Friday, October 23, 2009

Making a Big Dent - Boomer Entrepreneurs

A Friend of mine recently approached me at a social with a huge smile on his face - it was the happiest that I had seen him in months. He was so excited it was hard for him to blurt out the words: "I am free - I resigned my big corporate job last week and plan on starting my own gig - I am charged up and can hardly wait to shift gears and get my venture out of the gates."

Being the "Entrepreneur's Entrepreneur" that I am, I got caught up in the passion of the moment. "Congratulations my friend you are now joining the unique and growing club of "Boomerpreneurs" - there will be no looking back from this point on."

As best as I can tell, the phrase "Boomerpreneur" was coined a couple years back and written about extensively in the National Post (Chevreau), Business Week, Wall Street Journal and USA Today to name a few. I even found a dedicated Blog on the subject.

A Boomerpreneur is a individual born between 1947 and 1966 who has started their own business. In Canada, this age group represents about a third of the total population and is estimated to control about 65% of the wealth in the country. A study done by Delta Economics (Dec 2008) suggested that over 30% of the Entreprenuers in the US were over 50 years of age. A formidable force indeed!

I have a significant portion of my clients who would be classified as Boomerpreneurs. I am always interested in how they got to formulating their business ventures. Here are a couple of quotes:
  • "I needed to get off the Trend Mill and have some Fun. I been functionally trained by my corporation in all aspects of business - its time to put those skills together for me."

  • " The Recession has kicked the stuffing out of my retirement nest egg. I need to go back to work to supplement by retirement annuity."

  • "I met a couple of young guys with some ground breaking technology. They need some leadership and grey hair on their team to make this a reality. Joining up with them is forcing me to dig deep and remember some those skills that have not been exercised in a while."

  • "My daughter recently started her own business. I was looking for something to keep me occupied. What better way to rejuvenate my working career - with your family."

  • "I have always dreamed about owning my own business. I was lucky in that I could turn one of my hobbies into cash flow - I am having the time of my life."

  • "Take, Take, Take - it's time for me to Give Something Back."

Thinking of becoming a Boomerpreneur? - Here are a couple of things to think about:

1) Personal Inventory- Not everyone will be cut out to be a Boomerpreneur. Create a series of lists - What you like to do? What you hate doing? What are your core skills? What are you lacking? What puts a smile on your face? What would you like to do before your number is up? These lists will give you an honest assessment of who you are and what you could be passionate about.

2) "The Thing" - For some "The Thing" is something that they have always wanted to do perhaps a hobby that could develop into a business. For others it may be joining forces with another Entrepreneur who already have the idea and needs a partner.

3) Networking - Help for your idea will come from many sources including family & friends and other early stage Entrepreneurs trying to get there business off the ground. Input from all sources will enhance the shaping of your thinking.

4)Build a Plan - You can't just jump into this without a "plan of action". This plan may start out on the infamous "cocktail napkin", progress to a "two pager", a powerpoint and then finally a 25 page business plan. Regardless of its form, you will need research, assumptions, validations, financial models, Go to Market implementation plans as well as risks and contingencies.

5) Brand - I am a big believer in creating your Brand (vision, mission, logo, website) and getting your messages out there. You will probably need some professional help in this regard.

6) Understand the Implications - Becoming your own boss has a significant set of implications on your time, quality of life, family, cash flow and personal being. Create a list of implications and associated stakeholders. Be sure to constantly review your progress and its associated impact. Be prepared to "course correct" a number of times.

7) Assess and Celebrate - Constantly review your progress to your "plan of record". Celebrate the wins regardless of the size and revisit the reasons that things did not go according to "Hoyle".

For those who have made the leap, I can truly say that they are in a better place then they were before. I plan on writing a lot more about this phenomena as my friends and clients gain traction as Canadian Boomerprenurs.