Small businesses have always been an essential part of the U.S. and global economy. According to this Small Business Profile by the U.S. Small Business Administration, they represent a whopping 99.7% of businesses in the country, and created 1.1 million net jobs in 2013. Roughly half of all U.S. jobs are provided by companies of less than 500 employees, and 54 percent of U.S. sales happen at small businesses.
The small business industry has also proven to be a rewarding one. In this infographic by Constant Contact, 62% of small business owners listed a benefit of their work was the ability to pursue their passion. 68% said that they had more professional freedom at a small business as compared to a large one, and 84% of them said they would do it all over again if given the choice.
Despite these seemingly obvious benefits, the small business industry has been facing the problem of continuing their legacies. Take for example the 235-year-old Elwood Adams Hardware store in Massachusetts that recently announced it was closing down. Some of the reasons for the lost business were the pressure of internet competition, a lack of loyalty from younger customers and not having anyone to sell the business to.
Not only do we notice the internet visibly and increasingly dominating the commercial sphere, we also see how the emergence of Millennials to replace entrepreneurial Baby Boomers has not been going as expected. Crippling student loans have set Millennials back not just financially, but also in terms of how willing they are to take risks in business. During 2004 to 2014, the average debt held by student borrowers grew by 77 percent. More than 40 percent of 25-to-34-year old Americans said a fear of failure kept them from starting a company in 2014; this is a significant increase from 2001 when only 24 percent felt the same way.
The average age for a successful startup-founder is about 40 years old, according to the Kauffman Foundation, a think tank focused on education and entrepreneurship. With some years to go before the younger generation grows in age and business experience, the question now lies in how to bridge the gap between these two generations: Baby Boomers in the small business industry looking to keep their legacy and passion going, and mentally-entrepreneurial Millennials who are struggling to find their footing in this rapidly changing economy.
EVE recognizes the need for that connection, and we see technology as the bridge. There is a need in the small business industry for the forward-thinking, digitally enhanced know-how of Millennials. Majority of EVE’s blog posts speak about how small businesses need to find their place in the modern digital world, which happens to be where Millennials thrive. EVE itself is made up of passionate Millennials who want both small business-owning Baby Boomers and other fellow Millennials to see that the combination of seasoned business experience and technological flair is perfect for the industry. It not only increases sales and profit in the short term, but in the long term, also makes room in the industry for budding entrepreneurial Millennials. With EVE, we can equip your small business with the technological platforms to connect with the massive digital audience, some of whom will share your passions and continue the legacy of your business.
Tricia Chee is a content writer & strategist for EVE – User Experience Design Agency based in Chicago, Illinois and Detroit, Michigan. Born and raised in Singapore, she came to Chicago to study Fine Art and is now working in the city.