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  • Millennials Meet Your New Business Partners

    Startup photo from ShutterstockEvery minute for the next 20 years, 7 Baby Boomer’s will be reaching retirement age.

    Let that sink in.

    Every minute. Of Every Day. For the next 20 years. 7 Baby Boomers are reaching retirement age.

    That’s 10,000 Baby Boomers PER DAY… for the next 20 years.

    Note: I did NOT say they are retiring. Because they aren’t.
    At least not a lot of them.
    Many are seeking their next big thing… that could mean working with YOU!

    In the time it takes you to read this article 21 to 35 Baby Boomers have reached retirement age. By the time you finish your coffee or herbal tea another 21 to 35 Baby Boomers have reached retirement age.

    So What?

    Well, there is a HUGE market in serving the Baby Boomers. There is also a HUGE market in working with them.

    The Baby Boom years were 1946 to 1964. Millennials are 1980 to 2000.
    There is Gold in working across Generations.

    StartUps After 50

    The fastest growing demographic for entrepreneurs is the over 50 year old class. These entrepreneurs have experience and may have made their mark in one or more businesses. One thing they lack is innovation. This is not to say they have no innovative capabilities. It just means that on the whole they lack the innovative spirit other classes of entrepreneurs have shown. For more on this see this Inc. article – Entrepreneurs Over 50-Years-Old Struggle With Innovation.

    One upside of this is that for what they may be trying to do there may not be a lot of innovation required. Perhaps just some intuition and some old fashioned Operational Efficiencies. For both Innovation and Operational Efficiencies there is an area where Millennials can help them and vice-versa. Millennials bring energy, passion and a can-do attitude. This can be the spark needed to kick something off or to keep an idea going.

    Twice As Many Are Over 50 As Are Under 25
    Source: PBS

    Is it a coincidence that the tail end of the Baby Boomers are just reaching 50 years old? I think not.

    Like in the TV show “LOST” the “tailies” had a very different experience than the other people in their age class. Those in the early and middle parts of the Baby Boomer generation had a very different experience. The early years where characterized by the end of World War II and times were different than now, but generally they were booming. The middle of the Baby Boomer generation had the Flower Power movement of the 60’s and Vietnam. The “tailies” heard about those early years, but generally didn’t have the same experiences.

    The FEM Factor

    There is something Boomers bring to the table that Millennials may want. I call this The FEM Factor. Of course, Boomers bring much more to the table than just these three points. But, these three points can make a world of difference in so many ways.

    • Friends – Boomers have been around the block… a few times. They can call on their personal reserves and also on their reserves of friends and contacts. Utilize them wisely and you might find yourself with a great customer base as well as a fantastic set of advisors.
    • Experience – Been there done that. They have seen a lot and tried things that may not work. Learn from their experiences.
    • Money – Kickstarter, forget about it. A Boomer may offer to fund the whole project directly. They may still suggest utilizing indirect funding from a kickstarter-like campaign, but they may also have the luxury of a more direct route to funding a business.

    What’s going to help you stand out in your career? One word… Startup

    As in:

    • Startup a conversation with someone in the Baby Boomer generation.
    • Startup an idea incubation lab. Seek ways to serve Baby Boomers. Seek ways to serve other generations while you are at it.
    • Startup a business with a Baby Boomer

    In the end I think Millennials will find that Baby Boomers make GREAT business partners.They’ll also make great customers for some of the businesses that are truly Innovative as well as those that can be improved with a little Operational Efficiency.

    Drop a comment here if you have already started working cross-generationally.

    Jeff is an expert in the Enterprise Content Management industry. He brings over 20 years of Channel Sales, Partner Marketing and Alliance expertise to audiences around the world in speaking engagements and via his writing. He has worked for Microsoft, Kodak, and K2. He is currently consulting with Microsoft and partners to drive Community Engagement and Alliances. Follow him on Twitter @jshuey or on LinkedIn: in/JeffShuey

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