The day before yesterday was “Small Business Saturday,” a designation which sounds as though it might have originated organically, but is every bit the corporate invention that Hallmark’s brainchild Mothers Day is. Not that we fault American Express for this; if we were running a giant multinational financial services firm (as opposed to a local, neighborhood one) during the late-aughts crisis, we’d have done something superficial and meaningless to deflect public animosity, too. The “event” even came with its very own hashtag!
Of course, Small Business Saturday didn’t make a lick of difference and won’t. And shouldn’t. Exactly how many times in a given day, let alone one particular day, do you have a choice between patronizing a neighborhood store or a larger concern that happens to do business in your locale? If you’re buying dry cleaning or plumbing services, it’s going to be from a “small” business, however you choose to define that. If you’re buying air travel or a household appliance, it’ll be from a somewhat larger business. Where do you really have legitimate options? Restaurants, sure. Clothing stores? Yeah. But people shop their favorites anyway, don’t they? If you made a conscious decision to switch out what would normally have been a 7-Eleven/Citgo visit for a trip to Danny’s Discount Gas, what stopped you before? By the way, that 7-Eleven is probably franchised and owned by someone no richer than Danny.
If Small Business Saturday existed in 1962 in Rogers, Arkansas, it would have encouraged people to forgo shopping at Main Street-killing titan A&P so they could instead spend their money down the road at local fella Sam Walton’s little dry goods concern. Onto the CoW:
You’d think a guy would ask his readers if he should chase a career in financial planning, then name his site Your PF Pro, but who are we to tell Harry Campbell how to live his life? This week he sits down on the couch while his readers scribble notes and hypothesize that his problems have something to do with his relationship with his mother.
Our Franco-Guatemalan heroine Pauline Paquin at Reach Financial Independence returns with a guest post from Spencer at MilitaryMoneyManual.com. If you think a military career pays too modestly to make a comfortable life out of, Spencer shows in great detail that you’re doing it incorrectly.
Justin at Root of Good gets it. He explains why asset allocation is so important to him and his investment strategy, and how to allocate one’s assets in an era when no one wants to sit down and calculate stuff, not when there’s the possibility that someone else already created an app for what ails you. It’s called the Personal Capital asset allocation tool, and we haven’t stopped playing with it since Justin introduced it to us.
Go back and read the story of our most recent (F)RotM, laugh at it, laugh at her, and that should be sufficient preparation for the latest from Jason at Hull Financial Planning. Jason once started a business, not because he “wanted to do something for (himself)”, but because he saw an opening. People wanted someone to plan their finances, Jason had the skills and knowledge to accommodate them, and he could charge a reasonable fee and still have something left after expenses, so he went into business. Simple as that, no?
Not at all. There’s still the matter of letting potential customers know that you exist. And turning those contacts into sales. It’s more than just handing out business cards, or worse, (groan) begging for Facebook likes or Twitter follows. Actively engaging people who can positively impact your business isn’t always pleasant, but it’s vital if you want to build something lasting. Again, this is obvious, but some people are just committed to overlooking the necessary steps.
[I]f I had to help someone else solve a problem first to get that awareness, then so be it. It was cheaper than advertising.
Jason goes into great detail on this, as he does. Comprehend his concept of a “4-point day” and you’ll understand that creating a successful business goes way beyond having a good idea and a disdain for the conventional workplace.
Thanks for putting up with our foolishness for another week. Remember when we used to receive multiple awful submissions that gave us an opportunity to make some of the easiest jokes in the history of the internet? Those days appear to be behind us, and thank God. Quality > quantity, at least here. Anyhow, if you can’t wait until Wednesday’s new post, or tomorrow’s Anti-Tip of the Day, check us out on Investopedia. We write practically all of that site or so it seems. We’re also on the Stacking Benjamins podcast, available for regular download on iTunes. You’ll get far more use out of the podcast than you will the latest Yo Gotti album (cultural reference ®2013, Control Your Cash, LLC.)