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The future is bright for small business. But some are destined for the scrap heap.

In an earlier post on this blog I explained why the so-called Generation Y could soon force many small companies out of business unless those companies start to embrace technology as part of their sales and marketing strategies. Since then I’ve had feedback to my post which backs up my view and bacls up the above statement. I’d like to share some of that feedback with you in this post.

Generation Y, sometimes referred to as the Millennial Generation, includes those people born between 1978 and 1996. The infographic shown below was kindly sent to me by Matthew Pelletier from the company Compliance and Safety in the US. It shows some statistics and characteristics for the Millennial Generation. A key statistics here is that Millennials are projected to account for 47% of the US workforce by 2014. There is no reason to believe that the relative percentages should be much different in the UK.

Generation Y - Millennials

One of the key characteristics of the Millennial Generation is that they are tech-Savvy. They grew up with technology and rely on it, not just in their personal life but, to perform their jobs better. Armed with BlackBerrys, laptops, iPads and other gadgets, they are online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This generation prefers to communicate online rather than face-to-face contact.

Millennials have grown up in an era when jobs are no longer for life. So rather than opting for a career path with large corporations, where they could find themselves on the streets after a few years, many Millennials are opting to go it alone by building their own small businesses or becoming freelancers.

Millennials have grown up in a world of rapid change. Technology, social attitudes, work environments, have all undergone major revolutions in their lifetimes and this change is continuing and acceleration. As a result Millennials have become to accept change as a way of life. This means that so-called company loyalty to suppliers, either as consumers or as business owners, is a foreign concept to them. They will just as quickly change suppliers as they will their smartphones.

So what does this mean for existing small businesses currently owned by Baby Boomers and Generation X? The simple fact it that, unless they start to adopt some of the technology and attitudes of the Millennials, they will find themselves out manoeuvred, out smarted, and put out of business, by these new Millennial businesses.

My message to small business owners is that they don’t have to be of the Millennial Generation to run Millennial businesses. Don’t be dinosaurs. Start now. Embrace technology. Embrace change. It’s not that difficult and there are plenty of resources available to help. You might even find it fun.

And remember this, in today’s business world we all have to run at 100 mph in order to stand still.


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