In an era dominated by social media-savvy young guns, one author insists you don’t have to be young to be a successful in business.
In 2019, 57% of small business owners were over the age of 50, according to Guidant Financial’s State of Small Business report. With older entrepreneurs on the rise, the Baby Boomer generation— which still dominates politics — is proving that youth is no magic formula for business success.
While there’s no exact blueprint, one observer thinks older businesspeople have a few qualities their 20-something competitors may not.
"It’s this resilience. They’ve had the setbacks. They understand that things come and go and you have to go the distance,” Kerry Hannon, author of “Never Too Old to Get Rich: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Starting a Business Mid-Life”, told Yahoo Finance this week.
“They really know how to communicate and they have the analytical skills that maybe somebody younger hasn’t quite put it all together yet,” Hannon added.
No longer ‘one and done’
Earlier this year, 21-year-old media mogul Kylie Jenner was named youngest-ever self-made billionaire by Forbes, furthering the notion that the younger generation is leading the way.
But not all successful entrepreneurs started young. Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart created her empire at 34-years old, after two previous careers. And Harland David Sanders, known as “the Colonel,” franchised Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) at the ripe old age of 62.
Hannon said that, when compared to some of the aspiring business owners she works with, Stewart and Sanders are actually on the younger side of the spectrum. There’s a reason for that.
“We’re living longer, healthier lives,” the author said. “The possibilities over 60-years-old are out there. It’s no longer ‘one and done.’”
Of the 20 entrepreneurs Hannon interviewed for her book, all of them revealed the one thing that would have made a difference when they started: More capital. At this stage in their lives, the over-50 crowd is more settled financially than the generations behind them
“When people are starting businesses over 50, a lot of those big ticket items are behind you,” said Hannon. “This is a stage in life where you really do have more flexibility and, hopefully, more savings."
Sarah Smith is a Segment Producer/Booker at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @sarahasmith