The best age to start a business debate has been rumbling on for years. Is it when you are young and naive, so you have plenty of time to make mistakes and correct them, or is it when you are mature and “sophisticated” when you can spend more time in careful deliberation? Is it true that success is proportionate to the time spent developing and implementing ideas?
It is commonly thought that the younger you are the better. But from Mark Zuckerberg who founded Facebook at 20, to Henry Ford who created the Model T car at 45, to the founders of Coca Cola, McDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken who were all over 50 when they kicked off, business ageism is ill founded and outdated.
So what do the big boys have in common?
“I find it best to dive in and learn the hard way”-Pete Cashmore, Mashable
“To any entrepreneur: if you want to do it, do it now. If you don’t, you’re going to regret it” – Catherine Cook, MyYearbook
“If you’ve got an idea, start today. There’s no better time than now to get going”- Kevin Systrom, Instagram
Bottom Line: Don’t think too long. Remember – not doing anything is indeed making a decision; it’s making a decision to do nothing!
What makes you successful?
Are there three ingredients for success, five, ten or more?
Is it the product or the customer led entrepreneur that succeeds?
Is it the single person with no family commitments or the busy family man or woman?
Is there a link between success and education?
Do younger people stand a chance of succeeding more than those that are older?
Clearly if you are highly intelligent (perhaps not educated), start young, with financial backing and encouragement you are more likely to succeed…or maybe not? But not everybody is blessed with this good fortune. Often overcoming challenges and adversity are the triggers that you need to drive you on.
Some statistics indicate there could be a link between success and youth. The Simply Business Start-Up Index found a 20% rise in new business start ups by 18 to 25 year olds since the 2008 recession. The Prince’s Trust, an admirable body, found that one in four young people anticipate starting their own business within the next five years.
The Simply Business Start-Up Index also found that business survival rates increase the older the founder is when he first started. Over 50s had a 48% chance of their businesses surviving for five or more years compared to just 29% of those who started when aged 18 to 49.
So does age matter? Does making a mistake in your first venture mean that you are destined to fail?
Come on you Brits!
Society can play its part by providing a fertile ground for the sharing of ideas. We should pinch ourselves living in the Western World where most of us have access to learning materials in the form of books and the internet and the doors to potential success are wide open. Over the years, the old class society has thankfully been watered down with opportunities now open to all those with ability.
The British people are an eccentric, innovative, free thinking bunch. We are exceptionally well educated and informed. We are individual, independent thinkers who love to dream about the abstract. The humour and creativity in arts and sciences permeates into our souls. Britain has been a world leader in innovation for countless generations. Let these, together with hard work, determination and desire be the ingredients of success and don’t let age interfere with your dreams and aspirations!