Retirement dreaming on such a winter’s day.
More than half of workers say traveling and spending more time with family and friends are what they’d relish when they step away from the workplace, and almost half cite devoting time to their hobbies. A notable 30% of workers, however, hope to still have some form of work in retirement. Finally, 13% fancy launching a business.
Those are some of the findings of the
recent 19th Annual Transamerica
Retirement Survey: A Compendium of
Findings About U.S. Workers.
I asked Beverly Jones, author of “Think
Like an Entrepreneur, Act Like a CEO”
and host of NPR-affiliated Jazzed
About Work podcast, for her tips for
those budding entrepreneurs yearning
to be their own boss. Jones has a great
perspective on this topic since she has
lived it herself.
After more than two decades as a top corporate lawyer and lobbyist, she took a golden parachute retirement package from her position as vice president of external affairs and policy at Consolidated Natural Gas.
Jones had an inkling of what path she’d like to follow. She had always enjoyed mentoring others and had done so throughout her entire career. So it was a natural shift to find a way to take this innate ability and redirect it to create a business where she could help people navigate their work lives and get paid for it.
She was fortunate to have a modest pension, which gave her some flexibility about how fast she needed to ramp up her venture. To stay engaged and make some income, she initially did some legal work for a law firm in Washington, D.C., as well as some lobbying for a nonprofit.
Then to add the credentials she needed to enter the new field, she went back to school to obtain a Leadership Coaching Certificate from Georgetown University. But she didn’t stop there. She attended coaching workshops, hired her own career coach, and read extensively about the field and related areas such as self-help, spirituality, and fitness. “In time, I began to find my own voice as a coach and felt confident I was doing what I was meant to do,” Jones says.
Among her coaching clients at her Clearways Consulting, based in Washington, D.C., are attorneys, business owners, and high-level government workers (and the occasional friend pro bono)—many of them midlife looking for their “what’s next.”
Here are Jones’s top tips for those looking to launch their own business.
You probably have more than one reason for starting a business. Sure, you want to earn some money. But are you also aching for more variety? Do you dream of a career that allows a more flexible lifestyle? Or do you want to take the next step with a hobby you already love? Write down what you hope to achieve, frame specific goals, and remember that your bottom line is just one way to measure your progress.
If launching your own business is something you want to do “some day,” it is never too soon to start laying groundwork. You might build expertise through local or online college courses. Or perhaps you could start a small side gig, to test your business idea and get some experience.
From choosing a legal structure to paying your taxes, you must comply with laws. The rules that apply will depend on the state where you live, the nature of your activities, and the kind of entity you create. And, even when you have a small-business accountant, it is vital that you know how to measure your costs, keep track of expenses, and decide what to charge. You can take courses, work for a spell in a small business, or apply to a business incubator, as you learn what it takes to run a company.
As you grow as an entrepreneur, your network will be a critical asset. You can visualize it as a complex pattern of human relationships, spreading out around you in concentric circles. While the innermost ring may include close friends and family, further out are people you know only slightly, like alumni of your college, members of your clubs, and folks who live nearby. Everyone matters. Even your most casual contacts can support your success. Throughout your expanding network are potential mentors, collaborators, customers, and fans.
An entrepreneur must deal with discouraging moments. False starts, rejected proposals, and disinterested audiences are part of the game. Because emotions are contagious, one way to protect yourself from some of that negativity is to stay in touch with upbeat people. Try to reach out to the optimists in your circle, and avoid the complainers who leave you feeling down.
Even though you know that connectivity is the lifeblood of small business, building a supportive community can be a challenge. A starting point is to look for opportunities to be helpful. Reach out to old friends and new acquaintances, listen to their problems, and look for small ways to offer assistance. Introduce folks with good reasons to meet each other. Support other small businesses. And give authentic praise. The more comfortable you feel as a helper, the easier it will be to ask for the support and encouragement you need.
Your brand sets you apart from the competition. As an entrepreneur, you will need to identify your special value, and have a plan for spreading the word. To get comfortable with projecting your unique strengths, a useful exercise is to write a brief statement summarizing your personal brand. Be honest with yourself about how you want others to see you. And your current brand can help pave the way for your future business. For example, if you dream of opening a doggy day care facility, your brand might include your skill as a dog trainer. You can raise your brand profile by connecting with dog lovers, whether that means posting on Twitter or volunteering with service organizations.
Turning yourself into an entrepreneur may require a shift in your mind-set. When you start your business, your customers will ultimately determine whether you succeed. So now, wherever you are in your career, cultivate the habit of listening intently to the people who are impacted by your work, including your boss and your colleagues. Make it your job to understand what your “customers” need, what they want, and what they think. And keep looking for new projects and products that might help your “customers” meet their goals.
You may have heard that “entrepreneurs are passionate about their work.” But what if you’re not sure you can maintain that kind of passion? The reality is that motivation is something you can acquire and manage. Now, in your current job, you can develop the skill of triggering your own drive and enthusiasm. One way to build motivation is by setting small goals, taking action, and experiencing moments of success. If you have put off tackling an important project, schedule an hour to focus on it exclusively. Quickly create a list of small subtasks and power through them for the 60 minutes. By actually getting some things done, you will motivate yourself to do even more on the project tomorrow.
Create a social media strategy. Even if you avoid Facebook and other apps in your personal life, don’t ignore the power that social media can bring to your business. A smart mix of channels can help you check out the competition, understand your potential customers, keep up with industry news, and show off your products. It takes a while to get a feel for tools like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, so practice using them as you expand your network.
And Lowe’s is taking steps to improve pricing and promotional tools in order to recoup lost margins in the new year. Moreover, lower interest rates, stability in the housing sector and advertising efficiencies from the continued shift to digital marketing should give the stock
All three stocks are rated buy at UBS, with Hasbro upgraded on Nov. 25. Amazon has a $2,100 price target, Hasbro has a $117 price target and Lowe’s price target is $140.
Home improvement retailer Lowe’s is also a “top global idea” at RBC Capital Markets, where it’s rated outperform with a $134 price target.
“While we have long believed that part of Lowe’s relative underperformance versus Home Depot relates to their respective store bases, as Lowe’s stores tend to be located further out from major metro areas, we have also underestimated how difficult Lowe’s had made it for Pros customers to do business with the company, and improvements on this front should enable it to gain incremental market share,” analyst Scot Ciccarelli wrote in a note.
Young consumers are increasingly concerned about climate change which makes environmental sustainability a top issue for the retail sector.
“We believe brands that promote sustainability will gain wallet share of younger consumers and become more relevant,” wrote Cowen analysts in their “Future of Retail” report. “In our view, there is a strong momentum toward eliminating waste among retailers.”
Cyber Monday mobile transactions in 2019 totaled $3.1 billion, according to Adobe Analytics data. Total Cyber Monday online sales were $9.4 billion, a record.
“The smartphone continues to radically alter the end-to-end customer experience as customers increasingly rely on smartphones to research, transact and engage with brands,” Cowen analysts say.
The rise of smartphone shopping is due to social media platforms and the influencers, brand ambassadors, and communities that have popped up on them. Cowen data shows that more than 63% of millennials ages 18 to 34 spend at least four hours per day on their mobile phones.
“We also believe that the channel has major implications for both in-store traffic and conversion as consumers use devices to inform purchases before or during shopping trips, including the use of smart labels, virtual reality and augmented reality,” Cowen said.
Even as shoppers use mobile devices and other e-commerce platforms to make a purchase, customers are increasingly opting to make the last-mile trek for their
“We expect more shoppers to adopt and appreciate curbside pickup, which we view as an ideal manifestation of combining physical and digital retail,” Cowen said.
Cowen data shows that 21% of the U.S. population has tried curbside pickup or buy-online-pickup-in-store for their groceries.
Walmart Inc. (WMT) and Target Corp. (TGT) are the leaders in curbside pickup, Cowen says. Both are able to leverage their large store fleets to offer the service.
“Given that the same-day options rely on our store assets, team and inventory they are much more profitable than traditional e-commerce fulfillment,” said Target’s Chief Executive Brian Cornell on the third-quarter earnings call.
E-commerce on various devices and convenient fulfillment methods are also erasing the shopping calendar.
“Black Friday will change dramatically in 2020,” said Graham Cooke, chief executive of Qubit, a personalization software provider. “There’s no need to wake up at the crack of dawn just to fight over sale items when shoppers can find great deals from their couch.”
Moody’s analysts think global trade policy disputes, will continue to be a risk factor in 2020, as well as a weight on consumer confidence. President Trump’s U.S. - China trade war has disrupted global manufacturing and retailing supply lines and the import tariffs have raised some prices.
“Although we do not expect a recession in 2020, recession risks are high amid a backdrop of trade policy uncertainty, [and] an unpredictable political and geopolitical environment,” Moody’s says.
“Increased trade friction could trigger spikes of volatility in financial markets and further disrupt trade flows. Many companies have so far been able to lessen the effect of tariffs through a combination of cost reductions, buildup of pre-tariff inventory and price increases within the industry supply chain. But these offsets may not last if these
Moody’s forecasts slight operating income growth to a 3% or 4% increase in 2020 for the retails sector, though analysts don’t expect “much improvement” in operating margins as retailers use promotions to increase market share.
Dollar stores like Dollar General Inc. (DG), off-price retailers like TJX Cos. (TJX), and supermarkets like Kroger Co. (KR) are expected to outperform. Department stores like Macy’s Inc. (M) and J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (JCP), and drug stores like Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. (WBA) are forecast to underperform.
The Amplify Online Retail ETF (IBUY) is up 30% for the past year, the SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT) has gained 13.4% for the period, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI), and S&P 500 index (.SPX) are up 24.2% and 30.3% respectively.
Secondhand retailers are also in a position to benefit from concern about sustainability. Cowen thinks RealReal Inc. (REAL) and ThredUp, which forecasts that the secondhand market will be valued at $51 billion by 2023, have an advantage.
Nearly half of the total sustainable merchandise is for women, 25% for children, and 24% for men, according to the StyleSage Sustainability Report.
These changes will impact older workers
Online lifts holiday shopping sales
Seema Shah of Creditntell.com says the holiday shopping season got a lift from
e-commerce sales, but overall results could have been more robust.
© 2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Sustainability will continue to be top of mind for young consumers
Retail gets increasingly mobile
Recession fears and international trade disputes will continue to impact the
5 secrets to a happy and healthy retirement
Be clear about your goals
Start early to prepare
Offer and seek help
Surround yourself with positive people
Build your network
Learn business basics
Define and promote your brand
Learn to be motivated
Listen to your customers
5 secrets to a happy and healthy retirement