posted on December 10, 2009 06:36
Business AdVISE By Teresa Vise
The North Jefferson News
Our articles so far have centered on customer service, branding of your company and yourself, and we have also spent time discussing creativity and risk.
In the next few articles, I would like to offer a little perspective on trends around us. Specifically, I want to delve into Microtrends or small trends that can lead to big change and big business opportunities. According to Mark Penn, author of “Microtrends,” only one percent of the public, or three million people, are enough to launch a business or social movement. As we close out 2009, and prepare for the next year, what small trends are out there that we need to be on the look out for, and how could it affect our business?
I found the following insight from “Microtrends” particularly timely in the Chapter entitled “Shy Millionaires.” For me, it is a somber reminder to keep a handle on spending during the holidays. At the risk of drawing the ire of the retailers, I want to remind you to not blow your budget just because it is Christmas and the holidays. With that idea in mind, let’s let the “Shy Millionaire” give us some microtrend advice.
Current surveys show that only about 4 percent of households have a net worth of more than $1 million. That is about nine million people. What does this person look like?
First, let me tell you what they are not. It is not someone who inherited it or came upon it by privileged circumstance. According to the book, “The Millionaire Next Door,” the average millionaire went to public school, drives an older American made car and received zero inheritance. There are actually six different types of millionaires: the Deal Master at 11 percent; the Altruistic Achiever at 17 percent; the Secret Succeeder at 17 percent; the Status Chaser at 18 percent; the Disengaged Inheritors at 13 percent; and the biggest group at 24 percent are called Satisfied Savers. Let’s see what the Satisfied Saver and Secret Succeeder can teach us. Together these two groups make up 41 percent of millionaires.
The Satisfied Saver group has worked hard, saved much, and lives below their means. They identify with Ford over Mercedes; they aspire not to material gain, but to long, healthy life; they splurge on very little.
These people are not heirs to some vast fortune, but contractors, pharmacists, and pest controllers. They became rich by investing and being frugal, and they live that way now.
The Secret Succeeder group did not expect wealth and fear that they will lose it. They also are concerned that someone will find out that they have wealth. These are certainly interesting people, but what does this mean to a business owner, and also to the interested politician or pollster?
First, class warfare just will not work for this group. This type of rhetoric falls on deaf ears to a group for whom equal opportunity and the American dream are cherished values. Recent verbiage about “spending our way out of a recession” may leave this group mistrusting, disinterested and keeping a tight hold on to their own “change.” Also, this group is not a good target for opulent jewelry, designer clothing or luxury cars. But they are a great target for investing and financial services.
Second, these people invest in private school. Again, according to the above referenced books, only 17 percent of millionaires attended private school, but more than 50 percent send their children to one.
Third, the shy millionaire gives to charity. Just because the class warfare rhetoric does not work on this group does not mean that they are disinterested in helping others out.
This is a fascinating trend in demographics with a potential impact on business and the shy millionaire next door could be looking for YOU. He or she is looking for financial services, schools, and non-profits who share her regard for hard work, discipline and the value of the dollar. If you know someone like this, seek them out for wisdom and insight. I bet they can tell you where all the real holiday deals are for Christmas gift giving.
Enjoy brushing off your more frugal side this holiday season. And remember, take care of your customers, or someone else will.
Teresa Vise is the marketing, growth, events and special projects co-director for the Fultondale Chamber of Commerce. She received her MBA from Samford University and is a speciality sales professional with Sanofi Aventis. She can be reached at email@example.com.