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11 Essential Things to Consider Before Starting a Business in Your 60s

Many people hope to own their own business, but very few do. In addition, women around the world are hesitant to become entrepreneurs because they feel they lack confidence and resources.

A successful European businessman, Patrick Gruhn, published a fine book a few years ago, Good Business, written primarily for his daughter. However, his ideas apply to would-be entrepreneurs of all ages.

Gruhn favors cooperation versus competition in business. Believing that women tend toward nurture and men toward battle, he wants to see more women in entrepreneurial positions.

Written daily over a period of 500 days, his book seems to have over a thousand good ideas. We’ll explore some here.

Generate Value for Others and for Yourself

Fundamentally, business is the exchange of value for value. Gruhn says, “Ultimately, by creating value for others, you will create wealth for yourself.” He argues that to do so, you need to have a vision.

You should have a passion for your work. His advice is to look for the area of overlap between a customers’ need and your skills.

Employ a Strategy of Playing the Long Game

Play your life like a game of chess. Plan ahead. To thrive in the long run, reduce friction. Minimize unnecessary conflict and avoid micromanagement of others. We are advised to hedge our bets and not put all our eggs in one basket.

However, having too many irons in the fire means none get really hot. Pace yourself. Life’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Be Prepared for the Changing Tides

The late U.S. President John F. Kennedy noted, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” At high tide, it is hard to distinguish the true winners from the others. It is only when the tide goes out that you can see who’s been swimming without shorts.

Stick to it. Be reliable in speed, quality, and outcome of your efforts. Say what you’ll do and do what you say.

Don’t Limit Yourself

Clear your mind. “When the student is ready, the master will appear, and when the master is ready, the student will appear,” Gruhn quotes. Readiness is key. He advises his readers to accept advice only from those who have truly succeeded.

What’s Your Management Style: Hard or Soft?

A woman may be more comfortable being non-confrontational. Although if you are naturally tough, you can go with that style. A softer approach has its strengths and is less wearing on its practitioner and its recipients.

Be Effective! Be Efficient!

Being effective means getting it done. Efficient is getting it done economically. Ideally, you’d be efficiently effective. The adage “haste makes waste” alerts us to the tension between speed and quality.

Dig for the Words You Need to Hear

People will give compliments freely. They rarely give criticism, especially to those above them or those from whom they hope to get favors. As an entrepreneur, dig for the diamonds of truth. Collect information and opinions, but weigh opinions carefully, considering the motives of those who offer them.

As Frank Sinatra Sang, “Luck, Be a Lady”

Luck plays a role in success, sometimes a big role. But you’ve got to be playing in the game. “You’ve got to be in it to win it,” as the New York State Lottery slogan goes.

Having Prospered, Give Appropriately

Once you’ve got enough, be generous! Avoid the takers, embrace the makers, doers, earners, and sharers. As for your own friends and loved ones, empower growth, don’t enable dependency.

The Good Life

“The paradox is that we work towards having the good life, but then we get too busy to enjoy it,” Gruhn warns. You have to work out the right balance for yourself.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Have you always dreamed to be an entrepreneur? What business have you considered running? Have you done anything to get started? What has held you back? Please join in the conversation.

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Karen Jennings

A month ago, an nationally known insurance company, contacted me for an interview. THey had seen my resume, which I had updated months before I retired. I hesitated but decided that since they invited me to a first interview, and I do not turn down legitimate offers. I accepted. The next week, I was invited to a second interview and really did not expect any other invites. About two weeks later, I received an email that they would like for me to join the team so I have been working on the licensing exam preparation for my license. I feel that this is a good start! ANd yes I am a little fearful because I am sixty-eight.


I enjoy being a business owner! It’s easier as I’m in business with my husband and we are very differnt people with very different strengths. We’ve grown gradually over 13 yrs to a staff of 15. I like that I get to leverage my strengths and I really enjoy my position , being “boss” and the work content. I like that I can make a difference in People’s lives.

The Author

Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D. is a former Harvard science professor. He still publishes and helps others write and publish their books, via Douglas's life's central theme has been a half-century romance with his wife Tina Su Cooper, now quadriplegic due to multiple sclerosis, who receives 24/7 nursing care at home. Visit his website here

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