Three Advantages of Older Entrepreneurs in B2B Startups

Lost in an all too frequent age discrimination promoted by many investors are some key advantages older entrepreneurs can offer a B2B startup: connections and social capital that can find early customers, domain knowledge, and patience.

  1. A team of older entrepreneurs can bring much more social capital and domain knowledge to a new business. In a B2B startup both of these can make quite a difference.
  2. Strangely, the fact that failure will penalize an older team more can mean that their commitments in a B2B setting are taken much more seriously: if they fail to perform they cannot “move to another lifetime” and will have to live with the consequences. This can make them more careful to promise what they can deliver and deliver what they promise.
  3. They often have more patience and are able to persist. “The great thing and the hard thing is to stick to things when you have outlived the first interest and not yet got the second which comes with a sort of mastery.” Janet Erskine Stuart

Update Oct 3-2009: See Also “Three Advantages of Younger Entrepreneurs in B2B Startups.”

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5 thoughts on “Three Advantages of Older Entrepreneurs in B2B Startups”

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  3. Sean,

    Do you have any blog entries about older and younger entrepreneurs teaming up together? An experience-balanced team of equals sounds like it could potentially be awesome, but there would probably be some friction, too. Do you know of examples that have worked? Maybe the first difficulty would just be finding complimentary people to partner with, because “birds of a feather flock together” — in particular, one’s friends tend to be roughly the same age as oneself.

    — Brad

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