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Planning Retirement Online

How to become a Granpreneur

 

Starting a business...

With the Laterlife Challenge now well underway, it is wonderful to see how many people over 50 have decided to not only undertake new hobbies and interests, but also to get involved in new businesses.

The good news is that today there is lots of help at hand for anyone who is thinking about the exciting world of their own business.

Mark Edwards is General Manager at www.rocketlawyer.co.uk, an online legal service providing individuals, families and businesses with easy-to-use, professional legal documents and affordable help from specialist lawyers. He has been kind enough to share with LaterLife his expertise in this area.

It seems that retirement is not all it’s cut out to be! Entrepreneurship is at an all-time high and shows no sign of slowing down, even for those you might assume would want to slow down. 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. 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. So what are you waiting for? With a plethora of services now available at your fingertips, the first steps to starting out needn’t be time-consuming or complicated.

Branding and marketing

If you want to know whether your idea has ‘legs’, the easiest way to garner that information is to test it out on your friends and family. They will be the most forthcoming with honest feedback and advice and this will help you to iron out any potential issues.

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.

Knowing who your target market is early on can also help you to come up with a suitable name for your business. Keep all your ideas in one place so you can refer back to them quickly and this will make it easier to shortlist your favourites. 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 tools like 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. 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

One of the many benefits 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 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. If you do go down this route through family and acquaintances, 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.

Tax doesn't have to be taxing

This isn’t the most exciting part of starting up but you do have to register your business for tax purposes! 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. Even if you hire help 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 online legal sites like ours that allow you to create your own professional document so you have solid legal footing from the start and both employer and employee know where they stand.

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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The above article is part of the features section of laterlife.com called laterlife interest. laterlife interest contains a variety of articles of interest for visitors to laterlife.com written by a number of experienced and new journalists.

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