Why experience is a crucial factor in becoming a successful entrepreneur

| January 16, 2019

If you follow media coverage of the entrepreneurial world, you could be forgiven for thinking it’s just the domain of people in their mid-20s and technology start-ups.

A lot of the narrative around entrepreneurship tell us you need energy, creativity and ideas, which is attributed to the young – but if you’re in your thirties, forties or well above, don’t dismiss the idea of starting or taking over your own business.

Business experts and Second Squared founders Lui Pangiarella and Akram Sabbagh say they find a lot of older people are nervous about getting into start-ups because they are convinced it’s a young person’s game.

“Innovation and disruption are big buzzwords in the start-up world, and for some reason those qualities tend to be associated with youth,” said Mr Pangiarella.

“In actual fact, when we look for people who have the ability and nous to grow businesses, people who have experience in work and life have just as much value, if not more.”

“Put simply, knowing how things work, and don’t work, is often the most important step in figuring out how they can work better.”

“That makes you an ideal candidate to take over your own business.”

A study published in April 2018 by the USA’s National Bureau of Economic Research found that the belief youth is a crucial element of being a successful entrepreneur is a misconception.

Instead, the research found that:

  • The most successful entrepreneurs were actually middle-aged;
  • There was no evidence to suggest that founders in their mid-20s were more likely to succeed;
  • The most successful high-tech entrepreneurs had an average age in their mid-40s;
  • 50-year-old entrepreneurs were 1.8 times more likely to achieve high-end growth than a 30-year-old founder

The researchers also measured whether youthful entrepreneurs have a particular advantage when it comes to innovation and disruption and found that prior knowledge and experience in any disrupted sector predicted a 125% better outcome on growth or exit strategies.

“Studies like this one show us that experience and prior knowledge are key factors in being successful in the business world. Lots of people have the experience and knowledge but haven’t had the opportunity to run their own business,” said Mr Pangiarella.

“We created Second Squared in part to give people with the experience, ability and leadership skills to run their own business the opportunity to do so.

“If you think you might be a candidate, we’d love to hear from you.”

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