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Strong earthquake topples buildings in Taiwan Getty Images

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These Super Bowl bound NFL players know more about Wall Street than you CNBC
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The number one auto in America for decades
The number one auto in America for decades

Jessica Alba’s Honest Co. is reportedly close to IPO
Jessica Alba’s Honest Co. is reportedly close to IPO  Getty Images

Teen gets to keep $20,000 gold bar found in lake
Teen gets to keep $20,000 gold bar found in lake  Getty Images

This top NYC dog walker earns $110,000 a year
This top NYC dog walker earns $110,000 a year  ryanfordogs.com

Crane collapses in New York, killing at least one
Crane collapses in New York, killing at least one person Reuters

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Can I force my late mother-in-law’s estate to pay my mortgage? Terrence Horan/MarketWatch
Must mother-in-law’s estate pay my mortgage?

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 Google
Will your job benefits get better this year?

‘Hateful Eight’ star destroys $40,000 guitar — and it was a loaner
Hateful Eight star destroys $40,000 guitar -- and it was a loaner Everett Collection

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Why the Carolina Panthers should win the Super Bowl  Getty Images
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Four reasons the January jobs report is fishy
Why the Fed is likely to stay put in March

Chicken-little investors, please read jobs report
Economists say ‘wow’ to jobless rate
Manufacturing jobs hit 7-year high
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Oil-tax proposal steps on Obama jobs message
Obama: Oil tax won't disrupt economy
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/conga/frontpage.html 367231

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139.01MDow Volume:
Avg Vol: 128.61M
Unchanged
165
Decliners
4917
Advancers
1419
Price Chg %Chg 1 Day
Range: 1 Day
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Dow
/quotes/zigman/627449/realtime 16,205 -212 1.29%
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/quotes/zigman/12633936/realtime 4,363 -146 3.25%
S&P 500
/quotes/zigman/3870025/realtime 1,880 -35 1.85%
GlobalDow
/quotes/zigman/629063/realtime 2,139 -24 1.12%
Gold
/quotes/zigman/33772884/delayed 1,174 +17 1.43%
Oil
/quotes/zigman/2260836/delayed 31.00 -0.72 2.27%
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/quotes/zigman/3173262/delayed 5,848 -51 0.86%
DAX
/quotes/zigman/2380246/delayed 9,286 -107 1.14%
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/quotes/zigman/3173214/delayed 4,201 -28 0.66%
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IBEX 35
/quotes/zigman/2759620/delayed 8,500 +31 0.37%
Stoxx 600
/quotes/zigman/2380150/delayed 326 -3 0.87%
Asia Dow
/quotes/zigman/6959860/realtime 2,510 +7 0.29%
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/quotes/zigman/5986735/delayed 16,820 -225 1.32%
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/quotes/zigman/2622475/delayed 19,288 +105 0.55%
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/quotes/zigman/1859015/delayed 2,763 -18 0.63%
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/quotes/zigman/1652085/delayed 24,617 +279 1.14%
Singapore
/quotes/zigman/1709939/delayed 2,623 +65 2.53%
Euro
/quotes/zigman/16008136/realtime/sampled 1.12 -0.01 0.47%
Yen
/quotes/zigman/16008150/realtime/sampled 116.87 +0.09 0.08%
Pound
/quotes/zigman/16008140/realtime/sampled 1.45 -0.01 0.60%
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/quotes/zigman/16008115/realtime/sampled 0.71 -0.01 1.83%
DXY Index
/quotes/zigman/1652083/delayed 96.96 +0.41 0.42%
WSJ $ Idx
/quotes/zigman/41508961/realtime 89.81 +0.50 0.56%
U.S. 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866666/realtime 1.83 0.00 0.00%
German 10y
/quotes/zigman/15866409/realtime 0.30 -0.01 2.16%
Italy 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866497/realtime 1.56 +0.05 3.14%
Spain 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866444/realtime 1.65 +0.03 1.72%
U.K. 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866328/realtime 1.56 0.00 0.00%
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/quotes/zigman/25518691/delayed 366 -3 0.81%
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/quotes/zigman/43106711/delayed 1,874 -34 1.78%
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/quotes/zigman/32655632/delayed 15 +0 1.21%

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FB /quotes/zigman/9962609/composite 104.07 -6.42 -5.81%
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GOOG /quotes/zigman/59527964/composite 683.57 -24.44 -3.45%
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T /quotes/zigman/398198/composite 36.88 0.35 0.96%
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Airline 15.17% 15.16% 15.10%
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Older Americans Fuel Entrepreneurial Boom

iStockPhoto

Faced with bruised nest eggs and high unemployment rates, older Americans—ever resourceful—are becoming entrepreneurs.

According to the nonprofit Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, individuals between the ages of 54 and 64 represented 22.9% of the entrepreneurs who launched businesses in 2010 – up from 14.5% in 1996. Since 2007, the foundation says, this age group has created new businesses at a higher rate than any other. The data, writes Kauffman’s research director Dane Stangler, indicates “the United States might be on the cusp of an entrepreneurship boom—not in spite of an aging population but because of it.”

Still, failure rates for new businesses are high—as high as 90% by some measures.

Accordingly, we sat down with Eric Ries, Entrepreneur in Residence at Harvard Business School, to talk about his forthcoming book, “The Lean Startup,” which Crown Publishing Group is scheduled to publish on September 13. Here are edited excerpts:

Q: The stereotype of an entrepreneur tends to be that of a young technology genius. Yet the statistics tell a different story. What’s going on?

A: The idea that you have to be a young 20-something just out of college to be a successful entrepreneur is just not true. Older entrepreneurs outperform younger ones in terms of their success rates. All you need is insight and a willingness to test your ideas.

Q: How can entrepreneurs reduce the odds of failure?

A: Entrepreneurial vision is very important, but it’s important to test it as quickly as possible with empirical data. One good place to go is the web site kickstarter.com, which helps projects get funding. Before you go to the trouble and expense of producing a product, you can list it for a specific price on kickstarter and see whether people pre-order it. If you never produce the product, the web site gives customers their money back. By looking at pre-orders you can gauge demand for your idea. If you simply ask people whether they think something is a good idea or whether they would pay for a product, most are not going to be able to give you an accurate answer. People are very unpredictable. With kickstarter, they send the money up front, so you can see how they will really behave.

Q: Is it important to write a business plan?

A: I think business plans are obsolete. It’s not that planning isn’t valuable. But the goal should be to use tools such as kickstarter to research demand, rather than to speculate on demand in a business plan. You should do this type of business experimentation as quickly as possible so you don’t waste time or money on product development. The failure rate for startups is astronomical. We can do a lot better.

Q: What if you want to test a service, instead of a product?

A: Instead of building a big, expensive version of your service, build the smallest, simplest version that enables you to get started testing it with potential customers. For example, some entrepreneurs I know in Austin, Texas had an idea for a service to help parents with meal planning that incorporates family members’ food preferences, provides recipes, and keeps track of grocery lists. Rather than spend money developing software, they spent time with customers every week in the grocery store. They helped their customers by doing meal planning by hand. They wrote out menus on paper and as they got better at serving the needs of these customers, they added others. When they had a critical mass, they started to automate the service, by developing software. The rationale is that if no one is willing to pay for the concierge version of the service, no one is going to pay for the software either. The idea is to get just 10 customers to try it out and see how many people will pay for it. These techniques are very simple.

Q: What if you are offering a service, such as carpentry work, and you know there is a market. How can you go about testing whether your business will succeed?

A: I know someone who started a home interior design company. He knew that people would spend money on home refurnishing, but would they want to buy it from him? He spoke to prospective customers, to find out why it was that they wanted to remodel. It turned out that many potential customers in the place where he was based were women. He had the realization that they were not just buying home remodeling, but the sense of control a designer could create for them over their environments. He tried out tag lines for his business until he found a hit—which enabled him to market himself as offering something they could not get elsewhere. The tag line he chose was “unlike your husband, we listen.”

Q: Should you spend money designing a web site for your company?

A: You can create a web site for little to no money. Keep it basic and simple and don’t get distracted with business cards or stationary. It used to be that you had to wear a suit and hand out business cards. Those days are over. There are companies including unbounce.com that allow you to create web pages so that people can sign up for your service or product. [Ries, who is an adviser to unbounce.com, owns an equity stake in the company.] For example, if you are planning to launch a cleaning and organizing service, you can create a page geared to moms and you can create a separate page for businesses. Those web pages will look very different but this enables you to test both versions and see which does better.

Comments

We welcome thoughtful comments from readers. Please comply with our guidelines. Our blogs do not require the use of your real name.

Comments (5 of 28)

View all Comments »
    • GenXers, like Muddle, can’t possibly handle the fact that the Baby Boomers, who can’t get a menial job working for McDonalds, are better at business than the Xrs. My observation of Xrs is that they are just too interested in video games and parties to make it in the real world. Bring back the draft.
      I have been refuse work for nothing else than age and they guy interviewing was so full of himself that I would not have hired him had our positions been reversed.
      Try this one on for size most of these guys are pumped with testosterone and full of bull.

    • Poor little Jonathan Mudde. did a baby boomer mom not give you enough hugs and kisses??? I stared a business at 60 with a home equity loan and sold it in 5 yrs for $300000..all it took was HARD WORK!!!!

    • Even a simpleton idea like facebook can make you rich. You have to shed your work shackles and innovate.

    • You can create a website for little or no money, but it likely won’t be found on searches. You should focus your marketing efforts on developing a site with good content and proper html architecture.

    • LM,
      Ah, the basics. I agree with your fundamental approach and am glad you posted.

About Encore

  • Encore examines the changing nature of retirement, from new rules and guidelines for financial security to the shifting identities and priorities of today’s retirees. The blog also explores news that affects retirement, from the Wall Street Journal Digital Network and around the web. Lead bloggers are reporter Catey Hill and senior editor Jeremy Olshan. Other contributors include The Wall Street Journal’s retirement columnists Glenn Ruffenach and Anne Tergesen; the Director for the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, Alicia Munnell; and the Director of Research for Pinnacle Advisory Group, Michael Kitces, CFP.

MarketWatch - Stock Market Quotes, Business News, Financial News
Bulletin
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/conga/frontpage.html 367231

Markets »

139.01MDow Volume:
Avg Vol: 128.61M
Unchanged
165
Decliners
4917
Advancers
1419
Price Chg %Chg 1 Day
Range: 1 Day
  • 1 Day
  • 5 Days
  • 1 Month
  • 3 Months
  • 6 Months
  • 1 Year
  • 2 Years
Dow
/quotes/zigman/627449/realtime 16,205 -212 1.29%
Nasdaq
/quotes/zigman/12633936/realtime 4,363 -146 3.25%
S&P 500
/quotes/zigman/3870025/realtime 1,880 -35 1.85%
GlobalDow
/quotes/zigman/629063/realtime 2,139 -24 1.12%
Gold
/quotes/zigman/33772884/delayed 1,174 +17 1.43%
Oil
/quotes/zigman/2260836/delayed 31.00 -0.72 2.27%
FTSE 100
/quotes/zigman/3173262/delayed 5,848 -51 0.86%
DAX
/quotes/zigman/2380246/delayed 9,286 -107 1.14%
CAC 40
/quotes/zigman/3173214/delayed 4,201 -28 0.66%
FTSE MIB
/quotes/zigman/1482176/delayed 17,250 -376 2.13%
IBEX 35
/quotes/zigman/2759620/delayed 8,500 +31 0.37%
Stoxx 600
/quotes/zigman/2380150/delayed 326 -3 0.87%
Asia Dow
/quotes/zigman/6959860/realtime 2,510 +7 0.29%
Nikkei 225
/quotes/zigman/5986735/delayed 16,820 -225 1.32%
Hang Seng
/quotes/zigman/2622475/delayed 19,288 +105 0.55%
Shanghai
/quotes/zigman/1859015/delayed 2,763 -18 0.63%
Sensex
/quotes/zigman/1652085/delayed 24,617 +279 1.14%
Singapore
/quotes/zigman/1709939/delayed 2,623 +65 2.53%
Euro
/quotes/zigman/16008136/realtime/sampled 1.12 -0.01 0.47%
Yen
/quotes/zigman/16008150/realtime/sampled 116.87 +0.09 0.08%
Pound
/quotes/zigman/16008140/realtime/sampled 1.45 -0.01 0.60%
Australia$
/quotes/zigman/16008115/realtime/sampled 0.71 -0.01 1.83%
DXY Index
/quotes/zigman/1652083/delayed 96.96 +0.41 0.42%
WSJ $ Idx
/quotes/zigman/41508961/realtime 89.81 +0.50 0.56%
U.S. 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866666/realtime 1.83 0.00 0.00%
German 10y
/quotes/zigman/15866409/realtime 0.30 -0.01 2.16%
Italy 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866497/realtime 1.56 +0.05 3.14%
Spain 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866444/realtime 1.65 +0.03 1.72%
U.K. 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866328/realtime 1.56 0.00 0.00%
Japan 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866525/realtime 0.03 -0.03 51.16%
Crude Oil
/quotes/zigman/2260836/delayed 31 -1 2.27%
Gold
/quotes/zigman/33772884/delayed 1,174 +17 1.43%
Corn
/quotes/zigman/25518691/delayed 366 -3 0.81%
DJIA F
/quotes/zigman/48241424/delayed 16,118 -210 1.29%
S&P F
/quotes/zigman/43106711/delayed 1,874 -34 1.78%
Silver
/quotes/zigman/32655632/delayed 15 +0 1.21%

Quotes

Symbol Price Change % Change
FB /quotes/zigman/9962609/composite 104.07 -6.42 -5.81%
AAPL /quotes/zigman/68270/composite 94.02 -2.58 -2.67%
GOOG /quotes/zigman/59527964/composite 683.57 -24.44 -3.45%
BAC /quotes/zigman/190927/composite 12.95 -0.30 -2.26%
C /quotes/zigman/5065548/composite 39.86 -0.93 -2.28%
F /quotes/zigman/264304/composite 11.45 -0.08 -0.69%
T /quotes/zigman/398198/composite 36.88 0.35 0.96%
BP /quotes/zigman/247026/composite 30.46 -0.15 -0.49%
GE /quotes/zigman/227468/composite 28.54 -0.64 -2.19%
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5 yr CD
1.3%
2 yr CD
0.7%
1 yr CD
0.5%
MMA $10K+
0.2%
MMA $50K+
0.4%

National averages from Bankrate.com

You Don’t Need Another Credit Card, You Need A Better One.
Avg. APR Last Week 6 Months
Low Interest 11.96% 11.88% 11.62%
Business 13.12% 13.11% 12.85%
Student 13.42% 13.42% 13.14%
Balance Transfer 14.35% 14.30% 14.12%
Airline 15.17% 15.16% 15.10%
Cash Back 15.26% 15.23% 15.27%
Reward 15.28% 15.25% 15.14%
Instant Approval 18.21% 18.18% 18.00%
Bad Credit 22.88% 22.88% 22.73%
Source:CreditCards.com

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