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Top Ten Tips for "Oldepreneurs"

Last week we took a look at a phenomenon that’s on the increase in the UK business world, the rise of the olderpreneur, people approaching retirement age who are choosing to launch their own businesses.  We discovered that the over-65s are Britain’s fastest growing group of new business owners and that the proportion of older business owners in the past ten years has increased by 140%, a figure not to be sneezed at.  Indeed, businesses started by people over the age of 50 have a 70% chance of surviving the first five years, as opposed to a meagre survival rate of 28% for those younger.  As promised last week, today we’re going to list some tips and advice for mature start up owners, most of whom will be bringing valuable knowledge and experience gleaned during their careers, along with lists of industry contacts that they’ve forged when working for others.

  1. Firstly, if you’re not sure that you have the skills and experience necessary to run your own business, learn.  Some colleges nowadays offer courses specifically designed for first time entrepreneurs over the age of 50. 
  2. Some local authorities and chambers of commerce are also offering courses for older people wanting to start their own business, along with valuable mentoring schemes that can help make the process easier.
  3. Make the most of the support and resources available to you.  There is an increasing amount of visibility and support out there.  Even the Prince of Wales has got in on the act with the Princes Responsible Business Network, Business in the Community which supports those over 50 starting a business and provides advice to help them access loans and funding.
  4. Your business will need a website and it will need to be good to stand out from the crowd.  Don’t think that because one of your younger relatives is tech-savvy that they can build your business website for free.  Invest in a professional website service – there are plenty of small website agencies in the UK who can make sure your business website gives a great user experience for a reasonable cost.
  5. Use the internet for research, support and factual information.  There is so much information out there with plenty of websites offering advice, workshops and online seminars that you can access from the comfort of your home or your home office desk.
  6. Be wary of online services that promise to bring business success at a price.  It’s often the case that what they are offering can be found freely available elsewhere, either online or in books (your local library could be a great source of information for you).
  7. Traditionally, starting a business means lots of hard work, often long hours every day of the week in the first year or two as the business gets off the ground.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your energy levels are what they were in your younger days.  Make sure you take time to rest and replenish yourself on a regular basis so that you have the vigour necessary to launch and run a successful business.
  8. Accept any support offered by family and friends but be aware that they are not always the best advisors when it comes to ascertaining the viability of your business.
  9. Be visible - get out there and network, using the phone, email, social media, etc. to follow up and keep in contact.
  10. Develop a powerful elevator pitch – a one sentence description of your business and how it benefits customers.