Is there really an age where starting a business is no longer viable? No. I started a new business 18 months ago. My co-founders and I each bring smarts, hard knocks and wisdom to the table. The experience gained from, well, experience is enormous, and often comes with age. Here are ways that experience can give you a competitive edge:
Being self-aware: The more experience you have, the more you get to know yourself. Knowing what you’re good at and where you need help is vital. Arrogance won’t get you far.
Having a purpose that matters: Knowing yourself is vital for understanding why you’re starting a business and commits you to solving a real problem. Your purpose is a source of energy for the long, challenging road ahead. If you don’t know why you’re doing it, you’ll run out of fuel.
Finding the right fit: Product/market fit is the only thing that turns a whacky idea into a great business. Many founders (particularly inexperienced ones) often overvalue their IP and try to bend the world to their will.
Working with great people: The idea that founders have to be the smartest in the room will stifle growth. Surrounding yourself with people better than you is intimidating but necessary.
You’re already a master of the subtleties of business: Soft skills, like the abilities to form compassion and healthy relationships are refined over time. They will give you the insight to create a business that customers thank you for and clever people want to help you with.
Being young and being successful have little to do with each other except, perhaps, that more young people are prepared to back themselves and have a go.
Craig Davis is the founder of Brandkarma and the former CCO of Publicis Mojo, Saatchi & Saatchi Asia and JWT Worldwide. He is on the board of Conscious Capitalism and blogs at craigdavisnow.com