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Why it's never too late to start a business

Updated: Mar 31, 2021

At the weekend, I joined a clubhouse room for small business owners and it was full of discussions and questions from new and potential business owners about setting up a business. But one question from a lady in her 40s really stuck with me, “Am I too old to start a small business?’ - the overwhelming answer from the room was “NO” of course not.

So, if you are an aspiring business owner and you have ambitions of being a business owner but are put off by the young entrepreneurs who often make the headlines, I would like to give you 5 of my reasons why it is never too late to start in business.

  1. You know more people

  2. You know what you are passionate about

  3. You have options

  4. You are more confident

  5. You have economic experience

You know more people

The older you are, the more social circles you have developed, whether that be old work colleagues, school friends, couples you became friendly with down at the local pub, families from doing the school run or from your hobbies and interests. You have had time to build relationships with so many more people than you would have done if you were younger. The more people you know the greater your network and outreach. Not only that, but everyone knows ‘someone’, the more you talk about your business to friends, the more they will talk to other people about you. Word of mouth is a great way of getting your first clients. Then once you are more established, recommendations will snowball. Also the larger your network is, the more people you have on hand for advice, this can be particularly useful if you are becoming a Sole Trader, starting up can be overwhelming and lonely, the more people you have around you for support, the better!

You know what you are passionate about

When you’re young, you think you know what you want. But actually, you don’t usually know what you want until you have experienced failure. At first failure is difficult to comprehend, it’s only when you start to realise that in fact failure is not a negative. We learn from our failures, without them we would not be rewarded with the sense of achievement we feel once we have got to our end goals. Over time our responsibilities and ambitions change. It’s only from learning through life experiences and how to bounce back from failure that we find out what we are passionate about. Passion drives success, it motivates you to succeed. It’s important you find out what makes you tick, what makes you fuel that fire in your belly. If you focus on your passion you can achieve anything! Throughout business, you may hit hurdles, times may not always be great, but having the motivation and the drive to meet your goals is what will make you successful.

You have options

Your options are much more limited when you are younger. Lack of experience can hold you back. You're more likely to develop relationships with potential clients over time and that’s why it’s an ideal scenario starting your business later in life. You are more likely to earn respect from others when you have had the time to earn it.

People are usually more financially secure later on in life, so risk taking is so much easier to manage and having cash flow to fall back on and fund your business makes for a better business model. You’re less likely to have to rely on finance when you already have the funds readily available which stands you in good stead for building a secure, successful business.

Being financially secure can also open up other opportunities to you such as investment into existing businesses, allowing them to benefit from your knowledge and experience. Something which wouldn’t be possible without the life skills you have developed over time and the financial security you have achieved.

You are more confident

Research shows that the older we get the more confidence we have. There’s many reasons for this but one of them is stability. Stability comes with the relationships we grow over time and the environment we put ourselves in.

Building positive relationships through life is key to growing your confidence and having a support network of people who you can rely on to give you advice or listen. Through our drawbacks and failures we start to challenge ourselves. Knowing that we can overcome the failures we face and remembering how to do so helps with our levels of confidence.

Confidence is built from experiences and knowledge you have developed over time, whether it be on a social or professional level. As we get older we understand that not all relationships are good for us, and that also goes for relationships in business.

We only start to know our worth when we have felt under appreciated. Experiencing negative events in life, carves your path to positivity and makes you more confident.

Having qualifications behind you is great, but it’s not until you go out in the big wide world you start to build your knowledge and understanding and that’s when your self-confidence will really kick in. It’s also easier to say no to things, when you have encountered the same things before. Saying, no is not a negative thing, sometimes you have to establish what’s right for your business but it’s having the confidence to do so.

You have economic experience

When we start our working career we don’t have much experience in business. We develop our knowledge through watching and learning from others. We start to see different human behaviours and we learn how to react to various people and situations. Even if you leave university with a degree in economics, you don’t start to learn until you put it into practice. We learn more about the economy, politics and business as we get older and what affects all of this has on different factors, whether that be professionally, psychologically or socially. Having this knowledge behind you will create roots in preparation for building your business.

Entrepreneurs who built successful businesses over the age of 50

If you’re still not convinced you only need to look at successful entrepreneurs in the press who started their businesses later in life for inspiration.

At the age of 62, Colonel Sanders who is better known as the face of KFC, founded his Kentucky Fried Chicken business. During his working life he held down various different jobs. From working on the Railways to practising law, to a salesman he developed a wide range of experience and knowledge before opening restaurants and then eventually selling chicken which was then patented and led to amazing success. His life experiences led him to where he needed to be, just like it could for you!

Would you believe that the Founder of the McDonald's franchise started his career as a milkshake mixer salesman? Probably not! But that’s exactly what led Ray Kroc to opening his first franchise with the McDonald brothers at the age of 53.

Our final example is, Arianna Huffington - she founded the Huffington Post aged 55 whilst working as a political commentator. Although Arianna didn’t have a varied career background like the others we have mentioned, she was a successful writer who followed her dreams and became very successful later on in life.

It just goes to show that you can do anything when you put your mind to it. Age should not be a factor which holds you back from reaching those dreams, it should be a reason to motivate you. You have the people behind, you have the experience and knowledge, you are in a much better place now, the sky's the limit!


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