Mays Business School
Venture Voices

Seasoned Success – How to Start a Company after Age 50

Posted on December 4, 2012
Don Miller
VP of Marketing and Consumer Advocacy at CreditCardForum.com
Don Miller is a VP of Marketing and Consumer Advocacy at CreditCardForum.com, a leading credit card comparison website, and is regularly featured in leading business publications and financial websites.

Are you a potential boomerpreneur? Boomerpreneurs are entrepreneurs from the baby boomer generation. Boomerpreneurs may be retired, laid off, or just have a desire to start their own business. Often inspiration comes from a skill cultivated in a career, a hobby, or due to some other dream or motivation.

If this describes you, here are a few tips on how to become the next successful boomerpreneur:

1) Use somebody else’s money
If you’re getting close to retirement, you do not have the option of gambling with the money that you need to live on. Because of your experiences, contacts, financial position, and excellent credit, you can probably qualify for a bank loan, credit cards with reward programs or other start-up funding. If you do have to use your own funds, don’t empty your retirement savings to do it. Also, remember that in most cases, if you’re under the age of 59 ½ there will be tax consequences if you take money from your tax advantaged retirement account to start a business.

2) Follow your dream
Most people who want to go into business for themselves want to pursue a dream. It might be anything from buying a boat and starting a charter fishing service, to opening a bakery, to going on the arts and crafts circuit to sell those beautiful pieces of driftwood sculpture that everyone keeps telling you are so wonderful. The key is to do your due diligence. Research, research, research. Loving something when it comes to business isn’t always enough. Follow your dream if you must, but pay attention to the details.

3) Pick a related field
You might want to start over in a new industry but starting a business in a field related to your previous career has advantages too. Among them, you already have experience with the work, you have built up a list of contacts, you know where to go to hire quality people, and you already know all of those unwritten rules that come with working in a field for so long.

4) Buy a business

Does the idea of starting from scratch and embarking on a multi-year business building experience concern you? If so, buy an existing business. Maybe it’s a franchise or a business owned by somebody looking to retire. Before purchasing, hire people to examine the books, draw up the contract, and take you through the legal steps.

5) Consider a partner
A younger partner can provide perspective and insight into the needs of younger customers. Let’s face it, you’re uniquely qualified to capture the business of baby boomers but might not be as in tune with 20 or 30-somethings. As a bonus, a younger partner, well chosen, could take over when you finally decide to fish (or golf) on a full time basis.

6) Age is not an issue.

Ray Kroc didn’t start building the McDonalds brand until he was 52 years old. Success stories abound about companies large and small founded by entrepreneurs over 50. Your experience and expertise in the workforce has put you in a unique position to build a business faster than younger owners who don’t have your background. As long as you are willing to work hard and learn along the way, there’s nothing holding you back.

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  1. You forgot to add that you need to train yourself in the best way that you could. For instance, as I was starting my own bakery business late, I had to resort to using online trainings and books. I followed the advice here: http://howtostartbakery.com/ and it helped me make my business boom. You have to be in a way resourceful to remain competitive.


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