I recently read an article from Manta, an informative database of articles for small businesses. The article focused on small business owners who want to be authentic to who they are.
This isn’t a bad idea in general. But sometimes it can turn off clients or offend others. Being authentic, to some people, means sharing religious, political or other controversial opinions. Now, we have all been stuck in a conversation that turned toward a subject we don’t like, or a topic that usually results in conflict — but there’s no way out of the conversation. When speaking with clients, it’s quite possible that they don’t agree with you and will only let you know by not calling back. This is not a good way for a business to be profitable.
Ideas that seem universal to one person may not be for another. Especially when we get to cross-cultural issues. The Western view of the world is, obviously, not the same as the Eastern. And the Western view itself has many variations.
The article explains that those with extreme views on politics, religion, or moral standards should keep those opinions to themselves. It isn’t completely against sharing these sorts of beliefs, but if a business person is looking to grow into new areas or have a broader range of customers, then that person needs to be willing to approach each conversation with an open mind for listening.
This idea is something that seems like common sense, but it isn’t to many. I decided to write about it because many small business owners feel they need to be authentic. And authenticity often involves a controversial issue. Authenticity and controversy do not usually help a company gain clients with different perspectives and cultures.