There are so many factors as to why being over 50 can be a huge advantage when entering into the world of business and entrepreneurship. Here's just a few of them...
Being over 50 means that you have probably spent some years in industry and working for other people. This is a great asset, as you will have developed skills that you can now use in your own business. Regardless of whether you worked in a senior position or not, the skills that you developed at work are invaluable to your own business. If you have worked in a specific industry for a sustained period of time, you will know that industry better than most. This is a great advantage as you will be able to see what that industry needs in order to improve, become more efficient, more profitable and more effective . This is where the best business ideas come from, being able to improve and enhance existing industries.
So, you’ve retired, or you’ve now got more time on your hands because the kids are older and have moved out. What are you going to do with this newfound time and freedom? You can now afford to be a little more selfish and focus your time on your idea and enterprise rather than on getting the children ready for school, or driving them to see friends. Time is your greatest asset when starting your business, what you do with that time will be the difference between success and failure.
Having already worked for someone else, you will have developed contacts, built relationships and know the key people in your industry and sector. This can save you so much time when starting your business as you already have the relationships with your perfect client, you already know the best person to speak to about selling your product or service and you will know things that those just entering the industry will not know. This is invaluable and will start you off on a higher footing than those who are younger and don't have already established networks.
According to recent statistics, 72 per cent of over 50s have set aside some money in preparation for retirement, or semi-retirement. One of the biggest issues when starting a business is around finding the finance to do so.
With your savings, you have your own finance to get started and moving, many young people starting businesses don’t have that and are forced to take out personal loans or seek investment in exchange for part of their company. You don’t have to do that. You can keep 100 per cent of your company from the start and not have to worry about paying back debts for the rest of your life regardless of whether or not that business is successful.
Chances are you've had moments in your career where you’ve said to yourself, "I can do this better," or "Yes you’re my boss, but I know what I’m doing so leave me to it." Well, now is your chance to respond to those things you have been saying to yourself for the last however many years.
There is no greater feeling of independence and self-motivation than waking up each morning and only having yourself to answer to. If you’ve always had to be in the office for a certain time, this feeling will really hit home for you. The freedom to do things your way, and not the way that 'it’s always been done' can be very powerful, and it could be exactly the way that things now need to be done. Whether you want to start a lifestyle business, or a high growth business, this independence is a great benefit.
According to figures from the Office of National Statistics published in 2012, 74 per cent of 50 to 65-year-olds in the UK own their own home, with no or very little mortgage repayments left.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks for people starting businesses is personal expense, with accommodation being top of the biggest monthly expense list. With no mortgage, starting a business is much easier as you can focus all of your time, money and resource into building the business without having to worry so much about earning enough to pay bills.
Those 20, 30 or 40 years of making somebody else’s business successful through your hard work have gone and you’re now using all the skills, contacts and knowledge you have developed for yourself and your own enterprise. Your financial risk is less as you have set aside some money 'for a rainy day' and you now have some of your time back to spend working on something for yourself. The government is also investing in the older demographic to look at starting businesses, or becoming more involved in their communities so taking advantage of this government investment can be a great thing to do.
You owe it to yourself to scratch the itch that you’ve been telling yourself you will get round to scratching one day. Go for it.