A handbook for Baby Boomers looking to start a business. Filled with tips and case studies to help you avoid common pitfalls.
“Between 1996 and 2012, the share of new U.S. entrepreneurs in the 55-64 age group grew from 14.3 percent to 23.4 percent.”
This statistic hit me right between the eyes as I started reading “Late-Blooming Entrepreneurs: Eight Principles For Starting A Business After Age 40” by Lynne Beverly Strang. The first question that came to me was, “What triggered that kind of entrepreneurial surge?” and the possible answer jumped out just as quickly:
- A great economy in the early to mid 1990s emboldened some baby boomers to start their business.
- The two massive recessions during that time forced baby boomers into entrepreneurship.
- The Internet and online technology decreased the risk and cost of going into many kinds of businesses.
As I started reading further into the book, it became obvious that my concerns about what triggered baby boomers to become entrepreneurs wasn’t as important as the fact that they became entrepreneurs, despite the economic environment.
While the economy may have played a part for some, it certainly wasn’t a prevailing factor. It seems that Gail Sheehy’s 1976 book, “Passages” was spot-on in predicting that people will have multiple jobs and careers in their lifetime. And this is why Strang’s book is a must-read for anyone regardless of their age bracket or generation, but especially for Baby Boomers.
“Late-Blooming Entrepreneurs” Shows You How It’s Done
In 2010, Lynne Strang became a late-blooming entrepreneur when she quit her job as Vice President of Communications for a financial services trade association after 17 years to become a communications consultant, freelancer and publisher of her blog called, “Late Blooming Entrepreneurs”.
This book can easily serve as a blueprint or guide for anyone looking to become an entrepreneur as a second or third career. Strang outlines eight core principles to keep in mind as you make the transition from full time employment to entrepreneurship.
Each chapter is a slice of advice and also contains a tight summary and checklist at the end to help you advance on your entrepreneurial journey.
Chapter 1: Go Out on the Right Limb is about taking the right risks.
Chapter 2: SWOT Yourself. This is one of my favorite chapters because it allows you to take a corporate exercise you’re familiar with and apply it to yourself.
Chapter 3: Make It a Family Affair. Strang emphasizes how important it is to consider your family. There’s a good chance that this age group is in a sandwich situation; sending kids to college and taking care of parents.
Chapter 4: Know Who You Need to Know. Networking as an entrepreneur is slightly different than networking as an employee. Strang gives wonderful examples by way of personal stories from a variety of entrepreneurs.
Chapter 5: Be Neighborly. There are some great tips in this chapter about how to channel your life and work experience into great customer service.
Chapter 6: Stay on the Tiger. Here you’ll find advice and wisdom on staying focused on what matters most to your success.
Chapter 7: Watch the Money. Strang outlines the most important elements of staying financially healthy.
Chapter 8: Keep it Simple. This is another chapter on focus from your website to focusing on customers and even the kinds of products or services you provide.
Chapter 9: In a Nutshell. This summarizes the eight principles and is a great place to come back to and make sure you are on track.
Chapter 10: Words of Wisdom. You’ll love this chapter where business owners just like you share their lessons.
An Entrepreneur’s Handbook for a Booming Business
Strang wrote this book for business owners over 40, but I’d say that there is excellent advice in here for entrepreneurs of any age. What makes “Late-Blooming Entrepreneurs” a useful book is it’s focus on the unique challenges, fears and circumstances faced by baby boomers starting a business.