How to be an olderpreneur

Mark Edwards, General Manager at www.rocketlawyer.co.uk, an online legal service providing families and businesses with easy-to-use, professional legal documents and affordable help from specialist lawyers.

If winding down into a quiet retirement isn’t for you, why not put your time and energy to good use and join the growing number of retirement-age entrepreneurs starting up their own businesses? Not only will it keep your mind active but you can make use of the skills you’ve gained over time to help boost your bank account as well. With a huge variety of services and tools available for those wanting to take the leap, making the first steps needn’t be time-consuming or complicated.

Branding and marketing

You might have a few ideas for the name of your business but to protect yourself from potential name infringement issues later down the line, do enter prospective names through Companies House first. It takes just a few seconds to find out whether the name has already been taken so this should help narrow it down for you.

Make sure you are clear about who your competitors are and who your target market is. Remember to be specific (age range, gender, interests etc) but realistic – you can’t cater to everyone! This will make it easier for you to plan how you will reach your customers and the steps you will need to take to spread the word.

The internet makes it easier than ever to reach a wider audience so make full use of social media tools like Facebook and Twitter to help market your business. Use them to build your community of customers and to draw potential customers in. Depending on the nature of your business, you may only need to create two to three social media accounts. Call on family and old colleagues to boost your profiles and spread the word about your business.

Alternatively, you can hand out branded business cards 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 knew 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.

Working from home and funding

A benefit of starting up a business from home is that you have no real overheads! If you formalise the arrangement by creating a home office space contract for yourself, you can even claim back the overheads in running the business for tax purposes. Create one free with the one-week free trial on online legal service Rocket Lawyer.

If you need some cash to help get your business 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. Alternatively, you can approach your bank for a business loan if you need a larger sum. If you have savings tucked away for your retirement, don’t be tempted to use it all – use it as a contingency. You can use your business revenue to help fund the growth of your business as it flourishes.

Tax doesn’t have to be taxing

This may be the least exciting part of starting your own business but you must register for tax! You can easily do this online through HMRC. Make sure you’re organised with paperwork from the start as well – keep all records and copies of invoices, receipts etc. as you will need these to tally up the numbers at the end of every business year.

Employees

As your business gets off the ground, you may need to think about taking on support staff so you can get on with what really matters – growing the business. If you do, you’re legally required to issue an employment contract within the first two months, even if you hire help form close friends and family! Consulting a lawyer may sound daunting and expensive but there are online legal sites like ours that allow you to create your own professional document quickly and affordably (even free!) so you have solid legal footing from the start and both employer and employee know where they stand.

The final touch

Set up a business bank account at your local branch 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!

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