QUESTION ON Starting a Small Business
I am 58 years old and am about to be retired. I would like to have some advice on what small business I could start. I am a diploma holder in Engineering, have 30 years experience in purchasing, not computer literate, have a very small almost negligible bank balance, never ever did business before, only good at talking, ok in writing, and am very worried. I need advice urgently on some business to start to keep the home fires burning. Please help with some good practical advice. I am in good health fortunately.
– John Pitter
If you can communicate, you can do anything!
The first thing you need to do is to decide what you enjoy. If communication is what you enjoy and you are good at it, make a list of the things that you could do with that tool. I am sure there are numerous professional organizations that hire engineering consultants as well as purchasing consultants (including the U.S. Military and/or government). You are in luck so far as so many firms (large and small) outsource their work for others to handle.
Read the RFP’s (Request for Proposals) in your local newspaper. Usually the local school systems or governments post some that include purchasing. Maybe you could start a business whereby you purchase supplies and/or product for those? Try going to the library and searching for RFP’s in newspapers from surrounding cities or towns in your area.
I recommend you spend some time to learn more about the internet and all that it has to offer. There are a large number of B2B (business to business) websites that do exactly what you discuss as your expertise. They line up products that businesses sell to other businesses! If you can communicate verbally, use those same skills to communicate in writing and see if they are hiring purchasers or purchasing consultants. Another option, if you enjoy purchasing, is to see if you can align yourself with an advertising firm that purchases advertising for customers.
I have personally started two successful home-based businesses with my computer and no start-up funds. There is usually a trade-off between time and money – some of us have the money to fund a new business and some of us have the time.
Also, you may want to start reading these articles:
The most important thing is that you do what you enjoy and put everything you have into making it a success.
Best to you,
Recommended Resources on How to Start a Small Business
- Starting an Online Business for Dummies, Third Edition
- How to Open & Operate a Financially Successful Medical Billing Service
- When I Say This…Do You Mean That?: Enhancing on the Job Communication Skills Using the Rules and the Tools of the Improv Comedy Player
- Home-Based Business For Dummies
Article originally published in September 2000. Updated February 25, 2012
Tammy Harrison is a successful home-based working mom for over five years. She holds a degree from Mizzou in Consumer Economics. Her business focuses on Marketing and Creativity for Small Businesses as well as numerous other small businesses.