The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Is Running a Company the new Retirement?
When we think of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit, many of us conjure up images of young, wealthy, technology millionaires giving webinar presentations on the latest iPhone while sitting on a bean bag with a jar of jelly beans on their desk. It is an image that proliferates across Facebook, Google, Snapchat, WhatsApp and many of the social networking, mobile messaging, and search engine technology companies. It is an image of Silicon Valley that is plastered across our screens everyday as we surf the web – the young casual and carefree 20-something, clad in denim jeans and intent on turning the corporate world on its head.
While Mark Zuckerberg may have become the world’s youngest billionaire in 2008 when he was 23 and Michael Dell debuted on the Forbes Billionaires List at 26, for others it has been a journey taken much later in life. The highest rate of entrepreneurial activity in the last decade has been among 55 to 64 year olds and more than 1 in 3 new businesses were started by an Entrepreneur aged 50 plus.
What is interesting when we look at the traits for the older Entrepreneur is that, like their younger peers, they are risk takers, but they prefer to fund start-ups with personal savings rather than loans. The advantage of the later start for them is that they have access to capital and strong professional networks already built up, unlike many of their younger peers.
Older CEOs are driven by hobbies, lifestyle, necessity, and innovation. They are also predominantly male and well-educated. Some of the biggest FMCG brands in the world were started by the over 50s. John Pemberton was 55 when he founded Coca Cola, Raymond Kroc was 52 when he founded McDonald’s and Colonel Harland David Sanders was even 65 (what many consider to be the official retirement age) when he founded KFC.
This infographic gives a snapshot of the older Entrepreneur, the top 10 traits that define them, the rate of older entrepreneurship by region, a look at the people behind the biggest brands, and the oldest CEOs of Fortune 50 companies.
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Older ENTREPRENEURS & Their SUCCESS
Why Running a Company is the NEW RETIREMENT?
The highest rate of entreprenurial activity in the past 10 years has been among 55 to 64 years old.
More than 1 in 3 new businesses were started by an Entrepreneur aged 50+.
Benjamin Franklin was 76 when he invented Bifocals.
Jack Weil of Rockmount Ranch Wear, a clothing manufacturing company, held the title of ‘Oldest CEO in America’ up until his death in 2008 at 107.
TOP TEN TRAITS
- Predominantly male
- Runs a small business with less than 5 employees (if any).
- Favour agriculture, retail trade, business services, management, or sales.
- Are risk-takers like their younger peers.
- Have access to capital.
- The majority work on their own or with a spouse.
- Driven by hobbies, lifestyle, necessity, and innovation.
- Have strong professional networks.
- Prefer to fund start-ups with personal savings rather than loans.
LATE BIG BRAND BLOOMERS
Founder: Raymond Kroc
Previous Roles: Driving round the USA selling milkshake machines.
His History: He persuaded Maurice and Richard McDonald, who ran a drive-in restaurant in San Bernadino, Calfiornia, to franchise their business.
He eventually purchased the company for $2.7 million.
Founder: John Pemberton
Previous Roles: A pharmacist and physician who created Pemberton’s French Wine Coca as an alternative to morphine.
His Story: New temperance legislation was passed forcing him to reformulate his beverage.
He replaced the wine with sugar, forming the Coca-Cola company.
Founder: Colonel Harland David Sanders
Previous Roles: A farmer, a steamboat pilot, an insurance agent, and a railroad fireman who kept getting fired.
His Story: He opened a small service station, met with franchisees, and convinced them to work with him.
He sold the company which had 600+ outlets, for $2 million.
OLDER ENTREPRENEURS BY REGION
Latin America & Caribbean 12%
Middle East & North Africa 5%
Sub Saharan Africa 22%
Asia Pacific & South Asia 10%
Europe EU 28 3%
Europe Non EU 28 4%
North America 6%
Note: Between the ages of 55 to 64 years old.
5 OLDEST CEOs OF FORUNTE 500 Companies
- DAVID MURDOCK, Dole Food Company (91)
- OLLEN BRUTON SMITH, Speedway Motors (87)
- WARREN BUFFET, Berkshire Hathaway (84)
- RUPERT MURDOCH, News Corporation (83)
- SHELDON ADELSON, Las Vegas Sands (81)
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