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Ageism Denied: Why Senior Entrepreneurs Succeed in Business

Margaret Lewis had a great job and a great salary in what she described as the high point of her career. It was 2016 when she suffered a stroke and was hospitalized for 23 days.

When she left the hospital, she was in a wheelchair, could not walk, and had difficulty talking.

“I knew I couldn’t go back to what I was doing or my lifestyle,” Lewis said.

Having exercised regularly, Lewis said she “wanted to give back to that industry.” Owning a franchise seemed like a smart choice. She has since opened an iLoveKickboxing franchise in Southington, Conn., with plans to open a second franchise shortly.

“Owning a franchise was really the right place for me,” Lewis said.

Lewis applied her business expertise and her passion for fitness to find a new career path. Like many older entrepreneurs, she drew from a lifetime of experiences and insights that have allowed her to succeed. Senior entrepreneurs are using their considerable talents to open new doors and new businesses.

What is the key to the success of senior-run startups?

  • Work Ethic – A 2007 study indicated that Baby Boomers place a high value on working hard, believing that hard work equates with financial success. Older entrepreneurs are not only more likely to work hard, but also to work smarter, drawing on their experience to make the most of their time.
  • Experience – A senior entrepreneur comes into their new business with a built-in knowledge base from years in the work force, and life in general.
  • Support – With the number of senior entrepreneurs on the rise, they not only have their own life experiences, but they can draw on the experiences of their peers.
  • Confidence – With decades of perspective, older entrepreneurs believe they have the ability and skills to succeed, according to a Kauffman Foundation report.

For Lewis, the decision to start her own business brought with it questions. However, she smartly relied on others for insights.

“I really learned early on in my career to surround myself with people who are smarter than me,” Lewis said.

When it came to funding, Lewis wasn’t sure whether to rely on savings or life insurance or other sources. Ultimately, she chose to work with Benetrends to secure SBA funding from the right bank that allowed her to open the doors.  Lewis explains, "Benetrends helped me find multiple banks who would provide sources for funding, most of whom I had never even heard of. . . I was pleasantly surprised by all of them."

Margaret participated in the Opening Ceremonies for the International Franchise Expo (IFE) in May 2018.  Standing alongside Linda McMahon, Administrator of the SBA and a member of the President's Cabinet, Robert Cresanti, President of the IFE and Joel Goldstein, Show Manager for MFV Expositions, Lewis shared how Benetrends helped her achieve her entrepreneurial goals.

"If I can do it, anybody can do it," Lewis said.  Her advice to fellow senior would-be owners?  "Make sure that you focus in on the right dream and the right business to focus in on.  Then, find a good bunch of people with the knowledge to get it done."

Benetrends helps entrepreneurs like Lewis explore multiple options, including the use of 401(k) funds to secure needed capital to start or expand a business. To find out more about funding options for your own business, schedule a consultation today.

Benetrends Financial CEO
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