Embracing Generational Change At The 2016 America’s SBDC Conference

By Bob House of BizBuySell

Along with other influencers in the small business space, I recently had the opportunity to attend and speak at the 36th annual America’s SBDC Conference. America’s SBDC represents a nationwide network of nearly 1,000 Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), which provide small business owners and entrepreneurs with no-cost business consulting and low-cost training to be successful in today’s complex marketplace. SBDCs are hosted by leading universities, colleges and state economic development agencies, and funded in part by the United States Congress through a partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

 

For The First Time In America There Are Four Generations In The Workforce

screen shot 2015 08 31 at 3 41 10 pm1 Embracing Generational Change At The 2016 America’s SBDC Conference

The four-day -conference brought together roughly 1,200 business development experts, counselors and SBDC leadership to explore this year’s theme of Generational Change.  This topic is significant because for the first time in America, there are four generations in the workforce. Each of these generations, whose lives span from the late 1940s to the present day, have different needs, preferences and communication styles. Thought leaders emphasized how today’s counselors can better work with clients across each generation and advised them to encourage business owners to employ workers of all ages while remaining competitive in their industry.

According to Tee Rowe, President and CEO of America’s SBDC, “The America’s SBDC Conference offers a great opportunity for our advisers to learn and pass that knowledge onto their clients. Educated and prepared small businesses are the greatest economic drivers in the country. SBDC clients have stronger sales and create more jobs thanks to the skills SBDC advisers put at their disposal.”

Here’s what happened at this year’s SBDC Conference:

Business owners need to understand and respect generational differences. To kick off the conference, Jason Dorsey, Millennial speaker and researcher, spoke on “Crossing the Generational Divide” to coincide with the conference’s theme. With more Millennials entering the workforce, business owners are in the midst of a major shift. For instance, a recent BizBuySell report found that Millennials are shattering the traditional demographics for buying a small business.  Among the differences, the report found that younger buyers are more ethnically diverse than their elders as 49% of 18-29-year-old buyers identify as a minority compared to just 19% of buyers age 50 or older. To help entrepreneurs navigate this shift, Jason spoke about understanding the current worldview and how attendees can embrace the way workplace habits differ by generation. During the session, Jason also offered best practices for establishing successful partnerships despite generational differences.

How small businesses can benefit from Small Business Saturday. With the prominence of holiday shopping in late November, American Express – Small Business Saturday sponsored “Small Talks”.  Rhonda Abrams, USA Today Columnist and owner of The PlanningShop, dove into what opportunities exist within Small Business Saturday, and how business owners can expand their local footprint. With proper planning and the right marketing strategy in place, businesses can ensure a strong turnout on Small Business Saturday. Rhonda’s suggestions included promoting your business’ participation in Small Business Saturday, joining a local or online directory and leveraging online connections.

The importance of working with buyers and sellers. Buying and selling is a standard part of the small business lifecycle, so it’s critical that present and future business owners are armed with the right tools to carry out a successful sale or purchase. Along with a panel of experts, BizBuySell led two workshops on the topic of “Demystifying the Process of Buying and Selling a Small Business.” During each workshop, we discussed the fundamentals and best practices for going through the buying and selling process. In addition, the workshop focused on how SBDC counselors can achieve their goals and ultimately attract more customers.

America’s SBDC Conference certainly lived up to its mission of ultimately helping entrepreneurs by providing attendees with resources that enable successful business ownership. While owning a business comes with its fair share of barriers, organizations like SBDC can ensure small businesses continue to fuel our economy.  Learn more about America’s SBDC here.

 

Bob House is president for BizBuySell.com and BizQuest.com, the internet’s largest and most heavily trafficked business-for-sale marketplaces.

The views, opinions and positions expressed within this guest post are those of the authors alone and do not represent those of CBS Small Business Pulse or the CBS Corporation. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are verified solely by the authors.

 

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