As our economic woes continue and the system worldwide heads towards a bridge that regretfully collapsed a few years ago, I want to touch on some things you should do today to help yourself in the future.
The most important thing you must do is build relationships with key folks in your area. You want to know who the key producers are and who has skills that would be important in economically shaky times.
For producers, identify folks in your area by going to farmers markets and the like. Get to know the vendors and farmers there, learn who they are, what they do, and what they produce. Become a customer. Not just that, but a repeat customer as well.
Similarly for folks with skills, make local contacts and get to know people. Again, this is all about relationships. And most of us know how to build and maintain those, right?
Leverage these relationships to discover alternative markets that you may not be aware of. There are often ‘underground’ markets that most people don’t know about. These are great places to make contacts and build new relationships with folks you might not otherwise have met.
A few minor tidbits to keep in mind…
Become repeat customers! Loyalty gets rewarded, by and large. There’s a psychological concept called “reciprocity” that says if someone does something nice for us, we feel somewhat obligated to be nice in return. While this can be manipulated to hurt us, it can help build stronger relationships. If you’re a repeat customer of the farmer down the road, and there’s a shortage, do you think he’ll sell to you or some random dude he’s never met?
Use cash! Cash is untraceable, so it’s good for you. Cash is untraceable, so it’s good for them too. Bottom line, the old adage ‘Cash is King’ is still very true.
Barter whenever possible! Bartering isn’t a skill that you are born with, you have to develop it. So start! Most guys at the farmers market won’t be interested, but you may be able to barter things in other settings or once you have a relationship established with these folks.
Negotiate! Most prices aren’t firm. Negotiation is often expected. So don’t disappoint them. Again, tis is a learned skill, and you should practice it whenever possible.
Folks, the bottom line is that right now we can barter, trade, and negotiate for much of what we buy or hire out for. And as cash loses value we’ll find that happening more and more.
And if we have a major economic collapse? You’ll get a crash course in all of this anyways. So you might as well start now.