Never too late: Entrepreneurs can start their business even at an old age

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Nowadays, most of the entrepreneurs celebrated by media and society are the young, successful startup founders. For example, there have been many adaptations of how social media innovator Mark Zuckerberg went through a load of challenges to bring Facebook to where it is now – all of which started when he was just 20 years old.

Another two of the many famous entrepreneurs who successfully launched their startup at a very young age are Bill Gates, who co-founded Microsoft when he was 20 years old, and the late Steve Jobs, who was 21 when he sold, together with Steve Wozniak, their first Apple I personal computer.

Even Hollywood has stereotyped successful startups as characters who are in their late 20s or early 30s. Partly because there is a common misconception that entrepreneurship is a young man’s game. After all, they seem to have more time, energy, and resources that they can devote to their ventures, especially if they have just begun their business journey.

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Contrary, though, to this belief, history and numbers have shown that “age does not matter” when it comes to entrepreneurial success. Studies conducted by various institutions, including Duke University, the Founder Institute, and the Kauffman Foundation report that the average age when entrepreneurs launched their first business project is 40 years old.

Probably the most famous and one of the largest restaurant chains across the globe is McDonald’s. But a little-known fact about the fast food giant is that it started as a barbecue restaurant in 1940 and was reorganized into a hamburger stand during the 1950s. A 52-year-old man named Ray Kroc joined the company, expanded it into a corporation, and developed the food chain into what it is today. Before that, Kroc was a Prince Castle employee, selling milkshake machine.

Kroc is just one of countless successful business stories that can inspire entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams, no matter how old they may be.

The real meaning of a startup

The term “startup” has been casually used to define new business ventures. For some, it can be loosely used to categorize an up and coming tech company. For others, the term can be used by small businesses that cater to a specific need in the market. But what really makes a startup? These are the qualities industry experts require for a company to be granted the title:

It has to be less than five years old.

The age of a business venture is what probably makes the term “startup” passé. Some companies that have not experienced breakthrough may consider their operations as a startup even if they’ve been in the industry for a decade. In reality, startups are mostly businesses that are less than five years old and have a close-knit staff working to address consumers’ needs.

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It has the capability to expand and address a pressing market need.

Those who are running a small business only to keep their business within the family or the community cannot be considered a startup. Before 2006, Facebook can be considered a startup because it showed potential to become something that will make the lives of millions easier. When it started monetizing and receiving funding from millionaire investors, it graduated from being one.

It has to have less than 100 employees, worth less than $500 million in revenue, and takes $50 million to sustain operations.

A startup becomes a full-fledged business when one of these three qualities are surpassed whether it’s due to acquisition by a bigger firm or turning into a bankable brand even before its first five years in operation.

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Contrary to what most believe, a non-tech company can also be considered a startup. Niche businesses in food or in retail that operate under the same setup can also fall into the category. In these cases, the businesses don’t primarily rely on the technical aspect but on the support of their consumers that serve as a good consideration for expanding operations.

Over the years, the term served as a chip on the shoulder of many young entrepreneurs. Now that the definition becomes clearer, business ventures can now work toward a set goal in order to succeed and eventually graduate from being a startup.