Retirement isn’t for everyone. For many, the traditional image of what it entails just doesn’t fit in with their active lifestyle, so much so that in the past few years, there has been a marked rise in the number of people aged 50 and over wanting to start up a business for the first time and become an olderpreneur.
Among the reasons cited, a lack of fulfilling jobs and opportunities for promotion are key motivators in encouraging people to take the leap and be their own bosses. With entrepreneurship at an all-time high and showing no signs of slowing down it’s time to join in and nurture that brilliant business idea you’ve been sitting on.
With a plethora of services now available at your fingertips, the first steps to starting out needn’t be complicated or time-consuming.
Find your market and know your brand
If you want to know whether your idea has the potential to flourish, test it out on friends and family to garner honest feedback. They will be the most forthcoming with their opinions and this will help you to iron out any potential issues.
Make sure you are clear about who your competitors are and what your target market is. Go into as much detail as possible (age range, gender, interests etc) but be realistic – you can’t cater to everyone!
Having this information in mind from the get-go will make it easier to plan how you will go about reaching your customers.
When starting out, knowing who your target market is can also help you to come up with a suitable name for your business. Keeping all your ideas in one place will make it easier to shortlist your favourites. Then enter prospective names through Companies House to find out whether the name has already been registered.
The internet makes it easier than ever to reach a wider audience so social media sites likes Facebook and Twitter are valuable marketing and networking tools. Best of all, they’re free. Use them to build your community of customers and to draw potential customers in.
Call on family and old colleagues to help boost your online profile and to spread the word about your business.
Alternatively, get a stack of business cards from your nearest printers. Hand them out to everyone you come across who may be a potential customer and ask them to pass on cards if they like what they see!
You never know who could be a potential customer and a personal recommendation is always the best way to secure new business, so give a stack to relations to hand out when they can too.
Money, money, money…
Another bonus of starting up from home is that you have no real overheads. It’s a good idea to formalise the arrangement by creating a home office space contract for yourself so you can claim back the overheads in running the business for tax purposes. Create one free with the one-week free trial being offered by online legal service Rocket Lawyer.
If you need extra cash to help get your idea up and running, turn to family and friends first. If they can’t help personally, they might know someone else who can so it doesn’t hurt to ask.
If you do go down this route ensure you draw up a ‘promissory note’ stating how much you have borrowed and when you aim to return the money as it helps to provide clarity for both parties. Alternatively, you can approach your bank for a business loan if you need a larger sum.
It’s an unavoidable part of life but you must register your business for tax purposes! You can easily do this online through HMRC or request paper forms to be delivered to you.
Make sure you’re organised with paperwork from the start and keep all records of invoices, copies of receipts and a note of all transactions as you will need these to tally up the numbers at the end of every business year.
As your business gets off the ground, you may need to start thinking about assistance and staff. Even if you hire from close family and friends, you are still legally required to issue an employment contract!
Consulting a lawyer may sound daunting (and expensive) but there are great sites available like ours that allow you to create your own professional contracts so you have solid legal footing from the start and both employer and employee know where they stand.
Now just set up a business bank account at your local branch or online to help maintain a high level of professionalism. This will also ensure your personal and business finances are kept separate for tax purposes, which will make it easier to calculate in the long run!
by Mark Edwards, General Manager at www.rocketlawyer.co.uk