Some of you might be wondering whether I was hallucinating when I wrote this post. What 40s? Powerful entrepreneurs that control the bulk of the online businesses started their business when they were all young studs. Americans especially love the fact that some of these dudes dropped out of colleges to rock the world. Be patient, I will touch on why entrepreneurial opportunities prefer old dudes soon!
Rockstars like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Michael Dell, Steve Jobs, and Larry Page started their famous companies during their 20s. And all of them dropped out of famous universities like Harvard, Stanford and what have you, to create world dominators within their respective technology domains.
However, people seldom mention entrepreneurs on the other side of the spectrum. Ray Kroc of McDonalds, Bob Parson of GoDaddy, Charles Ranlett Flinch of IBM, Bernie Marcus of Home Depot, Robert Noyce of Intel, Jack Ma of Alibaba and of course, the famous Colonel Sanders of KFC. Harvard Business Reviews published in finding states that, the average age of successful startup founders is 45. Professor Pierre Azoulay made the conclusion after he carried out the survey on the top 0.1 % of startups in a five-year study. These are the reasons entrepreneurial opportunities would come calling to older entrepreneurs.
Therefore, what makes older entrepreneurs tick?
1. THE CALLING
Not everybody aspires to start a business. But if an opportunity presented itself to a middle age dude, he will usually answer the call. When I started my trading business in God’s provision, guess how many of my friends become new startup owners? Five of us, all become jobless in 2016. The best part is, our new businesses continue to prove the negative soothsayers wrong after three years and counting.
Koay was a Senior System Analyst with Intel. He joined the corporation fresh out of university and had remained loyal until the day they asked him to leave. Truth be told, Intelites seldom wander off from their employer because of the higher than average pay packages given to them. The package usually comes in the form of salary and stock options. In most cases, the longer they stay with Intel, the more they gain from the stock option. However, the fairy tale ends when the company forced a Voluntary Retirement Scheme on Koay. Out goes the stock options and all the perks that he had accumulated for some two decades.
Many pessimists would have speculated the worst after someone loses a job, but the opposite persists. Koay started a training company specializing in the latest Industry 4.0 and has not looked back ever since. Thanks to his network within the manufacturing domain, his business thrives. His former company even engages him to carry out most of the necessary training program.
2. YOU BECOME GRITTIER WHEN YOU GET OLDER
Tommy was my colleague from another manufacturing facility. He was the factory manager of a state of the art manufacturing that made danish frozen dough for major companies like Subway and others. Despite his credentials, Tommy did not make it to his new COO’s good books and duly forced to quit in 24 hours.
The new COO was also my boss when Tommy left. Tommy went back to his hometown and started a steam bun production line in his kitchen. He produced the buns in the morning and distributed them in the afternoon. As far as I know, the workload was insane. He resorted to selling his steam buns around the major towns in Malaysia; sometimes traveling hundreds of km in between destinations. His friends advised him to ditch the model because of the crazy traveling. We still keep in touch. According to Tommy, he has started a tuition center with his niece in a suburb. As he is a black belt Taekwondo exponent, he teaches the martial art in between his tutoring assignment.
Trust me, your circumstances will test your grit when you run a business. So much more if you are a startup owner. I am an advocator of a solopreneur lifestyle. If you read my earlier blog post from the link, you will realize how hard I’m trying to keep my business from growing out of control.
A good business model is like a plant growing in an all natural climate and condition. Just like this plant, if you give it enough water and nourishment, it will grow. You don’t even have to do any five-year or ten-year strategy for your business. My main concern now is about an up and coming cold storage products that I need to distribute in probably two months. If done right, the volume will be large and my life as a solopreneur could come to an abrupt halt.
Do older entrepreneurs command better trust than their younger counterparts? Honestly, I don’t think this is how it works. But, people do place more trust in you if you have dealt long enough as an ethical human being.
I did not ask for the opportunity to be the distributor for my current principal when I quit my job 3 years ago. Till this day, I still think my principal, Alex, is God sent. I recall Alex telling me that prior to considering me as their main distributor, two more established trading companies had already approached him for the dealership opportunity. One was a former Sales Manager for a competitor, and the other one was a seasoned ingredient wholesaler. Needless to say, although the older companies were more established, they did not garner adequate trust. Alex did not feel safe handing his brand of products over to them.
As you can see from my experience above, people gauge you all the time. If your network witnesses your integrity for two decades, imagine the karma point that you have accumulated compared to a young punk. On the other hand, if your integrity is suspected, you have created hurdles that block the entrepreneurial opportunities that come your way. I used only a small capital to tide over the glut for a few months. Alex was kind by extending an awesome payment term to me, thus solving my cash flow concern.
4. YOUR NETWORK
When I was 36, most of my friends were struggling managers themselves. Move forward to a decade later, a number of them have reached the pinnacle in their career. There are CEOs, CFOs, and GMs of major conglomerates that are both listed and private.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not asking you to call up friends for favors because they have become some big-shots. But who knows, they might call you because of your outstanding reputation. You might have something in your arsenal that could help your friends to catapult one of their product segment to new heights.
You could never guess the possibilities when the power of a network comes into play. My brother-in-law started a trading company dealing with sporting apparel when a few of his friends decided to have a side hustle while having supper one night. His group of friends consists of second-hand car sales personnel and a few sports apparel sales supervisors. Two months ago, the ragtag group of friends managed to secure the sole-dealership of a renowned sports brand, called Kappa.
5. WISDOM AND EXPERIENCE
Don’t let anybody tell us that we are too old to start a business. When I was fresh out of university, I aspired to climb the corporate ladder. God blesses me with an illustrious journey of experience in running three different functional departments and two companies. I have seen top executives cheated, and a myriad of good and bad management throughout the years.
Now, when you are on the verge of 50 years of age, you will have experienced a lot in life. Unless somebody keeps you in a glasshouse throughout your waking hours, you should have known your life priority. As for me, I have decided that no reward and money in this world can compare to my family. I have left them for a job abroad, and I promise that I would never do it again, God’s willing. As a result, no matter how far my work brings me these days, I will always go home on the very same day.
So, are you convinced that you are not too old to start your entrepreneurial journey? There will be storms and hurdles mind you, but you are armed with a calling, your grit, reputable work ethics, great network of friends and your worldly wisdom and experience. Have some courage now.
Starting from this post, I will quote a link to one of the bloggers that I know. Today, this will be my choice Patience Is A Virtue of INeedArrest.com