Though millennials are often touted as the newest and most popular demographic making strides in the worlds of small business and entrepreneurship. much remains to be said about the population of baby boomers in Canada.
Boomers, otherwise defined as individuals born between 1946 and 1964, make up a significant portion of the Canadian population – 27% in fact. When you expand this group to include people aged 55 and over, you’re suddenly looking at almost 1/3 of the total population. The small business clout of the boomer generation is easy to prove statistically: according to Statistics Canada data from 2016, 41% of businesses under 100 employees were owned by individuals between the ages of 50 and 64.
Retirement-age Canadians are the fastest growing group in the country. As the boomers’ generation moves into retirement, Canada’s small business landscape will undergo a significant shift. Some commentators have suggested that this wave of retirement will leave a huge gap in the economy behind it. However, Statistics Canada data from the reporting period ending in June of 2015 shows the population growth rate for Canadians aged 65 years and older was four times the growth rate of the total population. Many small businesses are capitalizing on this trend and offering goods and services that cater specifically to the needs and wants of boomers – offsetting the decline in boomer-owned business by creating business opportunities around the boomer population.
Another significant mitigating factor against a downturn in the post-boomer economic landscape will be the effective deployment of succession plans. Every small business, no matter who owns it or which generation they belong to, should have a plan for what will happen during a transition from one owner to another. Succession planning is often left far too late: a plan for the long term life of your business should be drawn up as early as you can. The earlier you create a plan for succession, the less you risk exposing your business to closure or downsizing. Younger workers and students will also need to get the small business skills required to take over from their forebears – a goal that the Canadian government hopes to accomplish by investing heavily in entrepreneurial skills development in the coming years.
The baby boomer generation will continue to be a major contributor – whether as the owners of businesses, or as their customers – for years to come. Businesses who want to make the most of the boomer transition should do the research they need in order to be ready for the expansion of this lucrative market segment, and existing boomer-owned businesses should focus on what the future may hold for their hard-earned successes.