Starting a Business: Financial Planning for Superyacht Crew

15th Mar 2021

Key financial considerations before starting your own business

It’s no great surprise that an increasing number of Superyacht crew are interested in starting a business once they are back on dry land. While every business venture is different, as well as things like the necessary start-up costs and operational overheads, one thing is for sure: you need a plan.

Often the key reasons why transitions back onshore don’t run smoothly is because of a lack of money and/or lack of preparation. Keep in mind that the move isn’t just a physical transition; it’s also psychological and emotional, so being prepared is fundamentally important.

You also need to think about the key financial considerations for starting your own business. We cover the most important ones in this post, written specifically with crew in mind.

Key considerations for starting a business

Like any major change in life, there are things to consider before taking the leap. Following are what we consider to be some of the most important key considerations for starting a business:

  • How much will you need to spend to set up your company in your desired location? A yoga retreat in Bali is likely to come with very different set up costs to a B&B in the south of France.
  • Do you expect to pay yourself a wage from your business? If so, how soon after launching your business do you hope to do that?
  • From the day you leave yachting, what is the shortest timeframe in which your business will start being cash positive?
  • Do you have a support network or a mentor in place to help you through to launch day (and beyond)? Starting a business comes with inevitable highs and lows, so you will want someone to turn to for advice and support.
  • Where will you be required to pay tax on your revenue and your wages?

Start-up challenges

Starting a business comes with its own set of challenges. However, if you have a personal contingency plan for how to overcome those challenges, you’re already better prepared.

Below are some of the biggest challenges to starting a new venture, so carefully consider how you will plan to tackle them.

Saving enough

Saving enough starting capital can make a significant difference to how successful and profitable your business venture will be. If you are going with a high investment venture, then you are likely going to need a loan or other financial support.

It is important to understand how you are going to source and have funding security prior to leaving the industry. If your business idea requires little capital to start, then you might consider saving this so that you can avoid any debt initially.

Where you decide to base your business will impact how much start-up capital you need as the costs for creation and business registration differ, as do insurance obligations.

Cash flow management

Most start-up businesses fail for many reasons, principally a lack of cash flow. The more financial support you can build for yourself, the higher the chances of success for your business.

To have good cash flow, you will need to have saved a lot of money while you’ve been working onboard because your business will need significant cash flow until your business turns a profit.

We recommend having at least 6 months of running costs as cash flow. If you can afford to, you may want to aim for 12 months of running costs to give you peace of mind. If your business is successful you can always invest your financial cushion into expansion or a savings plan.

Tracking and monitoring spending

If you’ve been in yachting for some time, you haven’t had expenses thrown at you from all directions. This happens, however, when you run a business. You need to track and manage all your expenses, right from the start, especially if you are starting a business on your own and don’t have an accountant or bookkeeper to help you.


It’s very easy when you start a business to buy a lot of new things. It’s exciting to consider a brand-new office or the latest technological gadgets. However, don’t get carried away. Instead, funnel those costs into acquiring clients.

Top tips for a successful venture

There are many great reasons for starting your own business. Working for yourself, having greater flexibility and expanding your skills are among them. Here are our top tips for making your business venture a success from the outset:

Prepare for the worst

Even if you’re an optimist, you need to be realistic and preparation is key. If you can, consider staying in your current job until you can prove that your new business venture will replace your current salary. Having an additional income when starting a business will provide an extra layer of security. If you can’t do that, save as much as possible and have separate cash reserves for the business and for your personal commitments.

Time is money

This may sound cheesy and obvious, but every minute of your time has a monetary value. When you leave the organisational structure of life onboard it can be difficult to manage your own time. Schedule it effectively!

Pay yourself

This doesn’t mean you need to pay yourself handsomely from the start, but of course pay yourself enough to cover your living costs. If you’re able to eliminate personal financial stress, you can stay focused on driving your business forward.

This is why cash flow is important. If you don’t have the means to pay yourself, try and back pay yourself when you can. Should you not be able to pay yourself then ensure you are contributing to national insurance, so you are covered for healthcare where you are a resident.

Set financial goals

Rather than saying you’d like to build a multi-million-dollar company right from the start, break your goals down into annual, quarterly, monthly, weekly and even daily goals. Just ensure they are specific and measurable.

The more often you can achieve small, regular goals, the more you will feel confident to continue down your path and ultimately meet your larger goals.

Having a solid financial plan in place will give you the stability to open your business in optimal conditions.

Find your tribe

Setting up and running a business can be stressful and lonely.

Make sure you have an excellent support network to help carry you through the tough times. Whether it’s family, friends or a group of entrepreneurs, make sure you find your tribe and have a game plan.

Download setting up own business guide





Oliver Maher