What now for the “Baby Boomer” companies? Part 3
Part 3 – The boom from the retiring “Baby Boomers”
Part 1 of our series looked at who the baby boomers are, the important role that they play in our economy and issues they are facing now that they are approaching retirement age and part 2 looked at the options available to them. We now turn our attention to what we consider to be the impact of the baby boomers retiring .
The reality of change
The hardest and most difficult thing for the baby boomers to accept is that they will no longer be in charge of making decisions for the business. Whoever takes over will make changes that they need to be prepared to accept, no matter how much they may disagree with them. However, they can still be involved if they wish as a form of advisor or mentor of sorts to the new owners, who may benefit from their skills, knowledge and experience. Whether this happens would depend largely on the nature of the transition and whether the new owners have maintained good relations with the retiring sellers.
Crucially, the retiring baby boomers need to appreciate that the business is likely to move into a new direction and embrace technology in how it does business. This ‘digitisation’ may confuse or even upset the sellers who believe that their business has always done things in a certain way and should continue to do so. This is typically less of an issue when the business is sold to outsiders but can put a very serious strain on family relations when a family member becomes the successor. The retiring baby boomer needs to accept the decisions of the new owners and provide guidance and counsel to assist on ensuring whatever changes are made are successful
Change can be a good thing
We believe that this is one of the most important issues facing many Australian and US businesses and could, if handled correctly, be an incredible driver of the economies for the next couple of decades. Many of these baby boomer companies are very traditional and well-run businesses that have been, in many ways, the backbone of the economy, often focussing on providing core products or services that we rely upon. However, being traditional businesses they also fail to utilise new digital technologies in their operations, product development and marketing and in doing so miss many opportunities to grow more quickly and to innovate better.
We believe that the transition to new owners presents exciting opportunities for many of these businesses to modernise and could be an incredible driver for new innovative technologies and services as these businesses are dragged into the 21st century.
Baby boomers retiring is an opportunity for all involved
Proto Innovation is committed to working with baby boomers to assist in providing them with the advice needed to properly prepare for and to navigate these issues. We can also assist the family successors with ensuring that they are prepared with the rights skills and abilities to maximise what we consider to be an incredible opportunity.
Everyone involved needs to appreciate that this isn’t something to be feared but should rather be embraced as an opportunity for everyone if this period of transition is properly handled and navigated.