Gen Y: A Game Changer for Business Centers

This minute-long video gives a brief perspective into 'Generation Y' - and the realization that Gen Y is a lion out of its cage.

Are You Ready? Is There a Better Way to Prepare?

This is a great video with all the brash excitement and energy that is defining Generation Y.

No question, Gen Y is a lion out of its cage. Gen Y-ers carry with them our latest technology, new life/work balance demands, a nano-second attention span, and the collective swagger of a generation exulted by their boomer parents as being “special just because you’re you”.

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But this lion is not going back into its cage, and to compete effectively, business center owners and operators cannot ignore the challenges and opportunities that come with Gen Y. Those which do, may continue on for awhile, only to find that their old, aging clientele and universe of prospects has evaporated, replaced by a population that regards them as irrelevant. How can business centers attract the best and brightest of young entrepreneurs and business owners both from within their own staff and as clients? And, the follow on question, of more critical importance is; how can business centers do this without going too far out on a limb? What is the balance to be struck between catering to the latest trends and supporting the need for businesses to, well, do business.

Coworking spaces have had their ears to the ground for awhile, now, and, depending on the latest hot, rockin’ idea, readily spin around their spaces to meet it. It looks great, feels terrific, but is it a sustainable business model? For many, yes. For others, time will tell. In the meantime, many traditional serviced office space providers have attempted to pick through the heap of ideas spawned by Gen-Y centric coworking spaces, and weave a few of them into their own, more staid infrastructure. Some have been more successful than others, depending on which alterations they embrace and how they market them.

Many are physical alterations, and they make a lot of sense — opening up spaces and dropping down walls to encourage more collaboration; electric desks; green initiatives; ergonomic, adjustable work stations; the list goes on. But centers must also be savvy to the changes in the way Gen Y-ers are doing business; starting with how they scout out offices, to how they make purchasing decisions, and how they prefer to conduct day-to-day business tasks, such as invoicing. Gen Y will re-write the script for maintenance requests, value added services and monthly invoicing. Already technology innovators are creating new, online methods for handling transactions; many of which can be conducted on smart phones, with instant bill review, service adjustments and payment options that can be handled on the fly, from anywhere, allowing Gen Y to move on to the next best thing.

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Without question Gen Y is a growing force to be reckoned with. But we must remember that Gen X-ers are still wielding most of the power today, and there are even boomers out there, spending money to start new businesses. It would be a mistake to ignore the “here and now” spending power of, say, Gen X-ers simply in an effort to make noise and attract attention (and some press).

The best answer lies where it has always lied, listening to your clients and to your community. It doesn’t sound as sexy as holographic images of rock icons floating around in the lobby, but it has been a key part of the recipe for success for a long, long time. Those centers which have steadily built a culture of listening and collaborating with their clients will be in the best position to recognize a fleeting fad from a driving trend and make decisions accordingly. Their clients will help them stay relevant and on their toes. And as more Gen Y “lions” begin to walk through their doors, they’ll be ready to respond in a way that is genuine and grounded in solid business policy. And that works for all generations.

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