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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Baby Boomer - Is One Belief Holding Back Your Entrepreneurship?

US Entrepreneurship Is Up

Entrepreneurship is certainly the hot topic of the day. Recent reports tell us that entrepreneurship has reached a 14 year high. During the recession, so called necessity entrepreneurs formed businesses to replace the jobs they could not find. Now, in the recovery, opportunity entrepreneurs are forming businesses because they see better opportunities to pursue.

Donna J. Kelley, associate professor of entrepreneurship at Babson College, tells us that the necessity entrepreneurs have not disappeared, but the opportunity entrepreneurs are springing back. Nearly 78% of people who started businesses last year started them to pursue opportunities. This is up from 71% in 2010, but not up to the pre-recession number of 87.3%.

But the Challenges We Face May Require New Efforts from Entrepreneurs

Noted entrepreneur and author, Jack Nadel, tells us that there is still a crisis ahead. In the Huffington Post, Nadel reminds us that there has been a gradual decline of wages and the consequent shrinking of the middle class. If he is right, necessity entrepreneurship may be the new form of opportunity entrepreneurship. He quotes a related Huffington Post article that says:
“The U.S. now has ‘the highest income inequality in the developed world. It follows only Chile, Mexico, and Turkey among all nations.”

Nadel further points out 45 million Americans are now living on substandard wages, and they need  desperately to supplement their income. If seventy percent of our economy is driven by domestic consumption, who will buy our goods and services? He believes the answer is in evolving entrepreneurs who will build our economy from the inside out.

Will Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs Fill the Gap?

Nadel reminds us that the rallying call that has always helped entrepreneurs spot opportunities is “Find A Need And Fill It”. This requires a targeted thinking to learn how to really listen. This is a key component of what we so commonly call The Entrepreneurial Mindset. But how do we make the transition as Baby Boomer consumers to having the Baby Boomer Entrepreneurial Mindset? Professor Fred Kofman suggests that there is one belief that generally holds back people in all career segments. Perhaps this belief is also the key to liberating the entrepreneurial mindset.

He says “Your job is not your job. Your job is not what you do, but the goal you pursue.”
When he was a teacher, he thought his job was to teach. He later had what he calls “a flash of humbling insight where I realized that teaching is irrelevant; what matters is helping others learn.”

“That realization changed my career, and my life. I stopped teaching and started helping my students learn; I stopped advising and started helping my clients succeed. So, how would you change your job description if instead of your role you focused on your goal?”

But this shift would not be enough to maximize your value. If you are a member of an organization, your individual role is not your real goal. You must find your highest goal?

What Is The Next Step?

As an aspiring Bay Boomer Entrepreneur, what is the goal you pursue? To further understand Professor Kofman’s  point, take time to watch the featured video. Then see how to apply his suggestions to developing your entrepreneurial mindset. What will it it mean for you to be an entrepreneur on a team solving problems for bigger teams: your customers, along with our national, and world economies?
For more tips on developing your entrepreneurial mindset, join our mailing list. My Baby Boomer Business Dream. Brought to you by Shallie Bey, Founder – Smarter Small Business Blog ~ The Business Dream Weaver

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Baby Boomer - Do You Have The Disposition To Be An Entrepreneur?

Baby Boomer - Do You Have The Disposition To Be An Entrepreneur?

My dictionary says "tendency or inclination"...perhaps a natural inclination. I wonder if you and I have a disposition toward being a baby boomer entrepreneur.

The world around us is changing

As we face the issues of retirement, many of the choices we made earlier in your lives may not support the reality we face today. Does the fact that we worked for someone in earlier times of our life keep us from adopting the solution that may work better as we face new times in our life?

Does our disposition about financing our living need to change too?

Many baby boomers are retiring at the end of the era of defined pension plans. They have established pensions that will meet their income needs and insurance plans that cover their health needs. May others have saved enough to cover these two big fears of baby boomers: 1) having enough money to cover their living expenses and 2) having a way to meet their healthcare needs.

The next tier of baby boomers face these same two problems and hope to cover them with an encore career. This might come in the form of working longer before retiring, working either full or part time. It might include becoming an encore entrepreneur in a more traditional business where they provide products or services that depend upon their personal efforts to meet the needs of their customers.

The third tier of baby boomers look to approach the problem differently. They look to create an income generating asset that will not ultimately depend upon them being able to be healthy to work to produce income. The asset will be able to provide for their needs. This is more typically another form of baby boomer entrepreneurship. This is creating a business that does not depend upon you to run the day to day operations. This may well be your best solution if you don't already have a defined pension plan or have not saved enough assets to cover your retirement.

This third tier depends upon developing a business where you work smarter rather than harder. You create a business as an organization apart from you that meets both your needs and the needs of the organization. The needs of the organization are basically the needs of your employees and the needs of your customers.

Many people believe this this is not possible, however we see examples of this around us every day. The most common example is that of the fast food franchise. Franchise owners do not set out planning to work behind the counter all their lives. They develop systems to run the business and hire managers to run the systems. That is how we hear about people who own hundreds of stores. Secondly, the asset they own can be sold to someone else to fund their future needs.

A second example is the corporation for which you may have been working for years. Do the shareholders, the owners of that corporation, show up to work everyday? Generally, the answer is "no". People are hired to produce the results that are defined by the shareholders.

Do you have the disposition to be that special type baby boomer entrepreneur?

Is your disposition fixed? Do we have the opportunity to change our disposition to become something we have never considered before? Can you reinvent yourself or is it too late?

This video is a Minute With Maxwell. In it, legendary personal coach John Maxwell shares his thinking about our dispositions. I think that if you watch it you will hear him tell you that you can change your disposition. Not only can you put on an entrepreneurial mindset, you can put on a mindset that will allow you to accomplish far more than you think you can accomplish as you read this post. I believe the answer is yes, you can. 

What's  the next step?

Watch the short video by John Maxwell and decide about your disposition. If your disposition is to begin shaping your entrepreneurial mindset, join our mailing list. My Baby Boomer Business Dream.

Brought to you by Shallie Bey, Founder - Smarter Small Business Blog
 ~ The Business Dream Weaver
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Saturday, September 07, 2013

Baby Boomer Entrepreneur - Try These 3 Brand Personas To Benefit Your Customer

Baby Boomer Entrepreneur - Try These 3 Brand Personas To Benefit Your Customer

Your entrepreneurial mindset inspires you to make something better for your customer

Much of what we read in the new world of social media is about how to relate to our customers. We are encouraged to find the persona that represents our customer to be able to better communicate with them. However, there is an equally interesting issue that I have just discovered.

You visualize the persona of your customer so that you can address them as a person. But when a customer is listening, they are usually looking back at the person who is speaking to them. So what persona do they see in looking back at you? 

Your goal as an entrepreneur is to make something better for your customer. One way to address how you will do that is to consider the social media persona from which you want to address your customer. If you can have consistency in the way that you project to your customer, your customer may better understand you.

I discovered this principle in a post by Mark Cooper of Offerpop. He provides insights that may help you clarify the brand persona that allows you to do the best job of supporting your customer.

1) The Helper

The helper helps the customer solve problems and inspires positive change. Here at Smarter Small Business Blog, it is primarily our purpose to be your helper by making your life easier through being a baby boomer entrepreneur as the solution to the challenges of traditional retirement. As the encore entrepreneur, it is similarly your task, from a helping perspective, to make the life of your customer easier.

2) The Insider

The insider is more about inspiring the customer. As an entrepreneur, you might want to be inspired by the lifestyle of encore entrepreneurs that have tamed the fears of retirement. Similarly, you want to help your customer be inspired by seeing the lives of  people who have become successful by accepting your solution to the problem.

3) The Confidante

The confidante is the best friend of your customer. You put your customer at the center of all that is going on. You might be posting about your customer in public. Or perhaps, you might be at the opposite end of the spectrum. You might be the quiet place that your customer comes to share their most intimate thoughts and concerns. You might be their mentor or coach.

So, what's next?

Mark Cooper asks "Which persona suits your brand?" See his post for more details and more examples of each persona.

If you would like more thoughts on developing your entrepreneurial mindset, join our mailing list. My Baby Boomer Business Dream.

Brought to you by Shallie Bey, Founder- Smarter Small Business Blog.
 ~ The Business Dream Weaver

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Monday, September 02, 2013

Sometimes ideas collide in your head. This post is the result of such a collision in my head. Seth Godin wrote two posts to his blog that I happened to read one after the other. For some reason, my mind blended them together, inspiring this post to you on Smarter Small Business Blog.

Here are the links to Seth's two posts. You can read them for yourself. Now let me share what they produced for me.

Early Adopter Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs Have the Scuffed Shoe Worldview 

In writing about his book Tribes, Seth says:
It is easy to gloss over the key points of the book, because for some, it's frightening to realize that each of us has the ability to find and lead like minded people to make real and powerful change that matters. Lead, not manage. Like-minded, as opposed to converting those who have no connection to us, to each other or to our goals.
One of Seth's favorite passages from Tribes, he tells us is:

  • People don't believe what you tell them.
  • They rarely believe what you show them.
  • They often believe what their friends tell them.
  • They always believe what they tell themselves.
He concludes that it is important to find the best way to join the conversation that is already taking place in the minds and hearts of your tribe. It is my hope that you will join the discussion here on Smarter Small Business Blog to share what is in your mind and in your heart.

Where does the Scuffed Shoe Part Come In?

Seth says...There are two ways to make your shoes scuff proof:
1. You can invest in a chemical process that involves an impermeable shine and be of high alert to avoid anything that might be damaging to that shine
2. You can wear well-worn, authentic shoes that are already scuffed.  When we know and understand you and your brand, warts and all, it's really unlikely that a new scuff is going to change our opinion of who you are and what you do.

So, my take is that it is time for us early adopters to talk, accepting our scuffs and all. We must accept that not all baby boomers want the same encore career that we have selected. We must also accept that some baby boomers want to retire.  But we must go beyond talking. My favorite quote of the week is:
The vision must be followed by the venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps - we must step up the stairs.  -Vance Havner b.1901
If you are ready to share your entrepreneurial mindset and to learn from the mindset of others, join our list.
My Baby Boomer Business Dream.

Brought to you by Shallie Bey, Founder - Smarter Small Business Blog
 ~ The Business Dream Weaver