While many companies look for their potential franchise owners to be younger, older entrepreneurs also have definite advantages when it comes to managing a small business opportunity, according to the Franchise Magazine's Tony Urwin.

He says that while youthful franchisees can have more energy and enthusiasm, they may not have the instincts that a more experienced worker has already developed. "Younger franchise owners may be able to work harder (in terms of longer hours), but older franchise owners are adept at working smarter and more effectively," he says.

Urwin also says that in many cases, older owners already know many basics of business, and may not require as much support from the franchisor in day-to-day operations.

Older entrepreneurs are going into business for themselves now more than ever. A recent Kauffman Foundation study found that nearly 2 million Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 listed themselves as self-employed last year - a 5 percent increase compared with 2008. The number of self-employed people 65 and older showed an even bigger jump - rising 29 percent to more than 900,000.

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