It’s ironic. Western society has become almost totally geared around consumption – keeping people buying more and more. And yet, many focus on what they don’t have. Advertising is always reminding you of this too. Everywhere you look there is an add saying “Hey! you don’t have this – and your life will be incomplete without out it. Buy me now!” Most of this spending is discretionary, and often tends to be based on the desire to satisfy the need for emotional gratification. “I will feel better If I have a newer phone or computer.”
Now I love my toys too, but we get into real problems when we stop appreciating what we actually have already. We focus on the scarcity of resources, and forget how to be resourceful. How did we ever make do before the invention of the mobile, or the Internet?
In this challenging economic climate, the emphasis once again is on what we don’t have – fewer jobs, less money, falling sales etc..
And yet some people and business are actually thriving in this environment. They are thriving because they recognise the value of what they have and are using this in intelligent ways to create new businesses, new wealth, and to build a strong foundation for the next swing in the market. Smart investors are buying up while unit prices are down. Businesses are sprouting up to take advantage of new niches created by the huge change in the market.
The thing is, this market demands some vision, and it demands resourcefulness. If you’re a business owner and your sales are down 30% you actually have to utilise your existing resources to generate new business. Increasingly this is about proving customers with more value for their $. Helping more customers spend less will increase overall business. Every business, no matter how big or small, has resources that are under-utilised. It might take a pair of fresh eyes to see this but it’s true.
But what about people changing careers? The thought is very scary for lots of people, and understandably so. For these people too though, you have to have a clear sense of your true transferable wealth, held in your knowledge, skill, experience, and talent. In my experience, the people who have made the most effective and successful transition from one field to another, have been those who have been able to appreciate and integrate their collective knowledge and life experience into their new profession. A lot of this comes down to being aware of your accumulated value and thinking laterally to leverage this.
For the business owner and the individual alike, this requires in the first places taking full stock of your inventory so that you are aware of all the resources you really have. You will amaze yourself. Only when you have done this will you be able to begin to estimate your true market value and thus communicate this value to prospective clients or employers.
Just to give one example – a mechanic has years of knowledge about car maintenance. They might also have an email list of every client they’ve dealt with. Mostly, this won’t be seen as a resource. It might be ignored or even treated as a nuisance. This mechanic could use this list to provide advice for their customers to help them save them money on servicing, while attracting more customers in the process… The trick is to see this email list as an assett, and to utilise it to connect to more of your customers in order to give them even more value.
It’s a very simple example, but it’s a simple process as well. It basically boils down to answering 3 questions: (1) what do I have – (2) what do others need – (3) and how can I meet and even exceed this need with the resources that I have already?