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The definition of a Millennial is – according to the Pew Research Centre – a person who was born between the years of 1981 to 1996. I’m sad to say, that, being a child of the mid 70s, I can’t count myself in this category!
It’s fair to say that the Millennial generation (sometimes also called Generation Y) is a generation that hasn’t always had the best press. I’ve seen them referred to as the “Me Generation” or the “Peter Pan Generation” – often perceived as narcissistic, work-shy and self entitled by their older counterparts.
Statistics from the world of business, and in particular franchising, tell a very different story though. There’s a generally held view that more Millennials are starting businesses than their Baby Boom predecessors, although despite hunting high and low I wasn’t able to find any figures to confirm or deny this. What I did come across however was the 2016 BNP Paribas Global Entrepreneur Report which reported that millennials were starting businesses at a younger age than previous generations. Baby Boomers were reported to have launched their first business venture aged 35 years old on average, with Millennials starting their first business around age 27. What we can certainly imply from this is that the Millennial generation is more eager to launch their own enterprises – and possibly more willing to take risks when doing so?
Looking then at the statistics published in the BFA/Natwest Franchise Report 2018, it’s reported that more under 30s are entering the UK franchise industry as franchise business owners than ever before – with 18% of all franchisees now under 30. This is a significant leap from the reported figure of 3% in 2015!
The clear conclusion from the above must be that any franchisor ignoring millennials as the future of franchising does so at their peril! Here’s ten reasons why I consider a Millennial can make the perfect franchisee :
They want to make a difference and they’re community minded
Millennials are very aware of how much time we spend at work during our lifetime and as a generation they want to spend that time doing something that makes them happy, something that gives them a feeling of satisfaction and that they see having a positive impact on others. They’re passionate about what’s important to them and this makes them attracted to opportunities that lead them away from the traditional professions and towards business ventures that deliver great products and services into their local communities
They think creatively and have fresh ideas
I’ve written before about how important it is for any franchise brand to keep moving forward and evolving to remain ahead in a competitive marketplace. Millennials tend to be open minded and less set in their ways than some of the previous generation can be – their use of technology means that they’re be quick to research ideas and implement solutions.
They’re tech savvy
Millennials have grown up immersed in technology and this makes them invaluable to any business. They know how technology can be used not only to improve the customer experience but also how it can be harnessed and use to improve internal franchise network operations and communications.
They’re all over social media
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube………the millennials have grown up on social media. They know how to use it, how to interact with customers using it, and how a franchise business which fails to keep up with the ever-evolving social media landscape is sure to be left behind.
They love to collaborate and to work as a team
Team work makes the franchisor’s dream work and Millennials love to work as part of a team. They thrive on bouncing ideas off other people and a savvy franchisor will harness this enthusiasm and ensure that the millennial franchisee feels valued within the franchise network to retain their loyalty. I think it’s a misconception that Millennials are serial job-hoppers for the sake of it – what Millennials are looking for is an organisation where they feel inspired and listened to. Provide that and a postitive culture with opportunities for progression and a Millennial is likely to stick with you long term.
They want to learn and they want to be mentored
Millennials are eager students. Having grown up in an information age, they understand that they don’t know it all and are always looking for opportunities to expand their knowledge base. They respond well to a mentoring and coaching relationship with role models who guide and inspire them as opposed to a traditional boss/employee one. They will be attracted therefore to franchise opportunities which provide a heavy emphasis on franchisee support, not only from the management team but peer support within the network. The challenge for any franchisor is to ensure that a Millennial franchisee also understands the inherent rules and restrictions that will always come with operating a franchise business and the reasoning behind them – it’s for the greater good of the brand!
They’re relevant and in touch
This depends on the industry in part of course, but the Millennial youth can help a franchise brand to remain better connected with their target customer base. This has certainly been my own personal experience within my own brand – we’re a business where our customers are parents with young children, however my own children are now growing teenagers and that means as the franchisor leading the business I’m now one step removed from our customers. Bringing Millennial franchisees on board with their own young families and harnessing their ideas and experiences means that as a brand we can remain in touch with those we’re reaching out to.
They want to work flexibly
Millennials are deliberately distancing themselves from the traditional 9 to 5 role. Having grown up around technology they understand how it can be used to create flexible working patterns. This doesn’t mean that Millennials aren’t willing to work hard – simply that an opportunity for them to work flexibly and be in control of their working hours makes self employment a very attractive proposition to them. However, without life and work experience behind them, launching a business alone can be a daunting proposition – buying into a franchise can therefore offer a Millennial the perfect balance between independence and being part of a supportive team.
They’re hungry for success
The Millennial generation is a confident one. They have the self belief that anything is possible. Many of them have grown up with parents owning and running their own businesses and want a slice of the same. The Millennial definition of success though isn’t all about financial rewards – as above, it’s about purpose, balance and flexibility too. All of these factors can drive a Millennial franchisee to remain motivated and ultimately achieve success.
They’re happy to take calculated risks
Millenials don’t tend to be outright rebels. They weigh up risky decisions and can identify situations where the reward is likely to outweigh the risk. Millennials understand calculated risks – and ultimately that’s perfect for franchising!
April 6, 2019 at 08:42AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs