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Millennial Business Owners Ignore Elders, Stay Wildly Optimistic

By Adrienne Burke | Small Business

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No one is more optimistic about the economy than the Millennial business owner. A whopping 82 percent of small business owners in the 18-34 year-old age group are looking forward to better days for their local economy within the next 12 months; 75 percent are confident that the national economy will improve in that time frame too.

Only 41 percent of Baby Boomer owners (ages 50-­68) are so optimistic about their local economy, and only 35 percent expect improvements nationally, while half of Generation X owners (ages 35-49) see their local economy improving, and 45 percent foresee national improvements.

The numbers, which come from a recent national survey of 1,000 small business owners by Bank of America, show a stark difference between the entrepreneurial upstarts and their more experienced predecessors.

“Millennial small business owners have become a positive, driving force in our economy,” said Robb Hilson, Bank of America Small Business executive. “Whether it’s embracing and adapting to new technology, growing their business or confidently contributing to their local economies, they are a growing influence on our country’s economic success.”

Other generational differences among small business owners detected by the survey include:

· 78 percent of Millennial small business owners and 71 percent of Gen­Xers expect their revenue to increase over the next 12 months, compared to 52 percent of Boomers.

· Nearly 9 in 10 Millennials plan to grow their business over the next five years, compared to 73 percent of Gen­Xers and 57 percent of Boomers.

· Gen­Xers and Boomers’ business expansion plans are most likely to target new industries and new customers, while Millennials are most likely to expand by hiring additional staff.

· More than three­quarters of all small business owners expect to achieve their year­end revenue goals, but Millennials are again the most optimistic: 93 percent believe they will meet their target.

One thing the three generations of small business owners can agree on: technology allows them to feel more in control of their business. When asked about technology as it relates to managing the day­to­day aspects of their business, 58 percent of survey respondents said it allows them to feel more in control, and 71 percent believe that technology saves them time. But Millennials more than any group would be lost without it. 22 percent of them say they couldn’t run their business successfully for more than a day without their smartphone or tablet.

Millennial small business owners seem to be the most poised for growth. But 37 percent of Gen­Xers and 38 percent of Boomers think members of the younger group are “entitled” and want success without putting in hard work. Meanwhile, only 21 percent of Millennials say they value the mentorship that older generations provide. After all, if they paid more attention to their elders they might not be so optimistic.

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