Maybe you weren’t an entrepreneurial wunderkind, one of those young prodigies who could launch a multi-million-dollar enterprise in between final exams.
Instead, you dedicated yourself to working for someone else, moving up in the organization as you honed leadership skills and business acumen. That more methodical approach may be about to pay off if you have reached the midpoint of your career and, finally, feel ready to start your own business, says Stephen E. Gerard (www.stephenegerard.com), an entrepreneur and the Forbes Books author of Stuck in the Middle Seat: The Five Phases to Becoming a Midcareer Entrepreneur.
“That time in the corporate world gives you the opportunity to build on your knowledge and abilities,” says Gerard, who started his first company when he was in his 40s. “I like to say that you learn in your 20s, you lead in your 30s, and in your 40s you can leverage all that to start your own business.” Different factors may cause you to consider branching out on your own. Maybe your company downsized, leaving you jobless. Perhaps the mid-career doldrums set in and you need to feel energized again, or you have stumbled into your big idea. Regardless, once you decide to start a business, a question arises: How do you determine what that business should be?
Gerard has a few tips for how to settle on a business idea and make it succeed: