A safe pair of hands
Baby Boomers, aged 50 - 64, and particularly Traditionalists, aged over 65, tend to run far more stable businesses, characterised by both consistent levels of income and fewer pressures.
According to our last MYOB Business Monitor, released earlier in the year, both age groups were more likely to report stable revenue over the previous 12 months.
The older age group was particularly likely to anticipate this. More than 50 per cent of business operators aged 65+ expected revenue to be the same this year, compared to 42 per cent for all SMEs. This group was also more likely to report the same level of work in their short-term pipeline as they would normally expect.
The 65+ group were also considerably less likely to face pressure from interest rates, financing, cashflow, tax obligations and bad debt - the leading systemic pressures faced by local SMEs.
It appears that our older generation of business people are enjoying far greater stability in their businesses.
They may not be enjoying the same peaks in revenue as their younger colleagues, but they are certainly far less likely to experience the troughs.
The benefit of experience
I believe what we are seeing here is - as you would expect - the benefit of experience. Older business operators have built up their operations to the point where they have established systems for managing the challenges, such as cashflow and debt, which are typically the greatest risks for business.
But keep up with the times
Although the older generation of business people appear to have the fundamentals right, it would likely benefit them to experiment with new things - particularly in the area of technology.
Just 9 per cent of the 65+ generation were investing more in IT this year, compared to 20 per cent of all SMEs, while only 4 per cent were increasing their investment in online marketing activities, against 17 per cent of all SME businesses. Further, 84 per cent of business operators in this age group don't have a business website, and 87 per cent don't use the cloud.
While it's understandable that there can be some reluctance to try new things, we know that businesses with a website are 10 per cent more likely to see an improvement in annual revenue, while those using the cloud are 16 per cent more likely to see it.
It would be great for older business people to be able to enjoy the very real benefits of embracing technology.
Next week: Aucklanders will have noticed that there are all kinds of restaurants springing up at the moment - Peter Gordon's in the Sky Tower, Al Brown has a new place opening up next to The Depot, and the Cityworks Depot complex has attracted the likes of the Food Truck's Michael van de Elzen. I want to hear from hospitality businesses who are building something they think will last and the challenges out there. How do they keep in touch with customers between meals? Meanwhile I'm trying out My Food Bag this week. Are these kinds of businesses threatening restaurants? Is it a replacement to eating out? I will report back.