Startups are not just for bright young things – age brings invaluable wisdom to new businesses

They say 40 is the new 30. Well, maybe 50 is the new 30. Things are changing, and so is the world’s outlook on the significance of age.

In my opinion, age does not have to be a limiting factor when starting up a new venture. I am almost 40 and feel I’m only just getting started in this world of entrepreneurship, just scratching the surface.

People place perhaps too high a value on being young when discussing creativity and ideas generation but not enough importance has been placed on the value of experience, hindsight, and a developed skill set, which is something the older entrepreneur has on their side. I can say that of course as I’m supposedly getting “old” as my teenage sons tell me on a daily basis.

I’ve tried gathering proof of this for the last 4 months and I really didn’t have to look far, the example I’m about to share you can’t drive a few miles without seeing right in front of you.

The world famous fast-food chain, McDonald’s. The burger chain was started by a salesman, who was selling his milkshake mixer to two brothers with a small restaurant in California. Ray Kroc persuaded the brothers to let him buy their franchise, and eventually bought the business from them in 1961. As they say, the rest is history. Because of his vision and understanding of business, Kroc created one of the most recognised brands, kicking off the fast-food culture that was to reverberate across the globe.

So, what was it about being fifty something that made Ray Kroc different? Well, for starters, he had experience in sales and was a seasoned professional. I’m sure there aren’t many 20-year-olds who possess the same experience. Many business owners and successful entrepreneurs say: “If only I knew that when I was starting out … with hindsight … looking back actually I would change …”

The more practical knowledge you have, the better decisions you make. FACT.

It’s so important to keep in mind lessons learnt in the first few years of a start up as they are unique to that of a new business, and cannot compare to a corporate structure.

Let’s look at why, starting your own venture, there won’t be systems in place at the start, often few to no employees, with the strategy for the business ever-evolving. An entrepreneur has to be a boss, employee and administrator all in one.

When working for an established business, there will be systems in place, and people running certain operations, with more senior individuals doing the strategic thinking for the future of the company. So becoming an entrepreneur with your own start up venture brings lots of new skills, challenges and fun hurdles to overcome, it’s exciting and certainly life changing.

I hand on heart can honestly tell you that the lessons learnt whilst building my global doll company Bonnie and Pearl have been invaluable, life changing and rewarding.

Did you know that many start up loan companies say age is no longer a constricting consideration. Now, anyone older than 18 can apply for help with starting a business. Not only are we becoming more enterprising as a society, but starting a business is becoming more accessible to the average person.

Start Up Loan recipient Paul Beadle from Manchester decided at 46 to become his own boss with his business Firestopper Limited. A former engineering manager at a national security company, he took the potential setback of the company going into administration as an opportunity to start his own venture.

The great thing is that business has now become an extremely attractive proposition for people across the board, whatever their age. It’s so inspiring and is why I now love working with new entrepreneurs of all ages.

Wherever I go, I pick up on the fact that there is a great appetite for entrepreneurship in this country, and there are great support networks available. The Start Up Loans scheme is a great example as it has gone from strength to strength, and there are additional options, such as crowdfunding available.

A platform like this is excellent because it opens up another avenue of funding for entrepreneurs, aside from the traditional banks. The more sources of finance there are, the better it is for the SME community.

My thoughts are that ultimately, no matter what your age, there is no substitute for a brilliant idea. What you must understand is that people invest in people, and, although businesses can be boosted by the interpersonal skills of the CEO, no business will really lift off if the idea isn’t worth backing. Passion, determination, hard work and a great concept – these are the things we should invest in. After all, age is just a number, right?

Every Investor, Bank, Venture Capitalist I had to pitch to with Bonnie and Pearl and believe me I couldn’t count on 5 pairs of hands how many pitches and cans of deodorant I have been through for the sheer sweat, tears and perspiration and mainly in front of males have all said, “We are investing in you, your story, passion and work ethic. Your product is great yes but YOU are what we believe in and what we will be investing in”.

Of course, not all said YES but they all said the same, “We would invest in YOU, we invest in the individual not just the product or service”.

I believe age is just a number, with self belief, a great business idea, great business plan, great work ethic and a great attitude and always showing up as the best YOU, anything is possible!

Bonnie and Pearl is now the number 1 selling doll in Harrods, retailing in over 14 countries and set for a great American launch 2017/2018. I always coach, If you can dream it, you can achieve it! I’m so proud of what Bonnie and Pearl has achieved, its all about team work and consistent self belief, learning from your failures, overcoming challenges and always growing as person to be able to show up as your best self.

My best bit of advice for any new budding entrepreneur with a business idea is to get yourself a really good ‘been there, done it, got the t-shirt and achieved success whilst doing it” business coach.

A coach that is hands on, able to develop a great business plan, share all their top tips, give 24/7 support and access to help you achieve ultimate success in yourself and your business.

PS CLICK HERE to visit my “ A Different Kind Of Entrepreneurs” personal coaching service for budding entrepreneurs.

Wishing you the very best week ahead in business, family and health!