Older Entrepreneurs Face Unique Challenges, Valuable Advantages

Stephen Cohen, whose firm advises many older small business owners, sees more and more people who have been laid off at the end of long careers and who are looking toward entrepreneurship rather than re-entering the job market. "Opening a business is the American way of starting new," he said.

Others are simply searching for a way to spend more time with their families, Mr. Cohen said, or for more financial independence.

Mr. Cohen opened Keystone By Design with the help of SCORE, a nonprofit that provides counseling for the SBA, and he now mentors other small business owners through that organization.

Older entrepreneurs, Mr. Cohen said, often believe that their many years spent working 9-to-5 jobs will allow them to succeed as small business owners. But he notes that because small business owners need to be aware of all aspects of a company, from the financial to the technological to the legal, even the most seasoned workers may need outside advice and support.

"We think about all those pieces that people hadn't begun to think about because they were so wrapped up in production," Mr. Cohen said.


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