financial fitness:am i too old to start a business?
Updated: Jun 15, 2019
Financial or Physical Fitness for Seniors Makes You Feel Younger at Any Age
As we start to reach retirement age, it’s nice to think about sitting on the porch swing, doing a little gardening, maybe some fishing and relaxing. After working for 30+ years, you’re looking forward to taking a break and living life at a slower pace. However, you may find that a few weeks into retirement, you’re ready for something more. Plus, a little extra income would help fund those bucket list trips.
According to Experian, the average age of a small business owner is over 50 years old, with the majority of small businesses owned by individuals ages 50-59. Most entrepreneurs don’t start a business until they are 42! What’s important is: do you love what you want to do?
Maybe you love to paint, take photos, knit or do woodworking. Or maybe you’re ambitious enough to take on an antique store, a bait and tackle shop or a tutoring center. Whatever you’d like to do, you’ll need to ask yourself a few more questions:
Will I want to get up every day and do this, or will the novelty wear off in a few months?
Is there a market for my business near me or online?
Would it be better to buy someone else’s business and run it my way?
Am I going to make any money doing this?
All this is part of creating a business plan. You don’t need every detail in place and every penny accounted for, but you’ll need a written plan of what you’ll need to start and run your business for the next 2-3 years. Groups like SCORE (www.score.org) are great resources for new business owners to discuss their business plan with a mentor who’s been there, done that. They can offer advice on writing, refining and executing your business plan, and it doesn’t cost anything.
The next step is to get all the details together:
What will you call the business? Get creative, but make sure someone else isn’t already using that name. You can also play with spelling and other variations to make the name uniquely yours (remember you have to be able to write it frequently).
Register your business with federal, state and local governments as needed. There are online companies who can do this for you, but make sure you cover all the bases. Your local Chamber of Commerce may have valuable information about the business requirements in your city.
Use a separate bank account to make sure you can track business expenses and income versus personal expenses. You’ll be thankful you did come tax time, and many banks offer incentives with new small business accounts – just read the fine print!
Do you need an accountant to work the numbers or new software to maintain your books? Very simple businesses may not need these, but an accountant can help you get the best tax return possible and plan for lower taxes as you grow.
OK, the plan is in place and you’re ready – but you need funding to get started. There are LOTS of options here, even if your credit score isn’t excellent and your checking account isn’t full. Reaching out to your local bank is good, but you may need to find someone to help you navigate the different types of loans available, especially when you have a ‘less than perfect’ credit score. Don’t give up if you get turned down once, twice or even more – keep exploring options until you find what works for you.
Sound like a lot? Don’t worry! It’s not as difficult as it seems, and there are lots of resources to help. One last question: Will you regret not having started your own business while you’re sitting on the porch swing?
Michael Ely is the founder of Interlace Financial Services, dedicated to helping small businesses and non-profits get the funding they need to start, grow and succeed. He specializes in commercial real estate, SBA loans, merchant cash advances, unsecured lines of credit and more. Check out InterlaceFinancialServices.com.