Valley First Credit Union offers advice to small business baby boomers

In B.C.’s Interior, start-up businesses and an aging demographic are key components of the regional economy.

A recent survey revealed more than half of Canadians in the baby boomer generation have either launched or are considering a small business venture before they reach retirement.

This is particularly true in B.C.’s Interior, where start-up businesses and an aging demographic are key components of the regional economy.

While the allure of being your own boss and building a healthy nest-egg may be stronger in the Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys, Valley First commercial banking manager Kevin Smith says rolling out a small business should not be taken lightly.

“Having your own business can be very rewarding,” said Smith.

“But, as any small business owner will attest, success doesn’t come without a lot of hard work. Before embarking on any business venture or pursuing a potential opportunity, you should fully understand the risks and rewards involved.”

One of the top reasons older workers cited for wanting to start a new business before retirement was the opportunity to make more money and, in turn, create greater retirement income.

For those who are comfortable starting their own business later in life, Smith offers some words of advice.

“Do your homework,” said Smith. “With about a third of start-ups failing after the first year, success lies in the preparation, in particular creating a business plan, unearthing hidden costs and securing financing.

“There are risks involved with every business venture and there are never any guarantees. You have to have a solid business plan and realistic expectations—especially in the later years—as any personal losses will be harder to regain.”

According to the Government of British Columbia, small businesses make up more than 98 per cent of all start ups in B.C., employing about one million people.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our local economies,” said Smith.

“For those who have identified a gap in the market, the next step is choosing a trusted financial partner. At Valley First, we have local expertise and tremendous knowledge of our home markets.”

Beyond the potential financial rewards, Smith says starting a business toward the end of what is usually considered a traditional working life allows older business people to stay connected with their personal and professional networks and take advantage of their often considerable amount of workplace experiences.

Valley First is a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.’s third-largest credit union, which has 37 branches and 29 insurance offices throughout the province, with some 1,400 employees.