Age is Only a Number for Older Entrepreneurs


Maybe your 21st birthday is a milestone you passed decades ago. Maybe you have more gray hair on your head than not. Neither is a reason to keep you from starting your own small business.

If you browse business news sites and other media, it’s easy to make the mistake of thinking that starting a small business is a province that belongs only to young entrepreneurs who wear hoodies and launch businesses out of their college dorm rooms.

The truth is that older adults are embracing new business enterprises. The highest rate of entrepreneurial activity is attributed to those in the 55- to 64- age group, according to the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity. In 2013, about 20 percent of all new businesses were started by entrepreneurs aged 50 to 59 years, and 15 percent were 60 and over

Older entrepreneurs don’t have to miss out on the adventure of starting a small business because of their age. In fact, experts say they bring assets that younger people may not possess. Their children, for instance, may be grown and out of the house, which offers more time for older adults to focus on beginning a new venture. They also, of course, have years of working and learning in the work force under their belts.

Here are some tips for older entrepreneurs looking to dive into a new business:

Understand your risk tolerance

As an older adult you may have more financial resources built over a lifetime spent in the workforce. You need to consider how comfortable you are with investing those resources into your new company and how comfortable you are with potentially putting that money at risk.

Assemble your support

After you’ve identified the idea on which your company will be built, you need to put together a team of people who will help you achieve success. Find people who will balance your strengths and weaknesses. If, for instance, your target customer is in a younger age group you may need to gather ideas from others in a similar demographic to better connect with them.

Don’t hire too many

If you need help with payroll, office management or other functions, look at outsourcing rather than hiring employees. You will save on paid vacation, holidays, or other costs.

Be open to learning new things

Even if you’re starting a business in an industry you’re worked in previously, you may need to brush up on your knowledge about it. Take the time to understand if there are new regulations or other initiatives, such as safety regulations, that will impact your business.

Don’t neglect your health

A younger entrepreneur may thrive on pulling all-nighters or stay alert by consuming countless cups of coffee. As an older person starting a business, you need to understand what your body and mind need to stay healthy and alert. Don’t neglect good nutrition or sufficient sleep as you begin your new business.

For more information on older entrepreneurs, go to the Bloomberg article.