Interesting article in the Globe and Mail yesterday. According to this article, over 50 percent of Boomers are thinking of starting their own business before retirement. If this plays out, there are significant implications and opportunities to consider.
First of all , there are several reasons why this is occurring.
1) Boomers have always wanted more from their lives and see themselves as young at 60. This is somewhat justified since on average, they will have at least 20 more years of life after 60. Boomers want to keep learning and challenging themselves into their older years and may feel disillusioned or bored with their corporate job.
2) It is much easier to start a business these days, with thousands of franchises available, many consulting opportunities and online opportunities for marketing, communication and support as well as actual online or remote businesses. Barriers to entry in many businesses are much lower than in the past, when you had to have a physical office and staff. Also, many businesses are now run from home so can be set up from anywhere.
3) Many Boomers are short on retirement funds, due to market fluctuations and/or lack of savings. Less than 30% of Boomers have a guaranteed pension. So instead of kicking back at 55 with a guaranteed pension, they need to keep making money, but on their own terms. Many times, they do not need to replace their corporate salary but still need to make some money. They may have wanted to start their own business for a long time, but did not want to take the risk of giving up the corporate salary and benefits before now.
So , what are some implications of this? Well, if you are a company in Calgary, where we have a very low unemployment rate, you may wish to retain these employees rather than have them leave and start their own business. In many cases, much of the skills and knowledge is with these employees. Companies who are able to create more of an entrepreneurial environment may be able to retain them. For example, flexible work schedules, less heirarchy, open forums to exchange ideas, feeling like their own boss are some possible attractions. Many Boomers want to try something different as well, and might welcome more of a mentoring/teaching role.
Opportunities will grow for the businesses who serve small business, such as website developers, bookkeepers, accountants, lawyers, printers and so on. In fact, these businesses may be some of the business opportunities that emerge for entrepreneurs. Business coaches may be more in demand as Boomers figure out what they will focus on and then how to execute successfully.
This entrepreneurial trend is not isolated to Boomers, since younger employees are also increasingly looking at entrepreneurship as an option. This is a trend across generations. Interestingly, a young person is much more likely to consider this path if someone in their family runs their own business. Again, larger corporations who can offer an entrepreneurial feel will be able to attract more of the younger generation who are looking for that.
In my next blog, I will talk about what to consider if you are thinking about leaving your corporate job to start a business.