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Microsoft Corporation commissioned an internal study in April 2022 titled “Small Business State of Mind.” After being conducted by the Wakefield Research among 1,000 small business owners with zero to 24 employees, Microsoft Store now shares the report’s data to unravel the top small business trends, highlighting how Gen Z small business owners will affect the entrepreneurial world.
Microsoft shares key findings from the report. The first is how Gen Z small business owners choose to work compared to the conventional entrepreneurs, including Millennials. According to Microsoft, Gen Z’s workplace hustle is inspired by Millenials’, but there are differences between them. Aside from having unconventional working hours (91% of Gen Z small business owners work beyond the normal 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. working arrangement), 81% of the Gen Z participants in the study are said to work while on vacation.
Despite this unusual setup, 61% of the Gen Z small business owners believe that they are more likely to achieve early retirement this way than pursuing corporate jobs. “Early retirement offers the opportunity to pursue personal passions while age is still on their side,” Microsoft adds. “One thing is for certain, Gen Z is not afraid to write their own playbook.”
The study also finds how Gen Z entrepreneurs formulate the success of their business. Surprisingly, it includes the creation of positive social changes through their businesses. According to 82% of the Gen Z small business owners in the study, prioritizing the social good affects the growth of their businesses. Even more interesting, 52% of these Gen Z entrepreneurs said that doing so also affects them personally by positively impacting their mental health. With that, 50% of Gen Z small business owners in the study rank social good as one of their top three business priorities.
While most parts of the study seem expected, some details disclosed by Microsoft are shocking and interesting. It includes the fact that 47% of these entrepreneurs gamble when it comes to the fate of their business security data. Despite the modern times where most small businesses greatly value technology, nearly half of the participants are reportedly “rolling the dice hoping to avoid a data breach” by not investing in proper security services.
On the other hand, while most business owners greatly value college education as the basic and most important venue for learning about business management, Gen Z entrepreneurs beg to differ. Seventy-eight percent of the study’s Gen Z small business owners say that a college education is “not very necessary for running their own business.” This is where things get interesting as Microsoft unveils what mainly constitutes the new career resource of Gen Z entrepreneurs: TikTok. According to Microsoft, the platform is slowly becoming the new resource of business skills and knowledge for Gen Z. It stresses that it presents valuable business-related content and ideas not normally introduced in classroom settings.
These findings show how small businesses are evolving now under the hands of Gen Z. The points presented by the study might be far from the conventional concepts of entrepreneurship, but they are creating new breeds of business owners capable of surviving this era’s variety of crises. And with social good being prioritized by this generation of business owners, we can expect a nation of entrepreneurs that will value society the same way they appreciate their customers.