I’ve just turned 60 years of age and I’ve recently launched two new businesses, one is a not-for-profit charity to help budding entrepreneurs to succeed regardless of circumstances (my way of giving something back) and also a new business connected with another organisation I founded several years ago which combines modern technology with more traditional services to help businesses to become more efficient as well as improving people’s lives and helping to solve world issues. Why now? I say why not? If you are motivated, healthy and have a good business idea why not do something about it?
Last decade plan
You could say I’m a serial entrepreneur, I’ve launched six successful businesses over the last 30+ years, but this is the first time I have done it in my sixties! Do I feel differently to how I felt when I started my first business 30+ years ago? Not at all, in fact I feel a lot more confident and relaxed about the whole thing in terms of what I want to achieve during what I am calling my ‘last decade plan’.
I’ve learned a lot of lessons along the way of course, things I may have done differently etc. but this is all part of the journey. Things take time and it is easy to put too much pressure on one’s self to achieve everything on day one. It won’t happen; but you do need to motivate yourself 100% from the start.
Quite frankly, it is never too late to start a business in my view, but you really need to want to build a real business because starting up on your own is not easy. There is no room for rose-tinted glasses and it won’t be a success unless you are willing to give it your all. If you are considering taking the plunge later in life with a new venture you need to consider at what level you are prepared to gamble financially.
There are various benefits to starting a business in your sixties not least the inheritance tax benefit of leaving business shares to loved ones. There is also the benefit of confidence and life experience, the intuition of knowing when something is working and when it isn’t as well as the ability to help your people when they struggle. That said it is always worth being cautious too because launching your own business is always a gamble, however confident, motivated or commercially savvy you are. This is where doing your market research comes in because even at this age, we don’t know it all!
The charity I have recently launched was certainly something new in terms of running a not-for-profit venture but helping entrepreneurs is second nature to me, because I am one and I understand the pains people can go through to get their business off the ground. I’ve had a successful entrepreneurial career over the last 30+ years and I was appalled to hear that 90% of UK-based start ups fail in their first year.
That has to be sorted in my view, and reduced to single figures, if only in light of Brexit and the business growth potential in the UK. I wanted to develop a piece of free technology that would help people to model and forecast their business ideas over three years, before they spend their hard-earned savings.
If you’re seriously thinking of launching a business later in life, I would say do it, but if you are not an experienced entrepreneur, get some support and the right advice first.
If you use a free business-modelling tool like ours you can model your ideas up front and risk-free to see if they have legs before you spend any money. If I could give one tip, it would be to build your three year profit and loss balance sheet first, work out your cashflow and funding needs and decide whether you are committed enough to go from there. Then the world really is your oyster!
Jerry Brand is a serial entrepreneur and founder of entrepreneur’s registered charity, The Brand Foundation (www.brandfoundation.co.uk)
By Jerry Brand