Why Now Could Be a Good Time to Start a Small Business – AARP | Mega Mediakw

“We can definitely see that there has been a greater shift towards older entrepreneurs,” says Lauren Aleshire, senior communications manager at the Kauffman Foundation. “A lot of this is the instability that is likely to stem from the pandemic and the changes in the workplace it is bringing about. There’s an opportunity for people to pursue something different now that might have always been in the back of their minds.”

Older adults are also increasingly concerned about their financial security, especially as costs have risen. “People see what’s happening with their 401(k) or their retirement plans,” Titzel says, wanting some extra money to come in.

View more dining options >

But older entrepreneurs can also have financial benefits that younger peers don’t, says Suzanne Bergmeister, executive director of the Gilliam Center for Entrepreneurship at James Madison University. Annuities and Social Security annuities give older people starting small businesses money they can rely on while they wait for the business to take off.

“They have a retirement income, so it’s not quite as risky to take the entrepreneurial leap,” says Bergmeister.

That doesn’t mean there’s no risk. According to a SCORE survey, 74 percent of new business owners invest their personal savings. Almost a quarter intervene in old-age provision. More than a third build up credit card debt. And nearly one in five of these startups fail in their first year, according to the Kauffman Foundation.

“What we saw is a lot of people saying, ‘I’m going to do this,’ without thinking about what the business plan should be and how long it will take to succeed,” says Sherman. “You have to start [a business] They have some kind of knowledge or experience with. And then you have to have the energy, the will and the financial means to keep this business going for at least a year.”

Organizations can offer resources and support

SCORE is among the resources that can help with free mentoring and advice. Other nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and even banks also offer advice, usually free of charge. The US Small Business Administration, which has small business development centers in every state, offers online step-by-step guides and free online courses and podcasts — including, in partnership with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, a program called Money Smart about the finances of starting and running a business. Additional support for entrepreneurs over 55 is available from the Small Business Resource Center for the 50+ and the AARP Foundation.

Teizel turned to GetSetUp for help, a social learning platform for older adults that covers a wide range of topics and is mostly free to users thanks to subsidies from states, healthcare companies, Medicare Advantage plans, and other benefactors.

In its two years of existence, GetSetUp has seen a surprising demand for information about entrepreneurship, says co-founder Lawrence Kosick. Nearly 400 people aged 55 and older participated in its first-ever virtual startup accelerator program in June, a shark tank-style competition to pitch new business ideas. The five winners each received $2,500 in seed capital.

“If you think about what interests older adults the most, we found that alongside their health and well-being, financial security is becoming increasingly important,” says Kosick. “We’re really seeing a significant trend towards everything related to expanding their current skillset – how to write a business plan, how to use Excel – so they can either grow a business they already run or start a new business. “

Leave a Comment