On-Line eBusiness & Local Shoppes
The Benefits of Small Business Start-Ups
While the idea of featuring Small Business Start-ups (and Online eBusiness) may seem a little outside of the traditional Social Services line-up, when viewed from a Positive Mental Health and overall Wellbeing perspective, it has a lot going for it. Without deconstructing the reasons for potentially not doing it, I’d prefer to champion what it adds to the Wellbeing of the Social Services Consumer.
Firstly, when we took our survey of Membership Satisfaction, we found overwhelmingly that, while we got high marks for everything that we are doing currently, there was a consensus request for more personal business skills and expansive avenues for monetization opportunity. Near total agreement was voiced for extra help in these matters. Not only does this translate to a client-side need, but it represents a grand opportunity from the programmatic perspective. The following are just a few examples of these benefits:
- Elevation of Personal Status. Persons living with MH/SA issues are heavily marginalized in our society. Because of this we are forced out of the mainstream culture where we acquire our resume credentials (work histories, marketable skills, character references, etc) and network connections. As a result, on paper we appear to be second-class citizens. Through the remediation of business skills (resume building, skill acquisition, and job experience) we gain more confidence and enhanced Presence in the Labor Market.
- Along with all that comes the opportunity to re-brand ourselves. Contemporary Small Business is centered around the Founder and her Personal Branding becomes a contributing factor in the Bussiness Narrative. The opportunity for guidance in Personal Re-Branding is crucial to persons with stories that are counter-productive to Social Integration.
- For example: the convicted felon with no legitimate hiring opportunity that he can foresee, may become despondent and relapse. Let’s say he was a former street pusher (with certain acquired hustling skills). Now he suddenly gains a new opportunity to re-brand himself and reintegrate those skills in a positive way as a small business entrepreneur.
- One of the biggest road-blocks to gainful employment is a record or diagnosis because of the application process and its AI gatekeepers. Self Employed small business ventures are the only viable route to money-making opportunity (barring relapse into illegal activities).
So the redemption of legitimate business opportunities is one of the benefits coming from the remediation of business skills. And this addresses the need that our survey encountered most often (largely due to the stated causes: marginalization and stigma).
Beyond these obvious benefits to both the Individual and Society are fabulously enhanced opportunities for personal growth and continued Health and Wellbeing. Among these are some of the following:
- Because of the emphasis on Personal Branding (in Contemporary Small Business), the candidate shows an increased interest in Character Development subjects and this translates to more and better opportunities to teach and develop these as MH/SU Recovery Aspects. This connection may not be obvious at first glance but we will devote a special wiki just to this entire subject, only mentioning it in passing here. Let us simply mention that it emphasizes strength-building.
- With so many (often dramatic) failures clouding our personal history, those of us living with MH/SU issues are hungry for successes and personal accomplishments. The process of building a Start-up is not hard, nor is it all that stressful (so long as outside investors are not breathing down your back over ROI). It is in fact, more a simple procedure involving tiny increments and steady chipping-away at something until your project is sculpted. From this we gain tremendous on-going satisfaction. It is grounding as well. Over time, we gain that sense of accomplishment that we were so hungry for.
- For the marginalized, we have become accustomed to a life of isolation and this is not ideal for our Health and Wellbeing. Honing our Small Business or Start-up becomes a way to get back in. It is our gateway to re-Integration. From the former Prodigal viewpoint, a Gateway to Integration is something of great value.
- Just re-integration may not be quite enough. What we really want is a sense of Contribution. We are eager to give something back: to Contribute something to our Community that we have so freely chosen to come back to. Nothing makes us feel more like Contributors than having our own Small Business. If we can provide jobs for the Community with a couple of employees, so much the better!
- Even if all that were not enough, the opportunity to be, and be seen, as a positive influence in the Community (especially with our past history) is something that none of us can pass up in earnest.
What all this points to then is nothing short of a Personal Transformation, the likes of which are not available to any other programmatic module and in such a fundamentally natural way as to be Whole and Integrative. What further good could Social Services hope to ask for? This very fact leads us to re-examine the traditional offerings of legacy systems in the social work field. The issue of Authority Positioning within the Small Business Leadership Community is Reflexive in its agential Actors and also reflects on the structures of the Social Services continuum. As our commitment to an Environment of Excellence might compel via its context of Leadership, we felt obligated to address this concept with full diligence.
More on ‘How this gets done‘ in subsequent posts…