Bottom Line: Being Mindful of Small Business
What is the real difference between “big” business and small business aside from financial turnover?
I am no Business graduate but I have run my own small business for more than 10 years now and as I see it, small businesses are usually started by people who are either passionate about their product or actually quite good at something – cooking / fitness / art (for example). Even though I am not a business school graduate, I do understand that strictly speaking, “business” is about doing less (work) for more income.
Of course all business owners want to make a profit, but many small operators will settle on making a living or some kind of wage and just feel grateful that they don’t have to answer to anyone else. Regardless of whether a business is big or small, an operator still has to pay the same amount for things like websites, marketing, insurances and rent. This stuff can sometimes cripple small business and many fail in the first year or two.
Big business tends to involve shareholders and venture capital; in other words investment from other parties who seek to make a profit. This usually means that those investors will have the power to dictate how a business should run. They invested only to make a profit after all. So, even if you were passionate about your product and had your own ideas/ideals, it’s tough luck, because you are now answerable to others who care only about their financial return.
It’s not necessary as a big business operator or investor to care about or be passionate about your actual product since investment is simply about bottom line. This is why drugs, weaponry, alcohol, religion, sex and weight loss are big business; you will never run out of willing customers…. Making money out of any of these things may not sit well with me, but if I was a ruthless capitalist and had no integrity, I wouldn’t care, since my main aim would be building wealth and increasing my income.
If you are a member of a big gym such as Fitness First or you stay in a big chain hotel or visit a a fast food chain like McDonalds, you are often supporting shareholders who have no interest in the product you have just purchased. Most simply do not care beyond the financial part. Because of this, people who work in these types of businesses are generally paid very little. Consequently they are often inexperienced, perhaps travelling and/or young. There is usually constant staff turnaround and a lack of decent service. It’s not surprising since most do not feel valued enough to be committed and they are easily and readily replaced.
A lot of the time, we have no choice about supporting shareholders since big business loves to swallow small business and it’s everywhere. We generally have to use big banks and shop at Coles and Woolies among other things. But trust me, these businesses and its shareholders do not care about us. Big business cares only about shareholders and profit margins.
For me, I don’t see multi-level marketing companies (MLM) as being any different whatsoever. It’s totally naive to assume MLM is about the product. Trust me, it’s just a business model that tries to “sell a dream” . In fact, it’s all about getting you to buy into “the dream”, rather than selling the over-priced products. How much was your “investment” again? It will use fancy images and aspirational stories detailing how certain people are making squillions and driving around in fancy cars and living in fancy houses and going on fancy holidays, just to get you on board. But hey, look closely, there are usually one or two sitting there at top of the “pyramid” doing very well thank you while the minions at the bottom do most of the work and are continually sold on these evangelical memes. One or two people sitting at the top? Mmm, doesn’t sound that much different to any other business really does it! In fact, it also sounds eerily similar to how Scientology sells its product too.
If you are still not convinced about why you should avoid supporting or becoming a consultant for an MLM, particularly if you are passionate about supporting local or at least Australian businesses, I do hope these two links will help you reconsider.