If you read a lot of news about aging Boomers, you’ve probably seen statistics about how they want to stay in their homes as long as they can. It shouldn’t be a surprise that people want to live where they want to live. What is a surprise (or will be), is what that is going to mean to communities across the nation. And, specifically, yours.
When you’re talking about adding 5-13% more consumers 65+ into the mix, there’s a good chance that the system that already isn’t working well is going to buckle. Most people can very quickly understand that healthcare and home care agencies are going to feel it. (There aren’t enough doctors, nurses and home care workers… not to mention hospitals.) But, it is going to affect nearly every business in your community.
What happens when a majority of the 23% of the older population in your town can’t drive? How will the aging boomers get groceries? What about when they can’t take care of their homes? (It’s not like they can all move to assisted living… there aren’t enough of facilities to support them.) Who will mow the lawns, fix the pipes, clean gutters, clean their homes or change light bulbs? What about when they have to wait 3 months for an appointment to have a financial planner come see them because there aren’t enough of them? (Or, therapist, money manager, home organizer, etc.)
You get the picture.
It doesn’t matter where you live or how much confidence your community has that it is ready; it most likely isn’t. From what I’ve heard and read, most communities are only recently starting to talk about what to do. Unfortunately, the way the machine works, it’s already too late to start planning.
More aging Boomers means more opportunity
In The Art of War, the Chinese military strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu wrote, “‘In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” I’m certain there is going to be a significant crisis in the coming years associated with the aging Boomers. You, as a local business owner, are in a unique position to step in and meet some of those needs. You also are going to be presented with an incredible growth opportunity.
The truth is, the chaotic times ahead are going to affect your company. You’ll be busier, customers and their family members will be asking more of you and you’ll probably have to make some tough choices. But, if you start thinking about it and preparing now, you will not have to spend as much of your energy then dealing with the chaos. Instead, you can put your energy towards executing the plans you will have already made in anticipation of the situation. You can let that momentum work for you instead of against you if you start working on the problem now.
Starting now will give you an opportunity to think big thoughts about how you can revise what you’re doing to make it better for this growing market. It will give you time to experiment, test and expand… before you have to kick it into high gear.
Setting yourself up for success
In my upcoming book, I’m going to address what I think will be the key difference that can put you ahead of your competition, and will enable you to do more and do it better. That is, transforming your company into one that people love doing business with and can’t wait to visit again. This cultural shift to customer experience will require a well-planned strategy. It will require you to reconsider what you think you know about customer service , serving the older consumer and even your business.
A sad reality
It will be a sad story that is told in the future about how our nation knew what was going to happen when the Baby Boomers retired and we moved too slowly. But, that doesn’t mean it has to be sad for everyone. You’re customers can benefit and so can you.
There’s a lot of road between here and there; a lot of good that can happen. You should get ready now.
Photo credit: gareth1953 New Profile / Foter / CC BY