Most certainly! In fact, according to The Balance, businesses started by owners over the age of 55 have a success rate of double those started by founders under 35.
We all know that working smarter often beats working harder. Young entrepreneurs with this mindset often have what they think are new, brilliant ideas that will vault them to success. Experienced professionals not only have seen what consistently works, but have even seen characteristics of new ideas that have a lasting impact verses fads that will fade as quickly as they came. That means entrepreneurs with years of professional experience invest more, gamble less, and, even when gambling, play the odds better.
Plus, young entrepreneurs have to spend a lot of time and energy looking for contacts and professional relationships that can help them build their dreams in business. They may get lucky and find great resources right off the bat or soon thereafter…or they may have to go through a few false steps and restart major operations a time or two. But experienced business professionals have established, proven contacts that they know can get the job done. Reliability in your professional relationships is a huge bonus to value, and only way to know where you can place your trust is experience.
But, arguably the biggest advantage age (not just business experience), has over youth is simply this: even when things go wrong, there is no panic. Young entrepreneurs have their future identity and dreams tied up in their business. When things go wrong, it’s terrifying because everything they envisioned their business would lead them to feels like it’s in jeopardy. When that happens, they panic and make the situation worse. People who recognize their many identities: business owner, parent, friend, neighbor – the business is simply that: the business. Yes, you want it to succeed. You are driven by success. But you understand the potential failing in one aspect of your life doesn’t mean your life is a failure. You still understand the consequences – but you don’t exaggerate them. When you have the same determination to succeed but remove the fear of failure, it enables you to think more clearly about problems. Ironically, no longer fearing failure actually makes you less likely to fail. It’s like swimming. The human body naturally floats – but when danger appears, if you panic and start flailing, you’ll sink by your own actions before the original danger itself can even be realized. But if you’re an experienced swimmer, you recognize the danger and react according without panicking – thus putting yourself in a better position to swim to your destination. Business works the same way. Fearing failure leads to panic, which leads to counter-productive reactions, which hasten failure. But calm, deliberate action can take a dangerous situation and deal with it – sometimes even putting yourself in a better position than before.
From the evidence, the fact that people even worry about it being too late to start their own business is nothing more than a byproduct of our youth-obsessed culture. There are plenty of stories to show that young people can and do succeed as well, but, if we were going just by the numbers, our culture should be more concerned when an entrepreneur launches their own business before they’ve spent a lot of time working for one, not the other way around.