Retiree Business Startup Considerations

Building a business is not something you do on a whim. It’s a huge decision – particularly when you’re older and you don’t have as many years to rebound from a failed venture. To see if you have “the right stuff,” review this Playbook article.
Here are a few basic things to think about before hanging out the “Open for Business” sign:
  • Set clear goals and expectations. Make an honest assessment of what you want to get out of your business. Are you trying to make as much money as possible? Or do you mostly want to have fun doing something you enjoy? Are you okay with working full time (or more) or do you want the flexibility to do other things?
  • Match the business to your strengths. Doing something you’re good at and enjoy will make success more likely.
  • Get a mentor. You may be the expert at your chosen business venture, but having an objective businessperson in the room can remind you to focus on the big picture. Presumably, at this stage of your life, you’re not trying to impress people and you’re not working out of ego. You just want to be successful and an honest mentor can help streamline that process.
  • Calculate costs and income potential. Some business models can be started for very little. Others require more substantial capital. And the startup costs may have nothing to do with the income potential. So perform the income/expense calculations separately until they align with your goals.
  • Develop a business plan. Every start up needs a business plan. If it’s just going to be you doing consulting or speaking, your plan can be very simple. But you still need to write down the basics to give your venture some parameters and a roadmap to follow.

Game Plan

  • The U.S. Small Business Administration and AARP have formed a strategic alliance to help connect the 50+ population to small business resources, including live workshops with accomplished business leaders, conferences, and mentoring programs. To learn more, visit AARP’s Guide to Self Employment.
  • A mentor or business coach can help provide advice, keep you on track with your goals and be honest with you about your ideas and processes. You can search for a mentor near you, and sift through a lot of small business advice by visiting SCORE, a non-profit association sponsored by the Small Business Administration dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground through mentorship and education.
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