These days, more and more pre-retirees, transitioning retirees, semi-retirees and bored retirees are starting their own business ventures. According to a 2014 report from Merrill Lynch Wealth, 58 percent of retirees launch into a line of work different than their pre-retirement careers, and working retirees are three times more likely than pre-retirees to be entrepreneurs. Rather than the need for money, most retiree entrepreneurs report the top reasons they moved to a new line of work were for a more fulfilling career, more flexibility, more fun and less stress.*
If you’re considering taking the plunge into post-career entrepreneurship, consider the following five tips to help you start a new business.
Choose Your Product or Service
Successful new business ideas tend to create a solution for a specific problem or a new need or desire that customers didn’t even know they had. When selecting your venture, it’s a good idea to consider how much success you want to achieve on this chosen path. This will help you consider if and/or how you can manufacture or replicate your offering should your business grow exponentially. For example, if you start out baking your family-recipe brownies, consider your business plan if they become wildly successful. If you want to stay small, limit where and how you market yourself. Otherwise, consider selecting a product that would be easy to produce on a large scale.**
One way to approach how to price your product or service is to consider how much you would pay for it yourself. Research your competition to find the range of prices for similar offerings, and consider what those customers are paying for. In other words, many consumers will pay more for a name brand. Others don’t care about the brand, they just want a lower price. Consider the value of your offering, target the type of consumer you wish to engage and price accordingly. Be sure to factor in your costs — including both “hard” costs (e.g., materials and overhead) as well as your time when developing your price. If your product can be sold in large quantities, consider discounts at certain price points per unit sold.**
Consider testing out your product or idea. One way to do this is to create a Facebook page for your business and invite friends from your personal Facebook network to check it out. Post updates and ideas to the site, and ask survey questions so your Facebook friends can offer their opinions and feedback that may even improve upon your new idea. You can learn much from both critics and proponents about marketing and startup challenges. The more comments, shares, and “likes” you receive, the more you’ll see your potential market. Profile the types of friends who are most interested to help you create a marketing and distribution plan. It’s also a great way to generate excitement and interest before you launch.**
Distinguish Your Business
To help market your new venture, consider how your product or service differs from competitors, and develop a brand image based on that differentiator. Use this same process when considering where and how to sell your offering. Look beyond the usual sales opportunities for niche or mass venues, such as flea markets, farmer’s markets, Etsy or Amazon Marketplace. Also, creating a website is crucial in this day and age. Even if you do not sell your products over the internet, it’s important to establish a presence you can control through your website. This way potential customers can read about your business, retrieve your contact information, and learn how to buy your product or service without taking up your valuable time. Having a website is today’s key to legitimacy, so the more professional it looks the better the impression you will make.**
Join Other Masterminds
Business people call it a network, but retirees call it a mastermind group. Retiree mastermind groups cull together former business people who meet regularly to collaborate on ideas, advice and solutions for their ventures and as outsourced experts for other businesses. By joining or starting a mastermind group, you can stay active and engaged in other businesses or find like-minded business partners to start your own venture.***
According to Tobe Brockner, author of “Mastermind Group Blueprint: How to Start, Run and Profit from Mastermind Groups,” retirees have learned lessons that many business owners won’t learn for another 10 to 20 years. He suggests that a retiree mastermind group organizer can create consultant income for himself by tapping, facilitating and marketing a group’s collective wisdom to young business owners.****
Our firm assists retirees and pre-retirees in the creation of retirement strategies utilizing insurance products. If we can assist you in any way, please contact us at 801-990-5055.
*Merrill Lynch, “Work in Retirement: Myths and Motivations,” 2014; http://www.wealthmanagement.ml.com/publish/content/application/pdf/GWMOL/MLWM_Work-in-Retirement_2014.pdf
**Weebly.com, “How to Start a a Business – This Weekend!” accessed July 29, 2014; http://inspiration.weebly.com/post/how-to-start-a-businessthis-weekend
***Forbes, “7 Reasons To Join A Mastermind Group,” October 21, 2013; http://www.forbes.com/sites/chicceo/2013/10/21/7-reasons-to-join-a-mastermind-group
****Business News Daily, “5 Smart Business Ideas for Retirees,” June 11, 2014; http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/6571-business-ideas-for-retirees.html