Small business: Mature owners

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Doris Mousdale, owner of the Arcadia bookshop in Newmarket, Auckland. Photo / HOS
Doris Mousdale, owner of the Arcadia bookshop in Newmarket, Auckland. Photo / HOS

Well, the common theme of the more mature SME owners I interviewed this week, was they were extremely engaged and passionate about what they were doing and they were very youthful in outlook. There may be an exit route on the horizon but that horizon is quite a distance away.

We are lucky to hear from internet retail pioneers, and former academics, Rhondda Sweetman and Justine Kingi, two sisters who talk about their experiences of starting up an online retailing business in their 50s when they and many others knew very little about this area. Their sage advice is to start your new business small. The last thing you want is to go into debt as retirement age looms and have good self-belief.

Someone else from a teaching background, Geoff Treanor, talks about his
business, taking teachers abroad to Asia, with the company Teach Overseas. I can't think of anything I'd rather be doing, is his comment. But it is important to have an exit plan.

Doris Mousdale, owner of the lovely Arcadia Bookshop in Newmarket, didn't really have a dream to run her own bookshop but she was a casualty of the shrinking book retail market and she decided it was the thing to do, with her husband's prompting.

And she is having a ball plus has a daughter as a possible succession plan.

Ian Barron enjoys the networking and upskilling he needs to do to be a MYOB adviser. His attitude is there is no benefit in envying those putting their feet up in retirement while you continue in your business. Concentrate on what you are doing and make the most of it.

Lastly, MYOB gives us a picture of the baby boomer SME owner, their strengths and weaknesses. And Richard Poole from the Grown Ups website gave me these links to go with this theme.

We link from that article to -
Can we ever say it's 'too late' to change career?
13 People who prove it's never too late for a career change
How to change careers when you're middle-aged
It's never too late to change career

Check out grownups.co.nz which regularly features this topic.


Next week: Aucklanders will have noticed that there are all kinds of restaurants springing up at the moment - Peter Gordon's in the Sky Tower, Al Brown has a new place opening up next to The Depot, and the Cityworks Depot complex has attracted the likes of the Food Truck's Michael van de Elzen. I want to hear from hospitality businesses who are building something they think will last and the challenges out there. How do they keep in touch with customers between meals? Meanwhile I'm trying out My Food Bag this week. Are these kinds of businesses threatening restaurants? Is it a replacement to eating out? I will report back.

- NZ Herald

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