Small Business Ideas for the Baby Boomer Market
The Baby Boomer Generation
Have you noticed recently how the 'baby boomer' market is becoming a new marketing trend? It's a little late I'd observe, since we've been booming along for some time now. We just keep on going and as flag flyers of our sort we've been market-makers-unselfconscious. We've noticed we've been setting trends but so what? That's exactly who we are.
Us baby boomers were all born at more or less the same time, but not all of us are ex-hippies, or ban the bombers. Some of us have never smoked a joint. Some of us have been focused and become rich and famous, some of us 'tripped' into early graves and some of us have survived with all the quirks of our flower power traits, like me.
What unites us in the market place today though are not just the memories of magical 60's and 70's days but the realities of the following (and inevitable) aspects of living today:
- Most of us are pensioners, retired or retiring and living on pensions, or retirement income
- We have aches and pains
- Many of us have grandchildren
- Lots of us have more leisure time
This article proposes 'small business' ideas for the baby boomer market, for people such as myself (in the above list). Not all of us baby boomers are going to be able to maintain our lifestyles to the end due to:
- inadequate savings,
- changed-for-the-worst pensions
- longer lives
What can't be removed from us baby boomers though are the indelible memories of our 'freer' youth! It's part of who we are, intrinsically. They'll therefore affect the spheres of small business ideas for the baby boomer market.
Business Ideas for the Baby Boomer
Baby boomers may often be people with mobility or physical disabilities, or have cancer or AIDS, or be survivors of other serious illnesses. I have a lot of difficulty moving around for instance due to a tiresome knee injury. I'm also someone who had cancer a few years ago and I still get very tired. I need to rest a lot. I need a cane and because standing from sitting is almost impossible now, I need accessible bathroom furniture. I need a stool to put my leg up on when I sit. I sometimes wear a knee brace. If I lie on the bed to write, I need a cushion under my knee.
I find the equipment I need, which I inevitably bought in specialty stores to be helpful but oh-so-old-fashioned and clinical looking - however well designed and purposeful it is.
Mobility Equipment and Orthotics
Redesigning and producing more fun looking bathroom mobility aids and accessories such as shower grab bars, bath seats, shower chairs has to be first on my list of small business ideas. Can't they be made to look attractive, cool even, whilst being just as functional and technically well designed?
There's an economic slump in the design market in Italy at the moment which has excellent designers up for creating new exciting product designs. They'd come up with cutting edge ideas for those, so far, pretty boring looking aids.
Keeping the design of the health aid products but altering their cosmetic looks is a cool idea for a small business too. For instance, instead of my practical, military looking knee brace, which is grey with black Velcro tapes, wouldn't a knee brace which is colored be a visually 'lighter' alternative?
I'll throw out an idea here, just for the fun of it, nothing serious but an idea just the same. How about a 'black-and-white' line of braces for legs and arms which have iconic photographs of black and white heroes of the 70's printed on them - Martin Luther King, Jimi Hendrix and Martha Hunt, or Janis Joplin, Marshal McLuhan and Al Pacino (The Godfather).
There could be a colored line in orthotic products with the paintings of Roy Lichtenstein and other postmodern 'pop art' painters such as Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg, Claes Oldenburg taking the place of the uniform greens, blues and grey colors of mobility aids up till now. Who says that because the products are useful they have to look functional, uniform, medical, dull?
Did You Know?
83% of baby boomers intend to keep working after retirement.
89% returned to work to stay active, not because of financial needs.
Retirees who are socially, economically and civically engaged will live longer
Average baby boomer will live to the age of 83
Another good small business idea for the baby boomer market would be manufacturing small, light collapsible stools - for providing pain relief for the aching knee/leg/back (for those of us who have knee and body part problems) for when we want to sit!
I always imagine and desire to rest my leg on a soft rock for instance, or a sponge brick when I'm forced to sit on a normal chair at my desk or anywhere, even a restaurant (designed to be practically folded into a pocket or bag when not in use). Having my knee bend for any time hurts it. Incredibly there is no object on the market so far that helps.
Toilet Paper Rolls and Holders - New Look
The idea of printing iconic material onto existing functional designs is not new but it still hasn't reached the toilet paper and paper napkins business. It could!
'Ban the Bomb' and 'Make love Not War', some of the famous saying from back in the day would look pretty kitsch stamped on toilet paper and paper towels - instead of the flowers and tiny bears we're used to.
Zazzle.com is a great place to open shop, to create and easily stamp up photos onto products such as mugs and tea shirts; it's not a bad place to try out a very small business! If it goes well, then e-commerce a product that you've tried and tested successfully with them. North American e-commerce is growing!
New Look Patterns for Cross Stitching and Knitting
I'm a grandparent and so frustrated by the choices out there for anything I want to make for my grand children. I love to cross stitch but most of the cross stitch patterns are the ones we've seen around for so long. I think they are fine if you like classic and conventional but a boomer really isn't that way inclined a lot of the time, not all of us.
A neat small business idea for the baby boomer market would be to set up an alternate pattern business offering updated, stylish patterns and designs for knitting patterns for clothes and blankets for baby - for embroidering onto towels and for all cross stitching needs for the nursery.
Baby Boomers Love Pets
Producing pet baskets, making trendy collars, inventing bells for pet collars are all business ideas that stand a chance to prosper as small businesses for the 'boomer' since pets are here to stay. We love our dogs and our cats.
Setting up a good pet sitting agency could be a most lucrative business. Making it reputable is a must.
© 2013 Penelope Hart
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