How Retirees Can Turn Into Entrepreneurs

Most people who experience a disruption in their career–whether due to retrenchment, retirement, or some other event beyond their control–eventually are able to find another job while the rest either retire for good or become entrepreneurs.

Vicente U. Kilayko, sales and marketing director of Drake Beam Morin (DBM) Philippines Inc., says the ratio is usually 60:30:10, which means that six out of ten people who get separated from their jobs find other companies where they continue to work, three out of ten become entrepreneurs or go into business for themselves, and one out of ten decides to retire permanently and live on his or her retirement pay.

DBM Philippines is the local arm of DBM Inc., a global human capital management company that provides career transition services to companies, nonprofit organizations, and governments. Since 2001, DBM Philippines has been in the business of helping companies and individuals in the country cope with the impact of work force reductions.

Individuals helped by DBM Philippines typically have at least 10 years of experience in the corporate world. DBM helps them find new jobs, and in the case of those who are considering going into business on their own, it counsels, trains, and coaches them on how to become entrepreneurs.

Not For Everyone

Kilayko points out that becoming an entrepreneur is not a decision to be taken hastily. “There are a lot of people who lose their jobs, and the knee-jerk reaction of many is to decide to become an entrepreneur,” he says. “Before doing that, however, they must first ask themselves this question: ‘Is entrepreneurship really for me?'”

To answer that question, he says, they need to make a personal assessment beforehand on whether they have the behavioral and financial capabilities to become a successful entrepreneur.

He explains that for someone to become a successful entrepreneur, he or she must be a people-person with good interpersonal skills. “For instance, if all these years you’ve been working in the back office, you might find it difficult to become an entrepreneur,” he says. “It is very important for you, or at least a business partner of yours, to know how to deal with people.”

According to Kilayko, a successful business is not just about money, but all about people. “You have to focus on your customer,” he says. And to do this, he adds, you need perseverance, optimism, and objectivity, which are three of the major character traits that you need to become a successful entrepreneur.

He says that it is also very important for the entrepreneur to have a healthy attitude towards money. He explains: “When you go into business, don’t just go running after the money. The money is just a measure of your business. Focus on meeting the needs of your customers instead. Go for creating a successful business, which is not about money but about serving the customer. When you do this, the money will just follow.”

He advises entrepreneurs to be careful and strict in handling the finances of their business. “Studies show that many businesses fail because the people running them don’t know how to handle money,” he says. “Many wrongly consider the sales of their company as their own income, something they think that they can just dip their fingers into any time.” To avoid funds misuse, Kilayko advises, the entrepreneur must separate personal funds from those of the business, open a separate bank account for the enterprise, and pay himself or herself a salary.

He says that prospective entrepreneurs must also find out from the very start whether the business they intend to get into would yield enough revenues to support their family: “For example, if you are currently earning P30,000 a month, you should find out what business is it that you can go into that would give you at least that kind of return.

Kilayko says that one should not decide to become an entrepreneur just because one cannot find a job. He explains that there are lots of jobs in the market that need the knowledge and skills set of a mature worker, and that it is just a matter of finding one that suits one’s qualifications.

He also cautions against using one’s separation pay on a business that has not been well thought out: “You cannot just throw away your severance package. In just six months, in the absence of a sound business idea and business plan, ubos yan [the funds would have run out].”

Once you have ascertained that you have the behavioral qualities and the financial capability to strike it out alone, Kilayko says, you need to identify the product or service that your business would offer. He explains that idea generation for a business is the most difficult part of the decision process for starting a business.

He suggests three ways of arriving at an idea for a business:

  • making use of your own work experience
  • making a business out of something you are passionate about, and
  • finding opportunities in emerging trends.

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