Home > business, marketing > Thank goodness for the recession

Thank goodness for the recession

Generation M wants to be great at doing stuff that matters

Generation M wants to be great at doing stuff that matters

Before you get upset by my heading, I really do mean this as a personal comment. I know several people, including friends, who have been badly affected by the recession in their businesses. I too have had a couple of tough years, most of which came from starting a business at the beginning of 2008 which is still going but for which I am no longer working on.

Bad timing, perhaps, and the recession did not help. The business strategy was ambitious. We were taking a new product to markets we thought we knew well but the clients were cautious and they did not buy as much as we thought despite the benefits available to them. I have learnt a lot in the last two years of my business life and my home life.

One of the main consequences of the business last year is that I have had to look through my personal finances to adjust my lifestyle according to my funds. And it has been a valuable exercise in highlighting how inefficient my household had been in the last ten years with the way we were spending money.

For example, we had borrowed money to extend our current house in a modest way. It improved the house, for sure, but the house has a limit to what people were prepared to pay for it and the growth in the equity has not improved enough to have made it worthwhile. We are selling our house and moving, hopefully, into a new town house which has energy bills half that of our current house. We will drop our mortgage by £100,000 by moving into the new house and it feels good.

Furthermore, it will save us having to drive our children from our current village house to school in town. The children can now walk to school and we save a lot of money on petrol.

Also, I have downsized my car to a car which does 70 miles per gallon (mpg) and 80 mpg if I drive a little more carefully. What was I doing beforehand in a car which only managed 25 mpg? Also, the tax on it is much lower than the previous car.

I admit that I am now becoming a bit obsessive about what I use day to day and I question even the humblest products and their value. For instance, why the heck do I need a razor which has five blades? How close can a razor get before it starts taking your face off anyway? Two blades are fine and the shaving foam I use now is a supermarket brand which is a third of the price of the branded equivalent and just as good. I don’t seem to be the only one either who is changing their ways either. Caroline Eveleigh at Anatec Software and Systems is doing the same with her lighting.

The main point is that we will soon have a great deal more ‘disposable income’ so that our family can invest in the really valuable things in life such as giving our children the best education we can, investing money for the long term, and actually having some fun.

And this is what we are doing in our business, of which I am now a part, too. We question the value of all of our investments very closely. We are investing in the skills of the team. We are investing in building relationships with our new and existing clients. We are making sure we have some fun as business too.

And as the tough conditions continue for businesses and people alike, it seems like their is change in the atmosphere in how people perceive their environment. Umair Haque wrote a very interesting article where he pointed out a change in society in a group which he calls ‘Generation M‘. Generation M is searching for greater meaning in a world which is “full of big, fat, lazy business” but which is seeking “small, responsive, micro-scale commerce“.

I am part of Generation M. I have moved out of big business and into small business where I can make a difference. I am glad that I am downsizing so I am no longer burdened with an oppressive mortgage. I don’t buy products which purport to make me a better human being because the brand tells me so. I am buying products which do a good job and no more. I am getting my life back and getting some meaning into it so that I can enjoy what I do, spend time with my family and friends and just enjoy a simpler life.

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: