“What is the best age to start a business?” is a question many people ask.
The confusion abounds as various age groups have experienced business success.
Hence, there are all sorts of debates around the best age to start a business.
Yet, many like you want a definite answer.
This is because you want to know the best time to start your entrepreneurial journey and maximize all the opportunities to ensure success.
Therefore, we will answer this question extensively to put this debate to rest.
Is the Early Twenties The Best Age To Start A Business?
Many consider this to be the best age to start a business.
This is not without some reasons.
To many, individuals within this age group are considered more energetic and enthusiastic.
As a result, they can invest their energy fully into the business to ensure its success.
This is something most people advanced in years do not possess.
The enthusiasm of entrepreneurs within this age group makes them ready to take risks.
Apart from their enthusiasm, they aren’t burdened with many responsibilities.
Hence, they can take certain drastic steps to actualize their entrepreneurial dream.
This was why for instance, it was easy for Mark Zuckerberg to quit Harvard when he was just 19 to pursue his dreams.
In the same vein, many young people do not consider themselves attached to anything.
This allows them to make huge decisions like relocating to a new location to start a business.
On the other hand, individuals in their 30s and 40s cannot do this because of family, jobs, bills to settle, etc.
Since individuals in this age range are not burdened with so many responsibilities, they tend to have more free time.
They can positively channel this free time to their business.
Hence, they can fully pursue their passion which, in turn, allows them to attain their goals and dreams.
Furthermore, they tend to be more acquainted with technological trends compared to older persons.
So, it isn’t surprising to see them leading the way to the technology industry.
Being tech-savvy also allows them to use technological innovations effectively in ways that will grow their business.
For instance, using social media for creating brand awareness and digital marketing in business cannot be overemphasized.
Interestingly, statistics have shown that individuals in their early twenties have been able to use social media to boost their business profitability.
This is in stark contrast to many older business owners who still stick to traditional marketing methods.
Indeed, the odds favor the younger adults when it comes to maximizing the power of technology.
However, many older adults in their 30s have been and are still technologically innovative.
Thereby making the question, “what’s the best age to start a business” a tough one to answer.
To further buttress the point that the early twenties is a great age to start a business, consider some successful teens in their early twenties.
Successful Teen and Early Twenties Business Founders
Apart from Mark Zuckerberg, who started at age 19, some individuals started their businesses in their teens and early twenties.
Also, when they started the business, their ages are in the brackets, and the name of their companies has been mentioned as well.
- Michael Dell (19) – Dell
- James Casey (19) – UPS
- Bill Gates (20) – Microsoft
- Steve Jobs (21) – Apple
- Thomas Burberry (21) – Burberry
- Arthur Davidsons (22) – Harley Davidson
- Paul Allen (22) – Microsoft
- Walt Disney (22) – Disney
- Gerard Heineken (23) – Heineken
- William Harley (23) – Harley Davidson
Still focusing on the best age to start a business, let’s consider another age group.
Is the Early Thirties The Best Age To Start a Business?
People gain more experiences as they grow older with age.
Therefore, the main advantage this age group has over the early twenties is the years of experience.
This experience could help them avoid some costly mistakes that could jeopardize their business.
People of this age have either worked for or are currently working for a certain business.
As a result, they have acquired some top skills required to manage a business.
They usually have some higher education which is necessary to seal some contracts and deals.
This is not to say that emotional maturity and skills are largely dependent on age.
However, as people mature with age, they tend to drop off their juvenile tendencies and behave more rationally.
This balance and maturity are reflected in how they approach matters and make decisions.
In contrast, younger individuals sometimes lack this.
So many make wrong decisions when they start up because they are prone to rash and impulsive actions.
Likewise, most people in their early 30s also have more responsibilities, such as spouses, children, car loans, home loans, etc.
Having this in mind, such an individual is less likely to take high risks or engage in actions that would jeopardize their lives.
This gives them a sense of duty and accountability towards everything they do include their business.
Given this, it’s safe to say that the early thirties is also a good age to start a business.
Successful Early Thirties Business Founders
The following are examples of individuals who began their businesses in their early thirties:
- Jeff Bezos (30) – Amazon
- Erling Persson (30) – H&M
- Fusajiro Yamauchi (30) – Nintendo
- Leonard Bosack (31) – Cisco
- Wernervon Siemens (31) – Siemens
- Chester Carlson (31) – Xerox
- Stan Shih (32) – Acer
- Robin Li (32) – Baidu
- Armand Peugeot (32) – Peugeot
- Larry Ellison (33) – Oracle
- James Gamble (33) – Procter & Gamble
- William Fargo (34) – Wells Fargo
Are the Late Thirties or Early Forties the Best Age to Start a Business?
This age range also has its own benefits.
By this time, many individuals have lived most of their lives connecting with different people from various fields, creating and establishing strong connections.
As a result, they’ve built a strong network of contacts and a solid reputation.
This gives them an edge in business over other people in their early 20s or 30s.
Furthermore, due to their experience, they’ve mastered the trends within their industry and how things work.
With these in hand, they can deduce what will work best and what will not.
Hence, they don’t waste their time, energy, and other resources on investments or projects that won’t work.
In other words, they don’t do business with the “trial and error” mindset.
Rather, they channel their resources to projects that are proven to yield great results.
Overall, individuals at this age are well equipped with the knowledge and experiences to make their business successful.
Hence, this is not a bad age to start a business.
Successful Late Thirties and Early Forties Business Founders
The following are examples of individuals who began their businesses in their late thirties and early forties:
- Nanihei Odaira (36) – Hitachi
- Reid Hoffman (36) – LinkedIn
- Rowland Macy (36) – Macy’s
- Doris Fisher (37) – Gap
- Milton Hershey (37) – Hershey’s
- Hugo Boss (38) – Hugo Boss
- Masaru Ibuka (38) – Sony
- Cher Wang (39) – HTC
- Gordon Moore (39) – Intel
- Liu Chuanzhi (39) – Lenovo
- Henry Ford (40) – Ford
- Gustaf Larson (40) – Volvo
- Christian Dior (41) – Christian Dior
- Donald Fisher (41) – Gap
- Robert Noyce (41) – Intel
- Asa Candler (41) – Coca-Cola
- John Warnock (42) – Adobe
- Jerry Baldwin (42) – Starbucks
- Soichiro Honda (42) – Honda
- Charles Geschke (43) – Adobe
- Henry Royce (43) – Rolls-Royce
- Jim Kimsey (44) – AOL
- Sam Walton (44) – Walmart
Are The Fifties Or Sixties The Best Age To Start A Business?
Many people do not consider the fifties or the sixties ideal for starting a business.
In fact, many consider it too late to begin a successful business at this age range.
However, individuals at this age can still come up with brilliant business ideas.
What motivates or inspires most people to start a business is the desire to have a post-retirement plan/investment.
If the business is successful, you can relax and enjoy your post-retirement years.
You may not have the energy you used to have in your early twenties, even down to your forties.
However, you are an expert in your field at this age, especially if you have been in the same industry from your early days until this age.
This gives you the wealth of experience and knowledge you need to succeed in your business.
Successful Fifties And Sixties Business Founders
The following are examples of individuals who began their companies in their fifties and sixties:
- Chung Ju-Yung (51) – Hyundai Motor
- Gordon Bowker (51) – Starbucks
- Henri Nestlé (52) – Nestlé
- Yoshisuke Aikawa (53) – Nissan Motor
- Ferdinand Porsche (56) – Porsche
- Kawasaki Shozo (59) – Kawasaki
- Amadeo Giannini (60) – Bank of America
- Charles Flint (61) – IBM
With all we have discussed so far, business success can occur at any age.
Many factors determine business success; however, age seems to be a variable factor.
Nevertheless, current statistical evidence has proven that a certain age group has more successful company founders than the others.
You can take a guess which age group it is from the information we’ve shared so far…
If you guessed middle-age (35 to 49 years) as the best age to start a business, then you guessed right.
Why Is Middle-Age The Most Likely Best Age To Start A Business?
Research shows that founders within this age group have twice or thrice the possibility of succeeding than young adults in their early 20s.
A business is deemed successful if it has lasted for more than 5 years.
The administrative data from the US Census Bureau shows that 55% of the businesses that have lasted for more than 5 years have founders whose average age was 36.5 years.
On the other hand, 4.8% of the businesses above 5 years were founded by people in their 20s.
Similarly, many experts have even said that young founders were somewhat disadvantaged when starting and running a successful business.
Nevertheless, there are certain reasons why the middle-aged are more likely to succeed in business.
We touched on some of them earlier, but we’ll discuss them in detail.
“Business is Business” Attitude
Individuals within this age group see a business for what it really is.
They don’t start a business as an adventure, “cool,” or a means to express themselves.
As a result, middle-aged founders engage in long-term planning rather than the “let’s see how it goes” idea that some young people have.
Furthermore, since these older folks are more careful in taking risks, they have the lesser possibility of running the business bankrupt.
Ability To Self-Finance
Speaking of bankruptcy, many young people in their twenties are unsuccessful in their business ventures because of a lack of finances.
Most young people do not have the financial ability to run a business.
So, they depend on others to help bankroll the business.
When the funding is no longer coming from those sources, the business shuts down.
This is not the case with middle-aged adults.
This is because individuals within this group are usually financially stable before embarking on a new business venture.
It is said that most career people hit their highest earning point during their mid-30s.
This helps them acquire a lot of assets and savings over the years of working.
With these assets and savings, they can self-finance their new business.
This is in line with the statistics from the US Census Bureau that states that about 75% of the business owners in the US use personal assets and savings for their business startup.
Furthermore, the ability to self-finance means little or no debt.
As a result, they can effectively make long-term decisions that will benefit the business and improve overall profit instead of short-term decisions that will lead them to debt.
Access To More Funds
Let’s face it; if a 20-year old with no credit history and a 40-year old with a good credit history approach a bank for a loan with the same business plan, who do you think will get the loan?
Your guess is as good as ours.
The 40-year old will get it because he has built a financial reputation and credibility over the years.
Friends and families will be even more willing to assist an older entrepreneur than a younger one.
A Small Business Owner report from the Bank of America shows that about 38% of founders get loans or financial gifts from friends or/and family.
It also states that 35% of startup business owners depend on family and friends to run the business.
The roles such family members occupy include investors, partners, advisors, and even employees.
As a result, giving such startup business owners the financial aid they need to start and run a successful business.
Education And Qualification
Most people in their earlier twenties believe they have to drop out of college to actualize their business dreams.
However, not everyone who drops out of college will be successful, like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, etc.
Hence, even if you want to start a business, you shouldn’t overlook the importance of a college degree.
Having a college degree will give you an advantage over those within your industry who lack one.
According to a survey conducted by OnStartups, they discovered that 95% of middle-aged business owners had college degrees, and another half of this percent had advanced degrees.
Also, they possessed other skills, certifications, and qualifications relevant to their industry.
Hence, clients tend to trust them better than young business owners without a college degree or any other certification.
Consequently increasing their chances of business success.
We talked about this earlier on and how it plays a vital role in the success of any business.
Kaufmann’s research titled The Anatomy of Entrepreneur showed that 50.9% of business founders with high-growth businesses had 6 to 15 years of industry experience before launching the business.
They formed the idea for these businesses while they worked within the industry by observing certain problems within either their industry or in another industry.
Hence, they set up their business as a solution to those problems.
Due to their involvement in the industry before their business startup, these individuals knew the pitfalls that could come along the way.
This knowledge allows them to avoid such pitfalls and prevent unnecessary loss effectively.
Above all, this experience gives these middle-aged entrepreneurs the skills and expertise they need t to succeed in their business endeavors.
A proven way to start up a business is to look at the groups you belong to and see if any needs are unmet within those groups.
We are all part of one group or the other within a society, so finding a need shouldn’t be hard.
If you are a middle-aged adult, you will discover that you belong to so many groups.
Another thing you’ll discover if you are attentive is the various needs of those groups.
Hence, if you choose to start a business along the line of meeting any of those needs you’ve observed, you’ll discover you have a large number of potential customers already.
This is an advantage that most individuals within this age group have over the younger folks.
Research shows that the more entrepreneurs you have within your circle, the higher the possibility of being one.
Middle-aged people leverage this as more they have more of such people in their circle.
How do they take advantage of this?
Simple, they partner.
People in their late 30s to late 40s can easily partner with other businesses because they belong to the same entrepreneurial circle.
This is a stark contrast to the life of an entrepreneur in his early 20s whose friends haven’t decided on what they will be doing with their lives.
In other words, a young entrepreneur lacks the kind of entrepreneurial circle that a middle-aged adult has.
Hence, they have to put more effort to achieve successful feats, whereas the older entrepreneur can leverage this network of like-minded individuals.
Wrapping Up On Best Age To Start A Business
From a general point of view, there is no best age to start a business.
In most cases, it comes down to the tenacity of the individual.
However, statistics have shown that individuals who start their businesses in their late 30s to late 40s have a higher percentage of successful businesses.
Do you agree with this statistical point of view?
Feel free to let us know.