Consumer Reports Money Adviser: “Want to be your own boss?”

If you think only young people have the guts and stamina to start a business, think again.

The highest rate of American business startups is in the 55-to-64 age group, and nearly one-quarter of baby boomers are self-employed, acccording to the Kauffman Foundation. But you need more than a good idea to run a successful business, says Bruce Bachenheimer, who launched several successful entrepreneurial ventures before beginning his career as a professor.

Becoming a successful entrepreneur isn’t easy …  even for those with advanced degrees and healthy bank accounts.   Here are some steps to becoming your own boss.

* Be honest with yourself.  Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur.  “The best are risk takers confident in themselves and their ideas,” Bruce Bachenheimer, a professor of management at Pace University in New York told Consumer Reports Money Advisor, a newsletter distributed to about 300,000 paid subscribers.

* Take time to consider what you’re giving up or getting into.  Do you need a structured environment?  A steady paycheck?  Are you fleeing a bosss only to find all customers will be your boss?” Bachenheimer asks.  “Are you dumping a time clock but investing 100 hours a week?”

* Buying an existing business can be a good route.  “Sometimes owners run out of capital or enthusiasm,” Bachenheimer says.  “You can get a lot of assets, inventory, and a client base.”  Still, he warns buyers to perform due diligence to prevent gettting stuck with someone else’s bad debts.  

* Smart entrepreneurs surround themselves with even smarter experts.  Find a financial consultant or lawyer for advice, but choose advisers carefully.  “Don’t pay hucksters to do things that are free – like obtaining an employer identification number,”  Bachenheimer says.  “Anyone can sell themselves as an expert, so get references and proposals.”

* Funding will probably come from your own bank account, not from some wealthy venture capitalist.  Even bank loans are tough to get these days.  “Once your business has some cash flow, you might find it easier to get a small-business loan, Bachenheimer says.

1 thought on “Consumer Reports Money Adviser: “Want to be your own boss?””

  1. You are absolutely right when you say not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur must have a live to learn mentality and the vision to see not only impending obstacles but also the possibilities that lie beyond them.

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