For people who have just retired and are looking for what kind of businesses to pursue what I can say to them is - be positive and cautious, you can’t afford to fail in business when you are retired because time isn’t on your side any more. Unlike the younger ones who still have many active years of work ahead of them, the pensioners are in a totally different situation, either succeed or come crashing to the ground with no time to recover.
Having said this, what kinds of businesses are suitable for pensioners? Obviously they would have to be low risk businesses, the kind of businesses that offer little chance of failure and for which there is an easy exit strategy in case of failure. Some businesses that readily come to mind are everyday retail stores in places where there will be sufficient patronage to keep the business afloat. In that case we are talking grocery stores, drug stores, baby and kids stores, boutiques and crèche to mention a few.
Alternatively, if the pensioner in question has specific skills he/she has acquired during his/her working life, then such a person could start a business related to his/her area of interest. For instance, a retired school teacher specializing in say French Language could start a French language school, teaching people how to learn French. This business can be taken online as well selling and promoting products related to the business.
If the pensioner receives sufficient income in the form of gratuity upon retirement, they could go into real estate business like renting out apartments to students or visitors or new entrants in town. Some pensioners simply build apartment buildings which they rent out and collect rents from them, that will become their own pension.
Finally, as a pensioner you may also want to try out internet based business opportunities with low entry requirements such as blogging, affiliate marketing and selling from an e-commerce store such as on ebay. With blogging, you have the advantage of making passive income with minimal work over time just as it is the case with affiliate marketing and the potentials are huge where as with an ecommerce store, there is the problem of marketing your store, its products and services as well as competing against heavy weights in the business.