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Entrepreneurial Opportunities

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There are thousands of business ventures out there. So how do you identify one that's right for you? The first step is to take a good hard look at your personal situation. What are your financial needs? Your personal likes and dislikes? What type of business would best accommodate your family's needs?

Once you've identified those sorts of factors, you can start looking at businesses that would best fit into whatever your situation happens to be.

Considering Your Personal Criteria

Having an idea of the type of business to which you're best suited will help you to narrow your search. Some factors to consider are listed as follows:

  • Financial needs. If you're the sole, or primary breadwinner for your family, you probably want to start a business with a lot of potential for earning. If your spouse is already pulling in a great salary, or you're pretty well financially established, you may have a little more latitude about what type of business to start. If you're going to need to pay for college for three kids and stash a lot more money away for your retirement, you'd better be darned sure to choose a business with great moneymaking potential.

  • Your personality. What's your personality type? Are you a high-powered ambitious sort who should be looking for a business with great growth potential? Or is your personality more laid back and better suited to a slower-paced enterprise? If you can't stand kids, you sure as heck shouldn't think about opening up a day-care center or toddler gym. If you never wear anything but jeans and sweat shirts, a trendy boutique probably doesn't make sense for you. You get the idea, right?

  • Family concerns. If you're a woman with three young children and a strong commitment to the PTA, you probably want a business that allows you to have some flexibility. If you're single with few personal responsibilities, a business that requires you to work for three days without stopping might work out just fine. Also consider where you may have to live to make your business work. If you've always dreamed of owning a bait and tackle shop that specializes in fancy, deep-sea fishing equipment, for instance, it will make a lot more sense for you to start the business in Florida than in Kansas.

  • Your health. Many people in their 40s and 50s find that they don't have as high of an energy level as they did in their 20s and 30s. Consider whether you'll be able to handle the physical demands of starting your own business. Also, consider any physical limitations that might affect what type of business you should consider. Health considerations often can be accommodated, but some businesses might be better suited to you than others.

  • Your personal likes and dislikes. If you love to get up early, enjoy being around people, and love the smell of coffee, a Starbucks franchise might be just the ticket for you. If it's impossible for you to crawl out of bed before 10 a.m., however, a bagel shop that opens at 6 a.m. is a really bad idea. If you retreat to indoors the second the temperature dips below 45 degrees, you sure don't want to think about opening a ski resort in Colorado. If you break out in a rash every time you get close to an animal, you shouldn't consider starting a pet grooming business.

Giving some thoughts to these types of issues will help you to choose a venture that matches your interests and works for your personal situation. Once you've got an idea of what you want, you can see what's available.

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More on: Family Finances


Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Personal Finance in Your 40s and 50s © 2002 by Sarah Young Fisher and Susan Shelly. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

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