You're never too old to start a business
By Dean Williams (Print-Print.co.uk)
For older workers, the traditional candidates for redundancy, the economic crisis has been particularly hard hitting. It’s come at a time when the value of pensions has fallen and annuity returns plummeted, making the possibility of taking early retirement less appealing.
According to The Community Development Finance Initiative, many over 50s affected by the downturn have been leading the recent upsurge in entrepreneurial spirit in the UK, choosing to see being out of work as an opportunity rather than a disaster.
Despite the stubbornly sluggish economy, half a million people start their own business in the UK every year, putting the UK 5th on the global entrepreneurial league table. Around 70% of new owners cite a desire to be their own boss as the reason for going it alone. Internet and technology-based businesses are among the most popular, with manufacturing and retail both well represented.
More start-ups are expected in the North and especially the North East than anywhere else in the country in the next two to three years.
According to Sage, the software and services provider, as many as one in four in the UK would like to start their own business. Recent studies have shown that older people are more likely to take the plunge than younger ones, with “the desire to do something pleasurable” and “achieving a better work-life balance” cited as the main motivation for the move to self-employment.
Perhaps that’s because older workers with a wealth of experience are too expensive for many companies to employ, and perhaps because they’ve reached a stage in their lives when they are ready to take charge and take responsibility.
Despite the vocal support offered by Prime Minister David Cameron, who has promised to “do everything we can to help them [small businesses and entrepreneurs] to start up and to grow,” anyone thinking of joining the entrepreneurial tidal wave as a way out of unemployment or redundancy should be aware of the potential pitfalls.
These often include:
• Finding start-up capital to purchase or hire premises, equipment and stock, or finding a way to start small and reinvest while living on very little
• Managing cash flow and increasing turnover
• Competing with established businesses with limited resources
• Putting personal assets on the line if things go wrong
However, with planning and preparation, anyone with an idea and the determination to see it through can set up their own business, and in today’s economy there’s never been more incentive to take charge of your own circumstances. And, while the over 50s may be ideally suited to self-employment, they might still need a bit of help getting their idea off the ground.
The Community Development Finance Initiative non-profit organisation is just one source of potential funding for individuals, businesses, social enterprises and charities whose start-up will benefit the local community.
Other sources of help and advice include Chambers of Commerce and Business Link or maybe look to join a local business breakfast club to help you network with like-minded business people.
We say you're never to old to start a business, so go on, give it a go – Good luck!