Forget business success question, ask what people will buy

MANY would believe Rockhampton is suffering from an economic downturn right now after reading about shop closures in The Bulletin on a regular basis.

But on the other hand, there are also new businesses opening their doors at the same time.

One of the questions floating around is - what makes one business successful and another not?

Maybe we shouldn't be looking at what makes a business successful, but what people are willing to spend their money on in hard times.

The majority of us struggle to pay the quarterly power bills that are cripplingly high across Queensland right now, along with increase in cost of groceries, fuel and other day-to-day living costs.

You would expect that because so many are struggling, that the first types of businesses to close would be the 'treat' businesses like coffee shops, tattooists, jewellery stores, kitchen appliance stores, holiday booking shopfronts, etc.

But these are the stores that appear to be thriving.

While having a piercing changed yesterday, I asked the shop assistant how many piercings they do on average a day. Honestly, I was a bit surprised to hear that they do about 20 a day. I get that it was located in a busy shopping centre, but didn't imagine they would be that busy.

Then, talking to a colleague about what people are still spending money on, the topic of tattoos came up.

Apparently people have special savings accounts just to save up for the next piece of ink.

Not only that, they have to book their tattoo appointment months in advance because tattooists (particularly the best of the artists in town) are booked out.

Takeaway coffee appears to still be something people are willing to spend their money, despite the bills.

You only have to sit and watch the number of people getting coffees at any coffee shop in the region at 8am to know business is looking good for the caffeine suppliers.

What do you see people still willing to spend money on when the bills pile up? Tell us in comments below.

And on the other side of the money situation, there are the things that we will go without in order to pay bills, or other items.

For instance, I recently went to the dentist (I do not like going to the dentist) and worked out that it had been many years since I had last had my teeth cleaned by a dentist.

I was a bit shocked to find out how long it had been, but I recalled the reasons why I wouldn't have gone near a dentist for a long time - all my money was going in to covering my bills, my debt and my health expenses while I was battling with major depression.

At the time of the clean, the dentist had told me I had $2000 worth of work that needed to be done. Sorry, my mental health comes before my dental health.

I did venture back to a dentist about six months ago.... I wasn't terribly impressed as they gave me quotes for $6000 of work ($4000 was if I 'needed' a crown on a particular tooth) and those dentists would only clean four teeth at a time - they wanted to repair damage in sections and clean as they go, rather than do a full mouth clean and tackle damage bit by bit.

Six months ago, I wasn't willing to spend any more than $800 on dental work between then and September this year. And I had a pretty good reason - I had booked my first ever overseas holiday and I couldn't afford to fork out any more money on dental work than the $800.

Not everyone is going to agree that my priorities were right in either situation with my dental woes, but at the end of the day, we all make some sort of financial sacrifice in our lives - some do it for that overseas holiday, some have other health issues that are of a higher priority, others have children (I need not say anymore) and others have other obligations not listed.

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