If you have remotely paid attention to the 2016 primary elections, you know there is something crazy going on. The two most (dare I say) hated, despised, and polarizing figures in U.S. Presidential history are vying for your vote as President. It is unimaginable that our presidential election cycle has produced history making precedents that may set the tone for years to come.
While everyone is focused on the impossibilities and determining their fate as U.S. citizens, I think we as small business owners can move forward with business lessons that can be implemented on a daily basis.
Lesson 1: Not everyone has to love you.
There is no doubt that rave reviews will help you create the buzz you need to grow your business. It is also true that negative reviews can destroy your business. Understanding that there will be supporters and dissenters will help you to focus on the things that matter.
There are going to be things to love and hate about how you do business. You are not going to make everyone happy, and there are going to be times when someone will declare never to do business with you again.
As business owners, it is important to ensure that the voices of the supporters outweigh the voices of the critics. Show your customers how they can support you and how helping you helps them.
It is not just about prizes or giveaways. It is about thanking people for their support and asking them to continue to tell others about you and what you do. Make them a part of the marketing effort by asking to vote not only with their dollars but with their mouths as well.
Lesson 2: Don’t let the obstacles stop you.
What I find most interesting about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is that they both have some serious problems facing them. Donald Trump is in the middle of a lawsuit regarding Trump University. Hillary Clinton is facing an investigation regarding her e-mail scandal.
Each has addressed these issues in different ways, but the truth is that despite the possible ramifications, they are moving forward with the campaigns anyway. Far lesser scandals have upended political campaigns, but they remain.
I believe that is because they have learned from the Lesson 1 and have decided that they are willing to press forward no matter what. How many times have you decided to wait until a problem was handled before you moved on to something else? There may be no such thing as the perfect time. Maybe the time is just now. Moving forward despite all of reasons to stand still may be what your small business needs to do.
Lesson 3: Embrace who you are.
Many politicians try to pretend to be something they are not. That is why when scandals happen, people are shocked and disillusioned. Say what you want about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, you know who they are. Not just in name, but what they are about.
Donald Trump is “big money.” He is about being bold and brash and unashamed of where he came from, where he is going, or where he is now. Hillary Clinton, is clear about her womanhood and how it has shaped her and has never been shy about the fact that she is an aggressive female thought leader. This has nothing to do with policies or political affiliation, it has to deal with the brand. You know what you are getting.
When customers deal with you, do they know who you are or what they are getting? Consistency is key. It is not about fancy websites and business cards. It is about delivering the products or goods in such a way that when your name is stamped on it, people know what it is about. That is why it is so important to send clear messages to your customers. Hold strong in your convictions while being flexible enough to accept changing business models and technology.
If you take anything away from this political season, it should be that “traditional” doesn’t mean being the same as everyone else. “Established” doesn’t mean accepting, and “unconventional” doesn’t mean unpopular.