4 strategic tips for over 50s planning a startup

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Posted on: 14 June 2018 by Amy Smith Brown

According to a recent report from Age UK, there are 2.9 million British people between the age of 50 and state pension age who aren’t employed — but 1.7 million who think they’ll work again.

And the report also featured anecdotal evidence that over-50s facing age discrimination when seeking salaried employment were investing their savings into startup businesses that allowed them to be their own bosses.

You’re never too old to launch a new business, but it’s always wise to look before you leap — here are four strategic tips for over-50s.

  1. Female entrepreneurs

Business groups like Women’s Enterprise Scotland report increasing amounts of women starting businesses in their 40s and 50s.

Over-50s starting new enterprises have been christened ‘olderpreneurs’ and their experience, expertise and resilience might mean that their firms survive longer than those launched by younger people.

Women still bear the brunt of child-raising responsibilities — but once kids have flown the nest, they can focus on achieving their commercial ambitions and inspirational examples range from blogging about mature fashion to designing and selling bespoke swimsuits.

  1. Franchises

Running a franchise business might provide the ideal blend of autonomy with the security that comes from working with an established brand — a good balance for more mature entrepreneurs.

According to The British Franchise Association, there are around 40,000 franchised businesses in the UK.

And the transferrable skills middle-aged people accumulate over years in the workforce make them a great fit for the sector.

Franchises are typically available from £5000-£20,000 — but the average turnover is £265,000 and 90 per cent have proved profitable over the past 20 years.

  1.  Commercial premises

Although some startups can be operated online from the comfort of your home, this model’s not suitable for every business.

For instance, if you want to sell antique furniture or hand-crafted clothing, you might find that customers prefer to see your merchandise in person before parting with their cash. And the right location means you’ll capture customer footfall in town or ensure there’s ample parking for a location on the outskirts.

Businesspeople looking for the ideal commercial property have to check that the terms and conditions of a lease are acceptable and the space suits their staff and customers — but if you’re flexible, there’s usually something suitable in most neighbourhoods. 

  1. Networking

Getting out in public and meeting fellow entrepreneurs and potential customers can be really worthwhile when you’re starting an SME.

If you’re new to an area, established businesspeople might advise whether there’s market demand for your offering and if you’re still in the planning stages, you might connect with future collaborators.

Startups that join The Federation of Small Businesses can plug directly into local networking events, tap into financial expertise and even contribute to influencing government policy.

Follow these four strategic tips for over-50s launching a startup and your business will be fit for the future.

Did you start a business in your 50s? Share your story in the comments section.

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