MILLENNIAL SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS: MARKET INSIGHTS (Oct 2017)

Attitudes and Expectations

Channel Strategies

Provider Loyalty and Competition

Key Finding from a Previous Report:

In the 2016 Phoenix Synergistics survey, Optimizing Small Business Checkingfindings revealed that excellent customer service and pricing were the top criteria for choosing a business checking provider. Do Millennial small business owners differ in their attitudes and decision making criteria?

Research Description and methodology

This study examines the financial profile of Millennial small business owners, including their attitudes and expectations, financial needs and behaviors, provider relationships, and channel usage.

National Internet Survey – The survey will include 800 online interviews with small business owners ages 19 to 36 – annual sales of $50K to $5M.  Industry categories include manufacturing, wholesale, retail, and services.

Key Dates

July 21, 2017 – Final acceptance of client comments on the questionnaire.

July 21, 2017 – Charter fee date.

September 2017– Initial results available.

October 2017 – Project Report available.

Strategic Objectives

  • Profile the financial activity of millennial-owned small businesses in terms of accounts and services used and provider relationships. Determine the demand for financial products in the next year. Evaluate the selection criteria or features millennial small business owners place importance on in choosing a financial provider.
  • Examine the attitudinal factors that frame or impact the approach to millennial small business owners. Assess their business objectives – including rapid growth, visible success to attract the attention of potential investors or buyers, or sustained growth for financial security and profitability. Explore if millennial small business owners have a sense of provider loyalty that can be a competitive advantage in relationship expansion.
  • Assess the degree of overlap in business and personal financial relationships among millennial small business owners. Determine which relationship was established first. Examine the factors or reasons that drive or account for these overlapping relationships.
  • Analyze the motivations or reasons behind the startup of businesses among millennial small business owners. Examine the sources of advice or guidance used in the startup process and used for ongoing operations of the business. Ascertain what financial resources or financing were used for startup.  Determine if these businesses have a formal business plan.
  • Measure the usage of various channels – including branches, ATMs, PCs, mobile phones, and tablets – for conducting financial activities. Determine if preferences vary by types of activity – such as account information, transactions, customer service, and marketing-related activities. Assess how widely these businesses rely on the online channel in marketing to their customers.
  • Determine which marketing and promotional channels have been utilized by millennial small business owners in obtaining financial accounts and services. Examine usage of online resources – including FI sites, social media, business networking forums or communities, and lending marketplaces. Assess what channels are preferred for applying for accounts and services.
  • Assess if millennial-owned small businesses should be approached using marketing strategies and tactics similar or different from those for small businesses as a whole.  Determine if traditional measures  – such as annual sales volume and number of employees – have the same relevance when developing strategies and tactics to approach this market.

Research Issues

  • A great deal has been written about millennials who are considered one of the most influential generational segments of today.  Millennial small business owners are an important force in the market. They have been described as savvy, creative, confident and optimistic.  Many millennials are entrepreneurial and starting their own businesses; others are taking over existing businesses previously run by their parents or other relatives.  Some have abandoned college to start their business reflecting their need to exercise control and flexibility over their career and future.  It is clear Millennial small business owners are a unique segment whose attitudes and expectations may be entirely different from other small business owners.
  • The financial needs and behaviors of millennial small business owners may be unique, requiring providers to be creative and think outside the box. Keeping up with the rapid pace of technological innovation is a given when developing and marketing products and services for this group.  Competition from Fintech and non-traditional providers extends to financial services including lending, online and mobile banking, and payment solutions.  These new competitors are a force to be reckoned with in serving Millennial small business owners who are considered to be less loyal – switching providers to meet their needs.
  • It is essential to understand the financial attitudes and expectations, behavior, and usage patterns of Millennial small business owners.  Usage of traditional and innovative channels needs to be assessed.  The overlap in personal and business financial behavior needs to be examined. Provider usage and selection factors need to be measured.  This study will assist providers in acquiring and retaining Millennial small business relationships.