Are Millennials The Solution to Your Succession?

Tuesday, November 27 2018

Millennials, those born between 1982 and 2000, represent the largest demographic in the history of the world. If we thought the baby boomers had an impact on the world based on their numbers, we haven’t seen anything yet.  Many boomers about to exit their business are concerned and they should be.

There is a range of contradictory data. Millennials have been described as narcissistic, entitled, lazy, tech-addicted, and selfish. They are reported to have less civic engagement, and lower political participation than any previous generation.

On the other hand, they have a lot going for them. They are more accepting of differences and tolerant of others: they embrace diversity. They are optimistic, tech-savvy, well-read, interconnected, and concerned about the state of the world. They are likely to be socially and environmentally responsible as well as committed to their values.

Would you want a Millennial to take over your business? Can they be successful entrepreneurs? The answer is yes, and yes.

However, the pertinent question might be, is buying your business more attractive to a Millennial than starting their own? If not, what might you do to make it so? Because if it doesn’t appeal to this demographic, your opportunity to sell is significantly impaired.

According to a report released by BNP Paribas Global in 2016 the average age of new entrepreneurs is 27. Compare this to baby boomers who set up their first business when they were 35. Millennial entrepreneurs are ambitious, smart and successful. They are aiming higher. They target 75% gross profit margins compared to an average of 42% that boomers expected when they started in business. They aspire to independence – 67% would like to start their own business. But few (or none) of them have even had a passing thought about buying one like yours.

How much do you want to sell your business for? In many cases millennials can’t afford it. Their student debt is huge; their earning power in the decade since the recession has been stagnant; their credit cards are maxed out; and they have little or no savings. And with today’s technology, they can start a business for less than $2,000; with a decent DIY website, they can look like a much larger business.

If your business is to continue and you want someone younger and ambitious to purchase it, you need to make it more attractive for a millennial to take it over rather than to start from scratch. If you don’t, who do you think will buy it?