With years of experience and expertise, greater personal flexibility, and a unique perspective that may come predominantly with age, starting a business in your 50s or older may have many advantages.
While young entrepreneurs opens in new window often hit the limelight, such as Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg who became the youngest self-made billionaire at 23 opens in new window, the number of older entrepreneurs – or ‘olderpreneurs’ – is growing.
The number of self-employed 65-year-olds has doubled over the past five years, opens in new window showing a rise in older people striking out on their own.
Many olderpreneurs with years of experience, skills, expertise, and contacts are venturing into their businesses later in life.
Along with their wealth of experience, olderpreneurs can often be in a more stable financial situation and, therefore, able to invest in a business and have more time to devote to it.
Read our guide on 23 businesses to start in 2023 opens in new window.
Advantages of starting a business as an older entrepreneur
Personal and professional experience
Older entrepreneurs may be highly qualified in their industry.
Numerous years in employment can help an older entrepreneur accumulate a wealth of knowledge and a broad skill set for their business opens in new window.
People over 50 could have an advantage over younger entrepreneurs as they also bring immeasurable life experiences to their venture, resulting in them acquiring essential soft skills.
Skills such as communication, teamwork, self-discipline, problem-solving, and adaptability can be vital to increasing the success of a business.
Read our guide to learn if you have the skills to launch a business opens in new window.
Stronger financial health
People over 50 may be more financially stable than their younger counterparts, such as having been able to pay off a mortgage on their home, accumulate savings, or contribute to a pension pot.
This financial cushion could mean that they can draw from a lifetime of savings or benefit from being mortgage-free or a redundancy pay-out to help grow their business or start a new one.
They also might have a longer credit history opens in new window, which may allow them a greater chance of securing business loans opens in new window and financing, giving their new business a healthy cash flow opens in new window.
You can also consider applying for a Start Up Loan opens in new window, which can provide up to £25,000 to help get your business idea off the ground.
Another advantage to being an Olderpreneur is the likelihood of you having built a more comprehensive network opens in new window of valuable contacts, potential customers opens in new window, and skilled employees to draw on.
From their years in business and education, olderpreneurs with established connections can leverage these assets for knowledge, advice, support, and even as potential clients when starting their own business.
A realised passion
More mature new business owners may also benefit from being less susceptible to the critical opinions of others and having a clearer idea of their end goal.
Combined with more confidence in their capabilities opens in new window, these traits can propel them to success when starting their own business.
Perspective and confidence
Older generations may have experienced more professional highs and lows throughout their career.
They may have achieved numerous successes, allowing them to pursue their business goals opens in new window with less pressure from outside influences.
This experience might also help with a greater degree of resilience, higher levels of confidence, and deeper capabilities in dealing with setbacks.
Less primary-care responsibilities
The over 50’s are less likely to have young children and passed the stage of school pick-up commitments and childcare costs, freeing up time and finance to invest in a new business venture.
Having grown-up children can also benefit olderpreneurs who may be able to enlist the help and support of their family with a start-up business, such as by employing family members.
Read our guide on how to know when your business needs to hire staff opens in new window.
Tips for starting a business as an older entrepreneur
If you’re aged 50 or over and considering starting your own business or an entrepreneur looking to seek additional advice on expanding your company, the tips listed below may offer you further guidance.
1. Find a business partner
Successful businesses often do not simply result from a sole trader opens in new window or individual entrepreneur.
It can be advisable to venture into a new business with a trustworthy partner, whether a lifelong friend, colleague, or family member.
Creating a business plan opens in new window, sharing responsibilities, and utilising each other’s unique skills can help get your start-up business off to a good start.
Sharing the load can ease the pressure and utilise that shared experience to build your business.
Read our guide on how to find a business partner opens in new window.
2. Become an expert in your field
No matter your age or experience, there is always the opportunity to acquire more knowledge, whether to help you choose a brand name opens in new window or to learn how to manage a team of people opens in new window.
To become a business leader, you’ll need to constantly add to your understanding of your sector and become an expert in your industry; enrolling in further education, utilising online courses, reading books, listening to podcasts, and attending conferences can all sharpen your skill set.
Explore Start Up Loans online courses to help you launch your business opens in new window.
Successful applicants to a Start Up Loan also benefit from accessing 12 months of free business mentoring opens in new window.
3. Distribute tasks wisely
While it is essential to have comprehensive knowledge of your business, try to avoid falling into the trap of becoming an expert in every field.
It can be a good idea to task yourself with one or two critical business areas and consider outsourcing certain areas.
For example, if finance and sales are your areas of expertise, but advertising isn’t, it may be a good idea to hire a marketing or PR agency to help, which could save you time and money.
Read our guide on how to outsource expertise and grow your business opens in new window.
4. Keep updated with social media
Promoting your new venture on social media can help potential customers find you.
Your social media presence will increase brand awareness, reach your demographic, and gain custom.
It’s a good idea to take the time to become skilled with popular platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
Read our guides to understand how social media can support your business:
- Twitter opens in new window
- Instagram opens in new window
- TikTok opens in new window
- Facebook opens in new window
- LinkedIn opens in new window
- Youtube opens in new window
5. Take time for self-care
Owning a business can be rewarding, albeit demanding, both physically and mentally.
While devoting your time to getting your new business up and running, be careful not to take on too much and delegate tasks to others while factoring in physical and mental well-being practices for yourself.
It may be a good idea to create a personal well-being plan opens in new window to ensure that you and your business are in optimum health.
Think about factors, including:
- getting sufficient sleep
- eating a balanced diet
- exercising daily
- partaking in mindfulness practices
- spending quality time with loved ones.
Thinking of starting a business? Check out our free online courses in partnership with the Open University on being an entrepreneur.
Our free Learn with Start Up Loans courses opens in new window include:
- Entrepreneurship – from ideas to reality
- First steps in innovation and entrepreneurship opens in new window
- Entrepreneurial behaviour opens in new window
Plus free courses on finance and accounting, project management, and leadership.
Reference to any organisation, business and event on this page does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation from the British Business Bank or the UK Government. Whilst we make reasonable efforts to keep the information on this page up to date, we do not guarantee or warrant (implied or otherwise) that it is current, accurate or complete. The information is intended for general information purposes only and does not take into account your personal situation, nor does it constitute legal, financial, tax or other professional advice. You should always consider whether the information is applicable to your particular circumstances and, where appropriate, seek professional or specialist advice or support.