Using Your Purchasing Power

In this sixth post about using money, I consider how you spend it.  With money you have purchasing power and you can use it to make a difference.  Imagine being able to purchase more expensive options because you know you can generate more money through your business.  The question is what to spend it on.

You can easily find inspirational videos that dwell on the fantastic advantages of financial freedom.  If you are a coach, the chances are you can do well but never achieve financial freedom, where income is coming in without the need to work.  Many coaches would not want it, as their coaching is something they enjoy.

Anyway, if owning a yacht floats your boat, then you know what you want and should go for it.  My concern is for those business people turned off by images of wealth and find them, well bad taste or even unethical.

Your Power to Choose

Making money is a powerful incentive.  I don’t intend to influence how you spend your money.  My point is an obvious one, really – if you want to make a difference, then you need to make money.  Why?

  • You need to be free of financial worries yourself. Paying for essentials should not ideally be a concern.  There comes a point where money worries dominate.  You have to take a job to pay the bills or draw benefits and jump through all the hoops.
  • The same applies for your family and dependents.
  • Most families prefer to do better than break even. Holidays, trips out, presents, memberships, subscriptions are all a part of participating fully and potentially ways you can support your local economy.
  • You need to support your business. You need to pay for overheads and costs as well as training for yourself and your staff.
  • If you give anything away or at reduced rates, you are in effect drawing on your profits. This can be difficult if you’re not making profit.

Not all these are essential.  But the third and last compete for your attention.  If offering a discount to a client in need, effectively means you can’t take your children on holiday, which do you choose?

Marketers will say in those circumstances you need to earn more.  Yes, I could earn more if I did something else, the question for me is do I want to do something else?  The choice is much deeper than: how do I spend the money I have?  It can amount to: am I doing the right thing?

How to Increase Income

So, what are the options, besides changing to another business?

  • Consider increasing prices. If you discount, you eat into your income but a similar percentage increase may make a massive difference.
  • Perhaps there are ways you can structure your business more efficiently. Coaches often find their coaching pushes out time thinking about their business.
  • Build up reserves of residual income through multi-level marketing (MLM). This might work for you if you can find time to build your marketing network alongside your business.
  • Part-time work and other sources of income. This is often how coaches start out and gradually reduce paid work as their own business takes off.
  • Invest in property, stocks and shares and similar.

The last three are all options that take time and time can be as scarce as money!  They are all worth considering.  Are there more?

Support for the Local Economy

Once you decide your lifestyle and find a way to generate the income you need, you have yet another choice.  One effective way to make a difference is support for your local economy.

To purchase from a local business achieves a number of things:

  • It helps keep money in circulation. Money spent with a local business is likely to be spent by the business owner, not extracted from the economy and hidden away in offshore bank accounts.
  • By supporting local businesses, you increase their diversity.
  • You might discover the new, offbeat or exciting product or service you didn’t know you were looking for!
  • You may find new business relationships and mutual benefits.
  • Their ideas might be adapted to the benefit of your business. I’m not advocating you do what they do more effectively and drive them out of business.  But many ideas can be adapted to different circumstances without harming the original business.

In summary, our purchasing power has an impact locally and so we should consider it a serious benefit our success brings to community.

Let me know if you found this post helpful.  Are there related topics you would like me to write about?

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About the Author

I've been a community development worker since the early 1980s in Tyneside, Teesside and South Yorkshire. I've also worked nationally for the Methodist Church for eight years supporting community projects through the church's grants programme. These days I am developing an online community development practice combining non-directive consultancy, strategic management, participatory methods and development work online and offline. If you're interested contact me for a free consultation.

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