Does Entrepreneurial Experience Guarantee Success?

This may surprise you.  Entrepreneurial experience doesn't guarantee success.

According to, a new study has found that, in fact, serial entrepreneurs have a dismal record. The study was based on the success and failure rates of 8,400 entrepreneurial ventures in Germany, and concludes that previous experience in the entrepreneurial realm doesn't really predict success going forward.

Joe McKendrick writes that the study says that previously failed entrepreneurs are less likely to survive and, in common with entrepreneurs with mixed prior experiences, are more likely to experience bankruptcy. "We find that portfolio and serial experience is unrelated to survival or avoiding bankruptcy. Our results showed that venture survival outcomes are unrelated to prior successful entrepreneurial experience and that failed entrepreneurs are more likely to fail again," he writes, from the study.

But not everyone agrees.  Where you get your business education is key, say some experts. And a 2009 Harvard Business School study of venture-backed start-ups that came to the exact opposite conclusion. 

"Failed entrepreneurs are about as likely to succeed as novices," says one. The bottom line: past experience is a predictor of an entrepreneur's ability, in this expert's opinion, according to McKendrick.

But you know what matters most?  Being in the right place at the right time.  And that's kind of hard to set up. What's most vital of all, however, is the ability to live with anxiety and stress, and sometimes, ultimately failure. What's that old saying?  It's not how many times you fall down. It's how many you pick yourself up.


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