The Aging Population
Written by CMG News Contributor, Doug Carleton
Armchairs with higher seating to make getting up easier. Slanted footstools to promote blood circulation. A razor with a safety comb and wider handle filled with shaving gel is designed to give caregivers better control while shaving their elderly charges. And then, there is a rapidly-growing list of food and nutrition products designed to promote and assist healthy aging. Approximately 49 million Americans are over 65 years old. Do you already sell a product that is regularly used by all ages, including seniors? Could its usefulness for seniors warrant heavier promotion or could it with minor modifications become a much more senior-friendly product that you could promote? The razors, the chairs, and many of the food products already existed. They just got tweaked or modified to serve the seniors market without having to invent something new.
One startup in Richmond, Virginia created software to provide patient transportation to health care appointments to take the load off different providers who would normally have to arrange it. Another Richmond entrepreneur created a technology platform to allow seniors to connect with people – non-professionals such as neighbors, for example, to provide a wide variety of non-professional everyday services such as shopping or trips to the library or picking up prescriptions or helping with technology, and much more. These ideas addressed markets or filled holes in the market that hadn’t existed, or no one had thought about it as a business until someone had one of those “What if….?” moments. Neither of these ideas was revolutionary. They just saw a hole and filled it.
Businesses were born, and both companies raised investor capital because of the merit of their ideas.
Investors are always looking for opportunities in growing markets, and the seniors market has the advantage of having continued and measurable growth ahead. That’s a difficult combination to beat. And if you have a business that sells a product or products aimed at this market, or wants to create one based on the knowledge you already have, your bank might be interested in financing it for you. There may be a need that no one had thought of or a hole that you could fill hiding right there in plain sight. The market is there and waiting.
This blog entry is a slightly edited excerpt from Doug Carleton's 'The Daily Life Of A Small Business Owner' series. Doug was a mentor with SCORE, Startup Virginia, and Lighthouse Labs, and has 25+ years of experience in small business finance including 12 years in SBA lending. To contact Doug directly, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.