Jan was out having tea with friends, and having accomplished the tasks I had set out to do for the day, I opted to spend the better half of my afternoon enjoying a programme on the telly while having a well-deserved cold ‘un. Forrest Gump was on. I’ve seen this movie more than a few times, yet it never fails to entertain.
Later that same day, I spoke to an old mate of mine over the phone. He had this idea for a business but was having misgivings. He said it was just too risky because he was getting too old. “Of course it’s risky! You’d have to be utterly daft not to realise and understand the risks involved,” I acquiesced. Then I paused, remembering a catchy phrase I had heard earlier: “Stupid is as stupid does.”
“Age is a resource, NOT a handicap. It shouldn’t stop you.”
Forrest Gump may have been mentally challenged, but when it came down to business he was anything but gormless. If stupid is as stupid does, with his triumphs in life, which included the brilliantly successful Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, then Forrest will have proven himself smarter than the lot of us. But Bubba Gump Shrimp, to me, wasn’t even his life’s true venture. Jenny was.
Simple of mind though he was, he had unflinching determination and was unwavering in his devotion to his Jenny. And just when you thought it was going to be too late for them he proves you dead wrong.
“And it’s never too late for you, too,” I encouraged my pal. “And I’ll give you bloody good reasons why.”
10 Reasons why it’s never too late to start your Own Business:
1. Senior entrepreneurial activity is higher now than it ever was. Not only that, but studies also point to an even increasing trend for years to come. Senior startups are on the rise setting off a positive bandwagon effect.
2. Seniorpreneurs are becoming the new in-crowd. Senior-initiated businesses are growing AND they are seeing tons of success, too. A number of the world’s most renowned enterprises were started by old farts like me (name-dropping Ray Kroc, Armand Hammer, and the universal icon, Colonel Sanders). Being part of a group esteemed as powerful and booming is a source of great pride.
3. The Fountain of Youth is no longer the stuff of science fiction, but a science fact! Well, close to becoming one, anyway. We are enjoying increased longevity and are healthier even in advanced age. But no matter what science and technology does for you, you’re still as old as you feel. Think about that.
4. There’s a vast ocean of opportunities that await you. Several businesses can be started with minimal capital investment. You can take out microloans, if ever you need the extra finances to help you, uhrm, “float your boat”.
5. Your past is a gold mine. You already have the skills and experience. You need only repackage yourself to a new market.
6. Whatever skills you lack, you can learn. An old dog CAN be taught new tricks. And you need not worry because –
7. Support is aplenty. The government and a number of organisations have initiated programmes to aid the development of entrepreneurship among seniors. Furthermore, the expanding network of seniorpreneurs itself can lend you all the support you could ever need.
8. You already have the essential qualities for success. If you think otherwise, you’re wrong. What do you think got you this far? Staying power, resilience and creativity, that’s what.
9. Fear is your worst enemy. It’s the only real impediment to your progress. While it’s normal, it can be unhealthy. Less over thinking, more action.
10. Passion trumps anxiety. The prospect of taking on the risk of a startup business can be made more comforting by the knowledge that you will be pursuing what you are passionate about. Now is the perfect chance to pursue opportunities and dreams that you have not had the time or capacity to make real in earlier years.
If you want to start a business, don’t just sit there stewing over things while your energy and inner resources dissipate. Forrest Gump had an obvious handicap, but it did not stop him from getting places and, finally, the girl of his dreams. “Age is a resource, NOT a handicap,” I told my friend. “It shouldn’t stop you.”
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