Tuesday, June 17, 2008

It's Relationships, Stupid!

Note:  New to Deviantly Domesticated?  Thanks for visiting!  We are right in the middle of a series on micro-business and why it could be a great fit for women.  Scroll below to read previous posts, or jump right in with today's discussion!

I posted last week about the "big-box-ification" of business these days, and how sometimes bigger really isn't better.  One of the negative side-effects of big business is that the larger it gets, the less personal it becomes.  You know what I'm talking about.  Take the automated answering service that spits out a menu when you call in for help with your new cell phone.  Or the glazed teenage clerk who doesn't even look you in the eye while you check out at a box store.  Or maybe you work for a large corporation, and know that you'll never meet the CEO, and that he/she wouldn't know your name if you did.  

The truth is that personalization is rare in our economy these days.  What we've reaped in profit we've lost in human contact.  But not every corner of commerce lacks the personal touch.  Personalization is in fact one of the primary characteristics of micro-business.  In fact, this relational quality is one of the main reasons I think micro-business could work so well for women.  After all, we tend to gravitate toward relationships, surrounding ourselves with friends and family naturally.  It makes sense, then, that we would flourish in an economic environment that nurtures relationships.  And this is the kind of environment micro-business flourishes in.

Take, for instance, my sister who just agreed to watch her friend's child during the week for some extra money.  Although it doesn't seem like a "formal" business, they are exchanging a service for money.  And both of them benefit from it.  This little micro-business evolved out of a relationship, and will nurture the relationship going into the future.  Therefore, one of the side effects of relational micro-business is that it connects us with others in our community.  This is in stark contrast to big business, which often isolates us by turning us into nameless, individual consumers.  

Of course, the economy at-large tends to frown upon small, personal connections.  They are too cumbersome, and slow down growth.  Eventually the business has to start sacrificing names for profit.  And though there is some truth to this, I want to encourage all of us who are looking for a better balance in our economy to consider the personalization of micro-business as a viable option.  Whether you decide to start a business of your own, or decide to support them through the income from more traditional work, investing in micro-business is an investment in relationships, and often an investment in female leadership in the economy.  Sounds like a good thing to me!

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