Love it or hate it, you can't ignore Millennials any longer. They're a growing part of our population, a growing part of our workforce and a growing part of the consumer base.

Instead of turning up your nose at buying into the latest smear against Millennials, you can actually enhance your company by learning from Millennials.

The trends set forth today by Millennials will be the norms of tomorrow. If you want to get a head start on your competition, start by looking to Millennials as the trendsetters. Here are 5 key trends Millennials are leading right now that will have a monumental impact on your business down the road.

Experiences, Not Ownership

Today's Millennials may be the hardest to market physical goods to. Increasingly, the younger generation finds excitement in experiences, not so much purchasing tangible goods.

Millennials have an estimated spending power of $1.3 trillion per year, but they'd rather make memories instead of waste. Eventbrite found that an overwhelming number of Millennials (78 percent) would choose to spend money on a unique experience over a valuable good.

That feeling won't go away soon, as 72 percent of Millennials polled said they planned to increase their spending on experiences compared to tangible items.

If you're in the business of selling to Millennials, you need to understand that acquiring your good or service is not the end game for them. It's most likely part of an experience. Find a way to enhance that experience and you'll have a loyal Millennial customer.

Needs Are Drastically Different

The Millennial generation isn't really interested in purchasing luxury goods, such as high-end TVs or even vehicles.

Data from Goldman Sachs shows that Millennials aren't too worried about owning things. For instance, 30 percent of Millennials said they have no interest or plans to purchase a car. With apps like Lyft and Uber, they can get around without having to worry about gas, monthly payments or maintenance. Additionally, 60 percent of Millennials surveyed said they're renting a house instead of purchasing.

A growing portion of your consumer or client base does not see the benefits of long-term ownership. Know that this generation values experiences and convenience above all else, a major change from past generations.

Flexible Work Schedules

This is something older entrepreneurs and CEOs used to the tried-and-true 9-to-5 struggle with.

Millennials are constantly connected, updating their team while they're in line for coffee at 7 a.m. and doing last-minute project tweaks late at night. Millennials feel that a set time structure is outdated, and would rather just get the work done when they're best suited.

If you employ Millennials (or plan to), you're probably going to run into questions about working remotely or adopting a more flexible work schedule. Bentley University discovered that 77 percent of Millennials feel a flexible schedule would make them more productive.

I think it makes sense. Not everyone is best suited for the 9-to-5 slog. Many of us are better thinkers in the early morning or evening, and prefer to be productive then.

Conscious Consumers

Millennials are savvy consumers, who want to make sure that your company is being a good neighbor. This generation doesn't see your company as just a website or brick-and-mortar store, but a member of the local or international community.

It pays to be a good neighbor. In one study, 75 percent of Millennials said they expect a company to give back to a cause.

This is a generation that monitors not only how much your goods and services cost, but what your company is doing to make the world around it better.

Email is Dead

When you offer to email a Microsoft Word document to a Millennial, you might as well ask if you can fax it in.

This younger generation prefers more agile communication, such as Slack. They've already got the power of Word, PowerPoint and Excel in Google Docs, allowing them to access documents from anywhere.

Millennials want to communicate and collaborate in real time. In the workplace, they flock to chat-based platforms and only use email for formal communication. As consumers, they're used to getting SMS updates and are open to receiving updates from companies via Facebook Messenger.
Know that this generation wants mobile agility in all things they do. By providing faster communication, you can improve your company for years to come.