What’s the ideal age to start a retail business?
The optimum age to start a business is 28 years old, according to a global survey of Millennials and Gen Zers.
The recent survey of more than 25,000 people, aged 18 to 40, across 35 countries from Herbalife Nutrition, found half believing their age would help their chances of success. Among the reasons:
- Sixty-one percent felt they’re better at adapting to new technology than other generations;
- Forty-three percent believe they were more likely to have fresh, unexplored ideas;
- Twenty-nine percent believe they’re less afraid to fail than other generations.
Fifty-one percent, however, were still concerned that they may not be taken seriously because of their age.
In the tech space, the belief is that many younger entrepreneurs have an advantage as founders, being perceived as more tech savvy and less risk-averse. A few studies have recently come out, however, touting the advantages that middle-aged founders have due to their work experience, connections and access to capital.
A 2018 analysis by professors at MIT Sloan School of Management and Kellogg School of Management determined that the age of the most successful founders based on employment growth was 45.
According to their findings, many of tech’s legends (i.e., Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Sergey Brin, Larry Page) may have started their businesses in their youth but their growth rates in terms of market capitalization peaked when they were middle-aged. The professors concluded that the reason venture capital firms skew investments toward younger entrepreneurs is because of an age bias and being able to secure deals with more upside from financially-strapped youth.
The average age of a U.S. business founder was determined to be 42.
A 2020 meta-analysis of 102 studies of entrepreneurs from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute found younger entrepreneurs “more adept at inventing new technology and making bold moves,” but older entrepreneurs still showed slightly higher satisfaction levels and greater financial success. Older women founders were determined to be particularly successful versus younger ones of the same gender. One surprise finding was that founders in their thirties and forties have less success generally. Researchers attributed that to childcare and eldercare obligations in early midlife.
- What’s the Right Age to Start a Business? The Results May Surprise You – Herbalife Nutrition
- Research: The Average Age of a Successful Startup Founder Is 45 – Harvard Business Review
- Older entrepreneurs as successful as their younger counterparts, study reveals – Phys.org
- 2020 Age and entrepreneurial career success: A review and a meta-analysis – Science Direct
- The Typical Unicorn Founder Started Their Business at 34 – Bloomberg
- New Research Reveals the Ideal Age to Start a Business – INC
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What’s the ideal age to start a retail business or launch a brand? Do you believe younger entrepreneurs have an advantage over middle-age ones or vice versa?