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I've Got Opinions! So, What?

July 2, 2020
It's best to keep your non-business-related opinions to yourself. If you push your politics in your business, you are pushing away the prospects who hold different opinions.

Everyone has opinions, including me? I’ve got opinions on lots of things. Want to hear them?

I didn’t think so. 

Since this is a trade magazine, you might be interested in information I can share about the business of contracting. You might even be interested in an opinion or two, but only if it is related an aspect of business where you presume that I might have some expertise. Otherwise, you do not care what I think.

It is presumptuous of me to imagine you would care. Why would you? Likewise, why would you care what some Hollywood actor thinks?  Actors are paid to pretend to be someone they are not and to recall scripts written by someone else. If they are really good at it, they can entertain us, but that doesn’t mean we care what they think about tax policy.

Similarly, we enjoy watching top athletes compete.  They have natural athletic gifts most lack and a commitment to their sports most never had. Still, it’s fun to watch athletes spin a football, juke a defensive back, make a 3-point shot, save a goal, and hit a home run. A lot of them have opinions about the state of our nation, but we simply do not care what they think about the world beyond their sport. 

It’s not about red states and blue states. It’s about the black state of the income statement’s bottom line and the green state of your balance sheet.

Worse, when an actor or athlete gets too political and annoying, it reduces our desire to allow them to entertain us.  We are no longer entertained. We are just irritated. We may get irritated enough that we stop buying tickets. The actors and athletes probably never realize the economic pain their actions might cause, but they are nevertheless costing themselves and their producers and team owners money. 

The same is true in business. There are stores people will not shop in because of the politics expressed by the stores’ leadership. The executives probably do not believe the impact is significant, but might be surprised. It is always mystifying how businesses will fall all over themselves over the actions of a half dozen semi-professional activists, but ignore the quiet majority of their customers.

You do not care what actors, athletes, and most business owners think about politics. If these individuals and organizations push too hard, you reach the point where you do not care to patronize them. Guess what? Your customers are no different.

You may be a proud supporter or opponent of the president. All of your friends may agree with you. At least 40% of your prospects and customers do not. If you push your politics in your business, you are pushing away the prospects who hold different opinions.

I know business owners with red state views who live in blue states and vice versa. The smart ones keep their views to themselves unless they know a customer is like-minded. This is business.  It’s not about red states and blue states. It’s about the black state of the income statement’s bottom line and the green state of your balance sheet.

You are in the business of making the places where people work and live comfortable. You are not in the business of politics.  

Decades ago, political consultants came up with the concept of wedge issues that could be used to divide people. They seem to be practicing this nefarious art to perfection today. The result is a divided country. Throw in the coronavirus and racial unrest and the nation becomes a powder keg, ready to erupt.  You do not want your business caught in an eruption. 

You are in the business of making the places where people work and live comfortable. You are not in the business of politics.  

By all means, vote.  Make political donations.  Engage family and friends in political discussions, so long as you can do it without harming relationships.  But, do not use your business to advance your political opinions.  Those who agree, won’t care.  Those who do not, will be driven away.

I know.  You don’t care about my opinions about sharing your opinion.  Sigh.

Political posting is not allowed on the Service Roundtable, where the entire focus is helping contractors improve their business and financial performance, leading to a profitable exit strategy.  Service Roundtable members enjoy same-store-sales growth rates that are three times greater than the industry growth rate.  Find out why at www.ServiceRoundtable.com

About the Author

Matt Michel | Chief Executive Officer

Matt Michel was a co-founder and CEO of the Service Roundtable (ServiceRoundtable.com). The Service Roundtable is an organization founded to help contractors improve their sales, marketing, operations, and profitability. The Service Nation Alliance is a part of this overall organization. Matt was inducted into the Contracting Business HVAC Hall of Fame in 2015. He is now an author and rancher.