Seniorpreneurs: Why you’re never too old to start a business

Am I too old to start a business in Australia? Entrepreneurs across the country appear to be shouting a resounding 'no' as a growing number of people launch start-ups at an older age.

These mature-age business owners even have their own name – seniorpreneurs – and they're already the fastest-growing segment of entrepreneurship in Australia.

In fact, a 2015 paper in the International Journal of Organizational Innovation (IJOI) revealed that late bloomers set up 34 per cent of new firms in the country, with 590,000 SMEs nationwide having an over-50s owner.

What is a seniorpreneur?

Definitions can vary, but most sources seem to suggest that you're a seniorpreneur once you reach age 50.

The IJOI research showed that the average age of a senior entrepreneur was 57, which isn't much higher than the average age of a 'younger' business start-up owner at 45.

But if you're wondering whether you're too old to start a business, the upcoming statistics should put your mind at ease. Seniorpreneurs may actually have the advantage when it comes to setting up ventures.

Key stats for seniorpreneurs

Before we provide some tips for mature business owners in Australia, here are a few headline figures from the IJOI report: 

  • Seniorpreneurs earn 129 per cent more from their new businesses than other entrepreneurs ($264,000 a year compared with $115,000);
  • Seniorpreneurs only work 18.5 hours a week, while younger owners put in 23 hours per week;
  • 11 per cent of seniorpreneurs in Australia are aged 71 and older;
  • The entrepreneurship rate of 55 to 64-year-olds in Australia is 8 per cent – 3 per cent above the average of innovation-driven economies.

Moreover, 52 per cent of seniorpreneurs are female, which is a far higher percentage than the average of 34 per cent found across the broader SME landscape in a 2015 Office of Women report.

Tips for mature business owners in Australia

Hopefully, we've shown that you're never too old to start a new business, but pursuing your entrepreneurial dreams is often daunting, regardless of your age.

If you're not sure where to begin, try some of these tips:

  • Seek business support services for older entrepreneurs: An accounting firm such as WMC Accounting can help you set up and run your business by providing assistance with finance, strategy and growth.
  • Leverage technology: Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows only 46 per cent of over-65s are regular internet users, compared with 83 per cent of Australians overall. Explore ways in which your business could benefit from technology innovation.
  • Be confident in your skills: Seniorpreneurs have an average of 13.25 years of experience under their belts, according to the IJOI research. Younger business owners only have 7.5 years, nearly half as much, so have faith in your abilities.

Would you like to know more about business support for older entrepreneurs? Please get in touch with WMC Accounting today to discuss your needs.

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