By Jackie Peterson
Encore entrepreneurship is the growing trend for those over 50 to create their own business. This drive to entrepreneurship is the result of several factors:
- Increased longevity; average life expectancy is now in the mid to late 80’s while traditional retirement age continues to hover around 65-67. That means that the average retiree can look forward to an additional 15 maybe even 30 years of additional life. What to do with that time?
- Less economic stability-caused by the restrictions of the great recession which saw major downsizing plus the loss of market investment value combined with the ending of many pensions. So, often the boomers are finding that the financial plans they made for retirement have to be strongly revised and they have to be able to support a longer life time.
- The desire on the part of many to leave a legacy
- The desire to at last do work they really love.
Many times, encores have some very big worries and concerns about starting a business. They may not believe they have the capital to start. Or they may not want to manage employees and are not familiar with soloprneurship, the fast growing business model in which the entrepreneur outsources on a business to business basis the work they need to administratively support their enterprise. Or they may fear marketing and cannot imagine creating a successful business because they are marketing averse. At the SBDC we have joined the concept of soloprneurship with the concept of encore entrepreneurship and we teach our budding entrepreneurs how to be successful in a solo business. We use the book Better, Smarter, Richer, 7 Business Principles for Solo, Encore and Creative Entrepreneurs, as our text. This book describes what an entrepreneur must do to build a successful solos business. Among the most important principles are:
- We work with all of these supposed constraints in the Encore Entrepreneur program at Portland Community College.
- Many times those over fifty who have worked in corporate America for 30+ years think they do not know anything that is of general market value; they think their knowledge, skills and experience may only be applicable to their past job. Or they may not be sure what would be a viable business idea.
- Focus- creating a business about which you are passionate; one that is in your “sweet spot” where talent, passion and revenue intersect on a Venn diagram.
- Specialization- development of a “deep and narrow” niche of expertise or specialization which leads to being able to charge higher prices and achieve financial success.
- Spending your time on that which you are best at and outsourcing (not hiring) all the other help that you need. Outsourcing on a business to business basis creates a business relationship between service provider and client that is much more successful than the traditional employer/employee.
- Marketing the basis of which is clear articulation of your value proposition to a specific target market.
Here are the elements of the program:
- Class #1- Encore Business Concept Development. This program consists of three 3 hour classes run as a guided discussion. All participants work on various work sheets and through an extensive questionnaire that helps them determine what it is they really love and what they would do whether they were paid or not (passion). All members of the cohort help each other look at their background and choices and usually participants identify a solid business idea by the end of the program.
- Class #2- Business Design– this is four 2 hour sessions of nuts and bolts. This program focuses on developing a basic business plan often using the One Page Business plan or the Business Plan Canvas plus taking the specific steps to register your business with the state and open a bank account.
- Class #3- Solo Business Builders– this class is 10 consecutive weekly sessions, three hours per week which guide the participant through all the elements they need to start and build a successful solo business. Classes include:
- Mission, vision and Goals
- Legal issues such as contract, negotiation , non-compete and non-disclosure
- Pricing is an Art
- Principles of Solopreneurship
- Crowd Funding
- Target Marketing
- Web based business models
- SEO and other marketing techniques on the web
- Finances and Record keeping
Our program focuses on soloprneurship because these businesses, one person business are so easy for the entrepreneur to begin and happen to be the fastest growing business model in the country. This is the 21st Century business model. Of the over 50 million solopreneurs in the country as of this time, 37% are boomers or older. This method really works well for solos.
Jackie B Peterson
Jackie B. Peterson has worked with small businesses – including creative, solo and encore entrepreneurs — for over 35 years. As a CPA, coach, and strategic advisor at the PCC SBDC Jackie has become something of a local legend among entrepreneurs — counseling hundreds of successful small businesses to increase growth and profitability. Her book, Better, Smarter, Richer, 7 Business Principles for Solo Encore and Creative Entrepreneurs, is currently offered as a program at several SBDC centers in Oregon. Jackie currently heads the Encore Entrepreneur program at the PCC Small Business Development Center designed to help those 50+ create successful enterprises doing the work they love. In addition to her book, Jackie has developed and offers on line her Best Beginnings program which is 7 webinars, each complete with fill in the blanks work sheets, that guide the would be entrepreneur through the steps of imagining, designing, starting and developing a successful solo business. You can learn more about Jackie at her web site www.bettersmarterricher.com