I was talking to a friend of mine the other day. He’s 50ish now, happily no longer a business owner, and was telling me this story from when he was 30ish. He had started his own firm, set out on his own, was happy, was proud. A new, big client came in one day, looked around his office and asked him and his partner, “where’s your 50 year old?”
The breed of business owners is a fiercely independent one. We’re smart, risk-taking and capable. We aren’t the kind of people who pause to think that it might be a good idea to hire someone who has the experience, good and bad, of a 50 year old. A lot of us don’t want to take anyone’s advice at all.
What’s the value of having someone on your team who is the 50 year old? They have been through year after year after year of watching decisions and outcomes. They have seen what works. More importantly, they have seen what doesn’t work. It is hard to get to 50 without making a whole bunch of mistakes in your business life. What a blessing it would be to have someone on your team who could say, “oh, I saw a guy do “x” once, and two years later, he realized that it caused “y”, and “y” cost him a lot of money, or heartache, or legal battles.
Does your business have a 50 year old? If your answer is no, you might want to think about finding one. My "happily no longer a business owner" friend wishes he had; he figures it could have saved him tens of thousands of dollars.