Your firm needs a millennial mindset. Beginning in 2000, the oldest of the millennial generation began graduating college and entering their minimum wage jobs with student loan debt. They started their careers just as the economy went south. So, they grabbed technology by the tail, molded it into new shapes and forever changing algorithms and changed the future— thereby taking the rest of us along for the ride.

If you and your firm are still grudgingly dragging your heels behind this generation, thinking they’re not your market or they’ll respond to traditional tactics, you’re missing out. You are not the only one. A recent survey revealed that 85 percent of small business owners don’t market to millennials. The reasons? Forty-two percent said they don’t consider millennials a primary audience and another 23 percent said they they’re not sure how to market to this particular group.

The reasoning is often in part fueled by assumptions. This generation (“millennials” are generally considered the generation of people born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s) is typically thought of as lazy, narcissistic, entitled do-gooders who would rather live with mom and dad than get a job.

It turns out, that bad economy mentioned earlier just forced an energetic and focused generation to live at home a little longer. It is reported, that these “lazy” individuals now account for $1.3 trillion in direct annual spending, which does not include “millennial-influenced spending” (spending by parents and grandparents).

In addition, their overall population numbers are huge. According to the latest census data, this year millennials will edge past baby boomers as the largest living generation. And by 2020, 46 percent of the U.S. workforce will be millennials. The “millennial generation” was originally a marketing buzzword used for their unique behaviors and beliefs. But now it explains the most important consumer generation’s impact and influence they hold on like-minded, older consumers to behave and think like they do. Regardless of how big or small your firm might be, if you are able to communicate and develop relationships with millennials you will also be able to do so with the other generations of millennial mindset clients. Millennials are the “most important client generation ever.” And yet many small to medium sized firms still don’t see them as a primary market. There’s a disconnect somewhere.

Perhaps the disconnect has something to do with the notion that generational change is about age, when it’s really about influence. The millennial mindset is characterized by those clients who aren’t truly millennials but exhibit their trends in in their behaviors and beliefs. Thus, people of all generations act, shop and buy like millennials. So, small to medium sized firms that utilize a millennial mindset will be more likely to attract clients from all generations.

How can your firm develop a millennial mindset? Think about the following:

  • They share your values. Millennials respect entrepreneurship. In fact, a recent survey found that more than 60 percent would like to start their own business someday.
  • They shop local. Shopping local is a millennial mindset that’s gone viral. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t engage shoppers online, as well.
  • They’re loyal. A 2014 study shows that brand loyalty is important to millennials and is earned based on product quality, a good client experience and support for community. The study also showed that 60 percent said that they are more often or always loyal to brands that they currently purchase or services they use.
  • They’ll share their experience. If they like you great, if they love you, they will tell the world! Technology and a millennial mindset result in recommendations to friends and family, so make it easy to share using social media.
  • Millennials are pro-social, both globally and locally. Studies show they expect businesses to commit socially and environmentally, and will reward socially-engaged businesses with their support and commitment.

Firms with a millennial mindset must be open to change and quick to engage—with all generations. Millennial client expectations are different from any generation before them. Using technology, social media and the stunning impact of influence, millennials are redefining all industries. Design your firm’s millennial mindset and this influential group—and their parents, grandparents, kids and friends—will support you.