Ok, so picture this - you’re coming to the door and the mailman has just pressed the buzzer. You sheepishly take delivery of your parcel, oh no, Amazon has branded the box. You’d better get it inside before your neighbors see you…you don't want those looks you received in the hallway last week...
Another day goes by, and you’re sat at a dinner party table, enjoying great food and drinks with friends. You start talking about the new Peloton you’ve just bought and how you went for the premium package… The host quickly changes the subject and moves onto something totally unrelated…hmmm strange, "is it something I said?"
And later on, you’re walking through your neighborhood and start wondering 'why are there so many boarded-up storefronts all of a sudden, and where has that bodega gone that used to be on the street corner?'
Oh, in fact, there are actually quite a few places that have recently shut down, but all the big chain stores seem to be doing a roaring trade...and how can they not with such great discounting being splashed across their windows…!?
A vision of the future
What the hell is going on here and why are all these things happening?
Well, my friend, we’re living through one of the biggest seismic shifts in economic history, and not only are you experiencing the impact big-business has had on the world during COVID-19, you're also experiencing the possible reaction starting to take place from the concerned, ethical consumer and citizen of Planet Earth of where all this is heading...
If I had to describe the color of that potential future shopping and experience picture I’m painting, it would be beige or grey.
If you were looking to paint your house in these colors then they’d be described as ‘homogenous beige or uniform grey’ on the color chart…
What comes next?
Think of 20-30-40 years from now. Could we live in a time where 99% of restaurants are McDonald’s style chain places?
Will all the shops that once offered a great range of products, streamline their offering and choice to customers because it's cheaper and easier to do this?
Are we moving towards a place where there's an entire 180 turn happening in terms of moving away from many micro-influencers and small-time service providers, to a concentration of power going on that sucks all the power and cash into a few hands, with millions of disciples having to use macro services due to a lack of consumer choice?
Gone unchecked, could this turn into a realistic version of our modern future society?
The reaction coming right your way
I think it’s safe to say that for the vast majority of us, we don’t want to live in a world that has become so plain and sterile.
But if all the competition is swept away by the big guys, the discounters, the tech giants et al, then that unfortunately is where we’re heading.
There is good news on the horizon though and that’s because all across the world right now, the fightback has begun with millions of solopreneurs and small business entrepreneurs, taking it on themselves to start a new business that offers variety, color, and creativity in the world.
After all, people will always find a way to express themselves and if they can do this by blending their passions with commerce then that's always a win-win.
Call it the post-COVID wave if you will, but with millions of people starting all over again for many diverse reasons, there is 100% a major reaction on the way.
The values-based marketplace
It's safe to say that where there is true life and value being created in society, there will always be a willing marketplace to embrace this and stump up the cash to support these bold and ambitious new business owners.
"Every dollar you spend is a vote for the kind of world you want to live in” - ain't that the truth!
For every dollar spent locally and with independent business - 70% stays in the local economy, benefiting everyone from schools to streets.
However, for every dollar spent with big business, less than 40 cents stays in the local economy, acting like one big vacuum cleaner sucking up and dumping it somewhere in the 'Scrooge McDuck-esque' swimmable piggy bank far from home..
The penny drops moment...
So let's revisit the start of this post - what is happening with the hero/anti-hero-shunned-hero at the beginning of today’s tale? Well, it turns out his neighbors, friends, and even now he himself is starting to understand the importance of shopping local and supporting everything from small boutique stores to the local bookshop, and the local markets on a Saturday.
Sorry Amazon, but the novelty of getting absolutely everything delivered to our doors without the personal experience has really started to wear off...
We as humans crave the lack of uniformity, the interactions with the counter staff, and the feeling of self-respect generated when our cash makes an impact on the business owners life.
Sorry Peloton, but instead of spending $3k on the bike and another $49 per month, all our friends at the dinner party have started to embrace the local yogi, meditator and personal trainer.
And what about Main Street? Well, now the penny is starting to drop that if we don’t respect and support our local friends, then our whole environment is going to get a hell of a lot less enjoyable to be around.
The broken window effect and all that is going to go from one store > one street > one block and beyond!
The takeaway - tip your bartender 2.0
I’ve written before that in the future, not shopping locally or not supporting independent entrepreneurs could well be a societal issue on a par with burning fossil fuels or smoking in public.
So as we enter this brave new world, let’s start making a habit of paying those few extra dollars to buy that special gift from a local boutique.
Let’s start supporting that local deli even if their subs do cost more than the chain-restaurant right next door.
Let’s encourage our neighborhood yogi to put on more classes each week because of demand. Let's help drive that demand by shouting out about how great these solopreneurs and their unique classes are.
Let’s get fit at our local gym or even do zoom classes with someone local.
Let’s learn a new skill online with a chef in any part of the world, as long as they're genuine, authentic, and most importantly independent of course...
Let’s just take a step back and look at the big picture here !
If we measure everything by cost then it’s a total race to the bottom and one in which we ourselves will pay the price in terms of whether we want a vibrant environment to live in, or one that's a shadow of its former self.
There will always be a time for an Amazon parcel, or a macro-burger. Let's be realistic here and not beat ourselves up about that. The key is balance in our consumer spending.
So my simple message today is, next time you think about buying something - just have a think about where that cash is going and the long-term impact it could have if spent in a smart and wise way.
Your dollar has the potential to create joy, to create new lives, and to create a better planet with incredible variety - so please do spend that dollar wisely my friend!
Until next time...keep winning...
If you like what you've read here, have your own success story, or want to join the conversation around entrepreneurship then hit me up on Twitter or check out our YouTube channel - I'm always around!
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