What comes to mind when you think of the word millennial? Perhaps it’s someone working in a coffee shop with a Mac? Maybe it is someone who is obsessed with their phone and likes nothing more than to populate their Instagram with inspiring filtered photos. Millennial is a catch-all term used to describe anyone born between the end of the 80s and the end of the 90s.
The concept of a millennial has strong commonalities with what it means to be a small business. In layman's terms, they are a generation that are pioneering and growing so many small businesses and start-ups, not just in the UK, but all over the world. Which begs the question, what are the key traits of millennials and how do they compliment a business?
They are tech savvy
Millennials have been brought up by the internet and are as a result seen as digital natives. A typical millennial will in all likelihood be very comfortable and at ease with new technology. So, it might not surprise you to know that many businesses started by this generation are businesses which strongly utilise technology - and in particular sharing platforms. This is probably the reason why some of the world’s biggest companies were often founded by people in their early-mid 20s. Hence why businesses such as Facebook and Airbnb and other sharing platforms like them, were often products of young creative people looking to change the world.
They like to start their own thing early
The rate of millennials who start their own business is significantly greater than their baby boomer parents. In an article written by Fortune magazine - whose findings come from the BNP Paribas Global Entrepreneur Report - millennials are getting experience of being entrepreneurs much earlier than their parents did “According to findings, millennials are discovering entrepreneurship significantly earlier than boomers did. While the older generation launched their businesses at roughly 35 years old, so called “millennialpreneurs” - are setting out at around 27 - which means some of them have almost a decade of experience” What is very clear here is that entrepreneurship in today's young people is far more prevalent than it was 30 years ago.
They seek meaning
A common trait of millennials is that they are seen as meaning seeking creatures. More than any other generation before them, millennials are looking to work in organisations and companies that are making a difference to people’s lives. According to a PWC census, over 77% of millennials are saying that doing work which is meaningful is fundamental to them.
Millennials are a demanding generation in terms of what they expect from their employers, and are perhaps less concerned with financial rewards if it means working for a company that has a ‘moral compass’. In today's world of business and commerce, entrepreneurs and business owners have had to make their companies stand out to millennials who care deeply about these altruistic factors. Which is why flexible work schemes, charity partnerships and team days outs are widely encouraged in many businesses.
They are opinionated
If you happen to be a millennial reading this, you will remember growing up in a time when it was truly great to be young. The 90s were when kids really did start to have it all. Dedicated children's TV channels started to come to the fore, and a lot of content in product advertisement was very much centred towards kids. This gave that generation much more of a platform to speak their minds. So, a millennial worker will more than likely have an opinion or two and won’t hesitate to express it to senior management. This also makes millennials very good decision makers as they aren’t afraid to point out a problem and try and find a way to correct it.
They want flexibility
Unlike previous generations, millennials aren’t so willing to sacrifice their personal lives for their careers. They care much more about having a healthier work life balance and will want their place of work to promote that as well. In addition to this, millennials will also want more flexibility in terms of being able to sometimes work from home. Technology platforms like Google Hangouts and Slack make it very easy for co-workers to contact to each other and organise tasks. This is very typical of millennials who might not equate being in a physical office to the amount of work they might be doing at any given time.