Sometimes it might feel like you must be in your early twenties to start a small business (and be a hoodie wearing male starting a technology business). That’s the kind of start-up story we often hear about in the media and the kind of story that Hollywood just loves.
Being in your 30’s it might still seem reasonable to start a small business, but does being a woman, in her 40’s, 50’s or even 60’s, mean you are too late and missed out on the opportunity to start a small business?
Age should not be a limiting factor when starting a small business.
In reality, that twentysomething-year-old who starts and builds a mega successful company is the minority of entrepreneurs.
Young small business owners have many positive attributes such as youthful energy, enthusiasm and innovation. But an older small business owner has many advantages over youth, and that is experience and a larger network of both business and personal contacts.
Experience and networks matter:
Experience helps you make better choices to take your business forward and reaching out to your connections for support and guidance will help a small business succeed.
Experience comes from all aspects of life, not just your developed professional skill set. With age we gain a vast range of experience. Personally, most of my life experience has come from the challenges of being a parent which has taught me patience, compassion, counselling skills, listening skills and empathy (amongst many other things). We should never underestimate the value of interpersonal skills, people with strong interpersonal skills are often more successful in small business.
Maturity only comes with age and from years of life and work experience. As we mature we get less unsettled by problems when they occur and become more adaptable to change. And change and problems are all part of small business ownership.
Advantages of being an older small business owner:
Being older we are much more aware of our weaknesses and strengths. This means we are often comfortable with not having to take everything onboard ourselves and are more likely to outsource services to compensate for weakness and in addition place a high value on external expertise. Again, this all helps with small business success.
An older small business owner has another advantage, in that they may see a niche or have identified a gap in the market. Filling a gap in the market is a classic key success factor in business.
Fear of failure:
Fear of failure is common and this fear can stop us from taking the necessary steps to fulfil a dream, such as starting a small business. But fear of failure is sneaky and can be cleverly disguised, and instead of honestly saying to ourselves “I’m afraid to start a small business” we may say things like ”I am too old to start a small business”.
Don’t let age ever stop you from starting a small business. Age brings with it the qualities that will only increase your chance of small business success.