This is a question many expats ask themselves when they move to Belize. Those not ready to retire, yet want to keep busy face this dilemma, especially since getting a 'job' is not really an option in Belize.
There are pros and cons to both options and it really comes down to your own personal situation.
Starting A Business
The biggest challenge in starting a business is the time it takes to get a business up and running. If you are new to Belize it takes time to adjust and learn how things work - things are not the same by any means as North America or Europe.
I would suggest that it can take at least a year in San Pedro from time of arrival to start a new business. Unless you have spent a lot of time in Belize prior to moving here it does take time to learn the customs, identify business opportunities, incorporate a company, get a work permit, get a golf cart permit, and a trade license.
All of these things take time and money. Having enough funds to live on for at least a year and during the start up phase of your business is absolutely essential.
Having a Belizean partner can greatly simplify the process
Buying A Business
Buying a business has the benefit of being up and running quickly, possibly having managers or the previous owner who can help guide you, having existing clients, cash flow and an income for yourself.
Not having to spend a year getting through the 'paper work' to setup your own business and buying Something with a proven track record definitely has benefits.
Obviously there are challenges in taking over an existing business but if you have done your due diligence properly these issues should be minimized. Working with the right advisors and partners can help you identify an opportunity that fits your objectives and helps reduce risk.
The right 'existing business' can also usually be easier and quicker to Scale then starting a new business. You are starting with a foundation that you can grow and mold with your own ideas and strategies.
The key is working with the right advisors and choosing the right business with a solid foundation from which to grow.
Michael R. Haworth