The key to success is a well sought after commodity, and it appears that younger entrepreneurs are figuring out the secret. According to a study by Hiscox insurance, 77% of entrepreneurs under the age of 30 reported growth in their business over the past year and 65% expressed optimism about the year ahead.  Not so much for the older segment.  Over half (60%) of small business owners over the age of 60 reported negative revenue growth, or no revenue growth at all over the past year and many reported that they were not optimistic about the year ahead. Can the under 30 crowd teach their older counterparts some new tricks?

Innovation is the key to success
According to the 2013 DNA of an entrepreneur study, innovation is a key ingredient to success for young business owners. Not only did entrepreneurs under the age of 30 report having the highest rate of growth in their businesses, they also showed the greatest level of innovation. 41% of young small business owners reported creating a new product within the past year, double that of any other age group. This is also the same innovative crowd that is embracing new channels of communication. Those under 30 are twice as likely to use social media for their internal communications than any other age group. Serial entrepreneurs often say the secret to their success is to keep trying new things, and the under 30 group has been listening.

Money can’t buy happiness
Nothing comes for free in life and the drive to innovate and succeed does seem to be taking a bit of a toll on young business owners.  Although younger entrepreneurs are making the big bucks, they are also the most likely to report being stressed out.  59% of small business owners under the age of 30 reported that they regularly do not sleep well due to stress, double that of any other age group. And it’s no wonder young business owners are so stressed. With youth unemployment at an all time high, many people have trouble finding a job post college graduation, and entrepreneurship was less a choice than the only option for many. If their small business doesn’t work out, younger entrepreneurs might not be able to fall back into a corporate position. On the other side of the age spectrum, business owners over 60 seem to be better managing their stress, with only 30% reporting that they regularly do not sleep well due to stress.

Statistics aside, one thing resonates: the under 30s and the over 60s have much to learn from one another. Whatever their age the innovation and optimism of a young entrepreneur is something you don’t want to lose. Likewise, finding ways to balance the stress of running your own business might be something the older generation can pass down to their stressed out younger counterparts.