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Why Politics Belong in our Businesses

In a turning point for our country, the landscape of operating a business has been forever changed.

The rules have been tossed out the window and tradition is no longer. “Professional” is open to interpretation and being personable is the new path to success.

The current working class is comprised of 3 main generations, all having a different opinion on how this should look. Marry that with such a large country, with varying ideals, values and schools of thought and you find a moving target that is hard to nail down. Leaving many of us confused on how to navigate, while others have found a firm conviction on their direction, not overly concerned what opinions others have about that.

The world of business has become outspoken on politics, and the question has been: is that okay? Do politics belong in business? Do they belong in the wedding industry.

The answer is a resounding YES and here is why:

  1. The nature of a business is connected to government policies from the start. Legal entity, taxes, regulation, etc. There is no escaping the rules we must all follow in order to operate a legally sound business.
  2. Banking is highly political when you consider marginalized communities. Banking was not always accessible, for many. So you have to take into account that someone, somewhere fought for that right. The foundation of having a bank account as a woman writing this post means there was a political conversation somewhere that took place.
  3. Owning a business is political. For far too long, only (white) men could own a business, which means again… someone fought that battle.
  4. Take the opinions of right vs wrong and human rights out of the equation, same sex marriage is in fact legal, and has been for 5 years. If this were to be overturned, the wedding industry would lose a massive revenue stream. I’m not suggesting that money should be more important than people, I’m merely pointing out the financial adjustment that would have to be considered as one additional reason wedding pros are incentivized to join these conversations.
  5. The BIPOC and LBGTQ+ communities are underrepresented in the wedding industry (cough cough… most industries) and bringing awareness to that + creating opportunities, is the best way to change that.

There are of course other reasons, but do we really need more reasons? Everything we do in our businesses is connected to a law – hiring staff, serving food, collecting money, fighting chargebacks, maternity leave, COVID mandates, discrimination, etc. Our voices in politics matter.

Maybe bank laws aren’t sexy or easy to talk about… but remember all those COVID PPP conversations? We weren’t pushing back on that conversation. We were begging for more! But when it comes to the rights of our couples and fellow wedding pros as humans, we “don’t want to see it in our IG feed”… nope, “we are here for your business tools and resources, not political insights or opinions.” 

What is it that they say? You can’t have your cake and eat it too!!

Consumerism has changed. More consumers than ever are wanting to speak with their dollars. They want to move the needle and make difference in the world by spending money on small businesses with like minded values.

Additionally, smart business owners have ideal clients in mind and they market and brand in a way that attracts them. If you’re not loving the conversations being had by a certain company, it doesn’t mean they are wrong to engage in those, it simply means you are not their target audience. And that’s okay! Reaching out to chastise them or tell them what you are there for, how they should operate or anything of the like is really none of the consumers business. If it wasn’t working for the company, they wouldn’t be doing it. 

I often hear “I don’t really follow politics” and here is my challenge: you must. Not paying attention to politics means you don’t have to because you are not directly impacted by them in your day to day, which in essence is a place of privledge. Marginalized communities don’t get to rest. They don’t get the luxury of not paying attention to the news each day or to what is on the ballot. It impacts their daily lives. When we find ourselves in a position that politics don’t impact our daily lives, and we can simply tune it out for a bit, it’s a good sign that we are in a position to petition on behalf of the weary.

So maybe you aren’t talking about it on your Instagram, but are you paying attention? Are your business relationships in line with your overall values? Do you refer your couples to wedding pros that have their best interest in mind or those that are voting against their rights?

We are all going to make mistakes. I made one yesterday. And “knowing we are going to make mistakes” is not an excuse to make them. But our responses matter, and even if our responses are still messy and full of learning curves, we have to try. Are you open – minded and able to hear out positions you don’t understand or agree with and apologize when necessary? Or back down when you realize responding is making it worse? That maybe removing and reflecting is a better use of energy to grow and learn. Are your values safe for the marginalized staff you employ?

To bring this full circle, use your voice when you recognize something. Be open minded when someone points out you didn’t recognize something. Work harder to recognize it next time. Share your values, align yourself properly, refer your couples respectfully and encourage change among your fellow wedding pros. When you see other wedding pros operating with dated forms and systems, know that it’s okay and encouraged for you to simply question it and ask them to update.

So yes, as news unfolds each week, and politics impact people… it then impacts business. Which means we can and should talk about it openly. Talk, advocate, take a stance and inspire change.

For more on this topic, check out my podcast from around the election in November. It’s called “Do Politics Belong in the Wedding Industry?”

 

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