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Finding Success as an Older Entrepreneur

Our thanks to Rae Steinbach, from fueledcollective.com, for this contribution to our blog.

Whether it’s Mark Zuckerberg or Elon Musk, much of the 2000s has been dominated by younger entrepreneurs who have changed our personal and business lives in a number of ways. From the rise of social media to the increasing popularity of remote work and coworking spaces, entrepreneurs have had a marked impact on society.  But contrary to how our current youth-oriented culture may seem, one can begin to build a great company at any age.

Unsurprisingly, one of the most common causes of new business failure is a lack of relevant skills and experience. Older entrepreneurs, as you’ll see, are often in a better position than ever to take a chance on the idea they’ve been dreaming about and watch it grow into a successful business.

 

Why Older People Make Successful Entrepreneurs

Seemingly everyone has a million-dollar idea that could change the world, but very few of us are able to navigate the business world and make it a reality. People who have spent more time working and gaining experience are generally able to hold a more realistic view of their goals, expectations, and needs.

Younger entrepreneurs also face difficulties in attempting to build a business while dealing with the financial and personal responsibilities that come with being in your 20s or 30s. Starting later in life means having more time, money, and resources to devote to your business.

 

Creating a Business

No matter how old you are, leaving an existing job for the unknown is a major risk that requires serious consideration. Half of all businesses fail within five years, so it’s crucial to be realistic and impartial when thinking about the costs and benefits of starting your own company.

When you do decide to branch out, you’ll also have to judge how much of your personal money to spend on the project. Unlike those in their 20s and 30s, older entrepreneurs generally don’t have as much time to replenish savings and retirement funds if the venture doesn’t turn out the way they hoped.

If your startup targets millennials or younger demographics, you may benefit from hiring some employees who can provide valuable insight into that market. Understanding how to capitalize on your strengths and find people to support your weakness is crucial to managing any business.

Starting a company is a massive undertaking for anyone, and that’s especially true for older entrepreneurs. That said, the experience and knowledge that come from decades in a business environment often prove even more valuable in a startup context. These strategies will help you build your company from the ground up and put you in a position to reach your goals.

 

 

Autumn Issue of C2 magazine: The Future of Caring

So much has changed since our last issue of C2! The one constant is that the economic outlook continues to provoke anxiety. Older adults appear to be faring better in some respects than younger generations, though our studies show they continue to live under a cloud of worry. Many are expressing this as the loss of the American dream for younger generations, particularly their children and grandchildren.

Continuum Crew has experienced positive growth as the mature consumer market continues to be able to spend on a number of products and services for themselves and their extended families. In fact, a new MetLife Report on American Grandparents (July 2011) notes that households led by those aged 55 to 64 increased their non-health related spending by an average of $11,700 over the past ten years, when their household income rose just $1,200. Further, in the same ten-year period 55- to 64-year-olds spent $7.6 billion on baby food, infant equipment and clothing, toys, games, and tricycles – a 71% increase. Household spending for the 25- to 44-year-old households with children present saw a far smaller rate of increase indicating that baby boomer grandparents are helping in all new ways. (Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Surveys).

It has never been more important to listen carefully to consumers to understand what they want from products and services, and how they want to be engaged. Continuum Crew launched Crew Media earlier this year to purchase Eons.com – the only baby boomer social network. Founded in 2006 by Jeff Taylor, also founder of Monster.com, Eons has more than 800,000 members who have started more than 1,700 groups focused on their passions and interests. Learn more about it from community manager Ri Regina on page 13.

Also under the Crew Media banner is our partnership with GRAND – the digital magazine for the grandparenting lifestage. As a first-time grandmother to baby Gabriel McClain, I am proud to be GRAND’s new publisher.

Another initiative we launched this past spring is Move Beyond Age, a coalition of individuals and companies who are committed to making smart design a quality of life issue. We are encouraging companies to design better products and services for older consumers, which in turn create better experiences for every generation. Take a look at Jeffrey DeMure’s article on the Bookend Markets, Bill Yates on GreatCall, and Stephen Winner on the Silverado Story, for examples of companies and thought leaders who understand the importance of designing smart products and services.

Also new to Continuum Crew is The Business of Aging radio show on WeEarth Global Radio Network – WGRN. The show is also available here on our blog and on iTunes. In this issue we share our first show of the season, an interview with Patricia Lippe Davis from AARP Media Sales on her view of the mature consumer marketplace. We are currently in our second season and hope you will join our listenership as we talk about successful strategies for engaging consumers over 40.

With that, I am pleased to present to you our latest issue of 
C2 magazine, Issue 27, Autumn 2011

Thank you for your continued enthusiasm for our market and our work here at Continuum Crew!

Lori Bitter,
Editor-in-Chief, C2 magazine

Design as a Quality of Life Issue

Have you walked through a home that just “felt different” from the previous homes you explored? Do prefer Target to Wal-Mart, or Lowes over Home Depot for your big box shopping, but are not clear why? Will you return to a favorite web site because you can find what you’re looking for, it feels easy to navigate and you can complete a transaction? Have you held an OXO vegetable peeler and wondered why on earth anyone ever used the one in your Grandma’s utensil drawer?

Learn More →

Join me this week at the Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit

If you are an entrepreneur, marketer or corporate strategists targeting the mature consumer, this is a must attend event. Produced by Mary Furlong & Associates, The Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit and Business Plan Competition is taking place this Wednesday June 15 at Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, CA. The event brings together entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, industry analysts and business leaders in the field of aging to create a unique forum to explore business ideas, share trends and best practice information and design products and services that will serve the baby boomer market in the coming years. Among the topics addressed by the gathered leaders about serving or investing in companies that will serve the boomer market are where and why venture capitalists are investing heavily in the boomer market and how key analysts segment the market and evaluate opportunities.

This is where I’ll be, let’s connect!

Wednesday, June 15 – 11: 25 a.m. – 12: 10 p.m.
Lucas Hall
Session: Moving Beyond Age to Better Design
Major companies are failing to recognize the impact of the aging population on the design of their products and services; as these products and services are developed, consumer insight and usability is happening too late in the process – or not all. Further, there is little recognition that designing well for an aging population creates better design for all. These panelists know thoughtful design complements an aging society, producing beautiful, usable and smart products. Join this conversation about elevating design as a key quality of life factor for every population in society.
Moderator: Lori Bitter, host of “The Business of Aging” on Positive World Radio Network/President & CEO of Continuum Crew and Crew Media/Founder of the Moving Beyond Age Coalition
Gadi Amit, President/Principal Designer, New Deal Design and Contributor to Fast Company
Jason Popko, Robert Bosch Healthcare and Founder of Good Design Age Well

And be sure to sign-up at registration to join me at my hosted table for Lunch on the Lawn.

Get the full agenda here

To register for the Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit, click here, and use our Continuum Crew code SVCC11 to receive a 20% discount.