7 Insights From Boomers Who Became Startup Founders
Statistics have been showing a surprising movement in the world of business: the rise of seniorpreneurs. In 2015, 26% of new entrepreneurs in the United States were 55 to 64 compared with 15% in 1997, according to the Kauffman Foundation.
Baby boomers are the wealthiest living generation in the world today. And they are looking forward to spending their late years in a more productive manner.
If you are one, there are many ways to move toward an enterprising path whether you are 55 or 75.
Here are 7 insights to inspire and help you improve your chances of succeeding as an entrepreneur:
- Millennials are not always the primary market
It is true that millennials make up the biggest generation in US history. Marketers are often keen to target them as they reach their prime spending years. However, the case differs if you are selling electric bikes like Pedego, whose main buyers and dealers are from the 50 and up demographic.
An Inc. report underscores that lifestyle choices are driving baby boomers toward entrepreneurship. “Virtually everyone who asks about opening a store (Pedego says it receives roughly 400 inquiries a year) discovered the bikes by riding them—typically as rentals while on vacation,” says Inc. Magazine Editor-at-Large Leigh Buchanan.
- Boomers have more substantial startup capital In the abovementioned article, 50-somethings are said to have four times the financial capacity to start a business than 20-somethings. Older entrepreneurs are also more likely to get approved for any loan, including the small business loan. According to a Biz2Credit study, they outperform millennials and Gen Xers in this area. There is one factor that probably affects the outcome: a good credit score for boomers is proof of their decades’ worth of positive borrowing performance. Such a track record provides them with an edge over their younger counterparts.
- Evolution, not retirement, is the goal The most senior among current generations, baby boomers have to recognize that times have changed. In writing for Shields Meneley Partners, Bob Ryan cites examples of individuals who became involved in business later in life. At 59, Ray Kroc bought the McDonald’s franchise from the original owners and the rest is history. Cornelius Vanderbilt started buying railroads at 70. Even Gail Meneley, who is a co-founder and advisor at Shields Meneley Partners, lives by example as she helps her older peers transition to entrepreneurship instead of settling into retirement. Her firm underscores the importance of getting support during transition. “We’re full service which means we’ve got you covered on every step of transitioning you into the next stage of your career,” says Meneley.
- No sitting on the sidelines On the flip side of the changing times perspective, the oldest generation strives to be more involved members of society. Many are averse to sitting idly by as we see them living longer and healthier. Further, they do not just want to spend all their hard-earned pension until they run out of money. There are boomers who would rather risk investing their fortune in a business and leave a legacy.
- Self-employment is sometimes the only option The Great Recession of 2008 devastated the retirement prospects of the Early Boomer cohort. Others were laid off, and finding a second or third job did not seem feasible. Not everyone chose the next viable alternative, entrepreneurship. But there were those who did it out of necessity. Despite the reluctance of some, a Kauffman Foundation report says that boomers are twice likely to succeed in business than Gen Xers and millennials.
- Thinking young is a Boomer thing Being innovative and thinking out of the box are traits often associated with millennials. However, the older adults are also thinking younger than their chronological age. For instance, an executive from Pedego earlier can be as passionate about discussing ideas in the boardroom as a 25-year-old. Further, contrary to the image of boomers having a hard time with digital technology, some of them have actually become initial investors in startups and are keen to learn how to do business from mobile.
- It is the age to make better decisions Gray-haired businesspeople are considered wiser even in the digital age. This can be true for serial entrepreneurs like Richard Branson as well as a Boomer who spent his life working in an organization. When it comes to making a decision about the business, those 50 and up can rely on their wealth of experience to come up with the best possible action or solution.In a society that is becoming more and more advanced, the contributions of the elders should not be cast aside.
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