Start a Senior Business
Are you ready to start your own business? Today’s hottest market, seniors, is ready to buy. Trendy millennial and Generation Z consumers, move aside. There’s a new consumer in town (well, actually, an old one): senior citizens.
Yes, the demographic incorporating the baby boomers is still a force to be reckoned with. Here’s what you need to know about starting a senior business.
Senior statistics. Not all seniors are baby boomers—but this generation does hold a special place. Currently between 54 and 72 years old, the boomers make up a large proportion of the senior population. However, many are also taking care of their parents, creating an additional market for products and services.
Many baby boomers are quite affluent, making them an ideal market for small businesses. Overall, the spending power of baby boomers is expected to reach $15 trillion worldwide by the end of 2019.
By 2030, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 National Population Projections, all of the baby boomers will be older than 65. At this time, one out of five U.S. residents will be of retirement age, and by 2060, people aged 65 and over will make up almost one-fourth of the population.
In fact, senior citizens are projected to outnumber children by 2035, when there will be 78 million people 65 years or up compared to 76.4 million age 17 or younger.
Clearly, seniors are a growth market. Here are eight ideas for businesses you can start to serve them.
Senior business ideas
- Non-medical in-home care: Adult children often worry about aging parents living at home alone. Your service can ease their worries by helping senior clients with tasks of daily life, such as getting to and from appointments, shopping, cleaning, and cooking, so they’re able to stay in their homes longer. You’ll need to market the service to adult children, since few seniors will admit they need this type of care.
- Senior care consultant: These professionals help find the best living arrangements for seniors, whether that is at home, daycare or a senior living facility. You’ll work with community services and local government agencies that help seniors to get client referrals.
- Home services: More than eight in 10 (82%) of seniors own their own homes, but as they get older, they may prefer to have others handle the maintenance. Home-related services, such as housecleaning, lawn care, and handyman services aren’t just for seniors, but targeting this clientele can help you build a thriving business. Earn the trust of seniors and their adult children, and you’ll have more referrals than you can handle.
- Home retrofitting/remodeling: Seniors who want to stay in their homes as long as possible are getting their homes retrofitted with things like wider doorways, shower grab bars, and other changes to make their homes safer and more accessible.
- Travel company: Active seniors are eager to travel, and a travel business focused on senior or family travel can be a big hit. These days, many seniors are planning multi-generation vacations, “girlfriend getaways,” or vacations with grandchildren.
- Medical claims assistance: If you’re familiar with health insurance, Medicare, and the healthcare industry, you can start a business to help seniors and their families manage medical bills. You’ll review bills and medical records to make sure seniors aren’t paying too much and are getting all of the benefits they’re entitled to. Market your services to senior centers, medical offices, and financial professionals that can refer you to potential clients.
- Nutrition/fitness consultant: You can work with physical therapists, geriatric physicians, fitness centers, and other organizations targeting seniors to provide fitness and nutrition programs for their patients and/or customers. You can also market your services to individuals. Yoga, Pilates, dance, and swimming are popular exercise programs among seniors.
- Senior transportation services: Seniors who can’t or don’t want to drive still need transportation to get to and from doctors’ appointments, to shop, or to get to social engagements. Their children aren’t always available to drive, taxis can get expensive, and even in areas with good public transportation, it can be hard for seniors to walk to bus or train stops. All of this spells opportunity for senior transportation services. Do your homework about your territory and market before starting this business. Find out what type of driver’s license and insurance is necessary.
Senior business success secrets
To market your senior business, here are some things to remember:
- Seniors don’t see themselves as “old.” (This is especially true if they’re boomers.) Your marketing should promote how your product or service helps seniors remain healthy, fit, and active.
- Seniors need to trust you. Many senior businesses deal with sensitive data or work in seniors’ homes. To build trust with both seniors and their adult children, make sure your business is properly licensed, insured, and bonded (if that’s appropriate to your industry). Word-of-mouth is key because seniors are more likely to trust businesses that friends or relatives tell them about.
- Market online and off. Yes, traditional marketing tactics such as print ads or direct mail work for many seniors—but the majority of seniors do use the internet. Target both seniors and the adult children buying for them with marketing that includes both digital and traditional marketing channels.
The market for senior-related products and services is only going to grow. How can you benefit from it?
Published in OhioMBE – Oct. 1, 2018 – pdf