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Why millennials are the future of franchising

It’s no secret that millennials have developed a bad reputation, particularly when it comes to the workplace. Baby Boomers and Gen Xs tend to have a not so complimentary view or the younger generation – but could these millennials have more potential than first meets the eye?

[Related: How to transform franchisees into entrepreneurs]

Typically defined as the generation born between 1980-2000, we seem to be constantly inundated with stories and articles outlining the millennials shortcomings. Described as spoilt, lazy and entitled, the children of the baby boomers really do get a bad rap, and it’s one I believe that is largely undeserved.

One of the most popular narratives we have heard is how millennials are always unsatisfied with their lot in life and that they are impatient about achieving success. But from a business perspective, is this really such a problem? I don’t believe so. In fact, I think this ingrained ambition and drive could actually be a blessing in disguise.

As COO of Stockdale & Leggo, one of Australia’s longest standing real estate franchises, part of my role is to start shaping the leaders of tomorrow, and from my own experience, I can tell you that no one wants to see success more than the millennials. Rather than avoiding them as most in my position would do, I have actually begun targeting millennials and started shaping them into the smart business owners we want leading our business.

Driven, determined and eager to succeed, I believe that millennial franchisees are the future of the franchise industry. Here’s why.

They can offer a fresh approach

One of the most important benefits of working with millennials is that they can offer a fresh approach that simply cannot be found elsewhere. Unlike Gen Xs and Baby Boomers who tend to be quite set in their ways and are often heavily resistant to change, millennials are eager to shrug off the status quo and aren’t afraid of trying something new. With the right guidance and support, millennials can be a real asset to a franchise business as they keep your company innovative and open to new possibilities.

They are tech savvy and switched on

Most millennials have been brought up around technology, and this has provided them with an intuitive ability that shouldn’t be underestimated. At Stockdale & Leggo, we recently underwent an organisation-wide technology overhaul, which is something that some of our older franchisees struggled with greatly. While their many years of experience is, of course, invaluable to our business, their inability to adapt to new technology in an appropriate timeframe is something we must consider. Technology is changing our industry, undeniably so, and it’s imperative that we onboard business leaders who can confidently navigate their way through a changing technological landscape.

They have a hunger for success

All their lives, millennials have been told that they can do anything – and do you know what? They believe it. While older generations may not approve of the confidence of their younger counterparts, I believe it takes a great deal of resilience and self-belief to run a successful franchise business. A lack of confidence can be crippling, and while millennials may fall short in other areas, a willingness to learn and a “fake it ‘til you make it” attitude will continue to open many doors.

They are eager for their independence

With employment opportunities for young people continually on the decline, the number of new startups and small businesses continues to grow. Millennials love the concept of being self-employed, but their limited experience can present a very real risk. Rather than establishing an entirely new business, buying into a franchise can offer them the independence they seek while simultaneously offering them the support they need.

Franchise businesses and millennial entrepreneurs have a lot to offer one another, and I believe that by working together and recognising our own strengths and weaknesses we can create perfect partnerships for the future.

About the author

Anna Thomas is the Chief Operating Officer of major Australian real estate network, Stockdale & Leggo. She was recognised as a Telstra Business Women’s Awards Finalist in the Corporate and Private Award in 2016, a 2017 Finalist in the Real Estate Business Awards ‘Industry Thought Leader of the Year’ Award and a Bronze Stevie winner in the Woman of the Year category in the 2017 International Business Awards. She is also the Founder and Brand Ambassador of the ‘Empowered Women in Real Estate’ initiative, a community empowering women to believe in themselves and step forward into leadership roles.


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Anna Thomas

Anna Thomas

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