For the Sake of Business, Better to Stay Middle of the Road
Self employment is risky business. Part is that risk involves making a lot of choices.
For those of us who started a company from scratch, the choices can be overwhelming. You have to make decisions on everything from office space to business opportunities, which is why the recent Chick-fil-A controversy has baffled me as a small business owner.
Thanks to social media, I'm now very clear on how some professional colleagues and business owners feel about gay marriage. The opinions were no surprise considering the postings of these same folks when President Obama endorsed gay marriage earlier this year. Similar to Chick-fil-A's Dan Cathy, are these individuals speaking for everyone on their team when they publicly opine?
As a general rule, I've always advised clients not to do publicly espouse something if there's a chance it may alienate existing or potential customers. Whether it's social media postings or yard signs, I advocate the “stay in the middle of the road” approach. If you can't stay in the middle of the road, take both sides, as a former CEO used to do when he would contribute to both conservative and liberal political candidates and causes.
Today's social technology allows much opportunity to promote ourselves, our clients, our children, our vacations, our meals and countless subjects that fall in the TMI category. With such openness, I fear that some business owners' political and personal values will carry more weight in the future when they make decisions for their organizations. I fear that public alienation will do more harm than good. Further, the polarization will only add to this country's divisiveness.
I strongly advise business owners to re-think before publicly opining. Regardless of your belief system, I can assure you that you will offend someone, or at the very least, modify others' opinion of you, which may or may not be to your advantage.
Yes, self employment is risky. Making the right choices for your business doesn't have to be.
Posted on 08/06/2012 3:10 PM by susanh