As the youngest Baby Boomers approach the big 5-0, they’re starting to reassess their goals, both professional and personal. Most have decades of experience in the business world and may be tired of working for The Man. Others were laid off during the recent economic downturn and have had trouble finding employment. Empty-nesters are realizing that they have a new opportunity to live for themselves for a change, not their children. Others may just feel that it’s time for a new challenge to keep them busy now and into their retirement. One option worth considering is becoming a 50+ entrepreneur with their own small business.
A recent USA Today/Gallup poll reveals that 63 percent of American adults plan to work during retirement — and two-thirds of them say enjoyment of work is the key reason. They have years of valuable work experience, maturity and plenty of energy to offer. In return, they stand to gain both financial and personal fulfillment in running their own small business.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has teamed up with AARP (formerly the American Association of Retired Persons) to provide counseling and training to entrepreneurs over the age of 50 who want to start or grow a small business. Their goal is to train 100,000 “encore entrepreneurs” through the SBA’s online training courses and its nationwide network of business mentors and counselors.
“No matter what your age, if you have an idea of a business that’s ready to move to the next level, the SBA wants to make sure you have access to the tools you need to start and grow,” says SBA Administrator Karen Mills. “We know that working side-by-side with AARP, we will be able to reach Baby Boomers and Americans over the age of 50 who have years of professional experience working for others and are ideally positioned to step out and become their own boss. And, in doing so, they will become job creators and drivers of economic growth in their communities.”
More than 70 million Americans are 50-plus, and many of them plan to work beyond retirement age. Start a small business enables them to stay active and engaged in the workforce while transforming their years of professional experience, or a lifetime hobby or interest, into a lucrative business.
To help in this endeavor, SBA has created a website that offers an online self-assessment tool to help potential entrepreneurs determine if they are ready to start their own business. The site also provides a variety of valuable information ranging from help with business planning to professional counseling, financial services and local resources. If you are currently a small business owner, SBA can help you focus on fine tuning your operation.
Whether you’re thinking about starting your own business, purchasing an existing business or buying a franchise, SBA and its resource partners can provide the advice and support that you need to make it a success.
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