Alright, so … it’s possible that entrepreneurship is dying. We’ve been seeing stats about that for years, give or take.
You can choose to believe that or not believe that. Let’s say, for a second, that you do. If so, what or whom can save it?
How about the generation that’s driven a good deal of the post-WW2 change in America already?
The Boomers, baby!!!
Flush with decades of experience, network contacts, and financial stability, baby boomers have numerous advantages on their side for starting a business. They’re often in a better position to invest the money needed to get their business off the ground, and they are clear about who they are and what they want.
The origin point for a lot of this is this Gallup study.
Now, let’s stop and pause for one second. Here, when we say “Boomers,” we mean “north of 50.” It’s a wide swath. It doesn’t necessarily mean “north of 70.” Those people would probably be less inclined to start a business.
Here’s what is interesting: we often love the story of the start-up founder (especially the immigrant start-up founder, although that idea also terrifies some people) and/or the young back who chased his/her dreams, created an amazing product, and minted themselves as a billionaire. Part of all this is that we love/respect/deify youth, and part of it is the whole idea of “The American Dream” or the scrapping, the hustle, etc… these are values and virtues to most of us, no?
But if you really think about it, someone 51-52 who’s tired of the grind and a terrible boss probably makes a better entrepreneur. They have the contacts, they have a bit more in the way of finances, they might have the experience in a multitude of situations, etc.
It’s a more boring story, yes — the guy with 27 years of contacts founds a successful business and keeps it afloat! — but it’s also a more logical story.
And then you come to a second interesting place: there’s a strong possibility, especially with stagnant earnings, that this Boomer generation will be the last one of its kind to truly enjoy a conventional, standard retirement. (Although the way we’re thinking about retirement is still inaccurate.)
Within that whole discussion of how and when Boomers will retire — and what that retirement will look like — there’s a separate discussion about what that means for millennials (their children/grandchildren).
So this “Boomers become entrepreneurs” idea kinda helps there too … maybe Boomers could leave the companies they founded to their kids! That would get Junior out of the basement, right? And give him some purpose around professionalism and occupation?
We’re already all about protecting family wealth in America, right? So let’s take it one step further and solve this Millennial Job Crisis right here: Dear Old Dad can use his contacts and financial assets to found a company, build it into something pretty solid, and throw it right down the chain at Junior!
In about 500 words, I just saved America. You’re welcome.