To Become and Entrepreneur?
The answer may surprise you.
According to the Kaufman Foundation, 3/4ths of new entrepreneurs are not in their 20s, but between age 35 and 64, with the majority being 45 or older. So if you are older and thinking of starting a business, take heart, you’re in good company! Here are a few entrepreneurs that started business later in life.
KFC’s Harland David Sanders. Col. Sanders had a lot of false starts. He was fired from several jobs. But he never gave up, and that trait led to his eventual success. Sanders became recognized for his delicious chicken recipe while working at a service station in Kentucky. At age 62, Sanders franchised his “Kentucky Fried Chicken.” Today KFC has 18,800 outlets in over 100 countries/territories.
IBM’s Charles Ranlett Flint. This guy was no spring chicken when he became an entrepreneur. He was 61 when he consolidated three companies, and 11 years later the company became IBM, when he was 74. His strategy was to offer diverse products and revenue streams so if one area of the business were to have a bad year, the others would cover it – a strategy that still works today.
Home Depot’s Bernie Marcus. When Marcus was fired as an executive with a home improvement company, he decided to turn lemons to lemonade and start his own store with a friend. The first two stores opened in 1970 in Atlanta, today there are 2,300 locations and Home Depot brings in sales of more than $80 billion a year!
GoDaddy’s Bob Parsons. A former marine, Bob Parsons started not just one company, but two! He sold Parsons Technology to Intuit for $64 million in 1994, before he launched GoDaddy, the $4 billion web domain registrar. He started GoDaddy in 1997 to have “something to do.” His philosophy: make a little money from a lot of people.
LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman. You’d think a social network like LinkedIn was started by a millennial, right? Not so. But Hoffman was 35 when he founded the company and 43 when it went public.
Gap’s Donald Fisher. At the age of 41, he and his wife opened their first Gap store in San Francisco. While the store has gone through ups and downs, the $9 billion company continues to endure today.
Geico’s Leo Goodwin. It’s an auto insurance company and most of us are familiar with the green gecko, it’s advertising symbol. But before there was a gecko, there was Leo Goodwin, an accountant who wanted to give the insurance industry an overhaul, and deal with clients directly, saving a lot of the money that went to the brokers. At the age of 50, Leo started Geico, running the company with his wife. Today, the company has a staff of 27,000 and 14 million policyholders.
Zelda Wisdom’s Carol Gardner. Ms. Gardner was 52, newly divorced and broke when she won a local Christmas card contest. That inspired her to start her own greeting card company, which she named after her dog Zelda. In 2010, Zelda Wisdom was valued at $50 million.
The lesson? Never say never, success can come to anyone, in any industry, and at any age.