Emerging Trends in Commercial Property

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Traditional Family Businesses have changed over time.SINCE THE 1800s, there has been a procession of younger family members joining long-established family businesses.

Traditionally, it has been sons following in their father’s footsteps.

But things started to change during the late 1970s and early 1980s, when you saw more daughters taking up the challenge, and also joining the family firm.

Enter Generation X

Gen Xers grew up in an era of two-income families — where Mums worked and creches became the norm. Divorce rates also began to rise; and the economy floundered after the 1987 crash.

As a result, Gen X emerged as independent, resourceful and largely self-sufficient … displaying a casual disdain for authority and structured work hours.

But more importantly, Gen X heralded the shift from manufacturing to a service-based economy. And it was the first generation to grow up with computers interwoven into their lifestyle.

Having lived through tough times during the early 1990s, and seen their parents made redundant from long-held jobs … Gen X had little desire to be locked into just one firm — willing to change jobs regularly, in order to further their careers.

Therefore, for all intents and purposes, the traditional family businesses (as we knew them) were slowly dying off.

But was that to be the end?

By the turn of the century, Gen Xers held fairly senior positions and were earning some seriously good money. Plus, a growing number of them were wanting to take charge of their own destiny.

Quite often that meant groups of them leaving major companies, to set up their own businesses. And this transition is what spawned the surge in suburban strata offices over the past 15 years, all around Australia.

Clearly, Gen Xers had the drive, the computer skills and the marketing know-how. But what they quickly found lacking was their depth of business experience, ready access to finance and a well-established corporate network.

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Re-enter the Parents

This is where their early-retired parents (through redundancies and retrenchments during the 1990s) suddenly became invaluable.

However, not so much for a cash input as you might initially think.

Rather, for opening doors to business opportunities and providing an entree to banking connections. Plus adding much-needed credibility, when making sales presentations to major companies.

Bottom Line: What you’ve been seeing is Dad (or Mum) given a desk from which to run their own consultancy business … in return for providing their “intellectual property” and projecting an “air of experience”, when required.

Quite an interesting new twist on the traditional family business structure.

But nonetheless, one which will continue to underpinned the demand for smaller, strata-titled Offices — within most Commercial property markets around Australia.

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