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Boom or bust, but Seniorpreneurs are going gangbusters

‘Seniorpreneurs’ are the fastest growing segment of entrepreneurship, and considered by experts and researchers as the next boom.

Senior entrepreneurship is the process whereby people aged 50+ participate in business start-ups. Notwithstanding the surge in interest in the seniorpreneurship phenomenon, there are certain nuances that differentiate this age group of entrepreneurs from mainstream younger entrepreneurs.

Overall, anecdotal evidence points that older people are in a better position to start a business than younger individuals. Furthermore, senior entrepreneurs place significant value on non-pecuniary benefits of self-employment, such as lifestyle and health preferences.

Taking that these seniors come with decades of experience, existing networks, greater financial flexibility and different motivations, we introduce tips for nascent senior entrepreneurs. With the help of other successful seniorpreneurs, we share these:

1. You are never too old to start a business:

Sixty is the new 50. People aged 50-65 have a higher rate of entrepreneurial activity than those aged 20-34, so what are you waiting for? This is the fastest growing segment of entrepreneurship across the globe.

2. Turn passion to profit

A hobby to supplement your income is always 1st prize. Your mature skills and social aptitude drive your motivation, skills, and more importantly, the opportunity to achieve. Risk and reward are always a trade-off, but better so when you do something you enjoy doing.

3. Build a community of likeminded people

Network with other seniorpreneurs who are also starting new ventures.  Just think of all those combined skills and professional services you may obtain at ‘mates’ rates. Even sports clubs for seniors are fantastic networking opportunities. Positive environments promote proactivity, innovation and calculated risk-taking. Network with niche organisations such as Seniors Australia.

4. Make your workspace fit your lifestyle

Starting a business no longer necessarily requires a brick and mortar office or storefront. If you do require an office, share space at incubators and networks. Flexibility is the name of the game. Virtual offices are the domain of entrepreneurs.

5. Staff as you grow with part-timers

Manage your resource cost, and remember, the best human resource is usually shared. And it’s not always physical, many services are offered and procured online. Do not overcommit by hiring permanent staff. Fixed costs are dead weight!

6. Be innovative with your funding sources

Friends and family are always a great option to top up the finances to start your business. Other options include grants, contests and crowd funding. Suppliers may well provide valuable credit terms. Use your own credit history to secure additional funds.

7. Back to learning basics

Upskill your entrepreneurship education and training (classes and online). This may sound cumbersome, but enhancing your business acumen pays dividends. If you go to classes, it’s a valuable networking opportunity as well. Most providers also offer online modules as well.

8. Digital and internet is the new technology

Remember, 97% of consumers search the Internet for goods and services. A website and blog go a long way to enhancing your referrals, customer retention and related sales. Even if your business is not online, a virtual presence is essential.

9. Your mobile device is now a pocket office

Similar to making your workspace fit your lifestyle, your mobile device (smartphone) is your new mobile office. Real time communication necessitates real time response; not just a by product of your office environment.

10. Use social media for word-of-mouth marketing

Hand in hand with digital and Internet technology, this is an ideal entrepreneurial marketing avenue open for start-ups. Scan the many online tutorials to assist in this regard.

About the Author

Dr Alex Maritz is an expert in the domain of entrepreneurship and innovation education and training, and is a recipient of a prestigious Australian Learning and Teaching citation in entrepreneurship education. He is currently Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Swinburne Business School, Visiting Professor in Taiwan, and Vice-President of the International Association of Organizational Innovation (USA). Together with an international research team including Prof. Teemu Kautonen of Aalto University (Finland), he is advancing the research dynamics of senior entrepreneurs: the fastest growing sector of entrepreneurship. Contact Alex at amaritz@swin.edu.au

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