Every entrepreneur at some point looked in the mirror and said, “Lots of other people have succeeded…and so will I.”
I believe in myself especially because I am willing to work hard and persevere and I have years of experience to prove it. So I too looked in the mirror and said to myself, “Start putting all that to work for my own endeavor and not for someone else.”
An article in Inc. Magazine now sheds new light on older entrepreneurs like me with statistics that prove my experience, my skills, my connections, my expertise, and yes, my age, are on my side.
A 50-year-old startup founder is 2.8 times more likely to found a successful startup as a 25-year-old founder.
And if you want a really fun statistic:
A 60-year-old startup founder is 3 times as likely to found a successful startup as a 30-year-old startup founder and is 1.7 times as likely to found a startup that winds up in the top 0.1 percent of all companies.
There are plenty of reasons, but one key factor is the difference between ideas and execution.
Ideas are great, and I have plenty of them, but execution is everything. The same is true with strategy: Strategy matters, but tactics–what you actually do–is what helps companies grow.
It’s much harder to execute well when you have limited experience. It’s much harder to develop a sound strategy when you have limited experience. It’s much harder to make smart tactical decisions–especially when you need to make a number of decisions every day–when you have limited experience.
Think of it this way: People love to say, “You need to know what you don’t know.” The only way to decrease the number of things you don’t know–and have a reasonable grasp of which things you do well, and which you don’t–is by gaining experience.
That’s especially true where leadership experience is concerned.
So what about those who succeed later in life – the late bloomers.
Is it better to be an early achiever or a late bloomer? That’s the same as asking if it is better to start Facebook at 19 or IBM at 61?
For the world at large it does not matter. Perhaps Facebook could never happen if IBM did not exist. Should Charles Flint have felt himself too old when he organized IBM out of a time-card punching technology firm at the ripe age of 61? Those time card punchers turned out to be early prototypes of computers.
Perhaps you have not heard much about Flint, but the device you are using to read my blog right now is possible in part because of what Flint started at 61. A later bloomer? Perhaps. Too late for him at 61? Never too late.
So, if you’re in your 50s and you want to start a business, do it. And even if you’re in your 60s…do it.
Successful entrepreneurs don’t have some intangible entrepreneurial something (ideas, talent, drive, skills, creativity) that we so called “seasoned” professionals don’t. Their success only seemed inevitable to me in hindsight.