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Adii Pienaar

Family man, seeker and learner. Revealing my inner-poet. Conversio is my current gig (previously co-founded WooThemes.).

Invest in the businesses you want to survive

"Our choices, as they accumulate over time, strengthen our personal narrative."

- Bernadette Jiwa (Story Driven)

As customers, we have the great power to vote with our money. When we fork over our hard-earned cash to any other business, we help them survive / succeed / stay around for the long-term.

In the B2C spheres, our spending choices is often influenced by what is easiest, most convenient or the cheapest. And when we're a business buyer, we spend money on things that helps us grow our businesses, which often means the most mature technology or the most feature-rich solution.

I don't fault that logic. It seems rational, sound and like it would serve most of our needs and/or wants.

But what I think it neglects is an alternative consideration about which business receives the money we spend: How can my money provide sustenance and fuel for a business to grow?

Through that lens, we could prioritise some of our spending decisions to go to business with whom we relate, share values or align in mission or purpose. Our purchase could be the seed capital for a mom-and-pop shop that is pursuing financial independence and sustainability (while creating employment and being a positive, economic force in the world). With every product or service we purchase, we could be a tiny investor in tomorrow's change.

Doing this would require compromise. You may not get the most convenient option as consumer or the most technologically advanced solution as a business. So you probably won't want or be able to do this for every dollar you spend.

Every now and again though, choose the startup that still needs to survive. Choose the artisan even when it is not a convenient choice. Support the small retailer with fewer options. Empower the team that shares your values and beliefs.

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As an entrepreneur, I've been conditioned (or conditioned myself) to believe that nothing is impossible and I can achieve anything that I want. As I've grown older though, I've learnt that my ability to influence any outcome is never 100%.⠀ ⠀ In fact, I probably only ever have the ability to change myself completely and in doing so I can influence others (family, friends, business partners, customers etc) along the way. Neither of these things (changing oneself and influencing others) is a guarantee that we'll reach a goal.⠀ ⠀ You can build the best product and for whatever reason it doesn't result in a good / big / sustainable business. Or you can paint the most beautiful painting this world has ever seen and never sell a single work of art (much less become a Van Gogh or Da Vinci).⠀ ⠀ We should continue striving and trying. And at the same time, we should be humbled by the mysticism of how this world sometimes turns on its axis. We don't understand everything and we inherently don't have the ability to change the things we don't understand (or control).⠀ ⠀ And this is okay. None of us are failures when things don't work out exactly as we hoped.

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