The astonishing story of a 19 year old who set up a multi-billion dollar biotech company in Silicon Valley. Elizabeth Holmes had a dream to disrupt blood sampling methodologies and attracted some serious investment. Lauded as the next Steve Jobs, she modelled herself closely on him and became the youngest female billionaire, moving in powerful political circles. But Elizabeth Holmes had a secret: her technology didn’t work. Bad Blood is an astounding account of what can happen when corporate governance is set aside. Highly recommended reading.
Harland David Sanders, Finger Licking Determined
Here we profile the founder of KFC as the first inspiring businessman in our Small Business Superstar series.
Harland David Sanders was born in 1890 to a poor American family in Indiana. Born the eldest of three children, at the tender age of five, he became responsible for looking after his two siblings when the tragic death of his father forced his mother to take poorly paid work outside the family home. The resourceful young Harland became an expert at foraging for food and cooking it for his young siblings.
I wonder what he would have thought if he had realised then, where those humble meals he used to prepare while his mother was away at work, would lead him in later life. For today, Harland Sanders is better known around the world as Colonel Sanders, the mascot figure on all the promotional material of the company he founded when he was in his fifties. That company is KFC, a multi-billion-dollar franchise operation which operates globally from close to 20,000 outlets in over 100 countries world-wide!
Harland Sanders had spent the youthful part of his life working hard to fight his way out of the extreme poverty of his childhood and for most of his adult life he worked hard at many relatively poorly paid jobs. In fact it was not until Harland Sanders was in his sixties that he franchised his recipe for making Kentucky fried chicken. Harland Sanders enjoyed another three decades of life as a very wealthy man and when he died in 1980, aged 90, Harland Sanders was a billionaire. Harland Sanders was also something far greater than a billionaire, he was and is an inspiration!
The Over Forties Are An Excellent Bet For Starting A Successful New Business
Wherever I look personal wealth management for the over forties focuses almost exclusively, on the extraordinary wealth you are supposed to have accumulated (note the hideous use of the past tense) over the last three decades, such as the equity in your home, your pension and your existing investment portfolios. Similarly business start ups and business grants and support are generally focused on the young, which is complete nuts because who is a better bet; a green 20 year old or an experienced 40 year old? Which one of us is going to have the experience to cut the mistakes and fast track their business onto the success runway? I’d put my money on the forty year old.
Forty Is The New Twenty, Sixty Is The New Forty!
These days the average forty year old is fit, trendy and energetic, with experience and confidence to boot. We are no longer ‘done’ when we hit forty, fifty and even sixty ( as Colonel Sanders demonstrated so ably), we have decades of productive working life left in us and the sweetness of increasing amounts of time as our grown kids leave the nest and money as our personal costs diminish. We need an outlet for our energy and what better way to spend the time than side hacking a small business?
The potential to accrue wealth by starting your own business, after the age of forty has never been easier and what I want to read about is inspiring stories of over fifties who have taken their new found leisure time in hand and built themselves a new business that will provide them with immense personal satisfaction, mental stimulation and a very comfortable life style in old age.
I don’t believe these wise and hardworking people don’t exist, they obviously do or we wouldn’t enjoy the occasional KFC courtesy of Colonel Sanders hard work, on our road trips. But I think the paucity of coverage of successful late starters is more a reflection of our society’s love affair with youth, the child prodigy, the young tech entrepreneur, and the assumption that anyone over the age of forty has reached their pinnacle of success, their star is no longer burning brightly. Really? Come on, get a grip, we’re only just warming up, life is far from over!
Success comes before work, but only in the dictionary, success in real life is the result of hard work well played. I think that’s great, I love to work, work gives me purpose and fulfilment and I wouldn’t accept early retirement if you served it on a bed of green backs. We are designed to work all the time and I cannot get my head around all these millennials who are chasing early retirement; why would you want to spend as much as 50 years in retirement when you could be using your talents to problem solve on a daily basis? No, retirement is not for me, I am more inclined to take my lead from the hugely inspiring late starter, Harland David Sanders and my uncle, who at the age of 84 is still running his own hugely successful businesses – plural!