California Capital FDC Newsletter
February 2015
In This Issue
Welcome to the California Capital E-Newsletter.  Here at California Capital, we value up-to-date research on small businesses and we want to share that information with you.  In this monthly e-newsletter, you'll find an abundance of newly released data relevant to a wide variety of small business-related issues.  This month we put the spotlight on senior enterpreneurs.  In this newsletter, you'll also find a list of upcoming classes offered through the Women's Business Center (WBC) and the Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC).  Enjoy and we hope to see you at California Capital events and workshops!

California Capital is on Facebook!  Click here to begin following us!  



Senior Entrepreneurship- How to Tap a Lifetime of Experience into Business Success


By Caron Beesley, Contributor

Published: September 15, 2011Updated: April 30, 2012


Working into retirement isn't something most Americans would have anticipated as recently as five years ago but come 2012, 20 percent of the country's workforce is expected to be 55 or older.*

Combine these demographics with the continued impact of the recession, and you can see a solid trend emerging that reflects more and more seniors and retirees choosing entrepreneurship to boost their retirement income and pursue long-held dreams of going into business.

In fact, statistics show that 15 percent of workers expect to start their own business when they retire.*

Why Experience Can Make for a Better Entrepreneur

Of course, starting a business at any age is high risk, and many retirement-age entrepreneurs face the very particular challenge of time. When you're young, the imperatives of building a successful business and financial security for yourself and your family happens within a much wider window of time than it does for older entrepreneurs. The risk of failure and  never being able to rebuild your retirement nest egg is a significant consideration.

That said, starting a business later in life brings with it a wealth of business experience, aptitude for what it takes to compete and succeed, and self-awareness that youth doesn't always have on its side.

If this sounds like you, here are some essential tips and tools to help you get started.

5 Things to Consider as you Start a Business Later in Life 


Below are some tips to help you formulate your business idea and put it into action - in the context of your retirement planning and needs.


1.       Be Clear About What You Want


Starting a business can be more than a full-time job, especially in its infancy. So it's important to assess what you want from your business and how much time can you dedicate to your venture. If you still want time to yourself, build some flexibility into your business planning and schedule, which gives you time to dedicate to other interests. Many business types give you the option to be flexible - home-based businesses, online businesses, consulting, freelancing, and so on. With this kind of flexibility you can adjust and scale your commitment as needed.


If you need some help assessing your readiness to start a business, use this "Start-Up Assessment Tool" from the SBA.


2.       What's Your Business Idea?


Whether you want to pursue a hobby or capture a market for your very particular skills, doing something you are good at and that you enjoy is essential to success. You will also need to ask yourself what you want - your chosen business path has to suit your lifestyle, your family, and your pocketbook. 


And, remember, you don't need to come up with the latest hot trend or reinvent the wheel. Most new business ideas succeed because they serve an unfilled niche in their community or industry or do something better or different than the competition. Read more about coming up with a business idea that works for you in this article: 6 Tips for Finding a Business Idea and Turning it into an Entrepreneurial Reality.


3.       Does it Have Income Potential?


This is a tricky one and many entrepreneurs have run the risk of wearing blinders through this part of the business planning process.


But having a clear picture of the cost of starting a business together with its potential to earn income is critical - particularly if you are already retired and living on a fixed income. In such situations, focus on keeping your start-up costs low. You might want to consider starting a home-based business and make use of technology to your advantage (read 10 Technology Tools You Can’t Run a Small Business Without).  Focusing on doing something you like and are good at (particularly if you have a reputation for it) will go a long way to setting you on the right path.


Talk to a small business expert or financial advisor also - they can help you gauge your initial costs and income potential as well as provide guidance on financing options and good cash flow management. This article by Anita Campbell of also offers some useful tips for 10 Businesses You Can Start with Little Capital.


4.       Develop a Flexible Business Plan that Steers Your Business


Tasked with writing a business plan, most entrepreneurs would rather put off the inevitable. But the truth is, business planning isn't rocket science and doesn't require you to create the equivalent of a polished thesis! A good business plan is simple, flexible, and manageable - it steers your business, rather than prescribes it.


A good business plan should address your strategic direction and contain mini-plans that address the different aspects of your business.  For example, you'll need a sales and marketing plan, a finance plan, and potentially a staffing plan.  As your business grows, so does your plan. 


5.       Take the Necessary Legal and Regulatory Steps to Get Started


Having the determination and cash to start a business is one thing, but there are several steps you also need to take to ensure your business is registered with the appropriate authorities - for taxation and licensing purposes. It's also important to note, that all businesses require some form of permit, even home-based businesses.  This quick checklist from the SBA -- 10 Steps to Starting Your Business -- guides you through what you need to do and also points to some useful resources, like the Permit Me tool which quickly suggests what licenses and permits you'll need based on your business profile.


Another valuable tool from the SBA is "SBA Direct" which leads you to a variety of government resources (including financing and counseling) based on your unique profile and needs.


Note: Hyperlink directs reader to non-government Web site.


*Reference: The Senior Source, Statistics and Aging Information, Senior Employment





In Search of a Second Act: The Challenges and Advantages of Senior Entrepreneurship
By Dane Stangler

Testimony Before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging & the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship

Contrary to popular perception, entrepreneurship is not exclusive to the young and hip.

With that message, Kauffman Foundation Vice President of Research and Policy, Dane Stangler, provided testimony to the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging & the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship on how policymakers can foster senior entrepreneurship and why it is important to the U.S. economy.

Testimony of Dane Stangler

Vice President, Research and Policy
Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

 Before the

U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging & the Senate Committee on Small
Business and Entrepreneurship

In Search of a Second Act: The Challenges and Advantages of Senior 

February 12, 2014

Chairman Nelson, Chair Landrieu, Ranking Member Collins, Ranking Member Risch, and members of the Aging and Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committees, thank you for the opportunity to present data gathered by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation on senior entrepreneurship.

Founded by late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman, the Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation based in Kansas City, Missouri that aims to foster economic independence by advancing educational achievement and entrepreneurial success.

At the Kauffman Foundation, we believe in the power of entrepreneurship to not only change individual lives, but to also create economic opportunities for many others in society. 

With the goal of creating new knowledge about entrepreneurship, the Kauffman Foundation conducts and supports research that informs policymakers and the public about pro-entrepreneurship policies at all levels of government.  

Our research contributes to a more in-depth understanding of what drives innovation and economic growth in an entrepreneurial world.

Contrary to popular perception, entrepreneurship is not exclusive to the young and hip. Entrepreneurs of all ages start businesses and create economic opportunity for themselves and others.

Last year, for example, businesses started by those ages 55 to 64 accounted for nearly one-quarter of all new businesses started.

That share has risen from 14 percent in 1996, according to the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, which captures business owners in their first month of significant business activity.

In the context of America's aging population, an increasing share of entrepreneurship among this population is perhaps not surprising.

What might be more startling to many observers is that Americans in the 55-64 age group start new businesses at a higher rate than those in their twenties and thirties.  

This has been true, by the way, in every single year from 1996 to 2013.

While senior entrepreneurs make up a sizeable portion of all entrepreneurs and tend to start businesses at a rate comparable to or higher than younger entrepreneurs, there are possibly some reasons to temper our enthusiasm about this phenomenon.

First, we are unsure of the types of businesses being founded by older entrepreneurs or their hiring practices - more cynical observers say that this group only starts consulting companies or use self-employment for supplemental income.

This is undoubtedly true for some share of older entrepreneurs. 

Yet other evidence indicates that we find founders of technology companies in their fifties and sixties as well: one study found more tech founders over age 50 than under age 30.4

Of more concern perhaps is the lingering effect of the Great Recession and the decimation of retirement plans and housing wealth.

To the extent this damage fell on Americans over age 55, self-employment may be seen as a way to recover nest egg losses.

Finally, with concern about Americans over age 55 permanently leaving the labor force after the recession, it is possible that older entrepreneurship rates could be suppressed.

Nevertheless, there are more reasons for optimism than pessimism about entrepreneurship among older Americans.  

First, senior entrepreneurs are likely to have greater experience than younger entrepreneurs.

That experience, whether professionally or personally, can prove valuable when starting a new business.

Secondly, perhaps paradoxically, senior entrepreneurs may have fewer concerns about setting up a business.

In their paper on entrepreneurs over the age of 50 in the United Kingdom, Ron Botham and Andrew Graves found that older entrepreneurs were "less likely to worry about risks, experience, or family life than younger founders."

Third, despite the effects of the recession, senior entrepreneurs may be more financially secure than younger entrepreneurs and may have an alternative source of income - either from retirement savings, a pension, or Social Security.

This added financial security can make the financial risks of starting a business less salient.

Finally, we might expect a higher preponderance of serial entrepreneurs among those in their fifties and sixties, which could mean greater success rates.

A 2012 Kauffman Foundation and LegalZoom survey of 1,400 business owners who incorporated their business through LegalZoom in 2012 found two-thirds of respondents over age 60 had previously started a company and ten percent of these entrepreneurs had started 5 prior companies.

Research suggests that there are several ways policymakers could support this very important phenomenon of older entrepreneurship.

Lower barriers to entry in general, for example, would make business creation easier. Licensing barriers in several sectors - which exist mostly at the state and local level - also suppress business creation.

The complexity - though not necessarily the level - of taxes can also act as a barrier to entrepreneurship.

These, of course, apply to entrepreneurs of all ages.

For senior entrepreneurship, flexible labor markets are especially important.

The idea of spending forty years at one job and retiring with a gold watch is quickly fading in the United States.

Even when Americans retire at age 65, they can expect to live healthily for another two or three decades.

Moving easily between self-employment, wage-and-salary employment, and entrepreneurship requires flexible labor markets.

This may be especially important for senior entrepreneurship as research has shown that senior entrepreneurs are much more likely to start a business if moving from a job.

In addition, fostering more senior entrepreneurship as the American population ages will require careful attention to specific sectors in order to foster innovation.

In particular, we will likely need more financial innovation to support continuously changing forms of entrepreneurship.

Finally, policymakers can foster senior entrepreneurship by encouraging intergenerational networks where entrepreneurs of different ages can interact and learn.

The Kauffman Foundation started a new entrepreneurial support program called 1 Million Cups in Kansas City that has spread to more than two dozen cities across the United States.

Each week, the 1 Million Cups program offers local entrepreneurs an opportunity to present their startups to a diverse audience of mentors, advisors, and entrepreneurs.

Presenters prepare a short educational presentation and engage in 20 minutes of feedback and questioning after they present.

Entrepreneurs gain insight into possible ways they can improve their businesses, gather realtime feedback, connect with a community that truly cares about their progress, and walk away feeling like they have advanced their business.

These community gatherings provide opportunities for individuals of all ages to connect around entrepreneurship.

In conclusion, older Americans are active entrepreneurs whose new businesses provide self-employment and employment opportunities to others.

As the American population ages, we should expect a greater share of entrepreneurs to be seniors.

Policymakers can support these "third age" or "encore" entrepreneurs by pursuing policies that lower barriers to entrepreneurial entry, maintain flexible labor markets, and encourage intergenerational interaction.

Thank you, again, for the opportunity to testify.



10 Tips for 'Senior' Enterpreneurs  

In a new 'PBS NewsHour' project, two successful business owners over 50 offer advice on launching and growing a company in midlife

By Judy Henderson-Townsend and Cynthia Mackey

November 18, 2013


PBS NewsHour just launched an excellent website, New Adventures for Older Workers, based on a year of reporting. It combines fascinating infographics, articles and NewsHourvideos about America's retirement crisis, and suggests ways to find a part-time job during retirement or launch a second career. 
The following article and video are part of this special project.
Paul Solman: Mannequin Madness. That's where we met Judi Henderson-Townsend and Cynthia Mackey - at Townsend's "body shop" in Oakland, Calif., a few weeks ago.

We were shooting a story on "senior" entrepreneurs and though both looked young enough to be my daughters, they're in their 50s, which makes these budding entrepreneurs surprisingly long of tooth by traditional standards.

Traditional standards, however, haven't kept up with the economy, or the baby boom, or both. We seem to be entering an era of new firms run by "old" entrepreneurs.

(MORE: 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting Your Own Business)

Here are the pair's 10 Tips for Senior Entrepreneurs:

Cynthia Mackey and Judi Henderson-Townsend: Paul asked that we introduce ourselves. When we first started our businesses, we were both refugees from corporate America and we over 40. Cynthia had a history of entrepreneurship in her family, while Judi fell into it. We both started bootstrap ventures, with far more passion than capital.

Cynthia had been working as a technology consultant and saw a niche to fill in training baby boomers to use social media to grow business. She launched as a means to do just that.

Judi, by contrast, was an accidental entrepreneur. While purchasing a mannequin for an art project, she stumbled across a mannequin vendor who was going out of business, bought his inventory on a whim, and launched

While we came to our businesses in different ways, we discovered that we were on the leading edge of the same new trend - senior entrepreneurship.

If you are thinking of starting a business in your 50s or beyond, here are our 10 tips:

1. You Are Never Too Old to Start a Business

Think it's foolhardy to start a business because you're a senior? People age 55 to 64 have a higher rate of entrepreneurial activity than those age 20 to 34. Check out these successful seniorpreneurs.

2. Turn Passion Into Profit

No idea is too odd to find success, as these 10 off-the-wall entrepreneurs demonstrate.

Building a business ignited by your passion fuels the time and energy required to propel you to success. Yes, more than passion is a necessity, but without it, your desire to get through peaks and valleys will wane and that will affect your business overall.

3. Build a Community of Positive Influences

Being an entrepreneur at any age is daunting. Seek out people and resources who will encourage you to "go for it," instead of naysayers.

(MORE: Where to Get Help Launching Your Encore Career)

Senior Entrepreneurship Works is a nonprofit designed to help people 50 and older build sustainable businesses.

4. Make Your Workspace Fit Your Lifestyle

Owning a business no longer requires leasing an office space or storefront. You can set up an online store with sites like EtsyeBay and BigCommerce to sell your products online.

If your business does require an office, co-working spaces, are flexible and cost-effective options. As long as you have Internet access, you can connect with your customer, staff or sales data from anywhere.

5. Staff as You Grow With Freelancers

You can find talented independent contractors to do short- or long-term projects for your business on an as-needed basis. This helps manage your costs, while growing your business revenues.

If you can't find the talent you need locally, here are the 20 best online sites to find virtual assistance.

6. Be Innovative with Your Funding Sources

Before you raid your savings, consider grants, contests and crowdfunding.

This 89-year-old grandmother used Kickstarter to finance her decorative walking cane business.

(MORE: The Best Ways to Get Free Help Starting a Business)

The Purpose Prize awards $100,000 to social entrepreneurs who start their businesses after age 60.

The U.S. General Services Administration has a list of challenges to award business owners who solve specific problems.

7. Go Back to Class

The idea of being a student again might seem like a drag. But if you need to beef up your business acumen, the good news is you can now learn from the comfort of your living room.

Podcasts, webinars, tele-seminars, ebooks, YouTube videos and slideshows are the new "teachers" enabling you to learn about any business subject.

8. An Internet Presence Is a Must

Even if most of your customers are by referral, you can give your business a boost by getting a website or blog.

A whopping 97 percent of Internet users look for local goods and services online. It is easier than ever to get your business online with tools like WixWeebly and Wordpress

9. Your Mobile Device Is Now a Pocket Office

Your smartphone or tablet now gives you the ability to receive an email order, contact a customer and take a payment all at once, changing the paradigm of what point of sale means. There are numerous applications you can download that are invaluable for running your business.

And with such tools as Square, you can process credit and debit payments on your mobile device.

10. Use Social Media for Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Select the best network for your customers and one that you can maintain consistently. It's better to be effective on one network, than ineffective on all.

Look for social media workshops held by the Small Business Administration or the Small Business Development Center in your region. You can also learn online via courses for such websites as Baby Boomer Business Owner and

Judi Henderson-Townsend is owner of Mannequin Madness, a company in Oakland, Calif., that sells and rents mannequins and dress forms. Cynthia Mackey is a digital marketing expert in Oakland and runs Baby Boomer Business Owner workshops, seminars and webinars.




California Capital is excited to introduce one of our PTAC Staff Members, Bruce Pyle


Bruce Pyle has over 45 years of government contracting and procurement experience.  After serving in the U.S. Navy as a Supply Corps officer, Mr. Pyle worked for the Air Force as a buyer, cost analyst and contracting officer.  He then worked for GenCorp Aerojet for 25 years in several positions including purchasing manager and Small Business Administrator.From 2008 to 2012, Bruce worked as a counselor, course developer and instructor at the Federal Technology Center, a Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) assisting California small businesses.  That was followed by two years with the Small Business Development Center in Redding.  For the past year he has worked with the Sacramento PTAC as counselor and instructor.  Bruce holds a BS in Business Administration from CSU-Sacramento and an MBA from Golden Gate University.







February 3


10:00 am - 11:30 am

Getting Noticed! How to Enhance & Leverage Your SAM & SBA Profiles


February 5


1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Business 101

CA Capital WBC

February 10


9:30 am - 11:30 am

General Sales and Use Tax with the Board of Equalization

CA Capital WBC

February 10


1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Contracting 101 with the Small Business Administration

CA Capital WBC

February 11

9:30 am - 11:30 am

Effectively Communicating Safety

CA Capital WBC

February 17


10:00 am - 11:30 am

Understanding & Obtaining Federal Small Business Certification


February 17

5:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Book Signing/Networking Event at Rabobank

Rabobank Headquarters

February 18

10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Business Loan Readiness

Tracy, CA

February 18


1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Workers' Compensation

CA Capital WBC

February 19


1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Business 101

CA Capital WBC





February 24


9:30 am - 11:30 am

Business Tax Basics (Part 1)

CA Capital WBC

February 25

9:30 am - 11:30 am

Business Tax Basics (Part 2)

CA Capital WBC

February 26

11:30 am - 1:30 pm

Women's Lunch and Learn with the Small Business Administration

SBA Office in Citrus Heights

February 27

9:30 am - 11:30 am

Business Law For Entrepreneurs

CA Capital WBC



See our website calendar for more webinars and events.

Thank you for reading our e-newsletter!  We hope to see you at California Capital events and workshops.