And no, he/she does not arrive in a flashy Porsche with shrieking tires.
The days of the flamboyant 20-something-Armani-suit are over. The banks or the VC’s that eagerly believed the 50%+ return story over a lobster lunch are the exact reason why the financial crisis continues to shadow the real economy.
Time for a new breed of entrepreneurs to raise. People who carry the scar tissue of real life experience. Business plans that reflect a sustainable margin, reflect longer term commitment, support the economy and not just some investors. A breed of people who know what frugality means in a start up. What it means to set up sales, R&D, Finance, logistics, marketing and so on.
People who have access to businesses. Arriving back to my point that businesses, certainly large enterprises, should be motivated to invest more in start-ups. I have investigated briefly some of the recent earning calls of the top 100 companies. Few of these are not sitting on huge bank accounts. I hope that the CFO’s of these enterprises start to see that their risky investments in banks or other bonds are not paying off. And that there are alternatives.
We all have to work longer because governments are not able to pay the pensions for a graying population. We all live longer, so there is nothing wrong to actually start a second career as an entrepreneur when you are over 50. In the end you have at least another 30 year to go on this planet according to the statistics. As governments are struggling with what to do with the 50plussers on the market, another option is to deploy these valuable people in education. As a pre-requisite, a job in education has to be revalued. Most of the issues today with youngsters lingering on the streets is because of a faltering education system. Faltering because policy makers are not the best pupils when it comes to longer term thinking. The attention span is up till the next elections. But after years of gradual disinvestment in our school system, we are presented with the bill. That is the real time bomb under our society.
50 plussers are not a bunch of tired employees who just want to leave for Marbella and sit in the sun. They are an untapped source of ideas, insights, connections and trustworthiness. With life expectation changing, so is our mental institution. Decades ago someone of 60 was an old grandfather sitting next to the coal fire. Today it is a person who jogs, Skypes, travels, enjoys life.
I would say, working and non-working 50plussers, unite. Send in your business plans to VC’s and banks. Call your old contacts at the enterprises you work or used to work at. Ask your local governments to support your start-up in any way they can. Set up business clubs where you can discuss and cross fertilize each other ideas over lunch. Make sure it is a chicken roll brown bag lunch. Keep the lobster for the family.
(This blog appeared for the first time in 2011… after almost 3 years, I thought it was still relevant. Or even more relevant).