Skip to main content

Sacramento Boomer

In Good Company: 6 Tips for Starting a Business After 50

Mar 25, 2020 11:38PM
For most of us over the age of 50, we see the light at the end of the working-life tunnel. Thoughts and plans of golf, leisure time, and cruises to sun-baked beaches fill our mind’s horizons. But for many out there, the allure of the entrepreneurial spirit is beckoning, and age never enters the equation. For those brave citizens, I sourced some trusted professionals for their top tips for business success. Here’s what they had to say…

1 Hire professionals
Kimberly Foss of Empyrion Wealth Management (empyrionwealth.com) says, “Get help if you need it. A certified, professional financial adviser can be a huge resource for those making decisions about starting a business after 50—or at any age.” Clint Herndon of Next Peak CPA (nextpeakcpa.com), echoes those sentinments. “Surround yourself with experts: an accountant, an attorney, a financial advisor, and a coach. Unless you’re an expert in one of these fields, don’t ‘save money’ by not hiring these crucial resources. You may end up paying more on the back end.”

2 Consider your finances/costs
Rudy Miramontes of The Principal Financial Group (principal.com) tells us, “The first thing you should consider is your finances. Anytime you start a business, you need to consider your cost associated with opening a business. I usually don’t recommend using retirement money for a new venture. Unless you have a big enough financial cushion, this can be a financial disaster if your company fails.” Foss says, “The number one reason for the failure of new businesses is inadequate startup funding. [Ask yourself]: Is the necessary financing within your means, and how will meeting that need impact your desired lifestyle? If your idea doesn’t work out, will you still be able to live comfortably with the resources you’ll have left? Remember, as an [older] entrepreneur, you don’t have as many years to recover if things go south.”

3 Write a business plan
“It doesn’t have to be 10 pages long. Keep it simple—no more than two pages. It can be as [easy] as where am I now, where do I want to go, and how do I get there?” says Miramontes. “The Small Business Administration (SBA) is a great resource to help your company financially. They also help with writing a business and marketing plan.”

4 Do your homework
“Does the business meet a legitimate marketplace need? Your homemade cookies may have won every award at the county fair for the last 10 years, but is your baking operation scalable? Do enough consumers want your cookies (or can enough be made to want them) to present a viable customer and revenue base?” asks Foss. “Another resource I recommend is Score (score.org).” Miramontes says, “They have a suite of resources you can tap into...Further recommended reading is The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber, which talks about why most businesses fail in the first five years and what you can do about not being one of them. Also, Robin Sharma’s The Leader Who Had No Title will teach you humility, leadership, and how you can implement these traits upon your team.”

5 Get social
Miramontes says, “All marketing plans should always include social media. LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, blogging, and more will all help your business. And, depending on the type of clientele or niche market you want to attract, one may serve you better than the others. However, the more social marketing mediums you use, the faster your company can grow.” According to Foss, “It’s vital to understand how to use social media effectively for your business and possibly the most critical advantage mature entrepreneurs have, [since] they’ve been around long enough to know lots of people.”

6 Assess the risks
“Avoid high risk or niche businesses with an untested market. This is not the time in life to try to strike gold if it can cost you your nest egg. Plan wisely and find a business that has a steadier chance of success with fewer highs and lows,” says Herndon. 

By Lorn Randall