Business Partnership as a Couple

We have discussed the ups and downs of business partnerships here and hopefully you have an insight into what makes for a successful business partnership. But have you considered a business partnership with your life partner?

Jo Ann and Bob Shirilla of Poland, OH have been married for 39 years, most of which they were working in two very different industries. Jo Ann, 62, ran and operated a gift shop while Bob, 64, spent 30 years in the information technology field.

Jo Ann knows what kind of flexibility working for yourself can provide, as her time in charge of the shop afforded her the chance to care for the couples’ two daughters. But when their children grew up and finished college, the two decided to retire. The rest was history.

Jo Ann closed her store but had plenty of leftover gift shop inventory so Bob used his tech-savvy to help her set up an e-commerce website. Bob tells Forbes he was “neither financially nor emotionally ready to fully retire,” and with their daughters out of college, they felt a financial risk was in the cards. So Keepsakes Etc. became an online personalized gift shop that fulfilled both of their desires to only semi-retire. Things were going so well the couple has even expanded to a second website and a much larger inventory. Their second website, Simply Bags, sells backpacks, totes and fashionable bags for everyone.

The couple’s success might have something to do with the complementary skills they’re able to offer to the business. Bob is in charge of business processes, internet marketing and technical difficulties while Jo Ann runs operations and merchandising. But since opposites don’t always attract, Jo Anna and Bob make sure to do their respective work in different locations to ease any potential tension.

While it might seem like the two are busy, they’re not so busy that they’re missing their retirement. The stores offer the Shirillas a much-appreciated flexibility in hours. They’re able to travel together all around the country reaping the full benefits of no longer having to punch a clock. They’re having such a great time that even though Jo Ann warns against the potential financial risks of going into business for yourself, she offers that her only regret is that “I wish we would have done this earlier.”


If you’re a late-life entrepreneur seeking help with a new or existing business, Prime Strategies can offer the necessary guidance and expertise to help you reach your goals.

Challenges of Transitioning from Executive to Entrepreneur

We love a good small business success story here at Prime Strategies, and open forum’s telling of Charles Henagan’s is a great example of someone moving from executive status to becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Embarking upon what appeared to be his dream job, Henagan was tasked with bringing new life to a legendary brand of vodka. Nearly 50, he was given new life with his exciting schedule of travel, meetings and strategy sessions while staying connected to his younger colleagues over post-work drinks.

Only 6 months into his new role, spirit sales began to sink internationally in response to the recession. As a result, Henagan was let go, leading him from the work force to becoming an unemployment statistic.

Henagan decided against looking for another corporate job in such delicate economic times, so he established Market Edge International, a New York City-based consulting firm that helps clients create sales teams and marketing strategies.

Henagan laments “The U.S. economy is changing so dramatically that in most industries, even when things pick up, the management structure will be fairly flat.” He felt exiting that scene and starting his own company was the most logical and dependable solution.

Not all victims of the down-turned economy have landed on their feet. Flexibility and long-term experience saved Henagan from the unemployment line but for some, starting their own business with a corporate executive mindset is slightly trickier. Most at the executive level are used to collaborating on big decisions and spending corporate money. Having sole responsibility for all decisions and tasks, can be a difficult mindset to accept. Plus it’s tough to deal with the loss of status. Some even experience anger, denial, depression, and so entrepreneurship is not for every transitioning executive.

Henagan, however, considers himself lucky to have made a smooth transition into entrepreneurship as opposed to pursuing another corporate job. He’s busy at work applying his acquired skills and new knowledge to his growing business. It works for him.


If you’re an entrepreneur seeking help with planning for 2014, Prime Strategies offers One-Day Fast-Track Planning  to guide you in creating a solid Action Plan that will lay the foundation for a successful and profitable year.

Six Questions to Ask Before Starting a Business After Retirement

So you’ve retired from your life-long career and realized that a life of going fishing and watching daytime television isn’t exactly your cup of tea. You’re not alone. Many retirees are considering creating small businesses as a way to fill their time, continue making money and even fulfill some lifelong dreams.

But starting a business isn’t the simplest of tasks. While you may be up for the challenge, here are some things to ask yourself before you make a commitment to opening that shop or selling your services.

Is there a market for what you have to offer?

Do the market research, check market trends. Who is buying what you are offering? What is the size of the market? Can you make a profit? How long will it take to break even? You don’t have the luxury of a long ramp up time, so focus on something with a short sales cycle.

Are you cut out to be an entrepreneur?

As an entrepreneur you make all the decisions, you make the plans and execute them. You are also accountable for the results. Are you a self-starter? Can you ask for the business? Are you prepared to work long and hard to bring your business to success? Are you willing and able to forego immediate profits?

Are you financially secure enough to take a hit?

If your business requires a lot of overhead and supply purchasing, or a large sum in licensing and insurance fees, are you ready to take a financial hit before you start seeing any profits? New businesses don’t make money overnight so while it might seem like a fun idea to jump right in, make sure you’ve got the funds first.

Is this something you’ll follow through on?

Maybe it seems like a great idea now. Maybe you just really want to get out of the house and start talking to people again. But before you take your first step, make sure you’re ready for this level of commitment. It will require much of your time and energy to build a brand, market it and fulfill orders to keep customers happy so make sure it’s something you’ll love.

What is your skill set?

Think about what you already know, what you’re already good at. You’ve had a lifetime to hone your skills and be the best at something. Whether or not that directly applies to the new venture you’d love to take on, find ways to apply your strengths. Perhaps there’s opportunity for growth; something that was missing from the job you once did.  Maybe this could be the chance to apply your skills and knowledge to an endeavor that is strictly yours.

Is your network reliable?

Marketing your brand and building a customer base is a crucial step to creating your new business. Without customers, what do you have? Luckily, you’ve had years to build up your network and make friends and acquaintances that might be able to help. Maybe they can spread the word to friends who may be interested in your product or service. Perhaps they have skills you don’t have and would be willing to offer advice or lend a hand when needed. Having advocates in your corner when you make the leap into business ownership is invaluable, so take a look at your network when getting all of your ducks in a row.

The prospect of starting your own business is very exciting, especially with all of that retirement energy you have saved up. Before you take the big leap, however, make sure you understand all of the factors.


If you’re a late-life entrepreneur seeking help with marketing strategies and management techniques, Prime Strategies can offer the necessary guidance and expertise to help you reach your goals.


Find Confidence in Your Work Ethic

If I asked you to make a list of your strengths and weaknesses that would support your dream of starting a business, your weaknesses list may wind up longer than your strengths list. Qualities within us that are innate and long-standing are difficult to identify and boast as something wonderful. That’s why I’m here today, to encourage one of those qualities in particular, something you know you have but you may not know how valuable it is; your work ethic.

Starting a business is no small feat. There are many things to consider and even once you have those things in place, there’s plenty more work to be done. Creating and maintaining a business that is reliable and provides quality goods or services takes dedication and passion. You need to build a rapport with potential customers, existing customers, people who may never be customers but may know someone who might be.

But good news abounds. If you’re a late-lifer seeking a second career in exchange for an idle retirement, you’re already a step ahead. Folks reaching retirement age are among a generation with one of the strongest work ethics in existence. Many of you had no choice. Even before you graduated from school, you had to work to help support your family. There was no time for lollygagging or figuring out what you wanted to do with your life, you had to get down to business. And through that, you learned the value of a hard day’s work – it’s something you thrive on. As younger generations grow to be more dependent on technology and idealism, you put to good use what you’re all about: getting the job done. You have the opportunity to figure out what you want to do with your life now.

Here are some ways to rest easy and grow confident in what your work ethic can bring to your new business.

Build Customer Relationships

Networking is a key component of success for businesses big and small. Coming from a generation not completely fluent in texting and emails, you know the importance of face-to-face human communication. As time marches on, this skill becomes more and more priceless to own. You likely already have a large network and this is a great foundation upon which to build a new business.

Ensure Customer Trust

Allow those you’re networking with to see how dedicated you are to a job well done, to customer satisfaction, to building relationships, not just selling your product or service. This work ethic will drive customer trust in you and have them returning time and time again.

Avoid Feeling Overwhelmed

For you, the extra work is no big deal. You may think you’d rather spend the day on the lake fishing, but remember how restless and bored you got the last time you went fishing? This business is your gateway to happiness; you’re in charge and you get to keep things moving. But the rigorous routines and the constant flurry of business-related thoughts can take over your mind and become overwhelming from time to time. When it starts to feel like too much to handle, take a few steps back, remember why you started it and rest easy knowing you’ve spent your entire life practicing for this.

It may feel overwhelming to start a business in a generation where technology is key and youth is reigning, but a strong work ethic is still a valuable asset and will help you succeed in this market.

If you’re a late-life entrepreneur seeking support in business planning and management techniques, Prime Strategies can offer the necessary guidance and expertise to help you reach your goals.

Challenges of Becoming a Late-Life Entrepreneur

The statistics are overwhelming; now more than ever before, those near retirement age are looking to start their own business. The reasons vary. Some can’t bear the thought of an idle retirement, while others need to supplement their income to continue paying the bills.

If you’ve considered turning your life-long passion into a business, are interested in testing your limits with a second career, or are simply looking to be our own boss, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s discuss some challenges you may experience as you begin the process and how you can overcome them.

An Overwhelming Start

Whether you have prior experience or not, starting your own business can feel overwhelming. There’s a lot to consider: from financial planning to goal setting, marketing ideas to leadership approaches. Rather than see that as a negative, I prefer to see it as encouragement to get you started on the right foot. Planning is a key factor in the success of your business so avoiding feeling overwhelmed by starting slow. This may not be the most fun part, but it is the most important.

Creating a Business Strategy

Business plans give you a direction and that’s a good thing to have when you’ve got nothing else. Defining a clear strategy gives you something to quantify and qualify so you can keep track of your progress and make sure you’re on the right path. Use the simple, yet powerful, Prime Strategies Business Success System to help you get started. Outline your vision, define your mission, understand your objectives and what you think the best ways to fulfill them may be. Then work out a budget; what kind of finances do you need to get started? What kind of preliminary inventory and supplies do you need? What is your monthly income versus monthly expenses? Once you have those questions answered, you’ll be ready for action.

Management Technique

Learning the ropes of management and mastering a good set of skills can be tricky. Is your family involved with the business or have you hired from outside? This could make all the difference in your approach. The biggest difference between family and non-family workers is family workers will require that you set a boundary dividing family time and work time. What family and non-family workers will both demand of you is consistency and leadership. You’ll have to train your employees in the specifics of the industry or, at least, according to your own business structure. But managing people takes a certain finesse that will pay off tenfold if you master it.

Starting a business can be overwhelming, but don’t let the details stop you from accomplishing your goals. Creating the right plan and taking the right first steps can be a major help.

If you’re a late-life entrepreneur seeking support in business planning and management techniques, Prime Strategies can offer the necessary guidance and expertise to help you reach your goals.

Money: It’s Our Responsibility

In a recent gathering of women age 60+ we had a great and important discussion about money and our responsibility for it. While the circumstances were different for each of us there was a commonality of feelings. It has become a bigger priority in our lives, mainly because we don’t have time to recover losses. Due to previous losses, many of us are not where we’d like to be, or had planned to be. We have some cushions, but are concerned about how we can continue to earn at least some income as long as possible.  Four out of the six in attendance are in their own business. We all agreed that being our own boss certainly allows us to set our own schedule, and that’s becoming more important with time.

And, no, prince charming isn’t coming. We are on our own. We agreed that we are the first generation living where women are required to accept financial responsibility for themselves, even in a two income household. We have created the model for the next generation and they have already adopted it. [Read more…]

Late Life Entrepreneur

As never before people approaching retirement age and beyond are running businesses. Some have been in business for years, others are just starting out.  They are called Late Life Entrepreneurs.

The considerations and challenges for this group are quite different from those of other ages. Hard decisions need to be made and that’s not always easy to do alone. Being in this category myself I found out recently how things can change that will affect business.
Time is of the essence now. So what are the considerations? Some are business, some are financial, some are quite personal. Given that there will be a limited time in which to achieve what you want in your business and your life, now is the time to review and possibly reset your priorities?

As a result of dealing with my own recent age-related changes, I’ve learned that others my age are facing many of these same changes. Body and health changes, emotional changes, attitude changes, energy changes, and relationship changes, are just some of what we’re experiencing, Many of these are unexpected and unwelcome. How can we cope and reset our priorities to help keep us feeling in control of our lives?

So I’ve initiated a new community to bring together men and women who want to stay in touch with trends, news, ideas, and activities for those age 60 plus. It’s called Our Platinum Years, and membership is free. Hear what others our age are experiencing, compare notes, and be prepared to give and get support for making hard decisions. Be sure to check it out.

“Everybody says your mind is the most important thing about your body. Your mind and your body. You keep both busy, and by God you’ll be here a long time.”
Walter Breuning, age 114