Barlow Research Associates is an analyst firm that helps financial institutions better understand the small business sector of the economy.
For over a decade Barlow has fielded a quarterly survey of businesses on topics of interest to financial institutions. Because of their history and the comprehensive nature of the their surveys, Barlow has lots of interesting and insightful information on small businesses.
The Barlow chart below shows the rapid aging of U.S. small business owners. It's from a slide deck presented in a recent Barlow webinar.
Since 2007 the average age of the owner of a small business with revenue between $100,000 and $10 million has increased from 55 to 59.
It also shows that 1/3rd of all small business owners in this size category are aged 65 or older and only 12% are aged 45 or younger.
Not surprisingly, a lot of these aging owners are starting to think about retiring. Because of this, about one third of all small business in this size category expect an ownership change of some sort over the next 5 years.
There's a long standing myth that most small business owners and especially startup entrepreneurs are young 20 somethings. As this data shows, it's not true for traditional small business owners.
It's also not true for startup entrepreneurs, but I'll save that data for another time.
Thanks to Barlow for their permission to publish this data.