There have been more than a few comments on The Kneeslider stating demographics are against some companies, like Harley Davidson, who see their customer base getting older, and, especially during this recession, losing their jobs, what will they do to attract younger, employed buyers? It depends a lot on what you consider younger and older, and what you consider employed. Many of those “old” riders have a lot of riding years remaining. They also tend to start and run a lot of businesses.
If you’ve been reading my previous posts about rediscovering hands on work and what a great time it is to start a new business and especially if you liked my post that asked “What recession? Just do it!” you’ll like what I came across the other day.
In a recent study, a surprising result shows that entrepreneurship actually goes up as age increases. The big and famous business successes in the younger group, usually centered around the Internet and getting lots of press, make everyone think the action is confined there. Not so.
Contrary to popularly held assumptions, it turns out that over the past decade or so, the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity belongs to the 55-64 age group. The 20-34 age bracket, meanwhile, which we usually identify with swashbuckling and risk-taking youth (think Facebook and Google), has the lowest rate. Perhaps most surprising, this disparity occurred during the eleven years surrounding the dot-com boom—when the young entrepreneurial upstart became a cultural icon.
It seems, the recession is a prime time for older folks to start businesses, potentially pulling everyone else out of this mess. They’re also going to be healthy and active and participating in areas (like motorcycle riding, perhaps?) formerly thought to be the preserve of the “young.”
… a steady increase in life expectancy also means that Americans are not only living longer but also living healthier longer, suggesting that those entrepreneurial 60-year olds could be 2020’s entrepreneurial 70-year-olds.
Those of us who are more vintage than showroom new are often very healthy and we have a lot of knowledge, skills and experience. If you find your job is in jeopardy, don’t look for another one, start a business and create your own. Instead of competing with the 25 year old, start a company and before long, you may be offering him or her a job.
Some are concerned that:
… it could be more likely that the older entrepreneur starts a “lifestyle” company while the younger entrepreneur starts a world-changing firm.
On the other hand:
… an older worker’s experience—while possibly limiting his or her innovative
thinking—might allow him or her a greater scope for innovation that challenges existing companies.
And another study found, “… great innovation is less and less the provenance of the young.”
While the current recession is very real, many in the 50+ age group carry a lot of knowledge and skill with them, an extremely valuable resource. While younger folks still need to learn a lot, consuming much time and money, the older group already has the knowledge and skill and can act right now to take advantage of opportunities. Instead of sitting around and waiting for something to happen, we can make things happen.
Some may be surprised to see how many older people are starting new businesses in the near future and riding motorcycles and having a great time doing both. Attitude plays a huge part. Harley may not have as much to worry about in this particular aspect of their business as some believe. Like I said before, it’s a great time to start a motorcycle company. Life is good. Just do it.