As we usher in the era of Baby Boomer entrepreneurs, are you poised to join in the revolution?
Is the era of Baby Boomer entrepreneurs upon us?
Many of us baby boomers are looking for a second chance in life
We’re not talking about a new relationship or a new place to live that has many of us intrigued. It’s what some refer to as an “encore career.” That’s a chance to use all our knowledge accumulated over the years to venture off on our own. In essence, we want to be entrepreneurs.
Baby boomers are one of the leading age groups when it comes to entrepreneurship and 83 percent say the main reason for their interest is either to make money or a lifestyle choice. It’s great to be your own boss for a change.
A report recently issued by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, an organization that studies entrepreneurship, says high-tech startups are twice as likely to be founded by someone older than age 50 as opposed to someone younger than age 25. It also says the percentage of entrepreneurs between 55 and 64 has risen steadily from 14 percent in 1996 to 23 percent in 2013. No other group has seen so much growth it says, pointing out that millennial entrepreneurs fell from 34 percent in 1996 to 23 percent in 2013.
The Gallup survey found that baby boomers at 12 percent were more than twice as likely as millennials to start a business in the next 12 months.
The Great Recession has pushed many boomers to start a business because of the wealth lost from housing value declines and from the stock market. When you have to finance 20 to 30 years of your retirement, starting a business is a enticing and sometimes better option.
Many of us are in a better position to pursue our dream of owning a business because Obamacare helps us get affordable health insurance if we leave our company and aren’t yet eligible for Medicare.
Baby boomers are the ones more willing to take a chance and start a business, likely because they have more experience and access to their own capital to start one up.
Nearly one-third of 2,000 baby boomers interviewed by Gallup say they want to start a new business because it enables them to be independent. Some 27 percent say they want to pursue their passion and 24 percent say it’s about getting more income. Another 10 percent say they want to pursue their idea because it has a chance to take off because it fills a need in the marketplace.
And it looks like baby boomers can partner up with each other, especially if they have worked with each other during their career or come in contact with each other. Some two-thirds of who own businesses say they have people who they think would make great partners, according to Gallup.
What’s the biggest challenge to starting a business, according to the survey, is fewer than half say information is readily available on how to grow a business and only about one-third say entrepreneurial training and education are available. Only four and ten say the city where they live is a good place to be a entrepreneur.
It sounds like a lot of us are on their own then when it comes to a business startup venture. Here is how to buy one:
The overwhelming majority of boomer entrepreneurs say government doesn’t make it easy to start up a business and describe how difficult it is to obtain financing from banks.
Sangeeta Bharadwaj Badal, a senior researcher of entrepreneurship at Gallup, says it’s typically young, high-tech entrepreneurs that get the most attention of investors but when it comes to building successful businesses in the technology and high-growth industries it’s baby boomers leading the charge.
“The wisdom that comes from years of professional and trade experience likely translates into better business performance for boomers, Bharadwaj Badal says.
Bharadwaj Badal says starting a business isn’t the same as working for a company and baby boomers need to understand their strengths and weaknesses for dealing with an endeavor that often ends in failure.
They should be encouraged to turn to the AARP and to the Small Business Administration for training, information and networking, Bharadwaj Badal says. A good coach can also help.
“Though people over 50 may have deep expertise and a wealth of experience from their previous jobs, entrepreneurs can still benefit from working with a coach, mentor or business adviser — someone who can provide counseling and support,” Bharadwaj Badal says. “Potential or current business owners alike need help navigating complicated regulations and legal issues, refining their ideas and marketing, and promoting their businesses with traditional and emerging outlets — critical aspects of starting and growing a new venture that entrepreneurs of every age may not know much about.”
Many of us can get rich by starting our own business as evidenced here: