Seniors Win in Small Business

What’s an encore entrepreneur? It might look a lot like you.

These are people who might be starting a business for the first time as they near retirement age. Or, you may be retired already, and seeking a new path to help you feel reinvigorated in your new lifestyle.

Here at SCORE, we know age is just a number. While Baby boomers are no longer the largest American generation, they’re still one of the most tenacious, armed with skills and experience to help them live fully, well into the 21st century.

So, it’s no surprise that many older Americans are thriving in small business! In 1996, people 55 to 64 made up less than 15 percent of new entrepreneurs. In 2016, that same age group made up 25 percent of new entrepreneurs, according to a study by the Kauffman Foundation.

Encore entrepreneurs are credible

In a 2015 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people 65 and up had the highest self-employment rate of any age group. The report credits this rate to accumulated business knowledge along with access to capital to start a business.

The credibility an encore entrepreneur can bring to their business after years of industry experience can also extend beyond the business and into the community.

A study of loan applications by Biz2Credit found that while younger business owners were more likely to request funding, older entrepreneurs were more likely to have their loan application approved. Older applicants had a longer business history working in their favor, which is often helpful when banks want to see at least three years of financial data before considering a funding request, Rohit Arora wrote in Forbes.

Encore entrepreneurs who are venturing into a new industry or line of work should be prepared to show that you’re well versed in your new area of business.

Encore entrepreneurs are resilient

Many believe that the Great Recession spurred older Americans into starting their own business ventures. After many older workers were laid off during the recession and struggled to find employment; they forged their own paths as new small business owners.

Meanwhile, many Americans believe they’ll need to work long past typical retirement age. If you’re going to work instead of spend a leisurely early retirement, why not enjoy it doing work you’re passionate about?

Are you turning to an encore business to lengthen your career before retirement? Make sure your business plan includes a reasonable salary to serve you throughout the ups and downs of business development.

Encore entrepreneurs plan for contingencies

Emergencies can happen to any business owner, but health can be a special consideration for older business owners. Make plans to take care of yourself as you launch your business with a solid work-life balance.

Just as you strategize for business success, you’ll also plan for your own longevity in your business —whether that means keeping a schedule that works for you, or hiring staff who can keep your business humming if you need to take a break.

You should also be aware of related issues that can draw your attention away from your business, like the health of a partner, parent or child.

Starting a small business is always an exciting time, but potentially more so for encore entrepreneurs. Meet with a SCORE mentor to discuss your business idea and ways to ensure your success as an encore small business owner.

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