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Knowing When to Stand up as an Entrepreneur to Voice Your Opinion

January 30, 2017

Inspiration and Advice for Women Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses


The article in this Monday mornings newsfeed on NBC caught my attention.The article announced in the wake of the president’s executive order barring immigrants from seven predominately Muslim countries,Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz vowed to hire 10,000 refugees globally. He said, “We will neither stand by, nor stand silent, as the uncertainty around the new administration’s actions grows with each passing day. There are more than 65 million citizens of the world recognized as refugees by the United Nations, and we are developing plans to hire 10,000 of them over five years in the 75 countries around the world where Starbucks does business.” Schultz said the effort would begin in the U.S., focusing hiring efforts initially on people who served with U.S. troops as interpreters and support personnel.

refugeesIn response citizens, ACLU attorney’s and the public jumped at the chance to stand up for what their beliefs and really America’s beliefs. It was a moving account of how Americans feel about their liberties.  As a person, you might have your own political beliefs on this action and reaction depending on who you voted for in the election; but as an entrepreneur voicing your concerns could get you in PR trouble with constituents, the public and the media; so what can you do?

First know where you stand personally with any major global issues so you are ready to communicate it with your constituents if they ask. As the owner of a company, you should always be promoting your major mission and brand first and foremost since it is the reason you are in business and customers are associated with you.

Second understand not everyone affiliated with you or your company will agree on everything you promote, announce or support.  This does not mean you have to be quiet to not offend loyal followers but be aware there could be fallout from your announcements. Create a public relations response so you are prepared for any tough conversations.

Third if your personal or political views are taking over your core business views, consider creating a separate division or group to your company to accommodate this new interest. For example we just created a new Facebook political organization page for Women TIES to keep political conversations in its own place, to gather women interested specifically in this topic and to keep our main Facebook pages business focused.

Fourth, pick up the phone and have honest conversations with people you do business with that might not agree with your new voice.  I lost 2 good friends over my decision to take 100 women to the Women’s March on Washington but I gained so many more new friendships on that trip. People don’t stay in your life forever and either do clients so let them move on if they have to.

communications Like Starbuck’s example, you can also use big media headlines and situations to create good will for your company. Make sure you don’t miss opportunities to share what you are supporting with the local and national newspapers. PR is PR and can help you share your corporate beliefs and actions with your buying community.

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