I don’t know if you have noticed the same, but since the last five years or so, it seems like the internet is full of small business owners, especially new ones. This is obviously reflected in the huge success of platforms like Etsy. There is no doubt that the internet has brought us a whole world of new opportunities. Starting and running a business no longer has to be what it once was – there are tools to help with every part of the process!
Because anyone can step in, it also means that you’re not likely to be completely unique in what you’re trying to sell. There is so much on offer, no? It can be a blow to realise that your business idea wasn’t groundbreaking after all. Or maybe you feel like it has a lot of potential, but you’re not reaching the right people and see that back in your results. Whether you are a business owner or not, you can probably imagine the frustration these scenarios bring. But it happens a lot – more than you see, because the success stories always get more attention.
And you know, often I’m not really surprised that someone’s business isn’t taking off… However, there are others that I think would do much better if only the average human was a more conscious consumer. We all know what corporations are thriving or even ruling this world. And we also know just how easy it is to buy from these companies – because their stuff is EVERYWHERE. And usually, it’s pretty cheap! Yeah, cheap, that magic word.
What do these massive corporations have in common? Despite their $ucce$$, they’re not exactly ethical (though they might still claim they are). But they’ve set themselves up nicely, leveraging economies of scale and such with their global power. They are elephants when small businesses are mice.
More and more small businesses and solopreneurs specifically focus on the environment or social impact with their product or service. A number of them are doing really well, but they’re always challenged to fight against something much larger than them. And if we want MORE people to be able to quit their job and run successful ethical businesses, we need to show that in our behaviour.
The more we buy from gigantic companies, the less smaller businesses will thrive. And I’m not talking about supporting small businesses that are just trying to make money off mass production, but the ones that are genuinely invested in making a difference for the environment. Often, that’s just one person or a few per biz.
A key difference: The larger the company you buy from, the more likely your money will go to luxuries such as a second home for Mr(s) CEO. The smaller the company you buy from, the more likely your money will cover a family’s everyday needs.
What impact do you want your money to have?
- Think about the last ten products you purchased – or the last ten you remember purchasing. What products did you buy and where do they come from? Write down the product, price, shop, brand and the reason that made you buy it that specific time. How involved were you with the effect of your purchase? Do you think your money could have made a better impact?
- Now, for the next ten products you will purchase, keep the same kind of list: write down the product, price, shop, brand and reason. Based on your last ten products, do you think you will make different choices? Realistically, how far would you go?
If you know someone who might be open to this, pass it on to them. We affect so much with the way we consume, and we better make sure we affect things the right way.