People have different reasons for starting up businesses in their 50s and 60s. You may be looking for a way to keep busy in retirement. Maybe you finally have the chance to pursue something that you’ve always been interested in but weren’t able to invest as much time in as you would like. Or you may just be looking for ways to supplement your income.
Your motivation is valid whatever it is. However, motivation alone is not enough to ensure success in business. The following tips may help you prosper as a senior citizen entrepreneur.
Check Your Finances
Most entrepreneurs, regardless of their age, need to take out business loans to fund their endeavors. To ensure that you qualify to borrow the necessary funds, as well as to determine how much you need to borrow, you need to perform an assessment of your financial fitness. You should have enough savings to cover three years’ worth of expenses. This means scrutinizing where you can reduce your overall spending.
Consider a Younger Partner
There are many potential advantages of starting a business with a partner. While you may initially think of someone your own age as a potential business partner, give some serious thought to choosing someone younger. This can be a mutually beneficial arrangement. Your partner can benefit from learning from someone of your experience and resources, while you get the advantage of a fresh perspective, tech savvy, and enthusiasm of a younger partner. Furthermore, it makes it easier to plan for what will happen if you are unwilling or unable to participate in running the business anymore because you have your successor already.
Evaluate Your Value Proposition
What do you have to bring that is unique? What unique contributions do you have to offer? What needs can you meet that are not already being served? These are questions you have to ask yourself to determine your own value proposition. You may have to pick up a new certification or skills to be competitive in your chosen market, but if you can redeploy the skills you already have, it makes success far more likely than if you attempt to reinvent yourself altogether. That may work for a younger entrepreneur, but if you have to start all the way back at square one, you may not have time to reach the required level.
Take Advantage of Free Resources
Approximately 97% of the economy consists of small businesses. Therefore, the government has a vested interest in helping entrepreneurs succeed. The Small Business Administration is a federal agency that offers helpful resources to new business owners such as education and mentoring. Often, these resources are available at no cost to you.
The internet is a good way to find helpful resources. However, because you are a senior citizen, you have access to organizations that may be able to provide you with some valuable help, or at least point you in the right direction.
Improve Your Speaking Skills
At some point during the process, you are probably going to have to convince people to buy into your endeavor. To be successful at this, you have to speak persuasively. For some people, this comes naturally; for others, it is more of a challenge. Fortunately, in the latter case, the necessary speaking skills can be learned and developed in organizations such as Toastmasters.
Don’t Accept Limitations
If you convince yourself that you can’t start a business, or you’re at a disadvantage, you’re more likely to prove yourself right. Don’t think that you can’t do this because of factors such as age, gender, disability, etc. Instead, look for ways to turn these perceived disadvantages into advantages. For example, on a global scale, more businesses are being started up by women than any other demographic, and they often have a higher success rate than their male counterparts.
Your age may be a significant advantage as well. When you start a business as a senior citizen, you bring all your accumulated experience, both in work and in life, to bear in making your new endeavor a success.