Watch out Generation Y! Now people 50+ are joining the start-up revolution

Most people would think that the only people starting great small businesses are people in their 20s or 30s –

Most people would think that the only people starting great small businesses are people in their 20s or 30s – generation Y… But it just ain’t so!

Recent research shows that about 35 per cent of all new businesses in Australia are started by people 55+.

But the grim reality is that most start-ups fail; most new products are not successful. In fact pre-eminent business and academic journal Harvard Business Review says that 75 per cent of startups fail. This has a huge cost to many individuals – there are approximately 300,000 businesses started in Australia every year. Yet we all remain enamoured with the stories of perseverance, creative genius, and persistent hard work that sees startups turn in to modern-day rags-to-riches stories.

Yes there is. And it’s an evidence based approach, meaning that you can rigorously check and validate your chances of success as you develop your initial product or service. It’s called Lean Startup and was developed by Eric Ries and Steve Blank out of Stanford University. And Australia’s own SeniorPreneurs Foundation are running the official program for their members. Here’s what Eric Ries says about the Lean Startup program:

“Start-up success is not a consequence of good genes or being in the right place at the right time. Success can be engineered by following the right process, which means it can be learned, which means it can be taught.

At its heart, a start-up is a catalyst that transforms ideas into products and services. As customers interact with those products and services, they generate feedback and data. The feedback is both qualitative (what they like and don’t like) and quantitative (how many people use it and find it valuable). As we learned the hard way …, the products a start-up builds are really experiments. Learning about how to build a sustainable business is the outcome of those experiments. Each experiment essentially follows a three-step process: Build, measure, learn.”

So becoming an entrepreneur in your own business is not a guaranteed path to fame and riches. But if you want to make customers’ lives better, create an organisation of lasting value or even change the world then you have a true entrepreneurial bent and testing your idea, product or fledgling business with the Lean Startup process is a sure way to help you on your journey.

Find out more here.

Tell us, would you like to start a new business in your 60s?