Zero Sales, Corporate Hegemony & Stagflation ⭕

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Facebook Hegemony Over Small Businesses

When Facebook, along with its legion of apps and services went down last week, it led to harrowing situation/realization for small businesses. 

Online clothing boutique Exul recorded no sales for the first time since it opened last November. Jones, the owner, doesn’t have a large marketing budget, so she relies on Facebook and Instagram to target potential customers. But when the apps went offline for almost 6-hours, Jones couldn’t post pictures of new merchandise or news of her sale. 

In Alberta, Canada, small-business owner Carolyn Gerk was struggling with a similar marketing issue. Gerk runs Velvet Hand Designs, where she sells ink and watercolor portraits, logos and prints online and has an Instagram storefront. Given her remote location, local markets don’t bring in much business. Instagram is her main marketing tool, enabling her to sell to other small businesses.

And in the tangled, convoluted way that the modern world works, Gerk’s inability to sell her goods in Canada also impacted women in Texas. Gerk is part of a small NGO called @truecrimecreatives that was raising money last week for an abortion rights charity called West Fund.

Then there’s Jessica Ferrandino who runs The Curated Vintage, an Instagram page where she sells vintage furniture and housewares. Ferrandino sells her goods as "drops," meaning she releases a collection of items for sale all at once at a pre-marketed time. For her, timing is very important. And Instagram being down at the time of her “drops” throws off her entire sales and marketing efforts.

Not just businesses, but entire countries and healthcare systems depend on Facebook now. In Lebanon and Argentina, Covid tests and medical help can be sought through WhatsApp. The Philippines government uses WhatsApp as a hotline for its large number of citizens working in the UAE. 

The worldwide crash laid bare just how much of the world relies on Facebook’s services. The $1 trillion company has a hegemony over businesses worldwide and that is simply too much power concentrated in the hands of a single corporate. The consequences of dependency on one company for communication, healthcare, and business can be disastrous, world-ending even. 

A lot of business owners are already realizing that they don’t own their businesses anymore. Facebook owns it. And can send it to the graveyard any time.

A 1970s Style Stagflation

Google searches for the term “stagflation” have spiked. Reasons: Oil touched $80 a barrel last week, the highest price in three years, an energy crisis in China is threatening to puncture growth, and bottlenecks in supply chains are pushing up prices as factory shutdowns rock the global economy. Financial markets are caught with stagflation worries. Wages are rising, but not fast enough to keep up with price increases. 

As the global economy reopens, growth has picked up in the world’s big economies. The worry is that higher prices on everything from a gallon of gasoline to an hour of labor could slow that recovery. Those price increases, in turn, could force central banks to raise borrowing costs faster to rein in inflation - a grim scenario for small businesses.

Few are calling this the 1970s-style stagflation, when the US endured 9% unemployment, a contracting economy, and double-digit inflation.

5 Steps To Turn Your Hobby Into A Startup
The truth is that anyone can become an entrepreneur simply by following their passion and turning it into a business. There are 5 specific steps you need to follow in order to do this.

Lyme Disease To A Million Dollar Startup 

In her sophomore year, Hannah Olsen was diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease, requiring numerous doctors visits and antibiotic treatments through an arm catheter. At one point, she was on an IV for up to 6-hours a day. Making a career with an arm-companion hardly seemed possible then. 

But in 2018, Olson launched Chronically Capable, a platform that connects chronically ill and disabled professionals to employers prepared to offer flexibility. It now has over 50,000 job seekers and 50 employers. Big brands such as WhatsApp, Google, and Levi Strauss post full-time, part-time, and freelance jobs on the site.

While the service is free to job hunters, employers pay the platform a recruiting fee. Depending of the company size, the fees may range from $5,000 a year to up to $100,000 a year.

More than 157 million people in the U.S. are living with a chronic illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Deanna Beauchamp, who lives in Texas, is among them. She has multiple sclerosis and gave up her teaching job during Covid after being denied the option to WFH. About a month after sharing her résumé on the platform, Chronically Capable connected Beauchamp with Noodle Partners, a New York-based ed-tech firm. Beauchamp landed a fully remote job with the company in 2020.

Olson says she is looking to close on at least a $1 million pre-seed investment round this fall to help with growth.

Shorts ⏳
  • TikTok's Big Billion - The social media platform announced this week that it has 1 billion active users, meaning one in eight people in the world use the app each month.
  • Goodbye Forecast - Facebook announced last week that it is shutting down Forecast (launched June 2020), an experimental mobile app that lets users make predictions about world events.
  • Doggy-Crypto - Shiba Inu - one of the 20 biggest cryptocurrencies - jumped 65% last week after Elon Musk tweeted picture of his dog.
  • Distracted by Color - A recent survey by Momentive found that 51% of white executives and 44% of white senior management consider diversity, equity, and inclusion a "distraction from the company's real work."
  • Equitable Wealth - China introduces a new "common prosperity" policy aimed at narrowing the widening wealth gap in the country.
  • A bond in a Crypto clothing - Stablecoins are cryptocurrencies tied to the value of government-backed currencies or precious metals such as silver or gold. 

Stash Recommends: Tools to Explore
🤼‍♀️ FunRetro: An online tool designed for remote teams that want to do agile retrospectives and other collaborative activities.

💵 InDineroInDinero combines outsourced accounting, tax prep, and fractional CFO services in its cloud accounting software to service you from early stage to exit.

🖌 SumoPaintAn online image editor that comes with unique features and tools. Like the Sumos its named after, it's meaty but efficient.

🛒 Evidence: An e-commence software that helps you boost your website's conversions by showing real-time social proof of your products to your customers.

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