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Whether you're setting up a business or looking for employment, make sure you're marketable over 50


Why I think it was easier to set up a business in my 50s than it was in my 30s.

cost of setting up business in your 50s imageArticle by Ceri Wheeldon

When I set up my first business in my early 30s, the financial investment needed was far greater than the investment needed today.

I needed a PC, business quality printer, fax machine, copier, and telephone system all of which came to an initial investment of around £7000 and delivered far less functionality than a laptop and all-in-one printer costing hundreds of pounds today.

On top of that I had to rent an office and install ISDN lines. Phone calls were paid for by the minute, mobiles were still not an everyday tool. Investment in business stationery was significant. As was postage.

The business day revolved round meeting the 4pm post deadline.

Marketing of services was reliant primarily on print , radio and trade shows. All of which had to be budgeted for and carried significant costs. Of course word of mouth was always free!

Fast forward 20 years

Fast forward 20 years, and look at the opportunities existing today to set up a relatively low cost business.

  • Technology is far cheaper and delivers so much more than 20 years ago!
  •  Websites, blogs and social media make it so much easier to get your business message across at little or no cost.
  • Home based businesses are acceptable and fast becoming the norm for start-ups.
  • Broadband and mobile phones have transformed the way we communicate with customers – both existing and potential.

We now have so much more flexibility in our working environment than we had 20 years ago. The  upfront costs are so much lower today than they were 20 years ago. The financial barriers to setting up have been significantly reduced.

  • Do you need training? Look up YouTube for tutorials or attend free webinars?
  •  Looking for local  customers? Join local networking groups – there are many to choose from!
  • Need help? Ask on twitter!

The cost of actually doing business has decreased significantly, so today the bulk of your investment is on the actual business itself, not the tools to do business.

It seems 71% of women over 50 surveyed recently said they were think about setting up their own business. If you have a business dream to follow, go for it!  You may never have a better opportunity! Not to mention the added experience an extra 20 years of living has brought you.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering I sold my first business many years ago less than three years after I started it.  If you set up a  business in your 50s, you have plenty of time to create an asset to sell on!

Ceri Wheeldon

Ceri is Founder and Editor of Fabafterfifty.co.uk She is a frequent speaker at events and in the media on topics related to women over 50 , including style and living agelessly. With 20+ years experience as a headhunter Ceri also now helps support those looking to extend their working lives.

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  1. Ranju

    May 16, 2012

    Hi Ceri in two days time I will be 50 and I want to start a business thinking of opening a indian takeaway but I have no idea where to start. I am separated from my husband and its hard as he has not given me any money I dont have anything but I have still the will to move forward despite being unemployed for the last six months.I just need a little guidance and help when I stumbled across your website.

    • Ceri Wheeldon

      May 17, 2012

      It might be worth checking to see if you are eligible for any grants- check with whoever you see at the local jobcentre- also see if you can benefit from any of the events or mentoring avaiable through PRIME, Price Charles’s charity supporting people over 50 setting up businesses. Depending on where you live, there might also be some help available through Business Link, you will need to check with your local authority.
      Good luck!

  2. Jo Carroll

    June 1, 2012

    I set up a business in my early 40s, (20 years ago – gulp, how did all that time go by so fast?) invested in a computer than took up half the table, and was dependent on a landline.

    Now I watch a son in law setting himself up. The technology is on his side – but not the economy. My client base grew by word of mouth alone, and that was enough to make me a reasonably living (I never set out to be rich). He has to spend hours advertising, marketing – he has much less time to deliver a service. Swings and roundabouts I suppose – but it’s tough for entrepreneurs today.

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