Everything you need to know to successfully launch your business in retirement

Jul 12, 2023
Starting a business in retirement offers a world of possibilities, purpose, and fulfillment. Source: Getty Images.

Retirement is often seen as a time for relaxation, leisure, and enjoying the fruits of a lifelong career. However, for some, retirement presents an opportunity to embark on a new adventure: starting a business.

Starting a business in retirement offers an exciting opportunity for personal growth, financial security, and newfound purpose. By leveraging your skills, passions, and experience, you can embark on a rewarding entrepreneurial journey.

However, it’s essential to approach this endeavour with careful planning, realistic expectations, and a clear understanding of the risks involved. With the right mindset, adequate research, and a passion for your chosen venture, retirement can be enriched by the challenges and rewards of business ownership.

Getting started: Top tips for launching your business in retirement

Embarking on a new business venture in retirement can be both exhilarating and daunting. To help you navigate the initial steps of starting a business, we’ve compiled a list of valuable tips. From identifying your passions to conducting thorough market research and seeking professional guidance, these insights will set you on the right path. By following these tips, you can lay a strong foundation for your business journey and increase your chances of success in retirement.

  • Reflect on your interests and passions: Identify areas of expertise, hobbies, or causes that ignite your enthusiasm. Consider how these can be turned into a viable business opportunity.
  • Conduct thorough market research: Analyse market demand, competition, and potential customer base for your business idea. Understand the trends, customer preferences, and identify your unique selling point.
  • Develop a business plan: Outline your business goals, marketing strategies, financial projections, and operational details. A comprehensive business plan will serve as a roadmap for your business and help secure financing if needed.
  • Utilise your network: Reach out to your professional contacts, friends, and family who may provide valuable insights, connections, or potential customers. Networking is a powerful tool in any business venture.
  • Seek out professional guidance: Consult with experts in legal, financial, and marketing domains to ensure compliance, optimise financial resources, and create effective marketing campaigns. Professional advice can prevent costly mistakes and set you up for success.

In addition to these great starting points, the author of Retire Bizzi, Jill Weeks suggests asking yourself the following questions to ensure success in your business endeavours.

  • How much will it cost?
  • How much time will it take up?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What is your aim for the business?

Weeks also advises that soon-to-be business owners “look for courses you may need to take to upskill” as well as chatting to “people with similar businesses for the pitfalls and traps”.

The benefits of business ownership in retirement

Beyond the financial gains, starting a business in retirement allows you to tap into your passions, utilise your skills and experience, and enjoy a flexible work-life balance. Additionally, it provides opportunities for social engagement, personal growth, and the satisfaction of making a meaningful impact.

The following benefits can also come with business ownership in your golden years:

  • A sense of purpose: Starting a business in retirement gives you a sense of purpose and fulfillment, allowing you to channel your passions and interests into a meaningful venture
  • Using your years of experience for a worthwhile endeavour: Your years of professional experience and skills can be leveraged to create a successful business, allowing you to utilise your expertise and stay connected to your field.
  • Opportunities for social engagement: Starting a business opens doors to connect with like-minded individuals, allowing you to build new relationships.
  • Building a legacy: By starting a business, you have the opportunity to leave a lasting legacy. You can create something meaningful and impactful that can be passed down to future generations or make a difference in the lives of others.
  • Mental stimulation: Owning a business keeps your mind active and engaged, providing intellectual stimulation and preventing cognitive decline that can often come with retirement.

These benefits collectively contribute to a fulfilling and rewarding retirement experience, making business ownership an enticing option for retirees seeking new adventures and meaningful pursuits.

Risks to consider when launching a business in retirement

While starting a business in retirement can no doubt be an exciting prospect, it’s essential to be aware of the potential risks involved. Having a thorough understanding of these risks can help you stand the best chance of finding success with your business.

Weeks recommends that you carefully consider the following factors to increase your chances of business success while safeguarding your well-being and financial stability.

  • Beware of risks to Centrelink benefits and tax implications.
  • What compliance and regulation issues are there?
  • What liability could you face? What risks would not only face you, but also your customers and suppliers?
  • What insurances will you need?
  • Do you need to register for BASS, ABN?
  • Is your technology up to date and protected?

Managing Director at businessfinancing.co.uk, Ian Wright also suggests that you take into account some of the roadblocks you may face when getting your business off the ground, particularly when it comes to securing a business loan.

“As a retiree starting a business you may find sourcing a business loan is a little harder, with more restrictions and limitations in place. This is mainly due to not being able to have a longer term on your loan – understandably banks and lenders would be reluctant to provide a loan on a 25 year term to someone that is already over 60,” Wright explains.

However, there are still a number of options and measures you can take to ensure these potential roadblocks become nothing more than a minor speed bump on your way to business success.

“A solid business plan is reassuring to a lender – make sure this is comprehensive and shows potential and growth. This will reassure a lender that you know what you are embarking on, have done your thorough research and they can feel secure that they will receive their money back,” Wright says.

“When looking for a business loan for your new concept, make sure you speak to a variety of sources and advisors to find the most suitable offer available. The requirements will vary depending on lender and where you live, and so it’s worth investigating early in your new business journey.”

The keys to your business success

With a thorough understanding of the steps needed to get started, the benefits of business ownership in retirement, and the risks involved, let’s explore the keys to success that experts swear by.

By incorporating these tried and tested keys to success into your business endeavors, you can increase your chances of achieving success and fulfillment in your retirement business venture.

Natalie Yan-Chatonsky founded her business Full Time Lives after an extensive career working in product management and innovation and suggests that retirees “start a side-hustle before you fully ‘retire’ after a longstanding career”.

“By starting your business as a side-hustle just a few days a week during the transition-to-retirement phase of your career, you can also try out whether you enjoy the entrepreneurial lifestyle as well,” she explains.

Joanne Swadling has been successfully running her small businesses for 25 years and believes that the “biggest thing is to use your previous experience in the work force and marry it with a passion”.

“If you have a couple of friends with complimentary skills, it’s a great way to stay young at heart and have a great time while spending time with your friends,” Swadling adds.

Starting a business in retirement offers a world of possibilities, purpose, and fulfillment. With careful planning, a positive mindset, and a willingness to adapt, you can embark on an exciting process that could redefine your golden years for the better.

By understanding the steps to get started, embracing the benefits that come with business ownership, being aware of the risks involved, and applying the keys to success, you can create a thriving businesses that leave a lasting legacy.



IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your financial or legal situation, objectives or needs. That means it’s not financial product or legal advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a financial or legal decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get independent, licensed financial services or legal advice.

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