I started my own business in July last year when I reached “official” retirement age.
I prefer to talk about “refirement” and thought to reflect about seven lessons I have learnt over the past 18 months.
My hope is that it will encourage others on their own entrepreneurial journey.
● Do it now
In the 13 years I led two incubators, one principle I tried to apply was that of being agile, responsive, and acting quickly (not rashly).
This has served me well over the past 18 months where responsiveness is welcomed by corporate and private clients. What about you? Can you increase your response by 10% to 15%?
● Be mindful of the money
That means having a budget for both personal and business purposes. It can also mean getting bookkeeping or accounting support.
At all times, it is the business owner’s responsibility to know what key factors to look out for. A great accountant will also help keep you up to date with your compliance, such as South African Revenue Service (SARS); Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC), etc.
● Play to your strengths
In refiring my business career, I believe it is important to focus on those areas that bring me joy and purpose (in the circle of my strengths).
While turnover is important, I don’t want to do that which has little purpose for me. I have said no to some “opportunities” simply because they didn’t align with activities that are my own strengths.
● Leverage your networks
The eight wonderful years leading the Centre for Entrepreneurship Rapid Incubator at False Bay College laid a foundation to build networks across private and public platforms.
I have chosen to maintain and nurture these relationships and networks.
This doesn’t happen by default but by design. Perhaps you can grow a stronger network in 2024. It has been truly said that your network is your net worth.
● Grow your resources
I play extensively in the enterprise development arena. As such, I need to continuously grow understanding, insight, and capacity in this discipline.
I have invested heavily in material to enhance my business.
This has included platforms such as GrowthWheel; Positive Psychology; Get Abstract to name but three resources. The key is to extract as much value from the resource as possible and continue to add value to your offering.
● Increase your risk propensity
An inaccurate image of running your own business is that of randomly and almost indifferently taking on risk.
Successful business owners know this is far from the truth.
Most do considerable due diligence and make purposeful decisions.
I am talking, however, about the space that entrepreneurs play in where you need to be comfortable with uncertainty.
A regular pay cheque is a blessing, but one the business owner must build over weeks/months and years.
It is this living with uncertainty that is a process that you can retard or increase. It really lies in your hands. I regularly choose to think about the best, not the worst outcomes. This has taken some time to develop.
● Reinvent, rather than retire.
Most South Africans can’t afford to retire. This is a financial reality.
Yet over and above the financial side, I honestly want to keep adding value to others in the “silver years”. This relates to my purpose.
Aging is inevitable, but growing old is a choice. I embrace aging but choose to reinvent myself to continue adding value and bringing hope to others. I think that keeps me young.
After all, retirement is not the end of the road. It is the beginning of the open highway.
May you find reason to reinvent yourself and refire.
● Steve Reid runs his own business in support of entrepreneurs, leaders and incubators.
Contact him at email@example.com