Yes, we all know that there are plenty young whizzkids out there with radical business ideas, but less credit is given to those who are a little bit older.
The likes of Alan Sugar and Richard Branson are not household names for nothing, and their business expertise has certainly not waned as the years have passed by. So what is it about the over 50s that can give them the edge when it comes to starting a successful business?
An invaluable contacts list
After decades of work, people in their 50s and older have forged useful relationships with people who may well able to help them launch and grow a new business. These useful contacts might be potential customers or suppliers, investors or board members. Young people starting out can’t possibly have such a broad network to call upon. But above all, do make sure that you surround yourself with positive people who can make a big difference to your enterprise.
They know what works and what doesn’t
When you’re looking to make a start-up successful, crucial mistakes have to be avoided. The more knowledge you possess about your market and its customer base, then the less chance that you’ll make awful errors. A solid background in that chosen field (as a past employee or even simply as a customer) can be of enormous benefit.
Ultimately, they know themselves
Once you’re past the age of 50, you’re more than aware of your own strengths and weaknesses. Someone half that age will still be finding their way. Such a self-awareness will help you determine what kind of people you need to hire in order to compensate for any areas where you may be lacking in expertise: few people are likely to be both an innovative electrician and blindingly good accountant.
This might well be their calling
A stigma is sometimes attached to older candidates or workers by some employers who might feel that such people perhaps lack a sense of engagement or even the stamina to see a project through. But entrepreneurs in the over 50s bracket are more likely to be exactly the opposite. They want to start companies because they’re passionate about them, they most certainly are not looking to take the plunge into such a venture for a cushy later life. In some cases, these start-ups might just be what they need to recharge their batteries for the years ahead.
If you have thought about starting a business, what field would you move into?