It is never too late to create…

Posted: January 9, 2012 by Chuck Matthews in Innovation, People, Startup

“When you get a good idea, run with it!” Snoopy (aka, Charles Schultz)

Data from the Kauffman Foundation’s Index of Entrepreneurial Activity suggests that in the U.S., individuals between the ages of 55-64 have a higher rate of entrepreneurial activity than those folks ages 20-34.  Some estimates put it as high as 33% greater than the younger entrepreneurs.  Even the SBA has recognized that the conventional wisdom that entrepreneurship is only the playground of the young is not so much anymore, showcasing a web site with information for 50+ Entrepreneurs.  SCORE (the Service Corps of Retired Executives) has joined in the recognition that the over 50 set can not only bring their considerable experience and expertise to the consulting table (a talent SCORE has perfected over the years) to help others, but quite simply the 50+ crowd has the knowledge, skills, and networks that are the perfect recipe for new venture start-up success.

What has contributed to this phenomenon?

Demographics.  Obviously, the demographics of an aging population make this a very interesting topic.  50+ workers make up a large part of the workforce and while many are looking forward to “retirement” it isn’t necessarily the “rocking chair on the porch” style of retirement (unless it’s a rocking chair with wi-fi access so they can monitor their new venture start-up activities).

Healthier and more fit.

Also, more “retirements” are among the 50-60 age group.  It is a group that is staying healthier, more fit, and active than at any time in history.  Advances in healthcare contribute to living longer and stronger.  While pensions have been taking a beating in the recent recession, many “goldenpreneurs” see their retirement nest egg not just as savings, but as investment capital.  More mature entrepreneurs, much like their younger counterparts, focus more on the consequences of success rather than the consequences of failure.

Talent + Energy + Investment = New Venture Start-Up.  

Let’s face it, senior entrepreneurs have experience on their side, established networks (both physical and virtual), and the human, social, and financial capital to make it all work for them as entrepreneurs.  The usual caveats apply.  At any age it is best to develop a business plan, clearly identify underserved and/or unserved market opportunities, focus on product/service offerings, stay customer centric, be aware of the competition, provide unparalleled creativity, leadership, and communication, and deliver a killer value proposition for the buyer.  The good news is that this is pretty much what the 50+ set has been doing all their lives – often for someone else!  Bottom line, the 50+ generation has the time, talent, and resources to work for themselves and the customer directly.

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