Updated: Jun 8, 2020
As small businesses we are capable of pivoting and communicating faster than big brands. We have a direct connection to our community because we are the community, so we can make our messages more relevant to our supporters.
Small businesses owners are the leaders in the community. Our community is hurting, worried, and stressed which causes emotions to be more volatile. Social media allows us to say what we are feeling or thinking, immediately, with the biggest megaphone ever, potentially to 3.8 billion people. We are all stressed, but as leaders, we need to be deliberate and sensitive. Take time, take a breath, listen, reflect. Then take action. Then speak.
We have a committed small business fan base that is gaining momentum in the face of the pandemic. We need to be thoughtful and remember that while our customers are here for us, we are here for our community. How do you want to be there for your community? If you really want to live in world without racism, you have to do more than just say you are against racism on social media. In order to truly be authentic in your statements you need to demonstrate your commitment to change.
Look to your business values, your mission, your vision, and respond authentically.
If you don’t have values statements here’s a simple question that I ask clients.
How do you want to positively impact your industry, your community and the world?
Write these down. Then integrate these values into your long-term planning and day-to-day operations as soon as you can. I suggest searching for the values statements of your favorite brands. Many have them listed on their websites.
The reason Ben and Jerry’s message against racism has not come off hollow, like other businesses,is that the original owners are known activists and built their business on progressive values. Even though they were bought by brand giant Unilever, the brand culture they built persists.
This country has A LOT of work to do. In my opinion grassroots efforts will make the real, lasting, culture-shifting change that needs to happen to end racism and inequality. I hope all businesses, large and small, take a hard look at their values and business operations and make the changes that they need for us to grow out of racism and into equality.
These are my values:
· We believe that everyone deserves to be seen and heard and represent their individual and cultural identity. Everyone does NOT include hate groups in our values.
· We are empathetic and strive to understand and accept different perspectives to best serve our clients.
· We are trendsetters, always looking for ways to creatively innovate and appeal to our clients’ customers.
· We respect and amplify the clients’ brands.
· We provide professional services with follow through and clear communications so that we deliver what is expected.
· We support the local community.
· We have fun.
What are yours?