14 Steps You Can Take To Start Building an Anti-Capitalist BusinessSep 16, 2021
It's hard - even impossible, sometimes - to imagine and create an alternative to the Capitalist system we live in.
And one of the reasons that Capitalism is so prolific is simply because there isn't a widely acknowledged, discussed, or explored alternative.
The primary point of Capitalism is, of course, to make more capital.
But at its core, Capitalism is an addiction to growth that is rooted in white supremacy and which only benefits a small handful of people.
So in the constant striving for more capital, the majority of needs that the rest of us (who don't benefit from Capitalism) collectively have go unmet.
So what does it look like for a small business to operate through an anticapitalist lens?
I've thought about this every day for the last year, and the idea that is sticking to me the most right now is this:
In order for small businesses with an anti-capitalist ethos to thrive, they need to focus on more than just their own personal capital growth. They need to focus on a collective liberation.
We need to be concerned with how every need can be met, rather than pouring all of our care and energy into our own personal profit.
And in my experience, this is really hard to do when you're working your ass off to pay for daycare, a roof over your head, and the increasing costs of food, to name a few.
It can be easy to default to individualistic thought patterns and cling to the belief that "I gotta take care of me."
But that kind of belief is what our current system was built on, and IT'S NOT WORKING.
So I hope that these examples of what an anti-capitalist approach to business can look like inspire you to consider how you resist capitalist systems, and how you are taking care of our collective needs.
Taking a month off from social media: Removing yourself from the opinions, disinformation, comparison, and time-consuming distraction that social media can be allows you to come back to who you are and what you want to represent without all of the noise that comes with endless scrolling.
Working 20 hours a week instead of 40: Who deemed 40-hours "full-time" anyway? If you can accomplish the things that help you reach your business goals, and cover your financial needs in 20 hours, aiming for 40 is only contributing to your exhaustion. Spending those other 20 hours living the life you actually want to be living will benefit you so much more than continuing to "grind."
Offering a sliding scale, bartering, or trading for services: If equal access to your services isn't a priority to you, you're perpetuating capitalism. When we all have access to the same opportunities, we benefit collectively. Consider a sliding scale for folx who could benefit from your services but don't have the means to afford it, or agree on a barter or trade.
Paying yourself and your team a livable wage: Cutting corners on wage and salary is exploitative of both you and your team, and quickly foster resentment. How much do you need in order to cover your bills? How much does your employee need? Get honest about it.
Denouncing "empire building" and exploitative business practices: "Empire building" is the pursuit of increasing the power, influence, and size of an organization or individual. It is, essentially, the antithesis to equal opportunity and perpetuates an "I am better than you" mentality. The exploitation or taking advantage of employees or clients contributes to "empire building" practices and distributes power and sway unevenly.
Evolving into an ESOP or cooperative model: Employee Stock Ownership Plans and cooperatives are business models that allow the employees to take ownership whether through profit-sharing plans or shared ownership.
Consuming less: By consuming less media, materials, and environmental resources, you protect public welfare that is put at risk by capitalist businesses and organizations who pursue financial growth at harmful costs.
Amplifying voices in your industry who historically been silenced: If your race, gender, sexual orientation, and background have you predisposed to opportunities and visibility that aren't afforded to marginalized groups, use your platform to amplify their voices, their businesses, their work, and their stories.
Seeking collaboration over competition: Adopting the mindset that there is plenty of everything for everyone benefits us all. What might you have to learn from others in your industry? Seek to connect and share rather than to distance and "outdo."
Refusing to use scarcity and fear-based marketing tactics: Instead of trying to convince your audience that they "aren't enough," for example, without your product/service, seek to form an authentic connection. Your offer won't be for everyone. If you try to make your offer for everyone, it will wind up being for no one which is a disservice to the folx who you genuinely connect with.
Refusing to attribute a financial amount to your worth: You are not worth ANY dollar amount. Instead, figure out how much you need to run your business and pay yourself and your team a livable wage.
Spending time NOT working, without feeling guilty about it: So many of us have been conditioned to believe that rest has to be earned, but it's actually essential in the same way that nutrition and hydration are. Denying yourself time away from work will only lead to burnout, resentment, and exhaustion. Time off is some of the most productive time there is.
Scheduling restorative care even when you feel busy: In fact, restorative care should be happening especially when you feel busy. Opting "just grind it out" when you're busy instead of stepping away and doing something to recharge (take a long walk, enjoy time with friends, hit the gym...) is a recipe for poor performance, short fuses, and missed details. Give yourself what you need so that you can give your business what it needs.
Being vocal about stress, depression, anxiety, and overwhelm: Trying to cover up your mental health when it's trying to tell you something is like trying to run a footrace when you have the flu. Acknowledging how you feel and honoring what you need is far easier in the long run than ignoring it and letting it fester.
By actively and intentionally pursuing an anti-capitalist approach to business, you're helping meet the needs of people that don't benefit from capitalism.
And the people that don't benefit from capitalism are the majority of people!
How are you taking an anti-capitalist stance in your business?
Send us an email and let us know! You can write to: [email protected].
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