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Considerations for Baby Boomers Starting a Home-Based Business

About ten thousand Baby Boomers are reaching retirement age every day in the United States. At least two-thirds of these Boomers must generate funds in order to financially survive. Many more simply wish to continue working, even if it is part-time. Many are planning to start a home-based business and are asking themselves, “What type of home-based business should I pursue?” An important aspect of this decision should be a feasible exit strategy that allows transition to full retirement at some point.

The obvious way to launch a home-based business is to leverage one’s work experience, contacts and expertise to create an enterprise that can be run from a home office. In most cases, this is the fastest path to success. If you enjoy what you did career-wise, this approach is an easy extension of your prior job. Planning ahead, one can even establish consulting contracts with an employer or his clients. The result can be a smooth transition with minimal cash flow impact.

Many Boomers, however, wish to launch a second career in a new arena, such as opening a bed and breakfast or becoming a teacher. This takes more investigation and planning, ideally accomplished well in advance of retirement. There are ample resources on the Internet (much of it free!) to assist with this process.

For older Boomers who have found themselves suddenly unemployed, time is usually of the essence. Typically, they are seeking a source of income with little start-up time. Unfortunately, finding another job is difficult for 50-plus Boomers.

Many laid-off Boomers compensate by putting up a quick website and trying to leverage their experience into a consultancy business, but soon realize that this road too has a start-up period while clients are procured. Others seek “instant businesses” in the form of established multi-level marketing operations or franchises, only to discover that these too are not “slam dunks.”

There is rarely an easy road to riches. Moreover, launching a home-based business is a process that is usually accompanied by anxiety and mounting credit card debt.

For those who make a successful transition to operating a home-based business, there is one more important consideration. At some point, they will want to really retire or at least cut back on their involvement in the business. Then, it would be nice to have something that provides ongoing residual or passive income. This goal should be part of the upfront planning in establishing a home-based business. Otherwise, it can be a costly and often devastating afterthought.

If a home-based business or franchise establishes a profitable, verifiable revenue stream from contented customers, it can usually be sold. The profits can then be invested for passive income during retirement. Again, the business plan must include this as an ultimate objective and be implemented accordingly. If the business does not generate satisfied return customers, its “good will” value is minimal and finding a buyer or achieving a good sales price will prove difficult.

There are other ways to generate passive income from home-based businesses. Membership and subscription-type businesses are good ongoing revenue generators. So are royalties from self-published eBooks. And carefully-screened MLM opportunities can yield continuing income streams as well. So achieving “retirement” may be as simple as transitioning the daily operation to a buyer or someone who is hired to manage it.

The lesson is clear. If you create or purchase a business, do so with the objective of creating intrinsic value that makes it possible to sell – or step back from – the operation at some point. An “exit strategy” is an important consideration for any home-based business, and older Baby Boomers should plan for this.

Some Popular Types of Business Websites to Consider Building

There are quite a number of website types and their unlimited variations that you could choose from depending on your business needs. These include the following:

Business Card Site

This is the simplest type of a website that you could think of building to serve your business needs. It mainly consists of a single page with your business logo, name, and list of services offered and of course contacts that can help your potential clients. It can include brief descriptions of products and services with a link to your email address. This costs less to develop than other business website types and can later be expanded.

Brochure Site

Several pages with more detailed descriptions of products and services can be accommodated in this type of a business website. Everything you would include in a normal brochure can go into this website so the designer can still make use of the existing text and graphics. Email links and any other information found useful to promote your business can be added too.

Mini-Catalog Site

This is more like a larger brochure site version and a tool that can be equally effective for sales like an e-commerce site. People who don’t feel safe with their credit cards on e-commerce sites may prefer to call using the contacts provided. It can as well be a better opportunity because they can negotiate for prices, which is not the case when filling forms. Price changes or new products only known to sales persons are easily communicated on phone before updates appear on websites. The mini-catalog site may also have forms for placing orders and requesting quotes.

E-Commerce Site

This is a large business website whose cost of development varies greatly depending on the scale required. Apart from detailed descriptions of your business products and services, customers are able to fill order forms online and submit them while payments using credit cards are also processed in secure servers. They are complete online stores supposed to accommodate all or the larger part of the order processing cycle.

Integrated E-Commerce Site

This is a large e-commerce site with capabilities of linking to all the business back-end processes. A dynamic design of an online catalogue is linked to the database so that real time information about availably of products and services is available to customers online. This is more sophisticated to develop and costs more. Large sized businesses often implement this type of website in order to keep track of their operations while satisfying their customers with more accurate information on enquiries and availability.