There are increasing numbers of older people starting their own business. When people retire they face a great challenge; how to survive without a job and how to find a purpose in life.
For some it is an opportunity to pursue hobbies and sports that they love but others miss the buzz of the workplace. The reason people start a business varies from pursuing an idea they have always had and never had time to develop to needing extra money in their retirement. Retirees often find their income plummets and they see the financial rewards a new business venture may bring.
Older people often have an advantage over younger people in starting a business as they usually have more experience and also more money to start their enterprise. They also usually have less commitments and more time to spend on their venture. It also gives many older people a new purpose to life and gives new experiences.
Older people tend to have many business contacts that they have built up over the years which makes networking easier. It may also give you a more flexible lifestyle. Many surveys say that by continuing to work it makes you happier and more content.
Starting a new business is very time consuming and takes a lot of hard work. It is also not without risk! You need to determine how starting a business might impact on your personal life and relationships. I know this all to well as I have spent the last 7 years developing my company ZZap.
In order to stay motivated it is undoubtedly best to develop an idea or hobby that you are passionate about. Once you have decided to go ahead you need to put together a business plan. This does not need to be too detailed but should include your goals, potential customers and competitors. You should also put down how you intend to market your ideas whether you can use advertising or maybe set up your own website.
It is absolutely vital that you embrace technology and use social media for example Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram. You could advertise in local papers and also use adverts in free magazines. Get your arty friends to design posters for you to put in shop fronts! These can be used to get people talking about your business and increase awareness.
You also need to decide if you are going to do it from home or whether you are going to get premises and if so whether you can afford it! Many people set up online businesses as they do not need so much initial finance to start the business and it is relatively easy. All you need is a laptop and an internet connection!
It is also important to get honest feedback about your idea. Your family are not the ones to ask! Before you put your own money into the venture you should ask old business colleagues or neighbours whether they think your idea has potential. It is very important to listen to the feedback and make changes and improvements based on what they say but don’t let them dilute your vision for the business too much or it becomes their own idea rather than your own.
Finance obviously plays a big part in how you start your business. You may have taken redundancy and have a large sum of money to invest or you may have to start it on a shoestring. It is possible to take money out of your pension now that the rules have changed but make sure you know the tax implications of doing so. New businesses have a high failure rate so you need enough money to get you over the first few months. You may have enough savings or if you have a good credit rating it may be possible to get a loan from the bank. There are also many business organisations and charities such as the one set up by Prince Charles for mature enterprise which may give you funding. TAEN the Age and Employment website also gives guidance as can the local Chamber of Commerce.
It is highly likely that you may also want some advice on various aspects of your business. The Government has got various sites, which give advice on start-ups and will help you find what loans or finance may be available to you. You should also use the help and guidance of old colleagues who might have expertise in a particular field that you are lacking. Across the country there are also many business-networking events held in cafes and workshops. You can also speak to business advisers, if you feel you lack the business know-how in order to take the leap to starting your own business.
There are so many opportunities for the newly retired! It is also a fact that start-ups by people in their more mature years are more successful! So get out there and give it a go! If you found this article useful, take look at my blog here
I am the founder and director of ZZap Ltd. From an early age I have had a burning passion to run my own business. At the age of 9 I started my first car washing business, at 11 my own gardening business and at 14 I sold confectionery from my school locker. I have always loved entrepreneurship. I believe work ethic is the foundation to being successful. If you truly want something bad enough you can achieve it.