Better In Your Youth Or In Your Prime?

There is much opinion about whether entrepreneurs fare better in their youth or in their prime.  Some believe the young have the energy to endure the trials and hard knocks in starting a company.  Others see starting a business more ideal for those with maturity and experience.  Who really has what it takes?  Does how much time you’ve spent on this earth dictate your success?  Is it the luck of the draw:

  • YouthPro: Many youngsters are still filled with the belief they can do and try anything.  They haven’t been jaded by the harsh realities of the world so they keep banging on doors till opens for them.  
  • MaturityPro: Years of experience teaches them what to chase and what to leave alone.  In other words, they know from personal trial and error which battles in business to fight and which to leave unconquered which helps them manage their energy on aspects more deserving.
  • YouthCon: It’s not likely that those in their 20’s and 30’s have a 401k or savings saved up to dip into to start a business.  And even if they do, it’s not much in the way of what they’ll need.  Chances are, they need outside money and investments  and are more likely to be indebted in the process of starting a business.
  • Maturity Con: Chances someone in their late in their 40’s and 50’s has a family or major responsibilities.  Which means they still have to figure how to balance their business ventures and keep a roof over their loved ones heads in the process.
  • YouthPro:  There’s not much responsibility weighing them down other than themselves.  Chances are they don’t have a family, a spouse, a mortgage or anything huge looming in the back of their minds or over their heads.  At most, you might find them with a few student loans and a car note.
  • MaturityPro: Established clientle.  With experience comes having already establishing themselves in their industry and field.  Whenever they make the transition from employee to   Boss person, they’ll already have a loyal customer base to start with.
  • YouthCon:  Many of them will argue that age is just a number but numbers are big things in the realm of business.  It determines the value and projection of a company’s success and future.  And many times, young entrepreneurs find their age number an obstacle when doing business with others in related fields with more seasons under their belt.
  • MaturityCon: After a couple of decades of working steadily, it makes it harder to take that leap away from security to something uncertain and unknown.  It’s hard to rock the boat when you’ve been safely afloat all these years
  • YouthPro:  No reservations about putting themselves out there.  There’s not much dignity getting in their way to make them feel uneasy about trying something new or risky.  If it works, they’ll be considered geniuses, if not, they’ll try something else. All for the sake of success.
  • MaturityPro: Contacts/ Networks.  Not only are older entrepreneurs more likely to bring over their already loyal customer base, but also vendors, suppliers and networks who’ve they’ve done business through their previous employer.  No need to established a new relationship when there’s already those intact.
  • YouthCon: Inexperience.  It’s the most obvious and perhaps the most hindering, but not entirely.  Although may young entrepreneurs may have real work experience, not much of what they have is related to their current aspirations/ venture.  Many of them find that okay, because it forces them to get creative with what they do know and what they have available.  They just have to catch up to the learning curve.
  • MaturityCon: Age, believe it or not. How old is too old to start a business?  Most are more likely to trust a face of experience but many wonder a much older entrepreneur can keep up with the demands business puts on their physical and mental state.
  • Youth/ MaturityPro: Optimism.  It takes a great deal of persistence and tenacity to start a business on your own.  You just can’t have the energy or resources, you have to have the belief you will succeed despite the odds and criticisms.

What’s your take?  Who do you think makes a better entrepreneur, a 20/30-something or someone in their 40’s & 50’s?  Is age but a number or is it a calculated societal judgment call?


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