The spring 2013 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report (SBOR) found that small business owners not only focus on improving the financial health of their company but also, their own personal health and their employees’ wellness. Yet, the most noteworthy finding was that millennial small business owners (those aged 18-to-34) were the most optimistic about what the future holds for their business. Older small business owners, baby boomer entrepreneurs in particular, were more cautious.
Consider the following statistics:
- 70% of millennial owners expect to make more money this year; only 45% of the boomer small business owners thought that
- 70% of these younger small business owners said they manage stress well, whereas only 55% of owners aged 51-64 felt the same way
- 65% of Millennial respondents prepared for the unexpected, while only 45% of baby boomers did the same
- 52% of the Millennials expected to increase hiring this year, whereas only 24% of older owners had the same belief
The results of the latest SBOR are clear: millennial small business owners are more optimistic about revenue, job creation, and the overall state of their business and the economy.
This is especially exciting given the economic recession that we have all lived through over the past few years. It is truly welcome and remarkable that 70 percent of small business owners believe they will increase revenues over the next year and 52 percent expect to hire more this year. How great is that?
Beyond that the question is, do you have the “millennial mindset?” Do you still have that youthful excitement about your business? If you have been in business for a while and have survived the Not-So-Great-Recession, it is very understandable why you may be less optimistic. However, it is important for your employees, clients and bottom line to get it back.
And look, I am not trying to stand here on the sidelines, pom-pom in hand, and yell, “You can do it!” I don’t want to give you a sense of false optimism. But what I am suggesting, and what I do think is important, is that we baby boomer small business owners (myself included) take a cue from our younger brethren, adopt some of their attitudes and ways, and that we do so for some very practical reasons.
What works in business? Well, of course, many different things work, but one thing that works especially well is a positive, optimistic attitude – the sort of attitude you had when you first started your business. Remember that time? I bet you were willing to try anything to get business in the door, and you did. Troubles were just bumps in the road and you felt enthusiastic about the prospects of your enterprise.
And one reason you have been around a while is precisely because you had that “millennial mindset.” It works.
I once saw a survey that looked at the most successful small business owners in California. What, if anything, did these entrepreneurs do right and have in common? It turns out that it was all in the attitude. Their success was not due to a great location or a cool brand, no, it was because they were happy, great people.
They managed in a friendly, participatory way. Employees loved working for them. These owners created a culture of optimism and teamwork and that vibe permeated into all areas of their businesses – from how the phones were answered to how customers were treated to how they treated each other.
Success begets success.
So the lesson from the SBOR is clear: If you want to succeed, then shake off the doldrums, adopt the millennial mindset (that you once had too!), understand that things are much better today, make plans to grow our business, and get out there, make some money and have some fun.
After all, you went into business for yourself for a reason right? The time is now.
Do you have any tips for adopting a “millennial mindset?” Share your story below.
About Steve Strauss
Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest,The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success, visit his new website TheSelfEmployed, and follow him on Twitter. © Steven D. Strauss