Millennials – Rewriting the Rulebook, Creating the New Normal
Millennials were born into a world of technology and when starting businesses they instinctively embrace the internet and cloud services – such as Sage Business Cloud Accounting, which is ideal for micro-businesses or sole traders, and runs on the phones and tablets around which millennials live their lives, as well as traditional desktop computers.
A popular social and cultural misconception is that Baby Boomers are the most important demographic in the western world. While it’s true that they still cling to power – what is Trump if not the last gasp of the Baby Boomer generation? – the fact is that it’s Millennials who are creating the new normal. According to the US Census Bureau, those born between 1983 and 2000 – commonly referred to as Millennials – are the largest living generation in the US by age.
The impact of Millennials is being felt keenly in the world of entrepreneurship. According to a recent report, the share of wealth in the US controlled by Millennials is set to rise to over $10 trillion by 2030. They’re starting businesses and they’re doing so even earlier than their Baby Boomer antecedents did. They already manage bigger staffs and target higher profits.
But don’t think millennials are mere clones of the cut-and-thrust Baby Boomers, or even the previous Gen X-ers. According to the report, Millennials have a unique set of values. For example, 62% of young entrepreneurs say they have sacrificed profit to stay true to their personal values, while 66% say they prioritize life over work. Two thirds of Millennial entrepreneurs believe they’ll start more than one business in their lifetime.
This is a pro-active generation. It’s a generation not afraid to balance their life uniquely to suit their circumstances. They’re not afraid to have values – and to ensure people know about them.
They’re also a generation born into technology and this affects their business success. For the Baby Boomer entrepreneurs, technology was often seen as optional – and this could be to the detriment of the overall success of the business. For example, a Baby Boomer entrepreneur might’ve sourced premises, sized-up staff, and bought stock, all before they’ve even thought about getting a website domain name or social media presence.
A millennial entrepreneur is very likely to start their business creation process by checking to see if a suitable domain is available, and may create a website before they’ve even sourced a bricks and mortar home – and that’s even if they believe a real-life premises is necessary, of course. Going back to the report, 41% of millennial entrepreneurs believe that technology will make the concept of “your desk” defunct and that, in the future, everyone will work via a mobile device.
The key thing is that, for millennials, technology is a core part of their lives and identities. Don’t think they’re making a deliberate effort to begin with technology, or need to make an effort to continue to use it throughout the lifetime of their business. It’s instinctive.
Being essentially fearless about technology gives millennials an incredible competitive advantage. Going back to the report, we find that 62% of young entrepreneurs claim that despite technology constantly evolving, they don’t worry about keeping up. To them, it’s natural.
But a Millennial entrepreneur doesn’t just adopt technology from the get-go. They prefer technology to be as smart as it can be. They’re happy to live with innovation, and again it pays dividends for them. For example, with their accounting software they’re happy to use an app to snap photos of receipts, making consolidation of expenses much easier later on. Massive amounts of time can be saved. They’re happy to use artificially-intelligent bots so they can simply type in their expenses and money received, and never even have to glance at a double-entry ledger book.
And they not only embrace cloud computing, but they live in it. They want their accounting to be everywhere they are, and that means being accessible on every technological device and always internet-connected. Forget about one desktop computer running one copy of software. They know tools like cloud-connected solutions like Sage Business Cloud Accounting, as useful on their phone as on their laptop, can help them with all of their practical requirements in running a business.
The Millennial generation is a club to which entry is decided base upon age, of course, but that doesn’t mean other people can’t learn from them. To not just embrace technology but to live within its world, as Millennials do instinctively, is something we can all do. For some of us it might take a little effort, while for others it might be easier. But for all of us, it brings incredible benefits – including saving time and money, so that we’re freed-up to focus on the core passion that drives us.