In the last 10 years there has been a huge 140% increase in the number of entrepreneurs aged 65 and older, according to Barclays Business in the UK. In the same period, there was an increase of 63% in the number of businesses owned by those over 55. Surprisingly younger entrepreneurs lagged significantly behind with only an increase of 23% for the 25 – 34 years population.
Barclays has appointed the founder of a skincare company, Liz Earle, to advise on the ways that banks can better support older entrepreneurs. In an interview with YourMoney.com she commented
The older generation adds so much value to the workplace in any context – bringing a wealth of experience and industry contacts to the table. I’m not surprised to see so many budding entrepreneurs of my generation, but it’s great to see them taking the plunge in later life, rather than feeling it’s too late.”
She offered ten tips for people starting a business later in life which I have adapted and shared with you here.
- Believe in your abilities, skills and experience. You have a lifetime of experience, skills and knowledge. Understand that you have much to offer and be confident in what you can achieve.
- Stay up to date and keep learning. You must have deep contemporary understanding about the area in which you are working.
- Have a clear business strategy. You need to be able to articulate your big idea and how it relates to your business.
- Embrace technology. Without a good understanding of what technology can do for your business and some technology skills you really can’t be in business in the 21st Century.
- Make your decisions slowly. Their impact will be felt for a long time.
- Prioritise your health. There is no point in being unable to enjoy the rewards of your work or being the richest person in the cemetery.
- Listen to your instincts. You are probably right and even if you aren’t you will not be able to proceed smoothly if your instincts tell you something isn’t right for you.
- Do something that matters to you. It may not be that you absolutely love the work you are doing. It may be that the outcome really matters to you, or that the reason you are doing something is enough to motivate you. Some lucky people can create a business based on something that they are passionate about. Most others get their motivation through the purpose or the outcome of their business activities and that is enough.
- Family comes first. The people you love, the people who care about you, should always be a top priority. Don’t let your goals drive a wedge between you and your family.
- Don’t be too proud to seek help. Look to trusted business mentors, people in your network and family members to give you some support when you need it. Get assistance to do the jobs that you don’t enjoy doing or find difficult.
(Adapted from ‘Huge growth in older entrepreneurs: how you can join them’ by John Fitzsimons published in Yourmoney.com 21/08/2017)