Two entrepreneurs smiling and laughing in their cafe.
Data shows that new businesses benefit from the experience and expertise of older professionals. — Getty Images/Yagi Studio

While businesses started by young entrepreneurs tend to make headlines, the reality is that most successful founders are must further along in their careers. Research from Wharton management professor J. Daniel Kim found that of all the entrepreneurs in the U.S. between 2007 and 2014, at the time of founding, the average age was 42.

New entrepreneurial ventures actually benefit from the experience and expertise of older professionals. If you have a great idea, know this: A 50-year-old founder is 1.8 times more likely to achieve “upper-tail growth” than a 30-something-year-old founder. Here are some things you can do to reach that level of success in your next business.

Leverage your experience

An immediate advantage older entrepreneurs have in the competitive startup world is experience. Starting a business venture later in life provides an opportunity to leverage the acumen, nuance, and track record you’ve built at other companies and ventures.

Practically speaking, this means you have real-world experience to draw upon when pitching to investors and setting up your business operations. Investors are far more likely to provide funding to someone who has experience managing a budget, employees, vendors, and cash flow. And you’ll have a more realistic understanding of what it takes to start, run, and grow a new business.

[Read more: 7 Smart Small Business Tips for Older Entrepreneurs]

Activate your network

In addition to having more professional experience than younger entrepreneurs, it’s also likely that you have a better network of contacts who can support you. Research from psychologist Adam Grant found that who you know is just as important, if not more important, than what you know. Reach out to people in your professional network and beyond for advice, financial investment, hiring needs, business partnerships, and other opportunities.

Check your financial fitness

Often, younger entrepreneurs are advised to fail fast, learn from their mistakes, and constantly iterate until they get it right. This advice can be helpful, but only if you have the financial stability to continuously try new things. Someone later in their career might not have the luxury to continuously fund failing ideas.

Before you start a new venture, do a financial checkup to make sure you have at least three years’ expenses saved up, Kerry Hannon, author of “Never Too Old To Get Rich: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Starting a Business Mid-Life” told CNBC.

In addition, resist the impulse to tap into your retirement fund. “Someone younger may have time to build it back up again,” Hannon said. “You don’t have enough time.”

Some older entrepreneurs take on younger business partners who are hungry for a challenge, are tech-savvy, and who are enthusiastic about taking on hard work. Likewise, they’ll benefit from your wisdom, capital, and credibility.

Find a complementary partner

Many entrepreneurs burn out by trying to take on too many tasks by themselves. Find someone with skills that complement yours, and divide and conquer accordingly. Some older entrepreneurs take on younger business partners who are hungry for a challenge, are tech-savvy, and who are enthusiastic about taking on hard work. Likewise, they’ll benefit from your wisdom, capital, and credibility.

[Read more: Personality Traits Successful Entrepreneurs Have in Common]

Take advantage of targeted resources

There are many public (and private) resources that specifically aim to help ventures started by older entrepreneurs. The Small Business Resource Center for the 50+ can walk you through a step-by-step process to start your business. The AARP also offers plenty of tips on starting a new business, as well as a nationwide entrepreneurship program called Work for Yourself@50+. Consider joining your local Rotary Club and networking with other business owners in your community to find out more about local resources from which you can take advantage.

Make your age a selling point

Age is actually considered to be an advantage in many industries. The National Academies Press points to studies that show the subconscious belief that age enhances performance at work. Lean on this perception to build credibility and authority for your fledgling business idea. Embracing your age in your business pitch can give investors and customers greater confidence in the stability and longevity of your brand.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published August 04, 2022