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Small Business Ideas for the Baby Boomer Market

Updated on January 31, 2016
GoodLady profile image

Penelope is retired but teaches English to business people in Rome part time. She is a published feature writer, playwright and poet.

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.

Walking cane
Walking cane | Source

Orthosis Brace

An Intrepid Dynamic Exoskeletal Orthosis Brace
An Intrepid Dynamic Exoskeletal Orthosis Brace | Source

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

Mobility Aids

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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    • GoodLady profile image
      Author

      Penelope Hart 4 years ago from Rome, Italy

      May your next ventures make you happy, wealthy and wise dear Sharyn.

      I'd love to know what you get into, so please let me know!

      Thanks so much for your comments, appreciated.

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 4 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Great ideas Penelope! I am currently 50 years old and have been "brainstorming" ideas to (hopefully) work for myself and not have to take orders from anyone else. And I do think in terms of what baby boomers would like/buy. Thanks for this, it has got me thinking!

    • GoodLady profile image
      Author

      Penelope Hart 4 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Thanks! Wouldn't it be wonderful if the right eyes did stumble across these ideas? So appreciate you sharing the secret dream.

    • Judi Bee profile image

      Judith Hancock 4 years ago from UK

      Some great ideas - we need someone to work on them, so sharing in the hope that the right eyes see this!

    • GoodLady profile image
      Author

      Penelope Hart 4 years ago from Rome, Italy

      mary615. I just know that there are rules and regulations out there that the clever business person is going to have to deal with ahead of the fun part. You Amish bread idea sounds just wonderful maybe for other states?

      tillsontital. It's a dream of mine! Of everybody's maybe. How many of us think "hmmmm, now that's a good idea!" and then we shelve it. Had fun putting a few down and lets see what happens.

      So grateful to you for your wonderful comments shares and votes!

      Thank you.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      I think, Goodlady, you need to find someone to help you! These are great ideas and if you found the right investor you might be able to someday see these creations and call them your own. Really forward thinking. Loved this hub.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      I like your ideas here. There are so many things I've thought of, but never took action on. I wanted to start an Amish Friendship Bread business because I made and sold this (I wrote a Hub about that) and it was so well received that I could have started a business, but the laws about that in Florida were just too restricted. I can sell to friends, but not to the public.

      I did have a pet sitting business for a while, but that didn't last.

      Great article to get folks to thinking!

      I voted this UP, etc. and will share.

    • GoodLady profile image
      Author

      Penelope Hart 4 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Glad you mentioned the marketing plan carol7777. Thanks. I veered away from the business side of it because it isn't my forte but of course, that is the vitally important side of any venture. I do appreciate your votes and shares and for your valid comments. Thank you so much.

      girishpuri. Nice to meet you here and thanks for your kind comments. So glad you found the ideas useful!

    • girishpuri profile image

      Girish puri 4 years ago from NCR , INDIA

      Great ideas, useful hub, very creative, thanks Good lady.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      Lots of good ideas here and certainly in tune with the times. starting a small business is an undertaking though and a good marketing plan needs to be in order...I am voting up and sharing

    • GoodLady profile image
      Author

      Penelope Hart 4 years ago from Rome, Italy

      The few ideas here are free! So, secretly I'm hoping some small business entrepreneur finds this article, thinks its useful and contacts me for more ideas - which ill earn royalties to finance all my living plans! Hi ho.

      Many thanks for your valid share wilderness. Always greatly appreciated.

    • wilderness profile image

      Dan Harmon 4 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Some very creative ideas here, GoodLady - you may have just helped some of our generation open their own business, or at least get some royalties from their own imagination.

      You're absolutely right - there are many, many baby boomers that are now retired, but still wanting some extra income and some part time work to stay busy and useful. We can't all write on HP, after all!

    • GoodLady profile image
      Author

      Penelope Hart 4 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Yea yea Angie Jardine! Here we all are to celebrate! Thanks so much for being the very first to comment here.

      Greatly appreciated :)

    • Angie Jardine profile image

      Angie Jardine 4 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Bless you, GL … what a creative, lateral thinking hub!

      From one baby-boomer to another :)