Chicago Small Business: Founding a Company After 50

Chicago small business attorneys know that starting up a business at any age is exciting - but also fraught with challenges.

Chicago small business start-ups with younger folks at the helm can benefit from the energy and fresh new concepts. The downside is that younger entrepreneurs sometimes lack the business connections, funding and career field insight to get their ideas off the ground.

Perhaps that's why a growing number of entrepreneurs are now over the age of 50.

It used to be that at age 50, those in the workforce had their eye more on retirement than on a brand new venture. That's changing at a rapid clip.

Baby boomer business owners are a fast-expanding demographic. Some perhaps have been forced to get creative after being raked across the coals by the current economy. Others are simply following dreams they have perhaps held for a long time now.

Whatever the reason, it's important to invest at the outset in a qualified Chicago business attorney who can help review everything from your business model to your marketing techniques and hiring plans, so you can be assured you will avoid potential pitfalls.

There are other considerations when starting a business later in life. For example, you're likely to have more free time and a fair amount of money set aside. However, if things don't go well, it can be more difficult to bounce back than if you were in your 20s.

Still, you shouldn't see your age as a deterrent. In fact, you should know that some wildly successful entrepreneurs didn't start until much later. For example, Ray Kroc was in his early 50s when he founded the McDonald's restaurant chain. Harland Sanders was 65 when he first started franchising his Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant. And the maker of ramen noodles did not found his company until he was nearly 50.

You do need to have an honest brainstorming session about what you can afford and what you can't. You need to be cautious that you aren't investing more than what you can afford to lose. If you can, invest money from others. You need to be mindful in protecting the assets you already have.

As an older entrepreneur, you do need to leverage the experience, skill and connections you have. Those are huge pluses, considering investors want to know they can trust you.

Some advisers suggest that if you are able, you may want to consider buying a business that already exists. Franchising can be a good way to start if you've never before owned a business. Remember though that even though these companies often have a proven successful business model, you should still consult with your own business attorney who will look out for your interests.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, make sure that you love whatever field into which you are about to leap. This is something that is going to take a lot of your time, resources and attention. Make sure it's something you feel is worth taking on - and that you can be proud of.

Jeremy A. Gibson & Associates is a law firm dedicated to Chicago business law. Call 877-452-4529 for a free consultation.

Additional Resources:
Starting A Business After 50: 5 Things You Need To Know, By Geoff Williams, The Huffington Post