Fifty and Redundant – in a Recession

Two People at Fifty

A couple of people that I know recently took voluntary redundancy at the age of fifty.

One is a good friend, Jane, who’d worked as a company director for many years. She had a highly paid job that demanded blood, sweat, tears and practically all of her time. Jane handled projects with budgets in excess of £10 million, and a working life that caused her high levels of stress alongside all the day to day issues that running a team of almost 100 people entails.

Jane knew exactly what she was doing when she finally told her company she was leaving. She took to her voluntary redundancy very well and has entered carefully into her second career with everything pre-planned.

The other person, Dick, took redundancy by leaving a job he enjoyed, because the opportunity presented itself and because he could.  Dick did this at a time when the world economy was in turmoil, and with no discernible plans to replace his income. He has recently become quite disagreeable (possibly he always was – I am not sure) and given to fits of temper possibly due to a build-up of anger and resentment.

These two people represent both ends of the redundancy reaction spectrum. Which one would you rather be and what can you do when you find yourself with a lump sum of money and no job in middle age?

Start Your Own Business?

Many people with redundancy money in their pockets will think about starting a business. Jane certainly has already done this.  I am in the process of helping her to set up her website to make sure she gets off to a good start.  But for many people, starting something new and from scratch may be too big a step to take.

I think that any person starting a business on their own, needs the support of a website. I further think that the best way to achieve the kind of website that will be of practical help to a new entrepreneur must be understood, controlled and maintained (if not created) by the entrepreneur.

I talk about this in so many other posts that I won’t repeat my reasons why here.  Suffice to say, there usually isn’t the money in the budget at business startup to spend the amounts required to get the job done professionally and effectively.

New Business Hurdles

The lack of a good and appropriate website solution can be the downfall of many new businesses. Some think they can get a good website cheaply by using a service like Mr Site.

Others think they can get a friend or relative to do the site for free. For many people this will ultimately be a short cut to getting nowhere online.

But the website is only one aspect of a new business start-up. What about business planning, market research, company setup, accountants, bank accounts, logos, business cards, outsourcing, office space, personal tax, company tax, vat, employees, transport, marketing online, marketing offline, trade shows, suppliers, equipment, public relations, grants, office practice, innovation, computer skills, technology, writing skills, answering services, motivation, self-belief, and the all important, cash-flow?

If you think it all sounds like too much to think about, you could consider one of the large number of franchises that take much of the start-up pain away.

There are advantages and disadvantages to franchising, but the franchise concept helps a new business survive most of the hurdles listed above.

Advantages of a Franchise

  • Banks (used to -but who knows in the current climate) lend to franchisees more willingly as they see the business as a proven business.
  • You get a brand name with all trade marks
  • You get ongoing advice and training
  • Your business is a proven idea and you just add hard work
  • You’ll probably get all equipment and support
  • Normally there will be a territory and you’ll get exclusive rights to that area
  • You have a customer base – normally the franchise will not be offered unless the franchisor has  already researched the area and the chances for success are good.
  • You will have suppliers already set up.

Disadvantages of a Franchise

  • The costs to purchase the franchise may be higher than you were expecting
  • Other franchisees could give your brand a bad name
  • It could be a difficult business to sell – the franchisor may have to approve who you sell to.
  • There may be additional rules that you will have to adhere to under the terms of your contract with your franchisor.

A good franchise will offer you a business blueprint, and although you’ll still have to work hard, it is a good way to start a business with excellent earning potential and a clear way to maximise your chances of success.

If the idea appeals to you could start at the British Franchise Association.

One good thing about franchising for the technically challenged, is you could end up with an online business, without having to get involved with creating a website at all.