Rocking the Baby Boomers
What’s rocking the world of the “Baby Boomers?”
In this still-unfolding “Great Recession,” many Boomers have lost their businesses, homes, life savings and retirement funds. Many have been forced to forfeit their careers and abandon their dreams—not to mention any hopes of passing on the family business.
Who’s at fault might depend on your political point of view—but, that’s not the thrust of this article.
THERE’S NO TIME TO JUST PLACE BLAME!
It’s time to get out of the rocking chair..and fight back!
As a Baby Boomer myself, I believe we were the most spoiled generation ever conceived in America. Having lost sight of the struggles and sacrifices of our parents during the war years, we partied, ate and made merry. We wasted and spent way too much, and saved too little, thinking prosperity would always be there for us. Convinced we had better answers for the future, too many of us divorced ourselves from what we called “The Establishment,” sang about free love, experimented with drugs and felt we had found true enlightenment. We were arrogant! We were...young!
Before anyone blows a gasket, I’m not saying ALL Boomers were doing drugs. I am saying many experimented with or condoned them, while many others of us just shook our heads and did little to stop what has now become epidemic in our country.
By contrast, my parents were part of what is now called “The Greatest Generation”—the World War II-era crowd. Growing up, I thought my dad was the tightest person I’d ever met, and I still smile at some of the cost-saving measures he would take. He actually tore napkins in half at the dinner table, thinking it was wasteful to use the whole thing. And I was embarrassed many times at the grocery store when he would buy bent cans in the sales bins. My dad never borrowed money for vacations or luxury items, and we rarely, if ever, ate out in restaurants. The only debt he had was a house mortgage and he paid that off early. Today, he would be seen as eccentric!
But, while dad understood about saving, he was big on giving to others. He never asked for a hand-out, never spent more than we could afford, and never abandoned his family or his integrity. He was never jealous of those who had more, nor expected them to give up what they had earned to make up the difference in their incomes. Dad was a man of solid principles and deep faith. I might have paid closer attention!
Why the difference in the two generations, and what does that have to do with your business today?
We never experienced hard times like our parents did! Their only fault was in wanting “better” for us—that we should not suffer like them—so we didn’t learn the lesson that character is built by adversity. And we didn’t pass that wisdom on to our children, either.
Our parents struggled through the Great Depression and then fought and sacrificed through the Great War. With nothing to fall back on—no welfare, no Medicare, no food stamps, no bail-outs; not even air-conditioning—they forged ahead. There was no unemployment benefits for years on end, no free college tuition, no cash-for-clunkers. And, thank God, there were no 24-hour cable television programs telling them they were just poor, ignorant, helpless victims. So, they worked hard and made it through those tough times.
If the Boomers and the current generation have been rocked to sleep by adversity—that generation overcame it! In fact, it made them stronger, and they passed on to us Baby Boomers the richest country in the history of the world. Sadly, some are now trying to tear all that down!
When your world gets rocked, you have two choices: You can lay down and go to sleep, or put on your fighting fatigues and get into the battle. I saw men like my Dad—some great women, too—do just that!
We Boomers must find the courage to admit we have made mistakes—overspending, over-indulging, wasting and not saving up for rainy days or our retirement.
You ask, “So what can I do now to undo the damage, and the effects of this economy?
How do we get back to BOOM town?” First, let’s start with your business!
If you have children and want them to take over the business one day, leave them a business they can be proud of! If you don’t have children, you may want or need to sell the business for your retirement, so you need to bring your business into order to get maximum price. Remember, order left unattended only gets worse!
In either case...
- Remove the waste and chaos by systemizing the business.
- Grow sales by systemizing your marketing.
- Look for “tuck-in” opportunities with other companies in your industry.
THERE’S NO TIME TO WASTE!
Did I mention...Great systems work!
Philip Beyer, founder/president of Ebiz Products LLC and founder of Beyer Printing Inc. in Nashville Tenn., is a chronic entrepreneur, business systems analyst and consultant. Author of "System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business" and recipient of an InterTech Technology Award for the design and development of System100 business process management software. Beyer speaks to business owners across the country on how to bring lean, sustainable order to their businesses. Contact him at (615) 425-2652.