By Emily Suess
A good business idea is a good business idea — no matter what your age. And those who find their entrepreneurial spark after the age of 50 have plenty of advantages over younger, less experienced small business owners.
But maturity and business experience alone won’t be enough to make your new venture profitable. Here are some pitfalls to avoid when starting a small business later in life.
Using Your Retirement Savings to Fund Your Venture
One of the riskiest things you can do is use your retirement savings to fund a new business. There are too many other potential funding sources to try first. Instead of dipping into your retirement, seek backing for your business from alternative sources including:
- Small business loans
- Investments from friends and family
- Investments from business partners
- Small business grants
- Alternative investment funds not connected to your retirement
Letting Your Age Hold You Back
If you see your age as an obstacle to overcome, you’ll only hold yourself back. Instead of focusing on what you think are disadvantages, use your experience to make smart business decisions. After 50, you are much more likely to know the full extent of your strengths and weaknesses, and that gives you a distinct advantage in choosing a business venture you are passionate about.
Don’t be intimidated by new technologies or business practices, either. If you’re not comfortable with certain aspects of running your business, do what any other entrepreneur would do in your shoes—take some classes, hire an expert, or get advice from someone within your network.
Doing It Entirely for the Money
Launching a new business requires putting in extended hours, so it’s crucial that you enjoy your work. In fact, many new businesses won’t even see a profit for the first couple of years despite many, many long days or hard work. If you’re only in it to make some quick cash, chances are you’ll burn out in a hurry.
If money is an issue and you’re looking to profit quickly from your small business, you might still have some options. Is it possible to buy an established business that’s already turning a profit? Would you consider a franchise opportunity? Franchises give you the opportunity to be your own boss while offering additional financial stability. Not to mention franchises often come with marketing plans in place and loyal customers just waiting for you to open your doors.
Going It Alone
The older you get, the more likely you are to face illnesses and other challenges that keep you from managing the business consistently and effectively. Whether you hire consultants, go into business with a partner, or create a family-operated small business, your chances of continued success and longevity are multiplied when you share the responsibilities.
Additional Resources for Starting a Business After 50
Are you ready to launch a small business? Check out these resources:
- Take the Small Business Readiness Assessment.
- Check out SBA.gov’s resources for 50+ Entrepreneurs.
- Get advice from other successful entrepreneurs over 50.