Famous poet and writer Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “We do not count a man’s years until he has nothing else to count.” This couldn’t be more true when it comes to the world of business, and when you are going to fulfill your entrepreneurial dreams! Too much emphasis is placed on age, in our society, when it really is nothing but a number.
Millions of people want to start their own business. They keep telling themselves they will do it when they are 35, 40, or 45. Or perhaps they have already surpassed those benchmarks and now they are looking in the rearview mirror, saying they should have started their business back when they were 35, 40, or 45. They think, once they have gotten older, that they have missed the boat, as well as the golden opportunity to start their business. Not true!
Here’s the dealio – people ask me all the time what the perfect or right age is for starting a business. You want to know the answer to that question? It’s right now! It is whatever age you are, right now. There is no right or perfect age to start a business, and entrepreneurs have proven this time and again.
Here are a few examples for you of people who didn’t let age be a factor when starting their business:
The Young – There are a lot of people who have successfully launched a business in their 20s, including Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, and uh-hum, yours truly! I started my first business when I was just 24 years old. Being young, you may think that you don’t have enough business sense to start your own business. Yet that is exactly what has helped some of these super-successful entrepreneurs climb straight to the top. Business advice is something you can always buy, read or talk about with others. By contrast, passion for a product or service comes from within.
The Old(er) – Even if you think you are too old to start a business, you are not! Just think about KFC and how Colonel Sanders started his business at age 65, or how Orville Redenbacher didn’t perfect his popcorn and mass-market it until 1965, when he was 58 years old! Just think of all the fun you can have in your older age. You probably have more wisdom and better management skills, and you are also probably more financially secure than your younger counterparts.
As you can see, the age at which you start a business is largely irrelevant. What does matter is that you have a great idea and the tenacity to carry it out. In fact, research shows that that the number of people who become self-employed after the age of 55 is soaring. Perhaps that is due to the current economy, or perhaps they are finally realizing that life is short and that they need to get moving, to turn their dreams into reality.
The real issue here should not be when you start your business. Rather, the focus should be on longevity. In 2008, 627,000 businesses opened, and nearly that many closed up. Research shows that only about 70 percent of businesses will last for two years, and within five years half of them will have folded. So the key to business success is to make it past that five-year mark – and that, my friend, has nothing to do with your age.
You need to make it last, once you get is started. If your business can last five years, you have a good chance of continuing to stick around. If you are reading this, you have something else to count, so stop counting your age and start your business!