Major changes in the worldwide population affect not only who consumers are today, but also the available labor market. Franchisors and franchisees alike must adapt to this changing customer and employee base to find opportunities for growth. So how do young adults, millennials and franchising, impact business in our digital age?
The “Millennial” generation—those born near the turn of the millennium, are now coming into adulthood. Population-wise, Millennials outnumber Baby Boomers, and are becoming a potent economic force as they begin careers and start families. Reared in the digital age of Internet, cell phones, tablets, apps, and Xboxes, this group of more than 70 million presents a huge opportunity for franchisors and franchisees who can provide goods and services related to their growing needs.
One trend among Millennials that shows promise to franchisors is their generational predisposition for being entrepreneurial and wanting the freedom self-employment can bring. Millennials are the first generation to grow up with technologies older generations did not encounter until later in life. This innate dependence on technology breeds characteristics in Millennials that coincide with having grown up solely in a digital age. Just like the rapidly changing technological climate, this group is comprised of people who want things continually done faster, better, cheaper, and with less effort. In essence, Millennials, more than any group seek to leverage their efforts—both as consumers and workers, to get the most bang for their buck.
Millennials and Social Media
Millennials are more likely than any other demographic to rely on apps and social media on a daily basis for communication, information, and commerce—buying, selling and trading. In an age where photos can be duplicated and shared globally, and with thousands of people, at zero expense, and within a few seconds, it is tough to imagine what an undertaking this would have been just two decades ago.
Let’s calculate the expense in time and effort:
First, the film (about $10) would have to be developed (another $10)—concepts most Millennials are unfamiliar with. Then, if you wanted to share ten photos with one hundred friends internationally, this would entail making 1,000 duplicate photos (1,000 times fifty cents each is $500).
Now, where are we on time? It took a week for the original photos to be developed. Then, we must add another week to process the duplicates.
Two weeks and $500 into the project, we now must address and stamp 100 envelopes (about $50 and an estimated six hours in physically addressing, stuffing, and sealing the envelopes). Then, we must consider it would take at least two days for each envelope of photos to reach the addressee. Nearly three weeks and $600 later, our friends would receive their photos.
Today, this process has become a project that may take an hour to complete from start to finish, and it costs absolutely nothing, provided, of course, the use of a computer and digital camera is available. This is but one example of how Millennials’ use of technology in the digital age has revolutionized human processes and consumer behaviors.
The franchise is particularly attractive to Millennials because of the well-established systems and built-in name recognition innate to the franchise model. The savvy Millennial entrepreneur sees the opportunity the franchise provides in terms of faster (no need to reinvent the wheel), better (an established system with proven success), and with less effort (the work of establishing the business has already been done—allowing the franchisee to skip ahead to growing the business).
Given the special appeal of the franchise model to the Millennial generation, the most desirable franchise to this demographic is easily determined. A franchise that doesn’t require hefty build-out costs—hence, a home-based franchise is going to be more appealing to Millennials than ones requiring huge investments in equipment, construction, and other operating expenses. Also, one trait Millennials seem to exhibit more than other generations is a philanthropic ideal—wanting more than just a paycheck, but having a true desire to make positive contributions to humanity. This is why Millennials will gravitate toward a business with a clear humanitarian vision, rather than one that is simply profitable.