The great George Burns once said “Retirement at sixty-five is ridiculous. When I was sixty-five I still had pimples”. Retirement is not for everybody. A growing number of Baby Boomers are finding that retirement is the perfect time to start your own business. According to The Kauffman Foundation, an organization that studies entrepreneurship, the age group starting the greatest number of new businesses? Those 55 to 64.
While starting a business is difficult at any age, the upside is that launching a venture after 50 isn’t as risky as you might think. How do you launch a company after 50? Here’s are some tips to get you started!
Use your biggest asset: Experience
Baby boomers who start a business have accumulated over the years expertise in one or many industries and that gives their business a pretty great head start. When you think at the wealth of experience people over 50 have gained over the length of their careers, it sets them up perfectly for starting a business.
Calculate your start-up costs
These days you can start many businesses from the comfort of your own home without a lot of cost for equipment or rent. (see here a few great options) For other types of businesses, you need to assess how much will it cost to start your business and to run it for its first year? Will you need to invest in inventory? What will the costs be for advertising? Is there equipment you need to purchase? Will your electric bill rise? Ask yourself what you’re willing to invest, what you might have to borrow, and how much you expect to make from sales.
Understand your customer
Whether you plan to do or be the first questions you must answer who the customers will be. Research, analysis, and testing beforehand is heading you down the path to getting it right. The better you understand your customer, the faster your business will grow. But new ventures often struggle to define their target market and set their sights too broadly.
Understand the problem you are trying to solve
Try to understand the problem that your product or service can solve. Then, use that information to help determine who would be willing to pay for a better solution. Google offers a great tool called the “keyword tool” that allows seeing how many people are searching for words related to your business idea. That could give you a good sense of demand. You can narrow your search for a specific location, language, etc.
Use your Rolodex
Most new entrepreneurs face the challenge of having a very small list of contact. That is not the case for boomers over 50. You should tap into that and let people know the business you are starting. They can help spread the word for you.
Start by announcing your business to all of your email contacts and a simultaneous announcement on social media.
Depending on your business, it might make sense to start locally rather than trying to reach a national market immediately, but first, evaluate who and where your customers are.
If your new business is consumer-based (you’re selling products direct to consumers, for example), social media could be a great platform to promote it. Start by creating a Facebook Page and spending some time creating content (posts, pictures of products, etc) If your new company is more “business-to-business” use Linked In to promote it. You can use both platforms to make announcements about your business, to remind consumers you are there, or to hang out your shingle, so to speak, so that people passing by will notice it.
Creating a profitable business is about more than just doing what you love.