Thinking of Starting a Small Business?

Have you ever thought of owning that little corner café? Or what about the bookshop you’ve always dreamed of? Or perhaps a gardening franchise? For many of us retirement only takes place when ill health or carer responsibilities mean we can no longer work. The trend is for retirees to gradually reduce their working hours. The attraction of working for yourself, making some money or wanting an outside interest means many Boomers are looking to start a small business.

Forbes magazine (July 2018) reported a study of 2,600 small business owners in the US. 50% of these entrepreneurs are over 50 years of age. Three quarters of them were men and one quarter were women business owners. So there’s a trend out there!

While there are many resources and professionals willing to help you set up your own business here a check list to help clarify your thinking. Start a Business Ideas notebook  and record your ideas in answering these questions

  • What are you passionate about and would like to share with others- books, food, wine, homewares, pets, selling, writing, fitness, travel, music, shopping, cars, home renovation or event planning for example?
  • Are you going to sell products e.g. hamburgers or antique linens or services e.g. hairdressing, coaching or gardening. Or perhaps your business will sell both products and services e.g. a cooking school that also sells ingredients such as sauces and other food products.
  • Will your business be an on-line venture or will it require a physical space? Will you travel to see clients? Will you need a dedicated space at home?
  • Will you have to purchase equipment? What is the budget for this? Eg printer, toner, biz cards,
  • What start-up funds do you have available? What reserves do you have to see you through at least 12 months of your business?
  • Will you be a sole trader or work in partnership? Seek legal advice on this
  • What research have you done about the risks and benefits of the business structure   you are adopting- franchise, partnership, company, sole trader?
  • Have you got a great accountant?
  • Will having an income from the business affect other benefits you receive eg pensions, health cards etc
  • What market research have you done? It there a need or want for your product or service? Who is your target market?
  • Will you need further training/ skills/ accreditation/ professional insurance/ industry certification to enable you to operate in the sector you have chosen?
  • What competition will you have? How big is your potential market?
  • Who are your suppliers?
  • How will you establish your pricing structure?
  • How will you manage risk? How much risk are you comfortable with?
  • Will you have employees? Do you know enough about employment law and your rights and responsibilities as an employer?
  • How much time do you expect to devote to your new business? Is this realistic?
  • Do you have a business plan? A marketing strategy? Who can help you with this?
  • Who are the people in your networks that you can call on for further contacts, advice and support?
  • What’s the back-up plan?

The worst case scenario is that enthusiastic retirees use part of their superannuation to set up a business in a high risk field with great enthusiasm but little knowledge or experience in the field. The best case scenario is to spend time scoping and planning what you would like to do. Make it a big vision of what your business could look like and then shrink it back to a business plan that is realistic and doable. Surround yourself with people who have qualifications and professional credibility and seek sound advice (see my disclaimer on this website)

When I turned forty-eight I set up a small change management and leadership consulting business working with private sector and government clients. It began with one small contract for a 5 day leadership program that I developed. Setting up the business gave me flexibility at a time when ill health compromised my ability to work full time at an executive level in the corporate sector. I planned to run the business for perhaps a year or two. (sounds like the Rolling Stones in 1965, saying they would probably be around for a year or two!) Twenty years later I finally closed the business. I still had the original client of that leadership program as one of my clients. Relationship based rather than transactional business always worked best in the field I was in. No advertising at all. A 20 year business built on referrals.

Viva 70 is my next adventure. It’s my retirement venture. It is very, very different from my 20 year business.  It may become a business attracting sponsorship & advertising revenue and selling product and or it may simply be a creative outlet for writing and photography…. A blog or magazine. A 12 month review of my business plan will help me make that decision.

VIVA 70 is something I have always wanted to do- passion plus creativity meets business skills. I wake in fear and excitement every day as I learn to resize photos, write, edit and learn all about technical aspects of operating a website mag. linked to social media. Making videos is all new. There’s a growth- spurt in my learning and I’m loving it! The start -up investment is very small and mainly for a website, business cards and some coaching on video production and social media. I have a group of advisors who are my sounding board- lawyers, film makers, critical friends who will give me straight candid advice. And I give them lunch!

Are you starting a new business? Have you already done so? How’s it going? We’re always looking for people to share their stories. Share your comments or get in touch using the contact link.

All images with thanks Pexels

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26 April 2019 | Living Well

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