Retiring Soon? … a few tips before you start a business!

ABC Businesses PlannerMany current and prospective retirees have some entrepreneurial interests and plan to pursue them, for profit. As a part of the planning, you need to be relatively certain that your idea solves a problem, fills an unmet need and fits your skill set.

Teresa Mears wrote in an article for U.S. News, entitled, 11 Tips for Starting a Business in Retirement, that the baby boomer generation is redefining retirement. Due to many corporate changes many baby boomers don’t have a pension or have saved enough for retirement. Living on Social Security benefits alone would be difficult. However, the good news is that many also enjoy work and want to continue to use their skills.

People age 55 to 64 accounted for 25.8 percent of the businesses started in the last year, according to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s 2015 Kauffman Index: Startup Activity. A 2014 survey by, which helps older Americans find ways to use their skills for the greater good, found that 39 percent of respondents were interested in starting a business or a nonprofit organization.

While it can be fairly easy to start a business, particularly one that requires no office space or retail location, it isn’t for everyone. To make it work, you need to have the right idea at the right time, plus the skill to get your product or service in front of buyers. “It takes a while until you lay the groundwork, you get your customers and you hit your groove.”

Based on my own experience, five (5) of the 11 tips resonated with me. However, if you like, you can read the original article.

Here is my top 5:

  1. Determine whether your idea is really a good business plan. What problem does it solve? “Be very honest with yourself in the business idea you come up with,” Williams says. If your passion doesn’t translate into a viable business, maybe you’re better off pursuing it as a hobby or volunteer.
  2. Get good advice. Most cities have lots of free and low-cost resources to help beginning entrepreneurs. Some also provide good networking opportunities. You should also look for conferences and trade associations in your field.
  3. Figure out how to finance your start-up. Many businesses, especially those with no physical location, can be started for a minimal investment. If you need six figures to get your dream business off the ground, you may need funding or investors, which create additional layers of complication. Don’t invest money you can’t afford to lose.
  4. Have an exit strategy. If you start a business when you’re 65, you may be ready to stop running it when you’re 75. Have a plan, whether it is to leave the business to your children, sell it or just shut it down. You should consider writing down your plan and even sharing it with your spouse and children.
  5. Protect your assets. Make sure your business structure protects your assets. The best way to do that will vary by state and by the size of the business. If your business goes down the tubes, you don’t want to lose your savings as well.

Related Articles: Start Your Business … before you quit your job! and 5 Signs That You Want to Be an Entrepreneur

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James E. McClain is the author of Successful Career Development: A Game Plan, the book upon which some of our training programs are based. He has over 30 years' experience as a corporate HR executive, small business owner with ongoing experience in career development and as a college instructor. His educational background includes a B.S. and Masters degrees Education and Certification in Financial Planning. Our promise is that "you can pay more for training but you can not buy better training." The mission is to deliver the most effective and cost effective training and development programs.

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