Lately, I've been asked this question from several people who recently retired:
"I am not sure where to volunteer my time. The thought occurs to me that perhaps I should start a small business. Am I asking for trouble or should I follow my instincts?"
You have reached another milestone in life. Retirement is a major lifestyle change. You no longer have to punch a time clock and no one is coming to you for advice and counsel. You have nothing but time on your hands and no idea how to spend it.
At this juncture, I can’t resist the impulse to put in a plug for SCORE, a national organization of volunteer business counselors. If you want to help young entrepreneurs and share the knowledge you have attained over your long career, consider becoming a SCORE volunteer.
As far as you starting a business, you are never too old.
Mary Kay Ash, the founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, was in her mid-forties.
Regardless of age you start the process by developing a written business plan. Pick something you have both background and passion about. Ideally it will fill an underserved niche that has little competition.
A major consideration is finance.
You are at a point in life where you no longer generate a paycheck. Hopefully you have saved your money, contributed to an IRA or employer sponsored 401k plan, and with social security have enough to take care of you in your twilight years.
In addition to business startup costs, you will also require enough working capital to pay the monthly bills until you reach break-even (income versus outgo), usually six to nine months.
The value of a business plan is that it enables you assess your strengths and weaknesses.
It causes you to focus on all the elements of running a business. You will find you must wear many hats, some of which you are ill suited for. Do you muddle through or perhaps consider a partner that contributes in those areas you are least competent?
Do yourself a favor before you spend the first dime, develop a business plan.
Gray can help with most aspects of running a small business, having owned and operated an independent insurance agency with twenty employees and two locations. Gray has earned the Certified Insurance Counselor designation and is familiar with both personal and commercial property and casualty insurance. He has been a SCORE counselor since 2005 and a dual member of both the Richmond, Virginia and Naples, Florida SCORE Chapters.
AREAS OF EXPERTISE
- Business Finance & Accounting
- Business Strategy & Planning
- Business Operations
- Human Resources & Internal Communications
- Sales, Marketing & Public Relations