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Personal Finance: Thinking Like a Business Person vs. a Consumer

Business Mind

I’m a big fan of Panasonic; all my stuff is Panasonic. Over the years I’ve found that they make great quality electronics and, you either get more features for the same price as other premium brands, or you get the same feature set for a better price.

In December, my TV (which I’ve had for 10 years) finally gave up the ghost. It was time to buy a new one and after some deliberation I finally narrowed it down to 2 choices:

  1. 42″ Plasma full HD
  2. 32″ LCD 480i

Right now you’re thinking ‘Woohoo – get the plasma!!’ Which makes a lot of sense because even though I don’t have an HD player right now, everything’s moving towards HD and I might as well plan for the future, right?

Well, that’s just your consumer brain thinking and it can be very convincing.

But I run my personal finances with a business mentality. And one of the worst things you can do in business is plan for the future. The reason is simple; most of the time people spend way too much and go way too big too soon … and noone can tell the future for sure. If you blow your bankroll on startup and preparing for what “might be”, 9 times out of 10 you’ll find yourself in trouble.

It’s far smarter to start small and suffer through the growing pains when you’re building a business. It hurts, it sucks, it’s hard … but it’s the right way to do it.

My Brain Gave Me No Choice But to Make a Business Decision

I’m sure you’ve already guessed that I bought the 32″. And it’s awesome. I’m very happy with it. The price difference was about $600, and the power usage is a whopping 540 watts for the plasma vs 140 watts for the LCD.

The problem isn’t affordability. I can afford better than either of these. And hey, it’s just a TV; it’s not the groundwork for a multi-national business consortium. But I just don’t think like a consumer.

That’s the problem.

Denouement
 

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2 Comments

  1. I think you have made a good choice with Panasonic. I went with their AE900U projector a couple of years ago and have loved every minute of it. Just after Christmas it flaked out – the power supply was faulty and part of the optics system was making crunchy noises. Panasonic went above and beyond for me in covering the cost of the parts.

    Large companies need to look at good customer service as a loss-leader. When I decide in the future to get an HD player, I will look to Panasonic because I know they stand by their product. The $140 loss they took on my repair will net them substantially more profit in the long-term.

    From a business point of view, perhaps having an 8 foot wide screen as procrastination device in the basement isn’t s-m-r-t…But my consumer brain rationalized the decision for my business senses by saying “You work hard, but should be able to play harder. Get the best thing you can afford so that when you do take a break from your diligent work, you’ll have a great way to do so.

  2. Hey Jamie,

    Great story! I wish I had a story to share about Panasonic’s customer service but the truth is … I’ve never needed it.

    I did think about getting a Toshiba – they also make some great stuff. But Panasonic has always kept me loyal with their unique blend of functionality, fair price, and dependability. And that last one is hard to find these days.

    And … work hard, play hard … sounds good to me.


 

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