SENIORPRENEURS: Australian Institute of Business's Professor Roxanne Zolin.
SENIORPRENEURS: Australian Institute of Business's Professor Roxanne Zolin.

How to become a successful seniorpreneur

SENIORS who need or want to keep working after their 50s are turning towards entrepreneurship and taking on the business world.

To be successful in this work choice, the Australian Institute of Business's Professor Roxanne Zolin recommends these entrepreneurs, or Seniorpreneurs, gain an understanding of what are the necessary success characteristics and the steps along the way to success, or failure.

Prof Zolin suggests seniorpreneurs are more likely to succeed in their businesses because they often already have three key characteristics that are beneficial to any entrepreneur - human capital (education and experience), social capital (networking) and financial capital (financial assets).

"That's what makes seniorpreneurs equally, if not more successful, than younger entrepreneurs," Prof Zolin said.

She does highlight that missing one of these characteristics doesn't mean you can't start a business or you wouldn't be successful.

"It's called bricolage which is to use what you've got to achieve what you want to achieve.

"If you're goal is to start a business and you don't have large financial capital, for example, you will find a way to do it with what you've got.

"Entrepreneurs are very creative about this."

Prof Zolin recommends the following seven tips for entrepreneurial success -

1. Be passionate about what you are doing

People who are really passionate about what they are doing tend to find the last ounce of energy and resource to survive and carry on, and become successful.

2. Research, study and test what you are doing

Find your target market and ask them would they buy your product and pay the suggested amount. Prof Zolin's extra tip is, "You've got to care more about the truth rather than trying to prove you are right".

3. Bring people in and engage others

A lot of high growth businesses use entrepreneurial teams. Prof Zolin also found seniorpreneurs are more likely to start a family business.

4. Get help

Get online and do some self-directed learning on entrepreneurship. You can also join an accelerator or a like-minded group to help educate each other.

5. Persevere during research and project set-up

It takes time to grow into a business. Once you have the idea, it can be pushed through more quickly. As this happens you should try to make your idea clearer, more detailed and keep testing it.

6. Go or no go

This is the point where after a lot preparation you should have identified all the potential risks and have a plan in place to handle those risks.

"Entrepreneurs see the risk, but have a strategy to deal with it. They believe the risk is not as high as everyone else thinks it is, and that's why they go ahead," Prof Zolin said.

7. Do you keep going?

She reminds us that when a seniorpreneur is going through "that dark period and you wonder if you should keep going or pull out", that's a judgement call no one can advise you on.

"You pay your money, you take your chances," Prof Zolin added.

Remember the Kenny Rogers song - you've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em.

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