In my previous post, I noted that the number of Boomers who retired in 2020 dramatically increased. I also indicated that pandemic-related job losses, as well as ageism, contributed to many more Boomers leaving the workforce in 2020. These factors suggest that the U.S. job market won't be a particularly good one for Boomers this year.
At the same time, however, the U.S. Census Bureau is reporting a significant uptick in new business applications. For example, for the week ending October 3, 2020 -- while the pandemic continued to rage around the U.S. -- there was an increase in new business applications of 40 percent over the same period in 2019.
It turns out that Boomers play a major role in small business growth. According to Guidant Financial, a firm providing small business financing and a founding member of the Small Business Trends Alliance, "Boomers make up 41 percent of small business or franchise owners, second only to GenX at 44 percent." Even more encouraging, "Seventy-eight percent of boomer businesses are profitable, making them the most profitable age group of small business or franchise owners." Despite the current difficult economic and political environment, Guidant Financial found that 60 percent of Boomer business owners were "somewhat confident" or "very confident" about small business.
So is it wise to start a business now? As a Boomer, you are uniquely positioned to have a strong chance of success. Most Boomers bring a wealth of solid experience, in addition to maturity, to opening their own businesses. Just as important, many Boomers already have the kind of professional network that would serve them well as a "Boomer-preneur." In the marketing world, it is well known that companies who market their products and services during an economic downturn tend to come out of the downturn even stronger. The same could be said about entrepreneurs who start businesses during tough times.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce offers three reasons for starting a business now:
- "Bootstrapping know-how" - "When a downturn hits, savvy business owners learn how to bootstrap to survive. ...The bootstrap mentality -- a mixture of frugality, innovation and agility -- can be crucial not only in the startup stage but also as your business grows."
- "Business model changes" - "Across all industries, patience, ingenuity and adaptability were the ingredients needed for business survival and these new norms are here to stay. This is good news for startups."
- "Time of innovation" - "...smart business owners understand success depends on the ability to adapt to constantly changing consumer needs. Startups have the means to step in where big companies cannot necessarily fill the gaps (think food delivery services). After all, innovation is just problem-solving at its root and who better to problem solve than an entrepreneur bursting with new ideas."
The question of whether or not to start a business demands serious consideration. Obviously there are risks as well as rewards, and not everyone is suited to business ownership. But more than enough evidence exists for Boomers to feel confident that this may actually be an ideal time to start a business.