OK boomers, the small business world is ready for you guys to move on – The Guardian

by | Nov 20, 2022 | Business

OK boomers, the small business world is ready for you guys to move onGene MarksBoomers have overseen one of the greatest expansions of wealth in history – and created problems for the generations to come ‘’Thanks to our stubbornness, much of our technology is still steeped in the 1970s.’ Photograph: RapidEye/Getty Images‘’Thanks to our stubbornness, much of our technology is still steeped in the 1970s.’ Photograph: RapidEye/Getty ImagesI’m not exactly a baby boomer, but I’m pretty darn close. The standard definition of this generation is that they were born between the years after the second world war and 1964. I was born in 1965, close, so go ahead, call me a boomer if you want. I’m not ashamed. But there’s one thing I do know: the small business world will be much better off when the boomers ride off into the sunset.According to data from Wilmington Trust, baby boomers own 2.3m businesses in the country and employ about 25 million people, which means that a third of Americans depend on these businesses for their income and tens of millions more – vendors, suppliers, freelancers – also depend on these businesses for their livelihood.This generation of business owners has overseen one of the greatest expansions of wealth in human history. And yet – typical of my generation – we’ve also created many problems for the generations to come.For example, we selfishly haven’t thought of the future. A study from Wilmington Trust finds that more than half of us (58%) don’t have a transition plan for our businesses and 45% of us haven’t saved anything for retirement. You would think that, with all this wealth creation we would’ve socked away a few bucks for our golden years but no, we pretty much spent it all, leaving our children and grandchildren with massive debts and responsibilities for taking care of us.For those of us that have put money away, the good news from a Bloomberg report is that when we die, we’ll pass up to $73tn in wealth. But let’s face it, according to the same report, that’s not going to happen for a long, long time – by 2045 – which means that, thanks to advances in healthcare, current generations are going to have to deal with the cost of keeping us alive and healthy for the next 20 years. That’s in addition to taking care of themselves and their kids. I feel sorry for young parents. They’ve got a lot on their plate.I also feel sorry for the workplace problems my generation has created in their businesses for the Gen Xers, millennials and Gen Zers.Thanks to our stubbornness, much of our technology is still steeped in the 1970s. Recent data shows that between 86% to 92% of companies are still writing paper checks to make payments. Paper checks! Not only that but many of my clients continue to rely on older, clunkier systems instead of migrating to cloud-based applications that build value and productivity. Does this come as a surprise when Small Business Administration data shows that more than half of the nation’s business owners are over the age of 50? This problem will require future generations to spend billions just to get to up to par.Our workplaces too remain stuck in the past. At the majority of the boomer-owned companies that underpin the American economy, employees have to fight for the kinds of benefits enjoyed by companies run by younger generations like working from home, flexible schedules, expanded paid time off, mental health coverage and protections from harassment and discrimination. All of these things ar …

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