Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Boomer Entrepreneurs

Our friend, Marc Freedman,founder of Civic Ventures, recently published an article in The Harvard Business Review on Why Older Entrepreneurs Have an Edge. It is a hot topic these days with Boomers who have either exhausted themselves looking for a job without success or for retirees who want to do something cool, meaningful and profitable in their next act. Marc's beat is civic engagement....giving back to society...and entrepreneurship is one way for people to do something philanthropic or charitable. The article quotes studies and statistics on later life (over 50) entrepreneurship. It is reassuring to see that it is possible to open a new chapter of your working life based on what is referred to as "experimental genius." He states that, "...creativity and innovation spike for many in later life." We couldn't agree more. Intellectually it is possible to create something that can be turned into a successful business either for profit or not for profit. It can be done! But wait. Having the creativity and ideas to start something new is a wonderful thing. But becoming an entrepreneur regardless of age takes some other attributes that often mean the difference between success and failure. After all there are a bunch of great ideas that have failed and later life entrepreneurs who have lost everything including money and self confidence. That is just the prologue and in no way should discourage a budding grey entrepeneur. But it takes more than a good idea. Here are a few things to ask yourself if you are thinking of taking the "E" plunge. First of all, entrepreneurs take risks. What is your tolerance level for risk? If you have worked for someone else all your life, it is probably because you were successful at working for someone who provided the tools, resources and stability of a job and the perception of job security. We all know job security is a dream today, not a reality. If you had the appetitie for risk why would you have stayed? Secondly, Entrepreneurs always find out it costs more to start a business than they thought it would. Do you have the money to spend and possibily lose without jeopardizing your family? Another question to ask yourself, is do you have the stamina? Entrepreneurs work long hours with few days off. Yes, you take out your own garbage! Is that how you want to enjoy the next five years? The list of questions goes on. If you are serious about it, get cracking. Do your homework, count your money, analyze the competition and the marketplace. Opportunity may be in front of your nose. In the end you may decide to hold that nose and take the plunge! If you do, good luck. All entrepreneurs know you have to work hard and work smart and of course be lucky!