Is there any correlation between an entrepreneur’s age at the time they launch their business and the success of the business?
Many studies have been carried out to try to answer this question some of which include Duke University, Kauffman Foundation and the Founder Institute studies.
The summary of their finding is that most entrepreneurs launch their business at the age of 40.
That sounds logical considering that one has to go through schooling, including college, get employment or be involved in a business to gain some experience before they can decide to launch their own business.
People who are over 55 are twice as likely as people under 35 to launch successful businesses. And for start-ups with over $1 million in revenues, the average age for high-growth is 39 years.
Take a look at the age of some successful entrepreneurs when they launched their companies. The ages from the oldest to the youngest are McDonald’s (53), Walmart (44), Zynga (41), Netflix (37), Oracle (35), Tesla (34), Amazon (30), Twitter (30), Google (25), Apple (21), Microsoft (20) and Facebook (20).
The success of Apple and Facebook shows that even though experience is a key driver for many entrepreneurs, it is not required.
Success is relative. You may find that each of the businesses you set up accomplishes the goals you set, regardless of how big or small they are. You may also find that your largest revenue business is one where you had no past industry or CEO experience, counter to the logic described above.
One venture capital investor said he would never invest in a first time CEO. He said that they make too many mistakes along the way. That may be true from the observations that have been made, but they have no correlation with age.
Some entrepreneurs have achieved great success at their early ages. For example, Emerson Spartz launched Mugglenet at the age of 12. Mugglenet is the largest Harry Potter fan site with more than 10 million new visitors per month.
One entrepreneur said his appetite for risk is different at age 45 than it was at age 29. At an advanced age, you start thinking about issues like not risking your kids’ college funds with your capital.
Best entrepreneurs take risk; they bet big on their idea and throw all their chips on the table regardless of other concerns.
It is therefore clear that age does not matter for entrepreneurial success. What matters is experience and it comes with age. But if you lack experience you can surround yourself with experienced mentors.
Some successful entrepreneurs also stumbled upon their businesses by accident or as a result of a hobby, and this can happen at any age. Some business ideas come when one is faced with a problem or when they have suffered under certain circumstances and as a result have decided to find a solution to the problem.
For example, a certain entrepreneur came up with the idea of producing photo frames that mount on walls without using nails after she had suffered from an electric shock trying to mount a frame on a wall using a nail. These ideas can come at any age and they do not depend on any prior experience.