Are you too old to start small business?

When hearing the term entrepreneur most people think of a 20-something, smart looking kid who has just completed high-school or college and is eager to change the world. The images of Mark Zuckerberg or Google founders come to mind. While it is true that many of the famous companies were started by folks when they were in their prime, there is certainly an argument to be made for starting small business by people who are in their 40’s and 50’s.
Popular belief is that many of the people in that age group like to settle down and enjoy their steady lives. But there are number of “old” people who want to try their hands at entrepreneurship and small business ownership. We like to call them “experienced” as opposed to “old”.
So why do we think it is perfectly alright to start small business in 40’s and 50’s? There are number of reasons and they all have to do with what you have collected along the way.
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5 Additional Personality Traits Small Business Owners Need

In the previous post we discussed 5 personality traits small business owners must have to succeed in small business. To recap, they are – risk taker, decision maker, organized, delegator and responsible. Those who do not have these qualities should think long and hard about getting into small business or at least find a way to mitigate them.
We think there are 5 additional qualities small business owners need to become successful. In the following we describe what those qualities are and why they are important.
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5 Must Have Personality Traits for Small Business Owners

Small business ownership is not for everyone. It takes a special human being to own a small business and be successful at it. However, many people jump into small business without giving much thought to what is required to succeed. Their decision is based on the myths that exist out there about owning a small business.
Before you start down the path of small business ownership you need to think long and hard to see if you have what it takes to be a small business owner. While Some people consider online MBA programs to gain business knowledge it also helps to have these personality traits for success as small business owner. We regularly talk to number of colleagues and clients who themselves are small business owners to understand what personal traits make a successful small business owner. Based on this as well as our own experience as small business owners we have come up with 5 traits every successful small business owner needs. Here they are:
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Ductz – Champion of Customer Service and Marketing

If you have been a regular reader of this blog you know that we are strong proponent of customer service and “non-traditional” marketing to improve sales and customer loyalty. We strongly believe that by paying attention to customer service and marketing with emphasis on fundamentals of products and services you can not only significantly improve sales but do so with lower marketing budget.
We are always on the lookout for companies that follow this approach and came across one such company last month at a customer service seminar at IKEA in Canton, MI where I was presenting. I met Dayn Benson, who is Director of Operations at air duct cleaning and HVAC restoration franchise called DUCTZ. Ductz has garnered number of accolades and experienced rapid growth in a short time after being founded in 2002. It was ranked No. 1 in its category by Entrepreneur magazine’s recently released 30th Annual Franchise 500.
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Lendio helps small business owners find lenders

We have discussed in the past how challenging the last 2 years have been for small business owners who want to borrow money to start or expand their business. The Great Recession of the century has made banks jittery about taking on risk and lending money to small businesses. We have also mentioned some creative ways you can use to start business with little money.
Recently we came across a new startup that aims to help small business owners find lenders who are willing to give them money. The startup is called Lendio The goal of this web start up is to “help small business owners find right business loans in a matter of minutes.” According to their web site they can do this with a simple 3-step process – 1) Business owners answer simple questions about themselves and their business. 2) Lendio looks for a match between your loan needs and over 3,000 banks and other lenders. 3) Business owners apply to multiple lenders on the web site and get status updates.
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List of Documents to Prepare for Business Sale

Opportunity favors those who are prepared to take advantage of it. This has been the consistent theme in the last several posts we have written on how to prepare your business for sale. We mentioned that you need to start planning for business at least one year in advance. In addition there are additional items you need to take care of as the time to list your business for sale approaches.
Your primary goal as a seller is to allay potential buyer’s biggest financial fears as well as other FUDs related to the operation of the business. It is only through proper planning and careful preparation that you can dispel buyer FUDs and make your business sale go faster and smoother. After all the longer it takes for the sale to go through the more chances of something going wrong and the sale falling through.
One of the most important aspect of getting prepared for the sale is compiling all the documents related to the business finances and operations.
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How do you overcome Buyer FUDs when selling your business

In the previous post we discussed two biggest fears your potential buyers have when they are considering purchase of your business. We showed how you can help buyers overcome these fears and make the sale of your small business go through quickly and smoothly.
In addition to the two fears related to business finances, there are other operational FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) factors that buyers, particularly those who have not owned small business before, are likely to have. With proper planning you can help alleviate these FUDs and make the selling process go faster. After all, it is in your best interest to shorten the sale process as much as possible. The longer it takes for sale to complete the more chances of something going wrong and the sales falling through.
Based on our experience with both buying and selling business, we have come up with several questions that are likely to surface in buyer’s head when he is going through due diligence. The sections below document those questions along with our advice on how you can deal with them.
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How can you overcome biggest buyer fears when selling your business

We have been discussing what preparations the small business seller needs to make before listing the business for sale. There are items seller needs to start taking care of as much as 1 year in advance As the sale process gears up you need to prepare number of documents for the sale to complete fast and without any major hiccups.
The biggest obstacle to the sale of small business stems from buyer’s FUD (Fear, Doubt and Uncertainty). When the buyer is betting hundreds of thousands of dollars on the business and is committing large part of his future life he is bound to have cold feet and second thoughts at some point in the process – just like in marriage!!! Your job as a seller is to address these FUDs and alleviate buyer’s anxiety.
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What do you need to do 3 months prior to listing your business for sale

We mentioned in the previous post that selling a business is a long, arduous process. It is not uncommon to take more than a year to sell the business. In the post we showed items you need to take care of 1 year prior to putting your business for sale.
As the date of putting the business for sale approaches there are additional items you need to start working on. Just like selling your house, you need to get your business ready 3 months prior to listing date. The goal is to spruce up the image, both physical and virtual, of the business so that the buyer will find it attractive and worth paying for. You should also aim to remove the fear and uncertainty in buyers because this is the single most reason why many buyers are reluctant to sign on the dotted line at closing.
So, what actions do you need to take 3 months in advance? Here is a list of items we think are important based on our prior experience.
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What do you need to Prepare before Selling Your Business

Selling a business is a lot like selling your house – only lot more difficult and time consuming. It is not uncommon to take more than year to sell the business – from the time it is put on market to the time the closing papers are signed. Anyone who has been through the selling process knows that there are number of aspects you need to take care of long before the business is put for sale. What makes it more challenging is the fact that you need to do it all while running the day-to-day operations of the business and ensuring that it does not suffer during the selling process.
There are steps you can take to make the process of selling the business easier for you. They can also help make the sale go faster; which is very important for any seller. The longer it takes to sell the business, the more chances of something going wrong and the sale falling through.
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