When should you start a business? It’s an on-going debate with two very clear sides the wisdom arguing for both starting early and for those who started late.
The debate on whether there is a perfect age to start a business has been on-going for a while now. But is an entrepreneur’s age really that important in achieving success? Is there a best age to become entrepreneur?
Let’s briefly explore both cases for both young and mature entrepreneurs, starting with the younger generation.
A survey by the Simply Business Start-up index found there has been a 29% increase in businesses started by 18 – 25 years old since 2008. Another research by the Kaufman Foundation revealed that 43% of young people have already made money from entrepreneurial activity and one in four expect to start their own businesses within the next five years.
Many of the world’s hugely successful entrepreneurs, particularly in the technology sector, were very young when they started their businesses.
Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg was 20 years old. Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft was also 20, Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, was 21 years old. Richard Branson was just 16 years when he launched Student Magazine. Ludwick Marishane, Ipeleng Rabana, Fred Swaniker etc started their first businesses and concepts at a young age.
If you are going to be an entrepreneur, starting young has its own advantages. When you are young you don’t have too many commitments. There is a higher likelihood that the business may fail, but there is not too much damage, you have the resilience and confidence, as well as the positivity, determination, and energy of youth.
Young people tend to be more tech-savvy that their older counterparts. Starting a business online at home comes as second nature. One of the biggest advantages of starting young is being naive. Young entrepreneurs don’t see why their wont be a success, if they were older, they wouldn’t have been open-minded to implement the idea.
What about matured entrepreneur?
According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor study, 48% of over 50s who have set up their business will survive over five years, compared to 29% of people who are 18-49. Matured entrepreneurs have the benefit of the skills and experience that has been built up over the years.
Colonel Saunders started Kentuky Fried Chicken at the age of 65 years. Prof Yunus Muhammad founder of Grameen started later, Reid Hoffma started LinkedIn later as well.
There is a level of maturity and potentially more financial stability, as well as the all-round skills experience generated through different industries and roles. When you are older, you have more experience and you realise from working, that you have to plan ahead, which I don’t think younger people do as much as older people.
Age is not important
It doesn’t really matter what age you are when you start a business. There is no best age to become an entrepreneur, just as long as you are healthy and have a good mind-set.
If you have a good idea and you are not afraid to put it out there, people will be more than happy to listen and help.
People may have a dream of what they want to do, and tell themselves that now is not the best time, but as soon as you start thinking like that, you are never going to do it. So the best time to start is now, whatever age you are.
After all age is only a number.