Does age matter in business? you are the judge

Speaking from experience, I know that age can be very important in business, but its impact on success can be a double-edged sword. Whether we are referring to the age of the business, the age of the owners or directors, the age of the products or services, or the age of the target market, the following bullet points present situations to judge from, from the obvious to the cryptic. from the ridiculous to the sublime.

The importance of age can juxtapose experience with naivety; forecast with momentum; poise with passion; and wisdom hopefully. A businessman numbed by the resignation of longevity may find himself outstripped by the bets of reckless youth. However, a person with nothing more than sheer common sense can catapult from mediocrity and oblivion to fame and fortune. More than a question of chronological years, age can be a state of mind, a platform from which to represent one’s convictions, an ideology with which to guide one’s actions.

My life is a saga of the ramifications of age. I was born to forty-year-old parents who immediately alienated me from my peers, whose parents were from a younger generation. As if I was raised by grandparents and, moreover, as an only child, I had the behavior of an older person from the beginning. “Fun” was not part of my vocabulary. So when I ventured into business at the ripe age of 23, my no-nonsense attitude paved the way for widespread respect, and the business prospered as a result.

This is something I owe to my father, a businessman, who spent most of his time looking like a grumpy “old man” to my young eyes, except when he was on the phone with one of his “prospects.” Then what a joyful soul he became, only to return to his usual sad mode when he ended the call. Looking back, I now realize the enigma of it, a beleaguered state that he battled long before depression became the household word it is today. From this, however, I learned that, above all else, the customer was king.

For example, I have a somewhat unorthodox client whose target market is primarily octogenarians and older. Having first experienced the benefits of my various marketing services about eight years ago, this director of an assisted living facility with computer problems recently called me about moving his website hosting so he could reap the benefits of unlimited email. This is because he can’t delete any mail he’s been sent but hasn’t opened yet, and is perpetually left with a full inbox that rejects new arrivals. To prevent the loss of this precious material, he also agreed to allow me to log into his email account and individually open and forward each email he has received over this eight year period to a separate alternate account, even though it is mostly spam. I dutifully accommodated his requests without a word of complaint about this back-breaking task (which he refused to do himself), not to mention I also undertook a total redesign of his original website, including new on-site photos that I threw in free of charge. My efforts were relentless to address everything from the latest comprehensive SEO to secure online job applications and social media metrics. You may not know the internet, but you really know if his business is thriving and you know who is behind the scenes fostering that phenomenon. I didn’t get any email, phone call or thank you note for everything I did. But when I finally sent him a judiciously prudent bill for months of this work, his check arrived in one day. That was all the thanks I needed.

Ironically, I’ve also recently been working with a group of seniors who organized their own non-profit organization primarily as a self-serving instrument from which each personally benefits. The concept, known as Aging in Place, is to allow each of them to continue living independently in their own homes by relying on this service for a variety of purposes. These could include free transportation; regular social outings; free guidance on health issues; help with simple household maintenance; and other similar needs. While this sounds like a worthwhile endeavor, the problem arises when members of the public show interest in joining. The founders restrict their membership area to a very small region based on where they live and can easily provide services. Their hours revolve around what is personally convenient for them and marketing decisions are based on what amounts to being the least expensive option. It’s no surprise that your organization is being flooded. Perhaps this is a case of being too close to the forest for the trees, as they lack objectivity and good judgment on how to successfully run a business. This could also be a result of the inflexibilities of age, where you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

Years ago, I remember arriving at the office a little after 9 a.m. this unforgivable transgression. Although he had taken it upon himself to pay us an unscheduled visit, he felt that we should have been there ready to serve during “normal” business hours. Things were different before the internet. There was no email, no cell phones, and no computer technology. The work we did for him was crudely composed with wax and drafting tables, static cameras and typesetting machines, rapidographic illustrations and printed headlines. And our journey from the bucolic outskirts of our residential sprawl involved nearly an hour’s drive after micromanaging the logistics of dog walks, daycares, and school bus departures. At twenty-six, our hands were full.

I had to go along with his conservative business ethic, however, and over time, I fixed my act, along with my appearance and availability. We eventually lost that client, who died a short time later. People shook their heads when he left and he told us we were doomed. But it was the guts of our creativity and the grit of our writing that kept us together, decade after decade. Thirty-six years later, this business is still running.

One last peculiar story: the story of two lawyers. Over a twenty-five year period, two competitive yet friendly clients enjoyed dominance within our region as a result of their consistently impressive case results, skillfully communicated to an engrossed audience through excellent marketing efforts inspired by their separate commitments to our brand. quality only. . Along the way, however, one defected due to a billing problem and hired one of our competitors to continue marketing. The other lawyer continued with us for another decade thanks to the advent of the Internet while maintaining a close friendship with the defector. Our strengths in advertising, design, and online ranking kept our client in the lead as he racked up case after case of million-dollar results. But the stress of the economic climate finally convinced him to abandon his coveted independence and consequent financial stranglehold on him and join the ranks of his friend, merging his two firms with the flawed one at the helm. Just like that, our relationship ended. And just like that, his internet presence fizzled out, leaving the search engines in a state of confusion. Since these two lawyers have a bit of a web phobia, what they don’t know can’t hurt them, or so they think. A page on the newly merged firm’s website promises that my client’s bio will appear soon, but I’ve been waiting over six months for that to happen. Has age stifled my client’s bravery, killed his spirit, paralyzed his pride? How can he allow his “friend” to waste the fruits of his entire career under the guise of procrastination? Can he be so blind? My hunch is that freedom from the shackles of looming debt while tirelessly working on the contingency for the benefit of others has far outweighed the importance of attracting future work in the fall of your years. And I don’t blame him one bit.

But he deserves better and I regret the crime of fate in robbing me of the chance to protect him from what he doesn’t realize. Age can be responsible for many things, such as lowering energy, reducing enthusiasm, reducing impact and stealing vision, not to mention making you vulnerable to discrimination from younger people. But for this writer and business owner, age has only magnified the desire to do the best job possible, preserving stamina in pursuit of optimal health and fitness; keeping up with technology in all aspects; and sharing my knowledge for the benefit of all. Does age matter in business? Bet!

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