I was recently tasked with breaking down what business is to me as a young person. I'm not going to tell you how to conduct a business. That is a horrible idea! Instead, I’m going to tell you how I personally view business. To keep it simple, I’m going to use retail.
I personally break down retail into two sections. Personal and impersonal. Personal retail is something I want to be a part of. In particular, small business. Impersonal business is something I have to be a part of.
I like the concept of walking around a downtown with stores that are not globalized chains. They are unique. They create an atmosphere that cannot be artificially created. The products might be limited and available elsewhere but at least the store makes you feel like you’re not in a plastic world. You know the signs and pictures hanging about aren't in every other store. The employees are not subject to undergoing policies that change their personalities. (ex. Chick Fil A. “How may I serve you?”) These policies seem inhuman to me. They don’t make me feel welcome. They creep me out. Small business helps to remind me that real people actually run businesses.
Impersonal Business is more complex. Impersonal business may sound condescending. I personally do not mind them. These are large corporations (mostly online) such as Amazon, eBay, and Netflix. These businesses do not go out of their way to appear as something they are not.
Everyone knows they are the largest companies on Earth. The youth of today are somewhat anti-social. When you shop at Amazon, no one is there to annoy you. The youth want to do things their own way, such as shopping! They do not want some employee selling them on a product. They want to experience it for themselves. The most effective way for a company such as Amazon to sell products is to have a friendly user interface. If we want help, we will look it up or ask you. We have the internet to tell us about products!
The worst thing a business can do nowadays is be hypocritical. No one wants to hear how a globalized chain such as Walmart is there for the community (ex. Neighborhood Walmart) People should understand how a Walmart is beneficial to a community but must always realize that a Walmart is no better than a Safeway or a Sam’s Club. Chains are Chains. They don’t stand out. They are just there to make money.
Personal Business is small business. Impersonal business is large business. They are the Yin and Yang of modern retail. They should not be mixed. When a business starts a chain, they must realize they are no longer in it for the community but for the money. They can win over customers by having a large assortment of goods, not by lies. When a large business says “they are there for a community”, the statement is delusional and toxic. Remember, they are only there to make money. Small business is not only there for a community, they are the community.