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Studies show that entrepreneurs age 50-plus are among the most successful, profitable small business leaders. While experience matters, it’s not a magic wand that solves every problem that can threaten a company’s survival.
Starting and growing a business is no easy feat. Many new ventures are expensive to start and require years of relentless work before the fruits of that labor arrive. It’s no surprise nearly 20 percent of businesses fail in their first year. Starting and managing a business in today’s economic climate, in particular, requires an agile and proactive approach that prioritizes developing skills that will help your business thrive.
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Research shows older adults want to learn new skills
Longevity trends would indicate that the first human to live to 150 years old has already been born. This means that all older workers — not just aspiring entrepreneurs — will need to become lifelong learners. Instead of the traditional approach of obtaining a four-year college degree then climbing the career ladder, most workers will need to reskill throughout their careers, through on-the-job training, online education or other options.
The good news is that older workers are eager to learn. According to a 2021 AARP survey of older adults, 94 percent of respondents stated they are willing to learn new skills if requested by their current or a potential employer. In fact, more than 26 percent have already taken computer or technology training and 22 percent of respondents have obtained a license or certification in the past two years.
Embracing the mentality of a lifelong learner is an essential trait for a successful small business owner. Entrepreneurs must adapt to thrive, and that flexibility requires an understanding that a strategic plan is a living, responsive road map. Cultivating both technical and soft skills is necessary not just for starting a business but also for staying in business.
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Launching a business can be both exhilarating and overwhelming. Without the proper guidance and research, it’s difficult to know how to prioritize business activities. Should operations come before sales and marketing, or after? When is the right time to file a trademark, before or after incorporating the business?