state of mind, not age. With a positive attitude, you move forward day by day.

     Example: One of my careers was to head up the Business Owners Institute in New Jersey. Everyone employed there had to have experience operating a small business. That way, we offered hands-on experience in dealing with the problems of starting up and running small businesses. People came to us for help with financing and loans, selling and marketing, expanding and growing their businesses, and any other problem they might have. One day, a lady came wanting advice on starting up a business she had in mind. Right off, she told me that she was 79 years old, and she was concerned that she might be too old to tackle the start-up she had in mind. She moved and talked like a 40-year-old, and I assured her that no one is ever too old to begin. She wanted to establish a bagel shop, and over the next couple of months, we worked together. She arranged to lease space, buy used bagel-making equipment, stock her new shop, put the word out, and get the doors open. Her bagel shop was very successful. About five years later, she sold the place and pocketed a nice retirement income to supplement what she already had.

     I have told these two stories many times. They illustrate the fact that age is not important in starting up and operating a small business. You are never too young or too old to start out on a new path. 

     My lifetime of personal experience starting and growing businesses tells me that you can build just about any business you set your mind to--and at any age. Yes, other things impact decisions--family, health, money, knowledge, the marketplace and more. But the thing that will see you through is attitude..