You’re Never Too Old To Start A Business

Another great article I found at Richmond

Enjoy!

QUESTION: I recently retired, am not a very good golfer, and not sure where to volunteer my time. Perhaps I should start a small business. Am I asking for trouble?

ANSWER: You have reached another milestone in life. Retirement is a major lifestyle change.

You no longer have to punch a time clock, and no one is coming to you for advice and counsel. You have time on your hands and no idea how to spend it.

At this juncture, I can’t resist putting in a plug for SCORE, a national organization of volunteer business counselors. If you want to help young entrepreneurs and share the knowledge you have attained over your long career, consider becoming a SCORE volunteer.

As far as you starting a business, you are never too old.

For instance, Mary Kay Ash founded Mary Kay Cosmetics in her mid-40s.
And J. Harwood Cochran, who founded Richmond-based Overnite Transportation Co. in 1935 and built a trucking empire before he sold it in 1986, went on to start Highway Express Inc. trucking company at age 79 in 1991 and sold it in 2003.

Regardless of age, you start by developing a written business plan.

Pick something you have both background and passion about. Ideally it will fill an under served niche that has little competition.

A major consideration is finance. You are at a point in life where you no longer generate a paycheck.

In addition to business startup costs, you will require enough working capital to pay the monthly bills until you reach break-even (income versus outgo), usually six to nine months.

The value of a business plan is that it enables you to assess your strengths and weaknesses. It makes you focus on all the elements of running a business.

You will find you must wear many hats, some of which you are ill-suited. Do you muddle through or consider a partner who contributes in those areas you are least competent?

Do yourself a favor before you spend a dime: Develop a business plan.

Gray Poehler is a volunteer with the Richmond Chapter of SCORE, Counselors to America’s Small Business. To ask a question or request free and confidential business counseling, go to Richmond.score.org/mentors. A counselor will respond. Select questions and answers will be featured in Metro Business. To learn more about management issues facing small business and SCORE’s workshops, go to the website or call (804) 350-3569.

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