Written by: Leonard Kim
If you haven't noticed, Millennials have been on the rise. They are now the largest living group according to the Census Bureau.
Because so many Millennials are in charge of buying decisions, the world is changing and business trends for the upcoming years will have to cater more to this generation.
For an audience that craves success and technology, here are 10 strategies you may want to consider revamping for 2017.
1. Tools for non-technical entrepreneurs to build tech products
There are so many people online who are not technically savvy, myself included. But the need to use technology is more than it has ever been before. Because of that, technicality in your business is more imperative than ever before. In 2017, technology will be a necessary staple for every business if it expects to compete in today's market. CMS platforms like WordPress allow easy management of a website with minimal technical know-how for people like me to build their businesses online.
2. Tools to help with personal brand
Personal branding has helped people like Anthony Robbins and Oprah Winfrey create world-renowned brands. The internet opened up the playing field to make it much more even, so people who may have never succeeded at anything in life, such as myself, have a shot at making it big. So many people are releasing similar products, that the competition in the market continues to grow. Personal branding tools will start trending even more, helping businesses gain individuality and reduce the number of direct competitors. Look into personal branding tools to increase business in 2017.
3. Focus on training remote employees
10 years ago, you may have never even heard of a remote employee. Nowadays, tech companies and startups are doing most of their hires remotely. IBM led this trend and many other companies have followed suit. Since meetings can be done over Skype or other video conference platforms and customer service, social media and programming positions only require access to the computer and Internet, talented Millennials can be hired for positions no matter where they live.
4. Businesses embrace the Millennials, instead of rejecting them
You may think Millennials are materialistic, narrow-minded and selfish. But that isn't the case. They just don't work in the same way that baby boomers do. They look for creative ways to do their job better and are constantly looking for ways to improve the processes in the workforce. This leads to innovation and helps jump-start change within large organizations. Ian Altman sees a trend where businesses are starting to embrace Millennials and cater to their needs. This will be seen even more as the generation takes over more of the job force in 2017."
5. More businesses for sale
Baby Boomers started most of the brick and mortar businesses that we see. But there are a few components that are shifting the business landscape. Technology is becoming easier to use, items you once could only find at specialty shops are now easily accessible online and Baby Boomers are entering retirement. These shifts, along with the economic recovery in recent years has made business sales more prominent. As Baby Boomers seek to retire in the next few years, you will see many businesses being sold, taken apart and reinvented by the Millennials. In addition, many of these Baby Boomers will try to get ahead of their competitors by selling their businesses next year, before the market becomes too competitive and business buyouts decrease.
6. Products that track nutrition
I work at an academic medical center and get access to a lot of data in the world of health and nutrition. I also attended CES earlier this year and saw an entire portion of the conference dedicated to health and fitness wearables. From the data I have access to and through observation, Millennials, especially women, are concerned with their health and nutrition more than any other past generation. With the addition of technology like integrated health systems, Fitbits and virtual reality, tracking nutrition and fitness levels is becoming even easier as people expand the market. In 2017, this trend will continue and tfitness apps and software will grow the health and fitness market.
7. E-commerce will continue to rise
I started working with an entrepreneur who spent the last 10 years selling shears for hairstylists at conferences. He recently had a graphic designer put together a website and started to run social media ads. Within one month of running Facebook ads, he generated $140,000 in revenue, sold out nearly his entire inventory and had to hire four more staff members due to the unexpected volume that his Facebook campaign generated. Due to how much easier it is for businesses to target and access their core audiences, there is now an increased demand for online e-commerce tools. Recent studies have shown that 58 percent of shoppers are willing to add additional items to their virtual shopping carts to meet free-shipping quotas. As technology continues to expand in 2017, we should see an increase in e-commerce trends.
8. Businesses will focus on connecting customers rather than on selling to them
People are tired of being sold, and Millennials can tell they are being sold from a mile away. This is an instant turn-off for these buyers and once they sense any type of selling, they move on to the next company. What is working though are apps and services that connect people to what they want. Companies like Postmates don't sell any products, but they allow you to get whatever you want delivered to wherever you are. According to Ian Altman, "We are in the connection economy. Uber is the largest taxi company, yet it has no physical assets and can still deliver rides easily to its customers. We should see more businesses like Uber on the rise."
9. Strength-based training versus remedial leadership
You have probably heard the old adage, "do what you are good at, not what you love." The same goes for the workplace. Up until recently, people hired for the same position were all taught the same skill. Now, companies are hiring specialists to come in and focus on doing one particular task, until they perfect it. At my position at Keck Medicine of USC, I am not required to learn the in depth details of all our marketing strategies. I just have to focus on what we are doing at a digital level, honed specifically in on social media. According to Ian Altman, Gallup Research shows that productivity increases 21% when employees are doing something they love. In 2017, businesses will invest more in training that focuses on a leader's natural talent than on remedial leadership training.
10. Products becoming green
Millennials are quite conscious of what types of products they buy. They turn off the sink when they brush their teeth. They shut off the water in the shower when they are shampooing their hair. They even go out there and actively look for socially conscious companies to purchase from, because they care about the earth and want to make sure it's still here for when they are old, and when their children grow old. "Going green" is a term that's been around for a while. However, it has only recently been taken more seriously as companies have developed more products to help push this mission forward. Already, over $500 million has been saved in energy efficiency and we should expect to see this grow in 2017 as these green products increase.
Look out for these trends in 2017
These changes are going to happen. And because of that, you need to be ready for the drastical changes in the next few years as Millennials make up more of the work force and become target customers. If you expect to survive as a business, you will want to modify your business in 2017 to follow these popular trends.